Anti-fascist demonstration at the trial of neo-Nazi Gabriel Sohier Chaput
The Montréal Antifasciste collective invites comrades and allies to join us outside of the Montréal Palais de Justice on the final trial date of neo-Nazi ideologue and propagandist Gabriel Sohier Chaput. The struggle against the far right, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, and all other fascistic and hateful ideologies is first and foremost a matter of community self-defence, and not of police repression or court proceedings.
From 2012 to 2018, using the pseudonym “Zeiger,” Sohier Chaput was involved in a number of neo-Nazi projects, including the Daily Stormer website and the Iron March forum. He is now charged with hate speech in connection with a single article out of the hundreds he has written. (Read Montréal Antifasciste’s exposé on Zeiger here: https://montreal-antifasciste.info/gabriel-sohier-chaput-aka-zeiger.)
The first three days of his trial, held last February and March, revealed a botched police investigation and a poorly prepared prosecution, which is all the more galling given the overwhelming mass of evidence already assembled by journalists from the Montreal Gazette in a series of articles published in spring 2018 based on research carried out by anti-fascist activists. (Read a summary of the first three days of the trial at: https://bit.ly/3nDhzHn.)
At the time, Montréal Antifasciste wrote: “It is clear that the police and the crown completely ignored our work and that of the Gazette journalists who publicly exposed Zeiger. . . . This shocking lack of preparation confirms two things that we have always known: 1) the police do not take the threat represented by the far right and neo-fascist currents at all seriously; 2) it is not in the courts that true justice is to be found but in community solidarity and self-defence.”
Sohier Chaput was never called to account for his central role in the Iron March forum, a key meeting place for neo-Nazi militants around the world who are disposed to engage in violence against their enemies, notably the Atomwaffen Division, an organization that recently made headlines in Québec following an RCMP operation in Plessisville and Saint-Ferdinand. The evidence shows that Sohier Chaput was an Iron March moderator, as well as having published numerous essays on the forum and having promoted the establishment of an international neo-Nazi network that was to include a clandestine terrorist wing. He also organized an immense digital archive of fascist works for this network and re-published James Mason’s Siege, the principal ideological text used by the Atomwaffen Division and the so-called “accelerationist” tendency of the international neo-Nazi movement. Sohier Chaput also joined other white supremacists at the infamous “Unite the Right” rally, in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, where an anti-racist activist was killed by a neo-Nazi.
There can be no doubt as to the central role that Sohier Chaput played in the neo-Nazi ecosystem from 2012 to 2018, a period marked by the Donald Trump presidency and the rise of the alt-right movement, just as there can be no doubt as to the contributions he made as an ideologue and a prolific propagandist. He himself has stated that he published hundreds of articles in which he unquestionably incites hatred against and encourages the harassment of Jews, Muslims, racialized people, LGBTQ+ people, feminists, progressives, etc. Nonetheless, this major propagandist of racial hatred is likely to walk out of court today entirely unscathed, because the police and the crown didn’t consider it necessary to make use of the abundance of evidence anti-fascists had gathered against him. At most, he will receive a symbolic sentence and then be turned loose to return to his toxic activities.
In a leaflet that will be distributed at the demonstration, the Montréal Antifasciste collective explains: “As anti-fascists and anti-racists, we believe that combatting the hateful positions of white supremacists cannot be left to the police and the courts. Rather, it is the responsibility of the community at large, in solidarity with the groups and individuals who are being targeted. It falls to each and every one of us to identify and flush out the Nazis and other fascists in our neighbourhoods, to expose, isolate, and neutralize them by any means necessary. It is also our responsibility to deal with anyone who tries to follow in their footsteps and emulate them. . . . Whatever the verdict in Sohier Chaput’s case, his punishment will certainly not be commensurate with all the harm he has caused. In the final analysis, far from the closed doors of the Palais de Justice, our communities are responsible for our own safety. We must organize ourselves to resist the harm done by racists/sexists/homophobes/transphobes like Sohier Chaput. We must deny Nazis, white supremacists, and other fascists space to grow and develop. Finally, we must all continue to fight the far right and the fascist threat in our daily lives, at our workplaces, in our neighbourhoods, in our cultural spaces, and everywhere else for as long as it takes!”