Warning: the following article contains extreme racist and transphobic content.
Almost exactly one year ago, Montreal Antifasciste released an article on the Front canadien-francais, a reactionary nationalist group. In that article, we included a quicklist of about 10 meme pages from the FCF’s entourage that gravitated around hardcore reactionary themes – anti-immigrant, anti-feminist and LGBTQ2+, with accents of white nationalism and a strong ultra-Catholic leaning. With names like “Mèmes evangéliste Duplessiste” and ”Mèmes clérico-nationalistes du Canada français”, such pages provide a convenient way for far-right sympathizers to spread a wide range of reactionary and often racist notions like that of the notorious “great replacement” conspiracy theory (and a whole host of other dehumanizing ideas) to their followers and beyond.
Started in January 2020, the Quebec.wingism page on Instagram (originally called Rightwingism.quebec) is similar in politics and aesthetics to many of the meme pages mentioned above. Although memes are, by definition, meant to be spread, there is also a tendency for whole meme pages to multiply and be copied in style and politics as well. This is particularly the case for Quebec.wingism, which is modeled after other “wingism” pages – two articles have already been written about the beginnings of the wingism pages, reporting that the first Wingism page was started in Canada by a University of Calgary student.
The format is the following: in general there are multiple administrators identified by the first letter of their name, and although the pages purport to provide a platform for a variety of ideas, the range is generally firmly in the far-right spectrum: from eco-nationalism to fascism, often with some neo-nazi imagery thrown in for good measure. Many of the pages seem to coalesce around an obsession with the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, fascism, and a hatred of people of colour, LGBTQ2+ people (most especially trans and gender nonconforming people), and feminists, amongst others. It seems the format was easily scalable, as people from different countries all over the world slightly tweaked the politics and format (memes with fashwave filters and alt-right iconography) to their specific white nationalist context. As such, these pages contribute to the dissemination and development of an international far-right online cultural milieu.
Although Instagram has occasionally purged certain rightwingism pages, many accounts simply rename themselves ever-so-slightly and reopen (it is not uncommon to see “v2” or “v3” next to a name, signifying the second or third rebirth of the page since being banned).
Quebec.wingism is a meme page cast in that mould – fashwave filters on historical reactionary figures and fascists, Islamophobia, white nationalism, overt racism, anti-feminism and hatred of transgender people, mixed with bog-standard Quebec nationalism. Wingism pages specialize in taking tired and repugnant reactionary ideas and spicing them up with “cool” filters or “funny” cartoon characters, all with the plausible deniability of a good dose of confusionism and “irony”. If it sounds like this is building on the cultural accomplishments of the alt-right movement from the USA, we most definitely agree. Wingism pages use the same tired Pepe memes and “based” Photoshop effects that reek of 2015-2019-style online American racism.