Comparing Far Right Transphobia in so called Canada to Don Hamerquist’s Analysis On Third Position Fascism

Anonymous Submission to North Shore Counter-Info

There is a growing fascist movement in so called Canada, it first appeared from the shadows as the Freedom Convoy which led directly to Hands Off Our Kids. While fascism has been a long time problem in Canada, and there were underground sects that morphed into this current movement, the point of this article isn’t a historical analysis on how it came to be, its to show the dangers of this specific movement that is largely being ignored or downplayed by anti-capitalists and anti-fascists, probably because it doesn’t fit the traditional definition of fascism, its closer to the third position. The third position isn’t the same as the commonly accepted kind of fascism, mostly differentiated by its relationship to capitalism and the ruling class. According to Don Hamerquist, traditional fascism is “a policy of capitalist reaction intended to counter the possibility of a serious working class challenge to capital.” Or as explained by anarchist Durruti “When the bourgeoisie sees power slipping from its grasp, it has recourse to fascism to maintain itself.” This article seeks to point out the similarities between the fascist far right and Third Position writings from Don Hamerquist, a militant communist and anti-fascist. Unfortunately this article doesn’t have a lot citation for the present day far right as it is largely based on first hand experience in Southern Ontario, an area rife with these people. The far right in this area is growing and recruiting alarmingly fast and the so called left isn’t stepping up to counter them. This isn’t to say that the growing transphobic far right in so called Canada is theoretically identical to the historical third position fascism, however there are a lot of parallels in Don Hamerquists writings on the third position comparable to today’s far right in so called Canada. It’s unclear if the current far right is intentionally trying to copy the third position, these parallels may not be intentional. The danger of this movement needs to be acknowledged if we have any hope of defeating the current far right and their bigotry.

In “Third Position” published May 2001 Hamerquist wrote about this brand of fascism being overtly pro-working class which is a rhetoric espoused by the Freedom Convoy. He also writes about it in Fascism & Anti-Fascism “It [Third Position] makes a direct appeal to a working class audience with a warped, but militant, socialist racialist-nationalist program of decentralized direct action”. The Freedom Convoy appealed to the working class, is decentralized as well as extremely nationalist in character. The convoy was always rife with the far right and anti-trans rhetoric they just hid it from their mainstream discourse. They built a base with a seemingly innocent stance of “protect kids” and “freedom from the government” but protecting children from the trans agenda is a guise they use to hide the beginning stages of an outright trans genocide. Hitler wasn’t a third positionist, he was a traditional fascist, but this is similar to how he claimed to be protecting children from Jewish people.

Far right ideology is insidious, fascists look for vulnerable people, warping facts and using logical fallacies to recruit to their cause. The far right also uses the culture wars to recruit to their cause and so called leftists (especially those online) can be absolutely useless when it comes to countering said phenomena. Examples of far right recruitment tactics include going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and recruiting vulnerable people from said meetings. Also finding vulnerable women who have survived medical trauma and winning them to the far right with pseudo science. This has a large overlap with trad wives (for more information read Sister’s in Hate by Seyawrd Darby). Some people in the far right movement are useful idiots who are gullible, and desperate for community because of the isolation from capitalist individualism. Community, compassion and patient explanation can work in the beginning phases of bringing people back from this kind of ideology. But there comes a point where they are too far gone and sadly lost to the world of the far right. They have become fascists; enemies of the class struggle and the oppressed.

Hands Off Our Kids is not a white supremacist movement. However it is a fascist, religious fundamentalist movement composed of various Abrahamic religions and far right, transphobic ideology. The “left” in so called Canada is largely being white saviors about this, preferring to see trans people murdered in cold blood than cast aside their postmodern, romanticization of BIPOC communities. This has serious “noble savage” racist vibes. Just because someone is a member of one oppressed demographic that doesn’t mean they get to be oppressive towards other groups. The trans community does not need this bastardization of the oppression olympics from white cis saviours, we need to abolish oppression in every form. Black Lives Matter correctly pointed out that white LGBTQ+ people can be racist, so we need to apply that logic to other forms of oppression. The far right is gaining traction fast, while we do need to be careful this doesn’t turn into racism and islomophobia, there is presently a growing violent movement against trans people and that movement needs to be eliminated.

This rising far right movement isn’t identical to textbook third position but if we look at another Hamerquist quote from Fascism & Anti-Fascism “the so called “third position” – a fascist variant that present itself as “national revolutionary” with politics that are “beyond left and right”.” One paragraph down in the same text he cites their support for liberation movements such as Ireland and Palestine. It needs to be stressed what’s going on in Palestine is a genocide and Palestine should be free, Zionism is fascism. However the white far right supports the Palestine liberation movement because they equate Zionism with Judaism, and are extremely anti-semitic. While there are white supremacist elements in the far right movement, the movement as a whole is not traditional white supremacy. They are a kind of fascism akin to the third position.

Hamerquist says it best in his essay Fascism & Anti-Fascism, “Two points: First, there is a real potential for working relationships and alliances between white fascist movements and various nationalist and religious tendencies among oppressed peoples. In no way does this potential involve the denial of the reality of white supremacy and racial and national oppression. It only means that the left cannot count on the responses to this pattern of oppression, privilege and domination fitting into its neat and comfortable categories. Second, there is no reason to view fascism as necessarily white just because there are white supremacist fascists. To the contrary there is every reason to believe that fascist potentials exist throughout the global capitalist system. African, Asian, and Latin American fascist organizations can develop that are independent of, and to some extent competitive with Euro-American “white” fascism.” A few paragraphs later he writes “In this country and around the world some of these fascist blocs will be, and, in fact, already are, Black and Brown.” While he is talking about America, Canada has enough similarities one can apply the same lesson to our own home grown fascist movement.

On a similar note, Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists (TERFs) are pouring into anti-capitalist and working class spaces in so called Canada. This again ties to Hamerquist’s position about the third position guising itself as working class. They guise their beliefs as working class feminism, use white women tears and the women are nice effect to vilify trans people, and men all too often revert to misogyny and protecting women who are perceived as the weaker sex, siding with the TERFs to further platform their bigotry. Plenty of feminists and BIPOC women have written very astute pieces about white woman tears regarding racism. For those unfamiliar with white woman tears, in a nutshell what happens is a white woman cries about how mean a BIPOC person was to them (often this BIPOC person was trying to address racism and discrimination). The white men in the room see the woman crying and immediately rush to her defense, because of conscious or unconscious misogyny they perceive women as the weaker sex and in need of protection. This is linked to the women are nice effect, which is the form of sexism that perceives women as more compassionate and delicate than men. Ironically women being the weaker sex who need a man to protect them is a pillar of trad wife ideology. Again this logic and type of oppressive behavior needs to be applied to transphobia if we want to end oppression in the fight against capitalism and fascism. Cis women do this to perpetuate transphobic and trans exclusive ideology. This forces trans people out of anti-capitalist and working class spaces. It’s also worth noting that not every person who does this is far right, some are just liberals, but regardless of their intentions liberals always end up helping the far right perpetuate their bigotry, they never actually help those being targeted. Racism is also a very real problem. This is not intended to take away from discussions about racism, but rather amplify BIPOC and women’s voices regarding this type of oppression and apply it to transphobia.

Far right bigotry has real word consequences. Doctors are hesitant to treat trans patients, especially youth. Some medical centers are even stopping their programs for trans youth because of far right intimidation. This is going to cause a rise in trans kids being traumatized and dying by suicide. Surgery, puberty blockers and hormone therapy saves lives. Puberty blockers are a temporary pause button that can eliminate the need for some surgeries and also stop irreversible changes caused by puberty. Puberty for trans people living with dysphoria is awful and traumatic. Trans people in Canada are being violently attacked but no official statistics are available because the trans community learned long ago not to trust police. Even if trans violence is reported cops don’t give a shit, which skews the potential for accurate statics even further. There have been at least two trans masculine youth murdered this year, Nex Benedict and Alex Franco. There are probably more who have gone unreported because of transphobia and the denial of our existence. There are also first hand reports on social media of the far right opening fire on trans women, queer bashings, and even attempts to run trans people over with cars/trucks. The last two happening in Southern Ontario. Hitler also targeted the trans community, Night of Long Knives and the infamous Nazi book burning destroyed the records Magnus Hirschfeld, a doctor who was medically treating dysphoria in trans people. Targeting the medical establishment was an early step of trans genocide in Nazi Germany, and its being targeted today by the far right in Canada.

So what can be done? Trans people need to do everything they can to defend ourselves. Enough of this “tender queer” bullshit, recognize we are fighting for our lives and start fighting back. If you aren’t trans, educate yourself on what transphobia and trans exclusive radical feminism looks like and actually stand up for us, not online, in the real world. If you care about anti-fascism it needs to be recognized that this isn’t a “culture war” its the beginning phases of a genocide. Treat it accordingly. Stop playing into the neo-liberal culture wars, this includes performative language/actions, safer spaces policies, clout chasing and diversity quotas. Fine tuning the terms and language we use to talk about transphobia won’t stop fascism. This kind of rhetoric can be pretty common in anarchist spaces in Southern Ontario, what we need is more propaganda by the deed. Reading more theory about direct action, anti-fascism and anarchism is complimentary to direct actions. Direct actions with no education is running around in circles but theory with no direct action is an academic circle jerk. As queer revolutionaries we need to start balancing these things. Deplatform assholes spewing TERF and anti-trans rhetoric, treat it the same you would any other form of fascism and bigotry.

Start taking this seriously, trans people are fighting for our lives and we can’t do it alone.

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