Resist the truckers

Thoughts on the trucker convoys and how things got to this.

Liberal democracy (such as it is) rests on the social contract: that the governed consent to be governed, and the government will do right by them and take care of their needs. It often fails in practice but that’s the ideal.

What has happened over the last few decades of “neo-liberalism” (where the liberalism is applied only to the freedom of markets) is that the social contract has been broken over and over again. Individual freedom has been emphasized but solidarity has been consistently attacked.

Trade unions are relatively weak in Canada and there has never been a federal NDP government (the NDP is the equivalent of the Labour Party, for any Brits reading this). There’s also much less of a social safety net than there should be.

No mandatory paid sick leave. Less paid time off. Left wing people blame the lack of social safety net and the lack of jobs on the unbridled power of business. Right wing people resent paying for welfare provision and blame a lack of jobs on immigrants.

The social contract has not been extended to Indigenous people and (despite the fact we’re all living on land stolen from them) right wingers resent federal payments to Indigenous people. This makes me furious.

In a liberal democracy, most people accept the status quo, and the compromises that go with it. But if enough people start to feel the social contract is not working for them, you get attempts to overthrow the system, or at least put a spanner in the works, from both left and right.

Once the consensus over the social contract starts to break down and you get open insurgency from the far right (who have always wanted to destroy liberal democracy), as opposed to just demonstrations, centrists respond by saying “it’s just a few bad apples” / “but free speech” etc.

But as Karl Popper said, the paradox of tolerance is that we cannot tolerate the intolerant.

There’s a German saying: if you have one Nazi and ten “ordinary people” at a dinner table, you have eleven Nazis.

If you tolerate Nazis at an event, it becomes a Nazi event.

To be antifascist is to reject and resist Nazis. Nazis don’t respond to reason or debate, because being a Nazi is not a rational position. That’s why antifascists have been removing Nazi propaganda from public spaces for decades, and fighting Nazis when necessary.

Towards the end of the Weimar Republic, the stress on the system (hyperinflation and mass unemployment) caused the breakdown of the social contract. That’s why the Nazis were able to take over, and centrists and the right let them do it, to “make Germany great again”.

Maybe not those exact words but they used similar rhetoric.

Canada is in a dangerous position. The capital city is under siege. Many of the truckers have Nazi and Confederate flags. (Remember that if you tolerate Nazis at an event, it’s a Nazi event.)

No-one can figure out how to get rid of the trucks because they are huge. As usual [many of] the police are on the side of the fascists, as is very clear from the way they’ve been hanging out with them and letting them take selfies with police cars.

There is tons of evidence from recent events in Canada that the police are extra obnoxious to minorities (1492 Land Back Lane, Fairy Creek) and stand by while fascists harass them (the burning of the Mi’kmaq lobster warehouse).

So how the hell does the government get out of this situation? I have no idea, but I think it’s an extremely dangerous situation.

Clearly the police are not going to help to get rid of the truckers, and calling in the army is generally frowned upon. It’s also really difficult to get rid of them once they are in the centre of the city. There’s an effort to resist by the people of Ottawa and other places where these convoys are blocking roads.

It’s strange (heavy sarcasm) how left wing protests (such as the G20 protests) are heavily and violently policed, yet the police are friendly with the truckers and allowing them to get away with harassing marginalized people (LGBTQ2SIA & BIPOC people).

Add to all of that the fact that working for the police attracts authoritarians and fascists (uniform! hierarchy! giving orders! free pass to harass marginalized groups) and you might get an idea why there are so many calls to defund the police and invest in something that actually protects people.

Update 1: just in case anyone was in any doubt. Police in Edmonton are now threatening to issue fines to counter-protesters against the truckers.

Update 2: In the original version of the post, I got the German saying wrong. It’s “if there ten ordinary people and one Nazi at a table, you have eleven Nazis.” Which is very true.

Update 3: Twitter thread from Amanda Jetté Knox, who lives in Ottawa:

Update 4: Canada was warned before protests that violent extremists infiltrated convoy

“While the organizers have declared that this is an act of peaceful protest, some ideologically motivated violent extremism followers in Canada have seized upon this rally to advocate for their own ideological objectives,” the January document reads. “Extremists and other individuals supporting Covid-19 conspiracy theories and violent anti-authority/anti-government views have expressed intent to participate in the convoy and to attend the accompanying protest in Ottawa.”

Justin Ling

Update 5: more evidence of the extremists involved in the blockades and occupation.

6 thoughts on “Resist the truckers

  1. Hi Yvonne, I don’t follow much media these days, in fact I only really hear about current news via others. I read this with interest as I’m pro-liberty and anti-fascist (in so far as I am anti-dictatorship, anti-military enforced state controls, anti-repression of public opposition and dissent). You assert above that these truckers who are protesting government mandated mass vaccinations (something I personally see as dangerously dictatorial in nature) are essentially Nazis because “many of the truckers” have Nazi flags. Asserting that these protestors are Nazis, is a strong claim, and I believe that strong claims require strong evidence. So I took a look online to see if I could find visual evidence of swastikas or Nazi flags being flown at the convoy. I didn’t see one. Have you seen many? And if so, where may they be found?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The government of Canada has not mandated mass vaccination, nor does it have any plans to do so. What has happened is that they’ve mandated that, in order to cross the border between the US and Canada, people must be vaccinated. No vaccine, no entering Canada. Not a mandatory mass vaccination at all.

      There have been reports of Nazi flags and confederate flags and my point is, if people tolerate even one Nazi flag at a protest, it’s a Nazi protest.

      Add to that the fact that some of the truckers protesting at the border tried to bring in a cache of 2000 guns and other military equipment. And that BIPOC and LGBTQ2SIA people have been harassed by the convoy in Ottawa. And that some of the protesters in Ottawa tried to burn down a building with people in it. And have been ripping masks off of passers-by and spitting on people.


      • Okay, understood, they are protesting government mandated vaccinations for border crossing. However I would disagree that a single person displaying something, automatically defines an entire group of thousands of people. That is one hell of a low threshold for guilt by association. I would also like to see direct proof or photographic evidence of such a thing, rather than unsubstantiated claims before making the leap to tar all present with the same brush. And moreover I would also like to have evidence of such a thing being openly tolerated by others. When someone can point me to images of swastikas being openly flown at such protests, I might grant credence to the notion that these people protesting are indeed Nazis. If there are many swastikas being flown, they will no doubt have been photographed and published somewhere by one of the thousands of people present, including members of the media covering the protest. I’m very careful in how I use terms like Nazi and fascist. Or Anarchist and Marxist (etc.) as I think it’s importatnt to represent other people fairly. I can disagree with them, their goals and their methods, but asserting that thousands of people (however blinkered or ignorant you might feel their endeavour is) are akin to the worst kind of genocidal psychopaths to be found in world history because an anonymous someone claimed there was a flag (or even two or three flags) being flown, is not just representation I feel. The guns would certainly worry me a lot more! As would examples of direct violence. Whether again such incidents makes all these people Nazis is another thing, as all kinds of political movements have violent elements; and where masses of people gather, some almost always go just to cause trouble. I doubt you will agree with me, but am happy to respectfully differ and bow out now.
        Blessed Full Moon to you )O(


      • Thank you for your comment. I hear you on being careful about how you use these terms.

        There are several articles reporting the flags and I have heard directly from people living in Ottawa about what is happening.

        Here’s a Twitter thread from someone who lives in Ottawa.



    • PS, I did a quick online search for “Nazi and Confederate flags at trucker convoys” and came up with quite a lot of results including this: and it was also on Yahoo Finance.

      The Washington Examiner reports that a man with a Confederate flag was told to leave by other truckers, but iirc that paper is right wing (and it quoted Jordan Peterson, so hmmm).


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