On Friday, November 12, 2010, in response to the presence of white racist apologist Christie Blatchford at a speaking event at the University of Waterloo, members of KW Anti Racist Action (ARA) locked down the event. Blatchford was planning to promote her book and her shameless racist ideologies. Fortunately, ARA got to the venue before she did. Three people were locked down together on the stage, while another took care of the podium. Audience members reacted with a mixture of yells, some supporting the chained people, and others berating the speakers for not having paid for the stage.
Christie Blatchford arrived late to her own event, and the official facilitator declined to invite her to the stage. Members of Anti Racist Action feel that it is important to challenge those who attempt to divide our community on the basis of race and class. Christie Blatchford provided ARA with the perfect opportunity to speak out against her outrageous claims that the police gave indigenous protesters at Caledonia preferential treatment. In her book, Blatchford consistently asserts, “the government and police have failed the citizens of Caledonia,” while at the same time declines to comment on any land claim issues, which must form the core of any honest analysis of the situation in Caledonia.
In the 1990s, at a peak of southern Ontario's white supremacist movement, Blatchford accused leftists and anti-racists of violent acts against members of this racist movement, and failed to discuss the violence caused by the racists. While she admitted that she did not believe Ernst Zundel's words, she glamorized his “struggle” and made the actions of ARA seem inconsequential, despite the widespread power of and community support for ARA existing at the time Blatchford has proven over and over again that she does not do her research, fails to connect ideas and events that are inherently inseparable, and, above all, does not respect anybody beyond what her privileged attitude will allow.
Community members feel that this type of one-sided journalism negates context, thereby allowing aggressors to hide under the cloak of victimization. With her new book, Helpless, Blatchford is at it again, speaking about the situation in Caledonia as one in which the police had no power. In truth, the police had an abundance of power, which they chose to exercise in a way that did not suit Blatchford. With her insistence on a narrow representation of the “citizens of Caledonia,” she has demonstrated an astonishing lack of honesty in her analysis, a mind-boggling resistance to common sense, and most worrying of all, a commitment to publicly promoting her insincere and misinformed opinions.
“As members of the KW community, we feel it is important to challenge all those who come into our spaces creating room for racism, sexism, and homophobia,” stated organizer Kat Wombwell. Other participants in the action strongly agreed, and further added that the whole community suffers and is weakened, when people allow themselves to be subjected to the dominance of people such as Christie Blatchford.
The goal of this action was to silence Blatchford and make it clear to her, and to her supporters, that the people of Kitchener-Waterloo will not tolerate bigoted, ignorant analyses of our indigenous allies. We will not stand by and watch undisturbed, as Blatchford and those who share her views attempt to poison the minds of people across Turtle Island. Our goal was clearly achieved, as Blatchford was not invited to take the stage and did not protest at the lack of invitation. It has been made evident to the community that Blatchford and her like are not welcome, and that KW ARA is alive and well, energetic and well-informed. We are proud to have stopped this racist apologist from further disseminating her lies, and we firmly pledge to be present at the rescheduling of this event, in order to continue our “Campaign Against Christie”.
This action was preceded by a teach-in run by the Concerned Settlers of Waterloo Region on the Grand River Territory.