United States & Canada
Posted: 5 October 2023
Canada: A wave of anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations met with opposition
On 20 September, demonstrations against gender-inclusive education in schools were organized across Canada as part of the ‘1 Million March 4 Children.’ Demonstrators called for an end to school policies and sex education that are inclusive for LGBTQ+ people, with organizers framing it as the “premature sexualization and potentially harmful indoctrination.”1CTV Press, ‘Cross-country rallies against ‘gender ideology’ in schools meet with counter-protests,’ 21 September 2023 These demonstrations come after recent changes to LGBTQ+ educational policies in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, which now require school staff to inform parents if a student wishes to identify by a different name or pronouns than those assigned at birth.2Jacob Dubé, ‘Gender-identity policies for kids are gaining attention in Canadian politics. Here’s what to know,’ The Globe and Mail, 28 September 2023 Demonstrations took place in every province and the Yukon, with the largest share – over 40% – in Ontario. As a result, anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations spiked to their highest levels since ACLED began collecting Canada data in 2021, more than doubling the previous high and making up nearly a quarter of all demonstrations in September. Notwithstanding, demonstrations in support of the LGBTQ+ community, which were largely organized as counter-demonstrations, outpaced anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations in September and also reached the highest levels since ACLED began collecting data on Canada.
United States: Ongoing far-right militia, militant social movement, and white supremacist training events and other activities
Far-right, militant social movement, and white supremacist activity decreased slightly in September compared to August. In Arizona, Lions of Liberty and self-styled ‘preparedness teams’ in Chino Valley, Yavapai County, and Verde Valley continued to hold regular informational and recruitment events. Similarly, the California State Militia’s Echo Company held a recruitment event in Mariposa. Meanwhile, Proud Boys activity abated in September compared to the previous month, though the group participated in an anti-LGBTQ+ demonstration in Miami, Florida alongside Moms for Liberty. In San Antonio, Texas, armed members of This is Texas Freedom Force (TITFF) gathered to demand the preservation of the Alamo Cenotaph. One member of TITFF was arrested for shoving to the ground a man who voiced his disagreement with the group.
Openly white supremacist activity continued at a relatively consistent pace in September compared to August. The Goyim Defense League (GDL) distributed antisemitic fliers in seven states, with around one-third of these distributions taking place in Florida. The GDL also held an antisemitic demonstration on 2 September alongside other white supremacist groups, including the Vinland Rebels, White Lives Matter affiliates, and Blood Tribe members in Altamonte Springs, Florida. That same day, members of the neo-Nazi Aryan Freedom Network and the Order of the Black Sun demonstrated outside the entrance to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, waving Nazi flags and showing support for presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Patriot Front activity continued in September at a similar rate to August, as the group dropped banners over highway overpasses and held sparring trainings. Meanwhile, members of the National Social Club held at least four anti-migrant demonstrations outside sites in Massachusetts housing migrants.
Several neo-Nazi ’active clubs,’ loosely affiliated with the Rise Above Movement were also active in September. Members of the California active club Clockwork Crew fought with a group of people in Ventura who attacked Clockwork Crew for holding Nazi flags. Meanwhile, a Colorado-based active club, Rocky Mountain Resistance, demonstrated against the Anti-Defamation League while espousing white nationalist slogans outside the organization’s headquarters in Denver. Finally, in Oregon, the Rose City Nationalists active club held signs with white nationalist propaganda at a highway overpass in Tualatin. Active clubs – which draw inspiration from similar European groups – were first established in California in early 2021, but have since sprung up in nearly every US state.3Mack Lamoureux, ‘Neo-Nazi Fight Clubs Are Growing Rapidly, New Research Shows,’ VICE, 22 September 2023 They are organized as a loose network, drawing heavily on ideological and organizational guidance from the founder and head of the Rise Above Movement.
United States: UAW workers strike against ‘Big Three’ car manufacturers
The United Automotive Workers (UAW) launched a strike at the ‘Big Three’ automakers – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis – on 15 September, calling for higher wages and cost of living adjustments.4Anne Marie Lee, ‘Why are UAW auto workers striking? Their contract demands as they negotiate with Ford, GM and Stellantis,’ CBS News, 19 September 2023 Demonstrations accompanying this strike led to a nearly 25% spike in labor-related demonstrations in September compared to the previous month, with UAW strikes and pickets conducted in at least 25 states. Over a quarter of these demonstrations were held in Michigan, with Ohio and Missouri accounting for 17% and 12% of the demonstrations, respectively. While these three states are home to several large Big Three manufacturing plants, the UAW is also pursuing a strategy of slowly escalating strikes across the country. The strike expanded to around 17% of UAW’s automotive workers on 30 September.5Jeanne Whalen, ‘UAW expands strikes, blasts Ford and GM while sparing Stellantis,’ Washington Post, 29 September 2023
On 26 September, a third-party contractor struck five people in a UAW picket line with his vehicle in Swartz Creek, Michigan, resulting in minor injuries. That same day, President Joe Biden joined a picket line in Van Buren Township, Michigan – the first time a sitting president has done so.6Seung Min Kim, Tom Krisher, and Chris Megerian, ‘Biden urges striking auto workers to ‘stick with it’ in picket line visit unparalleled in history,’ Associated Press, 26 September 2023; Zachary B. Wolf, ‘Why no president prior to Biden has joined a picket line,’ CNN, 26 September 2023 Meanwhile, on 27 September, former President Donald Trump appeared at a non-union factory in Clinton Township, Michigan to call on the UAW to endorse him in the 2024 presidential election – though Trump did not endorse its demands.7Trip Gabriel, ‘Trump Tries to Court Blue-Collar Workers at a Nonunion Factory,’ New York Times, 27 September 2023 This strike represents the highest number of recorded demonstrations by UAW since ACLED began collecting data in 2020, a 25% increase from the previous high in November 2022, when UAW-affiliated campus workers held a strike and demonstrations in California.