Edmonton ara 031796, Fromm Paul

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 14:26:02 -0700 (MST)
From: Todd Ferguson
To: Anti-Racist Action Toronto
Subject: Fromm Run Out of Edmonton!

March 17, 1996


On Thursday, March 7th, the Edmonton Anti-Fascist League received an
annonymous tip. Paul “Fuhrer” Fromm was planning to give a speech in our
town on Friday, March 15th. The lecture was organized by his group, the
Canadian Association for Free Expression (a.k.a. Cracker Apologists For
Ernst) and was sure to be a major draw for the local bigots and boneheads.

Since 1992 the AFL had been largely inactive in Edmonton, having chased
all the Final Solution boneheads and Aryan Nations sympathizers out of
town the year before. Our actions against Fromm would test if we were
still capable of initiating valid and successful street-level anti-racist
work and would also show us if Edmonton’s reputation as a strong
anti-racist community was still well-deserved. Quickly, we sprang into

Fromm was booked to speak in a meeting room in the Best Western City
Centre (11310-109 St.), next to the airport and right across from a
shopping mall. We scheduled the meeting point for our rally a half-hour
earlier in the mall. We called and e-mailed everyone we knew, and
encouraged them to tell their friends. We contacted other anti-racist
groups in the country, warning them of Fromm’s speaking tour.
Anti-Racist Action Toronto couriered out some excellent pamphlets about
Fromm and his history, which complented the ones we had custom-made.
Soon we received calls of support from student groups, multicultural
societies, and political organizations of all types. After much debate,
we decided against contacting the media, for fear that they would give
Fromm a platform on their programs to spout his rhetoric, or else contact
the hotel, causing the hotel to cancel and Fromm to move his meeting to a
secret location.

On the day of the meeting Fromm enjoyed an hour of free air-time courtesy
of 630 CHED radio talk show host David Rutherford. Besides his usual
anti-immigrant, anti-foreign crap, Fromm boasted of carrying around a
book banned in Canada as hate literature (Will America Drown?). But the
big surprise for us was when he announced that he had seen the leaflet we
had made announcing the protest posted on the internet. He called the
AFL “terrorists,” “law-breakers” (never mind the banned book you brought
to the radio station, Paul!) and “loonies”, and went so far to state that
all the violence he’s heard of was instigated by the left. When the
program’s host tried to counter by referring to the Oklahoma bombing (not
to mention the murders of 3 gay men by boneheads in the last five years
in Canada, and countless assaults) Fromm actually defended the bombing,
saying “…there hasn’t been a trial yet and we still don’t know who did
it or why.”

So, we had lost our element of surprise and had to change our tactics
from arriving en masse to going to the meeting invdividually or in small
groups and causing pandemonium once inside. We anticipated maybe 30
protesters and had made enough flyers (including copies of the latest On
The Prowl) for 50. By 7:30 p.m., the announced time of the protest,
between 100-150 protesters had arrived! There were representatives from
the Jewish Students’ Association, the Muslim Students’ Association, Food
Not Bombs, the Anti-Fascist League, Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice,
the University of Alberta New Democrats, the Edmonton Multicultural
Society, the STudent Organized Resistance Movement, and numerous punks,
anti-racist skins, street kids, and concerned citizens. Unfortunately,
there was also lots and lots of police and security guards, who had
presumably also been tipped off by the posting of our pamphlet on the
internet. They ushered us out of the mall and “informed” us that Paul
Fromm had packed his bags and skipped town. Given the police’s history
of protecting and even collaborating with racists, we took this “good
news” with a healthy dose of skepticism, and after promising to disperse
and go home, we proceeded directly to the hotel where Fromm was scheduled
to speak. There we were met by even more police officers who stuck to
the story that he had left and the meeting was cancelled. After we soon
made them realize we weren’t going anywhere until we were sure that they
weren’t lying, they agreed to let one representative search the hotel,
accompanied by police and hotel staff. While negotiating this, three
demonstraters snuck into the building under the guise of hotel guests.
Between the “official” representative and our anti-racist “ninjas”, not a
single bonehead or aging anti-Semite could be found! The police had
actually told the truth! According to hotel staff, the police had called
at 5:00 p.m. to inform them of the true nature of the meeting Fromm had
booked and advised them to cancel, which they did. Fromm had arrived to
set up for the meeting at 7:00p.m., only to find himself uncerimoniously
evicted from the premises, suitcase in hand, by two Edmonton cops! The
cops had been there since 5:30, throwing anyone there for the meeting off
the premises. One old Confederation of Regions crony was actually
arrested for tresspassing when he tried to re-enter the building!

While it wasn’t the confrontation so many of us had planned for, the demo
was certainly an unqualified success. Fromm had wasted time and money
planning for and flying out to a meeting that never happened. He wasn’t
able to spread his message of hate or sell any of his propaganda, and
he’ll certainly think twice before he comes out here again! The
anti-racist community in Edmonton proved that they have a large following
of committed people, willing to confront racists at a moment’s notice,
even if it means giving up a Friday night. Over 150 flyers, and
pamphlets about Fromm, as well as the latest issue of On The Prowl, got
distributed to people that can use the information, demonstrating that
all the networking and organizing anti-racist groups across the country
have been doing is finally starting to pay off. The local police were
made to realize that if they treated us with respect and courtesy and
were honest with us, we’d reciprocate. The hotel (and hopefully the
entire Best Western chain) was put on notice as to what Fromm and his
group was really about. It was most certainly a victory for everyone who
opposes bigotry and hatred, and hopefully it will prove to be the impetus
for even more successful anti-racist action in Edmonton! As we stated on
our pamphlets, “If ‘free speech’, not bigotry, is the issue that Paul
Fromm claims it to be, than all Canadians have the right and the
obligation to counter lies, deceit, and hatred as vocally as the
proponents of racism who espouse it. It is for this reason that we are
determined to confront, disrupt, interfere with, and shut down the
activities of Fromm and his ilk, no matter where they go.”-Anti-Fascist

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Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 14:37:54 -0700 (MST)
From: Todd Ferguson
X-Sender: [email protected]
To: Ken McVey
Subject: Fromm Run Out of Edmonton! (fwd)
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