Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 20:45:25 -0600 (CST)
Jew-haters and red-baiters: The Canadian League of Rights
By David Lethbridge, AntiFa Info-Bulletin, 2 February 1999
The Canadian League of Rights, after a decade of activity in Alberta, has moved back to Ontario, from whence it came. While this is unfortunate for working people in Ontario, Albertans should not become too overjoyed: Eric Boswell, the CLR's apparent second-in-command, continues to operate the provincial section out of Brooks.
The CLR has been characterized by the Canadian Jewish Congress as "perhaps Canada's leading antisemitic organization operating today," and David Bercusson and Douglas Wertheimer in their book "A Trust Betrayed," have called the CLR "one of the largest and best organized Canadian antisemitic groups." The CLR is the most recent mutation of the organizations controlled by Ron Gostick and Patrick Walsh.
In 1950 and 1951, Gostick was speaking at meetings sponsored by Gerald L. K. Smith and Wesley Swift. Smith and Swift were the founders of the white supremacist and anti-Jewish religion of Christian Identity, as well as the leaders of the California Anti-Communist League. Under their influence, Gostick founded the Canadian Anti-Communist League, whose mandate was to expose the alleged "Communist-Zionist-Monopolist-Finance enemy of Christian civilization." In this same period, Gostick was speaking at the British-Israel Association, in Vancouver, which also displayed the vicious racism and antisemitism of Christian Identity; a tradition which continues.
Patrick Walsh, a long-time associate of Gostick's, now deceased, was the CLR research director. In the early 1950s, Walsh was writing for Adrien Arcand's newspaper, "Unite National." Arcand was the leader of the pro-Hitler National Unity Party prior to World War II, and a life-long fascist who gave much of his library and a list of international fascist supporters to Ernst Zundel before he died. In a 1963 letter discovered in the National Archives, Patrick Walsh was still praising Arcand, maintaining that he was only interned by the government because of "Jewish and Communist pressure," and that the fascist Arcand was "a patriotic Canadian who gave his life for Canada." In this same letter, Walsh claims to have been an agent of the RCMP Special Branch of the Intelligence and Security Directorate for thirty years, and to have infiltrated Communist organizations and a number of labor unions on their behalf.
While it is difficult to evaluate this claim, there is no doubt that during the international seamen and dockers strike of 1949-50, Walsh had somehow become a member of the Canadian Seaman's Union and was trying to bust it from the inside. During the International Mine-Mill and Smelter workers strike at Inco in Sudbury in the late 1950s, Walsh and Gostick were agitating against the union. Walsh had apparently now become a member of the Mine-Mill union: there are pamphlets signed by Patrick Walsh as "National Director of the Mine-Mill rank and file committee." This was at the same time as company management had hired ex-Nazi SS stormtroopers and Hungarian emigre fascists to act as union- busting thugs. Walsh was also in Washinton, DC, in 1953, as a voluntary witness before the notorious House UnAmerican Activities Committee "exposing" Communist influence in labor unions, and became a bureau chief for the anti-Jewish Liberty Lobby, as well as a contributing editor to the openly fascist "American Mercury" magazine.
By 1961, Gostick's Canadian Anti-Communist League had become the Christian Action Movement. In 1964, Robert Thompson, leader of the Social Credit Party, was praising Gostick and CAM on official party stationary. At the same time, John Ross Taylor, leader of a pre-war Nazi political party and later a member of Aryan Nations, and white supremacist David Stanley were giving courses in infiltration, on how to break up meetings, and in weapons and demolition techniques, at the Social Credit headquarters building in Toronto. Interestingly, both Gostick's organization and Taylor and Stanley's were using the same symbol - a Celtic cross within a maple leaf.
Finally, Gostick's CAM developed into its present form - the CLR - as a result of a series of tours in the mid-1960s by Australian League of Rights director, Eric Butler. These tours resulted in a private meeting held in Toronto, in 1967, to organize the CLR. Documents obtained through Access to Information procedures indicate that the structure of the CLR is no more democratic than its politics. The organization is controlled by the national director who issues directives to the member groups. Each group is led by a group leader. Groups meet every 14 days in a member's home. The group meetings are semi-secret and closed to the public. New members are introduced to the organization through existing members. New members must attend a political seminar before becoming full members. All groups correspond directly with the national office. There is no direct communication between groups. The number, location, and distribution of groups is known only to national HQ. Nobody without access to national HQ can get any actual estimate of the strength of the organization.
Questions remain about the size of its membership. In 1987, Stanley Barrett, a noted academic, quoted a figure of 10,000. While the CLR itself remains closed on this matter, a 1981 CLR publication claimed that some of its issues had run "in the hundreds of thousands;" and Philip Butler, the BC director, was claiming "thousands of supporters" in the mid-1980s. If true, these claims suggest an organization of considerable strength and financial backing. According to a "confidential report" sent by Gostick to 1300 supporters in 1964, $13,500 had been raised in that year. Such a figure would be worth perhaps $150,000 in purchasing power today.
Whatever the precise details might be, once the CLR was consolidated, it began to step up its activities. The CLR became a member of the Crown Commonwealth League of Rights (CCLR), an international organization of antisemites and white racists, with Gostick on the executive board. In 1975, the CLR, and the other member groups of the CCLR, joined the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), a global front for ex-Nazis, fascists, death squad leaders, and other reactionary elements. The 1978 WACL meeting in Washington, DC, attended by the CLR, was organized by Earl Thomas, a former stormtrooper in the American Nazi Party, and by Roger Pearson, a white racist academic. Patrick Walsh was elected to membership of the executive board of the WACL.
In 1983 and again in 1984, the CLR sponsored Canadian tours by Jack Mohr, a US Christian Identity leader, frequent speaker at the Aryan Nations compound, and an early proponent of armed right-wing militias. In 1983, Mohr was a guest speaker at the CLR's International Seminar in Calgary. Sharing the platform were Ivor Benson, a pro-apartheid organizer in South Africa and advocate for white racist rule in what was then Rhodesia; a speaker from Liberty Lobby; and members of the British, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian divisions of the League of Rights. In 1984, the CLR had Jack Mohr speak in a 15-city tour including Creston, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary.
Perhaps even more revelatory are the greetings to the CLR published in their "Canadian Intelligence Service" 1981, vol. 31, No. 9. Among those sending messages were Ron Bartell, Rafael Rodriguez, and James Townsend. At that time, Bartell was chairman of Liberty Lobby, an extensive and well-financed anti-Semitic US organization; Rodriguez was head of the Latin American Division of the WACL; and Townsend was working in a group called the Committee of Ten Million with Robert Sheldon of the Ku Klux Klan, and Robert dePugh formerly of the fascist and paramilitary Minutemen.
The CLR publishes three periodicals: the "Canadian Intelligence Service" (since 1947), "On Target" (since 1968), and "Family Values" (since 1993). "Canadian Intelligence Service" tends to publish longer ideological opinion pieces, often openly critical of Jews, progressives, and anti-racists or, alternatively articles supporting such racists and fascist as Malcolm Ross, Terry Long, Ernst Zundel, or Jim Keegstra. Keegstra himself was a member of the CLR and an avid reader of its publications. "On Target" generally selectively reprints material from the mainstream press, with added remarks by Gostick. Both publications extensively advertise CLR books.
"Family Values" is edited by Mildred Nelson, a CLR activist and intimate of Ron Gostick. While nominally a separate initiative, it is clearly closely connected to the CLR. Its first issue was taken up entirely by a reprint of Paul Cameron's vicious homophobic and anti-homosexual propaganda. A later issue claimed that noted 1940s sex researcher, Alfred Kinsey, trained pedophiles to perform experiments on infants "a few months old." The Kinsey reported is then spuriously tied to the rise of pornography, which is then further linked to sex education in schools. Given the nature of fascism as a totality, it is hardly a surprise that the antisemitic and racist politics of the CLR would be extended to anti-homosexualism.
The CLR book service has sold a wide variety of antisemitic, Holocaust-denial, racist, and anti-Communist books. Many of these are classified as prohibited hate propaganda by the Customs and Excise Prohibited Articles Division, including, "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," "Hoax of the Twentieth Century," "The Auschwitz Myth," "The Talmud Unmasked," "Imperium," "The Dispossessed Majority," and "Red Fog Over America." Literally hundreds of extreme-right books appear regularly in their catalog.
In 1991, the CLR advertised its book list through an Australian periodical - "Perseverance." Perseverance is printed in Australia, but largely aimed at a Canadian and US readership. Perseverance is a vehicle for the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian fascist and Nazi-collaborationist party of the 1940s. It is edited by elderly members of that group and a second generation of followers. In the pages of 1990s issues of the periodical, can be found an article by the CLR (entitled "Canadian News"), and in another issue, the CLR's book catalog, sharing the pages with articles by Ernst Zundel, Louis Beam of the Aryan Nations, Robert Miles of the KKK and Identity, as well as articles by the original leadership of the Arrow Cross, and by German Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Gostick and other CLR leaders have been criss-crossing the country holding meetings in both big cities and small towns. Until a falling out over finances, Gostick did a number of tours in the 1990s with Murray Gauvreau who sold Christian Identity and right-wing militia books and tapes through a service in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Gostick today is a frequent speaker at conferences controlled and attended by fellow right-wing extremists, Paul Fromm, Doug Christie, and Eileen Pressler.
The Canadian League of Rights poses a significant danger. Their supporters probably number in the thousands. They have multiple and overlapping connections not only with every notable right wing extremist in Canada, but also with neo-fascists, Identity fanatics, white racists, and antisemites internationally. Certainly the continuing presence of the CLR, its constant touring throughout the country, its promotion of extremist speakers, and the hate propaganda it sells through its literature service, constitutes an on-going dissemination of neo-fascist ideology across the country unparalleled by any other extreme-right organization in Canada. And yet what is most insidious about the CLR is their ability over many decades to avoid not only legal prosecution, but serious investigation by mainstream media. Fifty years is enough! It's time to put the pressure on the CLR and expose their real nature to the working people.
APPENDIX: EXAMPLES OF BOOKS SOLD BY THE CLR
Imperium, by Ulick Varange (real name: Francis Parker Yockey). The CLR comments that "many consider this the greatest book of the century in its field." According to the Anti-Defamation League the book is dedicated to an anonymous individual who can only be Hitler, and is a paraphrase of Nazi doctrine. It has been referred to as a "second Mein Kampf" and has been popular with neo-Nazis for thirty years.
Auschwitz: A Judge Looks at the Evidence, by Wilhelm Staeglich. The CLR claims that it exposes "the myth of exterminations at Auschwitz" and refers to it as "a beacon of light." According to the ADL the author is an editorial advisor of the "Journal of Historical Review", the official publication of the Institute for Historical Review, the leading exponent of Holocaust-denial in the United States. In 1983 the University of Goettingen stripped Staeglich of the academic degree it had awarded him in 1951.
The "Holocaust": 120 Questions and Answers, by Charles Weber. The CLR states that Weber is a U.S. intelligence officer connected with the Nuremberg trials, and promises to reveal the "real fate" of the Jews of Europe during World War Two. In reality, the book is an exercise in Holocaust- denial. Weber has authored at least two pieces for the pro-Hitler group Aryan Nations - in 1985 and 1989 - supportive of Nazism. In a 1988 issue of the Christian Defence League Report - an Identity publication - Weber writes of an International Jewish conspiracy.
Churchill's War; Uprising!; Hess: The Missing Years, all three by David Irving. Irving has a long history of involvement with British neo-fascist organizations, and American anti-Semites and Holocaust-deniers such as the Institute for Historical Review and National Alliance. In both Canada and Australia he has employed neo-Nazi skinheads as bodyguards. Irving has publicly stated that since the Holocaust never occurred, he will not even refer to it in a footnote in his future writings. The British House of Commons has referred to Irving as "a Nazi propagandist and long-term Hitler apologist."
Frank Walus: A Frame-Up Victim of the Nazi Hunters, by Len Martin. Martin is a leader of the Posse Comitatus, a violent and anti-Semitic American grassroots organization. Martin has written that the CIA and the FBI are not part of the US government, but part of the worldwide "Jewish Police." The content of the Frank Walus book is an attempt to undermine the efforts of the Office of Special Investigations, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice devoted to the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
The Dispossessed Majority; Ventilations, both by Wilmot Robertson. The CLR editorial comment is that the former title is "a very significant book for our time, daring to deal with the verboten race question." Both Robertson's books and his monthly magazine "Instauration" are white supremacist and anti-Semitic in nature. Since its publication in 1972, The Dispossessed Majority has become something of a classic in neo-Nazi circles.
Truth Out of Africa; A Time to Speak; The Middle East Riddle Unwrapped; The Age of Conflict, all four by Ivor Benson. Benson has been on the editorial board of "Spotlight", the newspaper of Liberty Lobby, the largest and most well- financed of American anti-Semitic organizations. He also ran "National Forum", the South African chapter of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), an international collection of anti-Semites, pro-fascists and vicious racialists according to Geoffrey Stewart-Smith who, in the early 1980s, headed the British contingent to the WACL. Subscriptions to Benson's newsletter are carried directly by the CLR. Benson has also served in an editorial capacity on Roger Pearson's neo-Nazi and racist magazine "Western Destiny."
The War Called Peace, published by Western Goals, no author cited. The chair of Western Goals was Clive Derby-Lewis of South Africa, convicted in 1993 in the conspiracy to murder African National Congress (ANC) leader Chris Hani. Derby- Lewis was also a member of the WACL.
Fifty Years Ago: The Famine Holocaust in Ukraine, by Walter Dushnyck. Dushnyck was an editor of a Ukranian encyclopedia working under former Nazi collaborator Kubijovyc. Dushnyck himself was active in pre-World War Two Ukranian fascist circles. The book is illustrated with fraudulent photographs, many of which were obtained from Nazi collaborator Stepan Skrypnyk.
Billions for the Bankers, Debts for the People, by Sheldon Emry. Emry was a major figure in the Christian Identity movement that argues that the White peoples are the Old Testament Israelites and, therefore, God's chosen people, Jews are Satanic in origin, and people of color are intended by God to be the servants of the Whites. Emry allied himself with the armed Identity group, the Citizens Emergency Defense System, and was frequently published in "Spotlight", the magazine of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby and, in the book sold by the CLR accused the Jews of starting World Wars One and Two, the Vietnam War, and the assassination of President Lincoln. Emry has also written denying the Holocaust.
The Big Idea; The Brief for the Prosecution; Social Credit; Money and the Price System; The Monopolistic Idea; The Breakdown of the Employment System; The Nature of Democracy; The Tragedy of Human Effort; The Monopoly of Credit; The Policy of a Philosophy; Realistic Constitutionalism; Whose Service Is Perfect Freedom; Economic Democracy; The Alberta Experiment, all fourteen titles by C.H. Douglas. Douglas is well-known as a "vicious anti-Semite" who advanced international Jewish conspiracy theories. The CLR editorial comment on The Big Idea is that the book reveals "a deeply- rooted conspiracy, Satanic in conception and nature, for the destruction of what once promised to be a developing Christian Civilization."
Copyright 1999 The Bethune Institute for Anti-Fascist Studies
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