Warning: This article includes screenshots of chat room conversations and visual elements of an antisemitic and racist nature.

 

White Lives Matter (WLM) is a neo-Nazi initiative that over the past year has spread to a number of areas in the US and Canada, as well as to New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, and elsewhere in the world. The network’s first documented action was a series of decentralized demonstrations on May 8, 2021. The low turnout for these events led some observers to conclude that the undertaking had failed, but that optimistic assessment proved premature, as the network continued to grow, with an increasing number of actions over the past year.

WLM signals an attempt to reconsolidate the neo-Nazi milieu via decentralized chat rooms on the Telegram app. This approach is in part an effort to circumvent various obstacles, ranging from censorship on the major social media platforms to doxxing and other forms of resistance from the antifascist movement, as well as eventual criminal prosecution. It also parallels the international tendency amongst neo-Nazis towards clandestine, decentralized, and “leaderless” forms of activism, a trend with roots stretching back to the 1970s. Over the years, this has given rise to the “accelerationist” current and the increased prevalence of “lone wolf” mass murderers.

The WLM project also reflects substantial frustration with the marginal status of the neo-Nazi far right and a desire to move beyond the current subculture and the ideological quarrels among different tendencies and to form an activist network able to exercise genuine influence.

Although WLM is beyond any shadow of a doubt a neo-Nazi phenomenon, the American organizers’ original intent was to soften the movement’s image, which concretely translated into a superficial reticence to openly identify with the Nazi legacy or to use the swastika or other Nazi symbols in public discussions or on the stickers that the movement’s activists put up in public. Participants were also instructed (an instruction they often ignored) not to discuss the “Jewish question” or to encourage violence on public channels. Despite this, the chat rooms are completely saturated with Hitler memes, explicit references to historical Nazism, and unbridled racism of the most extreme variety—jokes about lynching Blacks, Holocaust denial videos, discussions asserting that Jews are not human and must be exterminated, etc.

The world as imagined by members of the White Lives Matter

 

WLM is not a formal organization; each local group has its own Telegram channel moderated by its own admin or admins. Nonetheless, it is a well-coordinated project, many of the channels having been created in 2021 by a small original group, which then sought out activists in each region to act as admins. Propaganda promotes shared methods and goals, and dates for actions and decisions regarding “messaging” appear to be centralized.

Telegram channels can be strictly unidirectional (like an email newsletter, with the content entirely determined by the admin), or they can take the form of an open chat, somewhat in the style of a public Facebook group. In many cases, the unidirectional channels include a parallel chat room – this is the basic structure of the WLM regional groups. Once these virtual spaces were established, the participants were encouraged to print WLM posters and stickers (typically, different variations on the central racist theme of the “great replacement” and the oppression of whites at the hands of other groups), to coordinate outreach and propaganda campaigns, and to take photos of their actions and post them on Telegram to encourage other people to also get involved.

 

Some WLM outings have received coverage in the Canadian media (e.g., posters in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and New Battleford, Saskatchewan; in Toronto, where they have joined demonstrations against public health measures; see also the recent report on WLM activities in Montreal in Pivot), but mostly they have gone unnoticed. In some cases, local groups have met in person to coordinate more ambitious actions, e.g., banner drops in public areas.

This structure and approach is not unique to WLM; it is also shared by various other groups on the far right at the present time. Telegram provides a platform that allows individuals to get involved according to their own comfort level, and to become integrated into a community of sorts, with no need to meet or talk to anyone in person, all the while being encouraged to develop activities suited to their own capabilities.

As of this writing, many WLM channels are to all intents and purposes dormant, with less than a dozen members. Meanwhile, some groups in the US have taken their activities off the internet and into the streets in the form of banner drops, organized outings, leafletting, etc. In the areas where it is most active, WLM has been entwined with other neo-Nazi groups, such as the Folkish Resistance Movement (whose propaganda has been distributed in Saskatchewan and Alberta),[1] the Canada First group in Ontario, which received a certain amount of visibility at the so-called “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, and the attempt to set up a group called “Nationalist 13” (“13” symbolizing “anti-communist”) in southern Ontario.

Examining the WLM’s internal chat logs, obtained from comrades with Cornvallis Antifa, it appears that in Canada the user known as “McLeafin” was brought on board by the US organizers in April 2021. He then set up a number of channels for different provinces and proceeded to seek out recruits to act as admins.

The blue star indicates that he is the one who created the channel.

“McLeafin”‘s profile from the DLive streaming platform.

 

One year later, the channels in Canada with the greatest number of participants, and substantially so, are the national WLM_CANADA, WLM_CANADA_ALBERTA, and WLM_CANADA_TORONTO (where “McLeafin” is active) channels, with five hundred, one hundred, and two hundred subscribers, respectively. Although the WLM_CANADA_QUEBEC channel is quite a bit smaller, with forty subscribers to its public channel and around thirty participants in its chat room (WLM_QUEBEC_CHAT), it is one of the more active channels in terms of traffic and the amount of material published daily. The channel was created by “McLeafin” in November 2021, and control was transferred to a user named “@Nord-Est/North-East,” who was joined by a user named “Whitey” in February 2022.

Whitey and FreemanDan discuss Nord-Est becoming an admin

 

The core of WLM_CANADA_QUEBEC is made up of a dozen participants, all men, mostly Francophones, primarily in their twenties. On the other hand, some have been politically active for some time now. The user “@Ruckus101,” identified as Dominic St-Cyr, for example, has discussed his involvement with boneheads and memories of the Aryan Nations in the 1990s, and Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald (“FriendlyFash”) is well known to Montréal-area antifascists, as is Sylvain Marcoux. Most of the participants, however, including the main admin (“Nord-Est”), identified as Yannick Lachapelle of Montréal, appear to be new to activism. So far, their “in-person” activities appear to be limited to stickering (Montréal, Laval, Trois-Rivières, Sainte-Thérèse, and Québec City) and a few aborted banner drops. The core members also participated in demonstrations against public health measures and in support of the “convoy,” in Montréal, Québec City, and Ottawa.

As with other neo-Nazi chat rooms that antifascists have gained access to, we can see that the discussions reflect the typical obsessions of frustrated young white men, accompanied by a large dose of bizarre conspiracy theories (from the classics, including that the earth is flat and the moon landing was staged in Hollywood, through to the current anti-vax conspiracy theories to, obviously, the mother of all conspiracy theories: Jews control the world!). Racism is omnipresent and antisemitism is a central fixation, serving as the lens through which chat room participants interpret all world events.

 

The participants know full well that their opinions put them beyond the pale of acceptable discourse, not only for the mainstream conservative right, but also for much of the far right. Even Alexandre Cormier-Denis, the fascist at the forefront of Horizon Québec Actuel and the Nomos.Tv channel, is heavily criticized for his unwillingness to publicly endorse antisemitism. Similarly, one of the group’s admins explained that he made contact with the “Farfadaas,” the group opposing the public health measures that is led by the former La Meute lieutenant Steeve “l’Artiss” Charland, and was told that any neo-Nazi who attempted to join the group’s actions would be publicly exposed and expelled. In fact, a substantial part of the discussion during the “convoy” period revolved around the best way to reach out to those participating in the protests (primarily through the protesters’ Telegram and Zello channels) without being identified by the leadership of the movement. Even if the chat rooms were full of theories about the movement being led by Jews or people controlled by “the Jews,” making the whole thing a huge scam or an operation doomed to failure, several chat room participants joined the demonstrations on weekends. Some evaluated the spectacle positively, because it involved so many white people—Sylvain Marcoux even met with members of the Diagolon group, and was apparently impressed. Others, however, found the experience disappointing. The user “Aquila,” from Gatineau, for example, attended with his comrades, wearing the skull masks that have been the “in thing” for Nazis for a few years now, and ended up being made to feel unwelcome by the anti-vaxxer demonstrators.

In Québec, as elsewhere, WLM overlaps with other neo-Nazi virtual spaces, both in terms of members and discussions. Locally, the “waffenSSquebec” channel and chat room (created by the user “Léon Degrelle”) and the “pnc2022” network (PNC: Parti nationaliste chrétien, created by Sylvain Marcoux) deserve a mention.

On the national level, it is also worth mentioning the Active Club Canada channel, whose specific objective is to organize neo-Nazi sports clubs;[2] this is part of the classic progression of propaganda actions leading to combat training, up to and including the use of firearms. As to networking, the most important aspect is probably the numerous posts and media forwarded from various international neo-Nazi channels, particularly from Europe, but also the US. On the other hand, there have been only limited interactions with participants on the WLM channels outside of Québec.

 

Who Are the Members of White Lives Matter Québec?

The Admins

Yannick Lachapelle, alias “Nord-Est,” @based_montreal

The main admin of the WLM_CANADA_QUEBEC channel and chat room is the user “Nord-Est/North-East”; he is the most active recruiter and has been the most eager to structure the group. Notably, he took the time to record an audio version of the entire French translation of the “WLM Activist Manual.” We were able to positively identify him as Yannick Lachapelle, of Montréal. He is part of the Montréal bicycle courier community and lives close to Parc Lafontaine and Place des Arts.

 

“Whitey”‘s avatar on Telegram and Gab

“Whitey”

The second admin is the user “Whitey.” He is the member who is most active in the streets, particularly in Laval, where he regularly puts up WLM stickers and spraypaints Celtic Crosses (symbolizing White Power). This young man, nineteen years old, lives in Laval. We are not yet able to confirm his name, but by comparing his voice (in audio messages and in videos he has posted) and a TVA Nouvelles report from January 31, at the convoy in Ottawa which he says he attended, we are able to put a face to the pseudonym.

White Lives Matter Quebec admin, known as “Whitey”

Whitey looking for recruits on the Nomos.Tv Telegram channel

 

Some of the stickers put up in Laval by “Whitey”

 

Active Members

It is in Montréal that an embryonic “IRL” group is taking shape. This might seem surprising, as Montréal has a reputation for being particularly inhospitable to neo-Nazis, but the local WLM group consists largely of young white men who are frustrated by the presence of a significant immigrant population.

 

There have been at least three in-person meetings, although we believe that members have probably also met on other occasions:

  • four members from the chat got together and put up WLM stickers, as well as stickers with a curious “Hakapik” symbol, during the demonstration against public health measures on January 22 at Parc Lafontaine.

 

  • three members from the chat unsuccessfully attempted a “White Lives Matter” banner drop from above the Ville-Marie expressway during the Nuit blanche, in Montréal, on Saturday, February 26.

“It is a victory because it proves we are doing something that works … We are not dead”

“What is with this photo?!? How can you say Hail Victory when you got your heads smashed in…”

 

  • the following weekend (March 4–5), WLM members once again got together for a banner drop; unsuccessfully, again, because it would seem that whatever they hoped to attach it with could not stand up to the cold.

 

Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald’s avatar on Telegram

Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald, alias @FriendlyFash

He attended the January 22 demonstration in Montréal, with “FD,” Yannick Lachapelle (“Nord-Est”), and Danny Després (“FreemanDan”). He seems to consider himself the elder of the group, based on his experience with doxxing and his contacts in the North American neo-Nazi milieu. In the public chat room, he shared information about Gabriel Sohier Chaput’s trial and boasted of having visited the founders of the Rise Above Movement in California. He recruited “FD” into the group after meeting him by chance on a bus. He also enjoys stickering. Beauvais-MacDonald has been involved in a number of neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in Québec in recent years, as we have already discussed on this website, specifically in connection with his activities with Alt-Right Montreal and Atalante:

Initially an “anglophone” member of La Meute (first noted at the demonstration against Bill 103, on March 4, 2017, where he quickly got involved in a shouting match, denouncing antiracists as “race traitors”). Above all, Beauvais-MacDonald attracted attention for participating in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, in August 2017. Very active in the Montréal alt-right scene, particularly on the neonazi « Montreal Storm » discussion group under the pseudonym « FriendlyFash » and on social media in general. He grew closer to Atalante Québec after meeting Raphaël Lévesque and training at the La Phalange boxing club in Québec City. Along with the bonehead Philippe Gendron, he attempted to gather together a group of people to form a Montréal chapter of Atalante, without a whole lot of success. He participates in most of the Montréal group’s covert actions and seems to be trying to draw the Québec alt-right fringe to Atalante. He participated in the Atalante action at the VICE offices.

We deduce that he still lives at the same address, 2045 Elmhurst, in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG), as he thought it was a good idea to take a photo in front of the building a few weeks ago.

 

Danny Després, alias @FreemanDan

Present at the January 22 demonstration against public health measures in Montréal, “Freeman Dan” outed himself all on his own, by sharing his website, which is listed as registered to Danny Després, of 1620 rue Saint-Dominique, in Montréal. Danny has specialized in graphic design for a number of years and appears to have a particular fondness for the sonnenrad, which he has produced multiple versions of among the crap he tries to offload on the internet. He created the Telegram network @WorldNationalistOrder and brags about having done graphic design work for GoyimTV (an antisemitic Telegram channel) and the World Freeman Society (a group that espouses “sovereign citizen” and “freeman on the land” doctrines, which are very popular with a section of the North American far right, and which appear to be at the origin of his user name). Danny left the group in early March after receiving an unexpected visit at home.

 

“FD” @whitequilas

This thirty-four-year-old man met Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald on a bus. He was present at the January 22 demonstration, wearing a White Power tuque that he ordered from the online Runic Storm Store on Beauvais-MacDonald’s advice. He lives in Montréal. He went to Québec City on February 6 to take part in the support demonstration for the “Freedom Convoy.”

 

Samuel Vaillancourt @skull_stomper

We’ve had an eye on Samuel Vaillancourt for a few months now. This young man from Valleyfield has ambitions to be the future Führer of Québec. He is entirely obsessed with his collection of Nazi souvenirs, refurbishing uniforms and bidding on other Nazi merchandise that is up for sale, to distribute to whoever else might be interested. He appears to be the creator of the “National Socialiste Québec” Facebook page, where he shares the same content as is found on his Instagram accounts. Young Samuel is not very discrete, sharing Nazi horseshit openly under his own name on Facebook and linking his profile to his Nazi account on Instagram. He frequently presents himself as a “leader of the SS Québécois group” or of “Légion 85, the third position Québécois skinhead group,” all of which seem to be part of his peculiar imaginary Reich. It is unclear whether or not he lives in Montréal. If so, we wish him welcome and best of luck.

 

 

Dominic St-Cyr @DefiantLight

Dominic St-Cyr, forty-six years old, resides on the south shore of Québec City. He briefly commented on his bonehead past in the Active Club chat room, explaining that he had been with the Fils de Vinland crew for a while, before getting close to the NHS crew in Québec City. St-Cyr is a big fascist lifestyle promoter on Instagram, where he posts countless photos of himself training and tags photos in which he is wearing far-right clothing brands. He even hopes to launch his own line of clothing that reflects his political thinking. He tried to create an Active Club called the “Nordic Active Club”, but that plan seems to have not worked out. He became increasingly disconnected from reality over the course of the pandemic, repeatedly claiming in his diatribes that he would “defend his family” at all costs. “Whitey” made fun of him for falling for a phishing expedition targeting the WLM channel (somebody pretended to be an admin and asked participants for their social media account information for “verification”), so he quit the group, annoyed at being ridiculed by people half his age. According to Linkedin, he works at Labrie Enviro-quip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L’avatar de Sylvain Marcoux/Parti Nationaliste Chrétien sur Telegram

Sylvain Marcoux

We’ve already discussed Sylvain Marcoux on this website. He is an antisemitic, white nationalist, Catholic integralist admirer of Adrien Arcand and Adolf Hitler, who aspires to become the premier of Québec. He made headlines in 2020 for harassing Dr. Horacio Arruda and his family on social media, in the context of his opposition to any public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, he doesn’t think COVID-19 exists. In 2021, he formed the Parti Nationaliste Chrétien (for which he created a Telegram channel and a YouTube channel) and will likely run in the next provincial election under this dubious banner.

 

@McLeafin

This user is clearly a key player in the White Lives Matter network in Canada. He launched a number of the WLM channels, including for Toronto and Québec. Reviewing his appearances on various neo-Nazi podcasts and various videos of public WLM actions in Toronto makes it clear that “McLeafin” is the man behind the camera and very likely the leader of the local Toronto group.

 

If you have information on any of these individuals, contact us at alerta-mtl @ riseup.net.

 

Vigilance…

WLM is the neo-Nazi milieu’s most recent attempt to organize and recruit new members using semi-secure online platforms, with the goal of organizing outreach activities and, eventually, other forms of direct action. Given its international, coordinated, and decentralized nature, we think that it merits particular attention.

Now is the time to act to deter these people from developing their project any further, before they move on to more dangerous actions. It is clear that the political movement these individuals represent can “accelerate” (to borrow a term that’s currently in vogue in this context) very rapidly, leading to actions with extremely serious consequences. Which is also why, beyond actions to prevent little groups like WLM from developing into the real world, we need to constantly work through our own movements and communities to combat antisemitism, white supremacy, and all the forms of racism that provide the ideological basis for these groups and their poisonous projects.

 

 

[1] Notably banner drops in Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Calgary and putting up racist posters and stickers in Edmonton and small towns like St-Albert, Bruderheim, Gibbons, Morinville, Wetaskiwin, Bentley, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Innisfall, Penhold, Springbrook, Beaumont, Androssan, and Spruce Grove, in Alberta, and in Saskatoon, Fort Saskatchewan, New Lashburn, Marshall, Waseca, and Lloydminster, in Saskatchewan. The Folkish Resistance Movement was recently mentioned in a number of articles in the mainstream media as one of the groups that has distributed the largest amount of racist propaganda in the US in 2021; we do not know if that is correct, but the group is present in at least nineteen states, especially so in Minnesota, Mississippi, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. Parallels with the Nordic Resistance Movement, active in the Scandinavian countries, have been noted.

[2] “Active Clubs » are neo-Nazi fight clubs that have taken up the model developed by the Rise Above Movement (RAM) in California in 2020. The founders of RAM were targeted by the police in the wake of numerous violent incidents during a demonstration in Berkeley in 2017, culminating in a number of arrests and the key members going into exile in Europe. In Canada, the first groups were formed in Ontario and Québec; these were then consolidated into the national Active Club Canada channel. It’s no coincidence that the Active Club Canada channel members are also involved in the different WLM channels in Canada.

 


Bonus track…