Monday, April 28, 2008

anti-fascist organizers shut down Paul Fromm event!

On April 12th, Michigan anti-fascists, working with Michigan Against White Supremacy (MAWS), shut-down a speaking event with Canadian neo-Nazi, Paul Fromm. Fromm was brought into town by former and present mebers of Young Americans for Freedom. The event was scheduled to happen at the Cadillac Club on Lansing's southside.

From the MAWS press release:

Fromm is major leader in the Canadian racist scene. Fromm has attended white supremacist meetings including one held to mark the anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s death; shouted “Scalp him!” at a meeting where a representative of the Native Canadian Centre was speaking; attended meetings and delivered speeches alongside well-known racists like American David Duke and Holocaust denier David Irving.

The Cadillac Club is owned by David Sheets, a Lansing businessman involved in local Republican politics. Sheets has been informed of who Paul Fromm is and has refused to cancel the event. Sheets has stated that “This event doesn’t effect him” and that “He doesn’t care if people know the event is happening at the Cadillac Club or not”. David Sheets has chosen to give white supremacists a venue for their bigotry and hate.

The event was cancelled due to the pressure.

This is the third time Fromm has vistied Lansing. Reports from the Grand Rapids based independent news service, Media Mouse, say:

In the fall of 2006, he spoke at a meeting organized by the European American Association and in August of 2007, he spoke at a conference organized by the Council of Conservative Citizens. In both cases, his appearances seem to have been organized by Evan Thomas, a racist organizer based in Michigan who has a long history of organizing in Michigan. Thomas is pictured below with Fromm (note: the "myself" in the caption does not refer to the author of this article):

041208-fromm-01.jpg



Given Michigan's proximity and its much shared history with Canada, Fromm's appearence can't be ignored. Ongoing fascist organizing here in Michigan, the continuing social crisis, and the attempts by different groups to fight over turf and resources, makes it all the more neccessary for us to develop a multiracial and radical antifascism that is rooted in everyday working peoples experiences and struggles.

Fromm represents a call for intra-class competion and war. He and the movement he wants to make have to be fought at each turn.

Below is more information on Paul Fromm. Taken from Media Mouse

Paul Fromm has a long history of involvement with the racist right in Canada. In the 1960s and 1970s, he founded three groups: the Edmund Burke Society, the Canadian Association for Free Expression, and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform. The Edmund Burke Society, which he co-founded while still in college, was allegedly morphed into the openly Nazi Western Guard Party that fell apart in the 1980s. However, Fromm's Canadian Association for Free Expression and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform are still active. The Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFE) has opposed the Canadian Human Rights Commission and has defended a variety of racists, including Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. Citizens for Foreign Aide Reform (C-FAR) advocates racist restrictions on immigration and foreign aid. He also founded the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee that advocates reduced immigration and opposes immigration by people of color.

During Fromm's life, he has also sought to enter mainstream politics. While these attempts have often been overshadowed by his involvement in racist groups like the Heritage Front, Fromm has pursued electoral office in varying capacities. In 1976, he was elected to the Metro Toronto School Board and in the 1980s; he was involved with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. He was asked to resign his position in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada after he made statements in the media in which he said he thought breeding a "supreme race" for intelligence was a good idea and calling for Vietnamese refugees to be sent to "desert islands" off the Philippines and Indonesia rather than be accepted into Canada where they would "upset the racial balance." In the 1990s, he was involved in the Reform Party of Canada but was asked to "disassociate" after members complained about racist comments in his speeches. Throughout this period, Fromm continued to be involved in the racist right and spoke at events including a celebration of Adolph Hitler's birthday.

More recently in 2007, Paul Fromm spoke to the Aryan Guards--a neo-Nazi group based in Calgary, Alberta:

041208-fromm-03.jpg

Fromm, who is holding the upper left corner of the flag in the picture, praised the group saying:

"There's a new group of young folks in Calgary who call themselves 'The Aryan Guard.' The name may be a little in-your-face and dramatic, but these folks have acted responsibly staging a peaceful protest against "anti-racists," leafleting about uncontrolled immigration, and, most recently, protesting against Moslem women being allowed to vote disguised in burkas."

Fromm--who was fired from his teaching position in 1997 after being reprimanded and transferred after videos showing him speaking at white supremacist rallies--also recently had his teaching certificate revoked (http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=903). The Ontario College of Teachers said that Fromm's involvement in the racist right was an embarrassment to his profession and ran contrary to the values of the Canadian educational system.

However, it's not just the Canadian and United States racist right with whom Fromm has been involved. He has also spoken to the Friends of the British National Party, a group based in the United States that provides support to the fascist British National Party (BNP). Here's Fromm addressing the group (note the "white pride" flag on his left):

041208-fromm-04.jpg

Fromm--who may try to deny that he is a racist or a "Nazi"--is clearly a part of the racist right and has worked with many groups and individuals who are openly a part of that movement. Given his numerous appearances in Michigan, it's important that folks be familiar with him in order to counter his message of racism and oppression more effectively.

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