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‘Anti-fascist’ rally held on Ryerson campus

By Noushin Ziafati

About 100 people gathered on Gould Street on Aug. 22 to speak out against transphobia, racism and hate speech as well as to celebrate the cancellation of a panel that was scheduled to take place at Ryerson that same day.

The crowd shouted several chants, such as “Smash racism. No platform for fascists!” and “When trans rights are under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!” along with drummers from Rhythms of Resistance-Toronto.

“We are here to celebrate our diversity,” Christeen Elizabeth told the crowd and thanked them for standing in solidarity.

Elizabeth was one of the organizers of the rally, which also saw representatives from a number of organizations, including Socialist Action, United for Palestine-Toronto/GTA and Fightback Canada, which also has a chapter at Ryerson called the Socialist Fightback Club.  

Speakers at the rally included Elizabeth, trans activist Sawyer Arnold, Marco La Grotta from Fightback Canada and Barry Weisleder from Socialist Action.

“We don’t want these people. We don’t want these bigoted views on our campus and we are doing everything we can to summon students, working class people, community members to organize in a massive way to tell them, ‘We don’t want you here,’” said Marco La Grotta, an organizer for Fightback Canada and a former student at Ryerson.

The panel, which was titled “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses”, was to feature controversial speakers University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson and Rebel Media’s Faith Goldy. Ryerson released a statement on Aug. 16 that the panel discussion would be cancelled due to “safety concerns” given the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia in which white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members clashed with counter protesters in the streets and a car drove into a crowd killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

The rally was initially planned to prevent the panel from taking place and it also became a space for participants to remember Heyer and her activism. The rally’s organizers made a Facebook event page called “No Fascists in Our City!” and told community members to contact Ryerson University and pressure them to cancel the panel discussion.

However, even after the panel’s cancellation, the rally’s organizers decided to go on with hosting the event to speak out against “hateful ideals” that were being passed around by the panellists, according to Elizabeth.

“At this point, we want to show Ryerson and the student body and the community there, that we are united against, what we believe are truly the seeds of fascism,” she said.

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  Photos by Premila D’Sa, Sarah Krichel and Nicole Brumley.


  1. John Cox

    A sad day for free speech. Jordan Peterson is a contrarian, but he’s no fascist. Kind of ironic that a forum called “The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses” was stifled.

    • method

      and then the Marxist revolutionaries were allowed to go ahead with their speeches

  2. Chris Nesmith

    These protesters are silly ideologues.

  3. Tom

    These are stupid university students with no life experience being able to influence the marketplace of ideas by suppressing viewpoints they don’t like. Universities aren’t universities anymore. You can’t be openly conservative or contrarian. This is disgusting.

  4. Anon

    Gotta love the Alt Left. They cannot tolerate diversity of ideas and want to force everyone into an ideaological singularity. Theirs.

    It’s kind of like ISIS but with a rainbow flag.

    Todays lesson is that Ryerson is no place for a free exchange of ideas.

    And shame on the cowardly administrators. They should resign and make way for people who are not afraid of bullies.

  5. Zach Reichert

    Anyone operating behind the hammer and sickle is precisely as evil, or at least misguided, as someone marching behind a swastika.

  6. Joe Casey

    These pathetic losers are flying the communist flag. What fascism is coming to their campuses? None. Keep giving life losers such as those in the march a voice, “eyeopener”. The reason they are pro communism is because they require “equal outcome ideology” to survive. Those with skill, talent and knowledge prefer “equal opportunities ideology” (capitalism) so they can be justly rewarded. But hey, shouting “fascists go home” to no one at least gives these no talent ass clowns a purpose, right? They should’ve studied harder in high school.

  7. Karen Orlando

    The journalism student could easily research some of the participants whose speech was stifled by these organizers and the university. Even if they had declined to be interviewed, no rational reporter, whether a student or professional could accurately describe the two professors who were to be at the event as fascists.

    If the student reporter wanted to explore something interesting, I’m sure actually looking into and investigating the claims of activist groups, not just the one mentioned here, would reveal much that isn’t pleasant, constructive or remotely factual.

    Surely the writer of this piece can do better than just mindlessly quoting a couple of intolerant and belligerent people, who clearly have no idea what they are talking about, like Marco and Christine.

  8. Dan

    20 something year old kids that have no life experiences r scared of having their feelings hurt and have no real understanding of the word fascist or nazi. None of the speakers represent these views. Our society is becoming increasingly stupid in an attempt to become more virtuous. Professor Gad Saad is a jew from Leabenon that escaped prosecution during the war.

  9. Mike W

    Ah, the useful idiots of George Soros are at it again, fighting imaginary fascists and Nazis while emulating their methods. Way to go, morons!

  10. J.S. Mill

    Communists and anti-semites celebrating their anti free speech and anti-democracy victory.

  11. Billy M

    It’s quite disgusting that these people flaunt a Hammer and Sickle – which is far more reprehensible than a Swastika by the way. These people are historically ignorant and obviously don’t know what a fascist is. But congrats to them, they discredited themselves and their movement more than a free speech discussion ever could.

  12. Johnny Q. PUBLIC

    Communists rally huh? Communists have a body count exceeding 350,000,000 in the past century….and these people are supporting the return of communism? Id say that Canada and the US have a lot more to be worried about from Communists than they do NAZIS or the KKK.

  13. How utterly repugnant. Applying labels to people and shutting down speech are authoritarian tactics. Why not constitute your own panel to rebut them if you feel so strongly that you are correct?

  14. Not a Nazi

    A sad day indeed.

  15. Reuben Dickison

    It is interesting that groups that claim to want equality and equal rights , open communication and understanding of all actively protests discussions. If you do not want violence then why would you protest against dialogue? At what point in the world did sharing of ideas, discussion, and dialogue become a bad thing? When was the elimination of free speech anything but a fascist ideal? Using fascists tactics like suppression of free speech and claiming that is for the greater good… how very unenlightened and ridiculous…

    Let the people speak- and make them look like idiots by showing the ignorance of their words and ideas through open debate and discourse. Do not close them off in shadows and darkness where they grow in numbers- bring them to the spotlight and show them to be wrong by putting the spotlight on their thoughts and allowing all to see how ridiculous they are. But simply disallowing the dialogue leads to only one ending- that is violence and division and further hate.

  16. A man named Bob

    It’s like these people have not even listened to anything Jordan has ever said. Mindless sheep throwing accusations around and celebrating their own ignorance.

  17. Michael Wilkinson

    Did you even see the banner? They are proud Marxists. espouses turning Canada into a Communist state!! The student protesters are not even shy about it as they display the Hammer and Sickle on their flags.

  18. HoldTheMayo

    I would like to know how this ‘group’ would feel if they weren’t allowed to express their views.

    In the end, that’s what they are doing, telling people that unless they agree with what they think then they shouldn’t be allowed to speak or express an opinion.

  19. Paul

    Good Lord, do these people really believe the stuff coming out of their mouths? Is the world going insane? How on Earth do these young people not realize that THEY are the fascists. They are the Maoists, the Brown Shirts, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks… They are violent iconoclasts and totalitarians that will go down in history the same way Robespierre did. If these radical ideologues ever have their way, their “egalitarian utopia” will be built on the blood of those that dared to have a different opinion.

    The media are partly to blame for this. I love how they literally have a communist flag with a hammer and sickle on display and they’re referred to as mere “anti-fascists” while anyone that dares present a moderately conservative opinion on anything is automatically labeled “far right,” “Nazi,” or even “white supremacist.”

  20. Antifa = The real facists

    Ignorance is bliss, when tis folly to be wise. These protestors haven’t got a clue, holding up flags with the hammer and sickle. Shameful! How many millions of people need to die before the left realizes that communism doesn’t work! These kids could use a history lesson… Pol Pots Cambodian Communist Khmer Rouge is a good start. 2 million people brutally murdered…

  21. Andrew

    It is infuriating no media outlet or politician has an issue with the hammer and sickle being at almost all these far left rallies. That symbol has done more harm than Nazis could have dreamed of. It’s the true symbol of hatred and they’re allowed to flaunt it proudly with no criticism from the establishment. Gross.

  22. John

    Fuck off communists. Happy capitalism.

  23. Stephanie Heyens

    These young students – whose mandate at this time in their lives should be *learning* – should consider their inability to allow diversity…of opinion. They need more intellectual humility for ones so young.

  24. Stu Katz

    Not ironic at all. Ominous, rather.

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