Hands Off Nora Loreto

The tragic deaths of 14 young hockey players and two workers hit Canada hard on April 6. The horrendous road accident in Saskatchewan left families reeling from sudden loss and pulled at the heart strings of a country with a storied hockey history. This incident connected with Canadians in ways many other tragedies of late have not.

An outpouring of grief has so far raised 10 million dollars (CDN) via a GoFundMe account. This is the situation thus far. No one is trying to diminish the genuine feelings of loss and sadness the grieving families feel, including activist and writer Nora Loreto.

Last Sunday, April 8, Loreto posted a series of tweets, starting a conversation about the degree of attention this tragedy has garnered compared to others that seem to be happening concurrently and in perpetuity.  Loreto was instantly and ruthlessly attacked. She was targeted by two alt-right activists in particular, who posted her tweets to multiple neo-nazi and fascist message groups and sub-reddits. While this response was started by alt-right and neo-nazi groups, it was picked up by numerous other trolls who bombarded Loreto with death threats and vile invective.

For the socialist Left, the question should not be the content of Loreto’s statements (which were seemingly accurate and well meaning, even if not well timed) but should be the vile response by neo-nazis and white supremacists who viciously attacked her for airing concerns and issues in the first place.

This is an attack on the right to make a radical critique of society and the powers that be. The Left, the working class, and progressives in general should stand in solidarity with Nora Loreto and defend her right to initiate a nuanced debate, no matter how unpopular it may seem initially to be.

Furthermore, we need to uphold the unequivocal right to criticize contradictions in society. Nora Loreto aired valid criticisms, tweeting that she can’t help but feel that the “youthfulness, the maleness, and the whiteness” of these victims helped the tragedy garner such a massive scale of sympathy and a corresponding financial outpouring. Death threats from Neo-nazis and fascists, including harassment of the Lorteo family at their home, are totally unacceptable and should be condemned unequivocally. The task is not to police the thoughts of critics of the status quo, but to build movements devoted to smashing fascism and rooting out white supremacy–never making concessions to bullies or to the reality of systemic racism and sexism in Canada.

We stand with Nora Loreto. We oppose fascism, racism, sexism and homophobia in all its forms.  We pledge never to abandon our brothers and sisters to the dictatorial whims of bourgeois institutions or to the jackals of the far right.

An injury to one is an injury to all!