White Supremacist Diagolon Movement Now Calling for Deportation of All Indians

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Their newest hate campaign is titled “they have to go back”

With rising hatred online directed at South Asians, members of the white supremacist Canadian movement Diagolon have launched a new hate campaign targeting Indian immigrants. Likely spurred by South Asian students protesting new rules limiting the extension of work permits in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, the campaign’s slogan, which sounds a lot like ethnic cleansing, is “they have to go back.”

The campaign has been picked up by other extremists, including some classified as terrorist entities by the Canadian government, such as the Proud Boys. Diagolon is also using the campaign to stoke anti-democratic sentiment, recruit new members, and build up their Active Clubs, where groups of racists gather to box and train. 

Diagolon, which has a few thousand members, was founded during the pandemic, latching on to anti-vaxx furor, and ended up being classified by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as a “milita-like network with members who are armed and prepared for violence.” The Ontario Provincial Police named it extremist based on the group’s activities in the “Freedom Convoy” in 2022, which paralyzed the Canadian Capital Ottawa with far-right protests. Diagolon is linked to violence; one member was present at a border blockade during the “Freedom Convoy” in Coutts, Alberta, where a cache of weapons was confiscated by the RCMP and a plot to murder police officers was uncovered. Amongst a collection of long guns, handguns, a machete, ammunition, and multiple sets of body armor was a ballistic vest with Diagolon patches on it.

Guns, ammunition, and body armor seized by the Alberta RCMP. On the dark green vest (bottom-right), there are two patches bearing the Diagolon flag (Source: Alberta RCMP).

Diagolon’s leaders and members openly post pro-Nazi, anti-LGBTQ+, antisemitic, and racist content on their social media channels, and have taken their bigotry to the streets by organizing events and protesting the LGBTQ+ community. They have transnational connections to dangerous neo-Nazi groups and individuals, like the Nordic Resistance Movement, banned in Finland for its violence, and Australian Thomas Sewell, who has had many run-ins with the law.

Hate speech targeting South Asians isn’t a new phenomenon, as online racism against the community has skyrocketed across social media since January 2023, with Diagolon members playing a part. But the activity is on the rise with this new campaign, as they are increasingly targeting the South Asian community, and more specifically Indians, across their social media channels.

Derek Harrison Kickstarts a Hate Campaign

Instigating the campaign is a founding member of the “Plaid Army,” a collective of livestreamers peddling antisemitism and conspiracy theories which gave birth to Diagolon, and Diagolon livestreamer Derek Harrison (“Derek Rants”), who hosts a white supremacist web show. On his livestreams, Harrison is known to spread antisemitism, like the Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG) conspiracy theory, which purports that Jews are really in control of governments around the world. The driving force behind hatred directed at South Asians in Canada is the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which also blames Jews for the supposed “replacement” of non-European (i.e., white) immigrants in Canada, the United States, and other Western countries. Diagolon members view South Asians, and more specifically Indians, as their current “replacers.”

The phrase Harrison uses to target Indians, “they have to go back,” which advocates for the deportation of Indian immigrants en masse from Canada, is worryingly reminiscent of a trend gaining popularity in Europe called “remigration,” which argues for ethnically cleansing the continent of non-Europeans through forced deportations. In Europe the idea has been discussed by members of the far-right political party Alternative for Germany, and spawned a new movement out of Switzerland, Vision Remigration.

The first post by Harrison to gain traction in this new hate campaign features him telling a story about getting an oil change from a South Asian mechanic. Apparently a bad experience, after a rant about “government subsidies” and “cheap labor,” he looks into the camera (while driving) and says, “they have to go back.” The post was so popular Harrison made a three-minute video targeting Indians working in Canada, the protestors in PEI, and Canadian Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre. In the video, he talks about “busloads of Indians” heading into towns in northern Ontario, and, referring to the protests in PEI, claims that they are attempting to “force their way to stay in our country.” Consistent with Diagolon’s beliefs, Harrison insinuates that electoral politics won’t help their cause: “[Poilievre]’s not the answer folks, I know you think you can just vote your way out of this,” but Poilievre “wants more immigration” and wishes to keep the student protestors in Canada. Harrison hopes that his hate campaign will motivate his younger fans to mobilize, or in his words, “pick this up and run with it.” 

Some of Harrison’s posts caught the attention of Diagolon leader and military veteran Jeremy Mackenzie, such as one targeting the Canadian military using “Great Replacement” rhetoric. This post features a flag bearing the Khanda symbol, associated with Sikhism, being raised at the Hamilton Board of Education building in Ontario. Harrison decries the Canadian military as “useless,” since they’re supposedly allowing Canada to be “colonized” by “foreign invaders.” Mackenzie shared the post, and later remarked “I would rather die fighting the “Canadian” army here at home.” 

Harrison targets the Canadian military for not stopping Canada from “being colonized” by “foreign invaders.” (Source: Telegram)

Harrison has since continued posting “They have to go back” as a way to target Indians, including several on YouTube. Harrison uses slurs targeting Indians, like “jeet” and “pajeet” in these videos.

Several videos, including those with slurs in the title, targeting Indians on Derek Harrison’s YouTube channel, which boasts almost 5,000 subscribers (Source: YouTube)

Other “Dags” Catch On and Recruit New Members

It didn’t take long for other Diagolon adherents to latch on to the trend, call their supporters to organize in the real world, and even support notions of remigration internationally.

Mackenzie posted a video on May 17 captioned “The results are in. They have to go back” featuring content posted by online Identitarian outlets like “RadioGenoa” targeting migrants. He shares footage of violent incidents supposedly from Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, and Norway. At the end of the video, Mackenzie inserts a call-to-action commonly associated with the neo-Nazi Active Club militia network, “Tribe and Train.” His word choice appears intentional, as in early June, Mackenzie made a post confirming the organization of his own Active Club-type group, sharing a video of himself alongside other Diagolon members training. The video is captioned “Bigger efforts are coming so find your friends, TRIBE UP and GET ACTIVE!”

Similarly, Alex Vriend (“The Ferryman’s Toll”), a Holocaust denier and Active Club member, shared a voice note from one of his followers complaining about a knife fight featuring “two immigrants.” He follows up with two messages, one calling politicians “traitor[s]” and saying “enough is enough. They have to go back.” The other message called fights perpetrated by “immigrants” (i.e., non-white people) “knife based diversity,” and that “it’s a matter of time before you or someone you know is the victim of this fucking nonsense,” before issuing his followers a choice: “be racist or be a victim.” 

Vriend demonstrates that Diagolon’s racism, contrary to their usual arguments based on crime and civil unrest, is driven by sheer hatred for people who aren’t white. For instance, Vriend has tweeted on multiple occasions about deporting Indians en masse from Canada for no reason other than being “fed up” with them.

One of Vriend’s posts calling for the mass deportation of Indians from Canada on Twitter got almost 1,000 likes and over 11,000 views (Source: Twitter)

Vriend and Harrison’s attempts at stoking racism against Indians have apparently led to their fans requesting to join the Active Club movement. Vriend posted a screenshot of a request and captioned it “Tribe and train 😌”

Vriend shares an email sent to Harrison about connecting with Vriend (referred to as “Ferry”), who is involved with Active Clubs, about joining one (Source: Telegram)

Steve Hanson, a far-right musician who frequently shares Diagolon content on his Telegram channel, has also been taking inspiration from the recent far-right popularity of Germany’s “Ausländer Raus” (“Foreigners Out”) song, which changed the lyrics of the French song “L’Amour Toujours” to advocate for remigration. He released a series of songs, with some like “Yeet The Jeets,” a phrase coined by Vriend, and “Pajeet and the Monkey Man,” targeting Indians, alongside his own rendition of “Ausländer Raus” and “Hail Victory,” better known as “Sieg Heil,” which is the phrase used by Nazis to honor Adolf Hitler.

Canadian far-right musician Steve Hanson shares his own tweet and adds “they have to go back!” to the caption. His Twitter profile photo shows Diagolon’s flag in the background. (Source: Telegram)

Spreading Outside Diagolon, and Outside Canada

Harrison’s campaign has gained traction on more overt neo-Nazi groups in Canada, and even across borders. The Canadian Nationalist Patriots (CNP) chat group, formerly the neo-Nazi Canadian Nationalist Party, led by Gus Stefanis, features several messages saying “they have to go back,” including from Stefanis himself. Another CNP chat member shared a link to Harrison’s stream titled “They have to go back.”

CNP chat group member sharing Harrison’s livestream (Source: Telegram)

Other CNP chat members called immigrants “invader[s],” saying “they have to go back,” and made thinly-veiled threats if immigrants “refuse” to do so.

A CNP chat member says “invader[s]” in Canada need to “go back,” seemingly insinuating more radical methods if “they refuse.” (Source: Telegram)

Several other neo-Nazi and conspiracist Canadian Telegram channels have also joined in calling for the deportations of Indians from Canada based on the “Great Replacement” conspiracy’s notion of being “invaded.”

Harrison’s content has spread transnationally, including in the United States, Australia, and Ireland. In the States, the Republic of Texas Proud Boys shared two videos created by Harrison. Similarly, the white nationalist online media network Red Ice TV shared two posts from Harrison’s channel. Neo-Nazi Telegram channel Alt Skull’s Charnel House, which has over 30,000 subscribers and Retards of TikTok, which has over 20,000 subscribers, each shared one post. Australian white nationalist and antisemite Keith O’Brien (better known as “Keith Woods”) used the phrase “they have to go back” when discussing migrants in Ireland. Woods’ post was shared by an Irish Telegram channel.

With this campaign, it appears Diagolon has found itself a new target, similar to when the group began demonizing the LGBTQ+ community and targeting its activities during Pride Month (June) last year in tandem with white supremacists in multiple countries. Given its links to violence and transnational hate movements, the targeting now of South Asians is of great concern. So, too, is the fact that Diagolon’s “they have to go back” is simply a new version of the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which has led to numerous mass murders, including the 2021 murders of four Muslims by a white supremacist in London, Ontario. 

892 532 Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
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