The Globe and Mail, Friday, February 10, 1995 Toronto John Barber Antiracist movement grows more violent Metro Toronto Police found a disturbing trove of criminal paraphernalia when they searched a garbage-strewn basement apartment in East York this week. A stolen crossbow, cartridges for a .357-calibre handgun, a bomb-making manual complete with bomb making materials, wiretapping equipment and what they took to be two different kinds of drugs. Police also found a list of members of the Heritage Front, a notorious neo-Nazi group, along with the type of cars they drove and their license-plate numbers. "And this jacket that's just a weapon," Detective Keith Rogers says. It had a hockeyshin pad stitched into one sleeve with wire, the ends of the wire protruding menacingly, and two steel plates fixed to the opposite elbow with heavy bolts. And a peace symbol stitched on its back. Such is the new face of antiracist activity in Toronto. From its inception as a grassroots youth movement to counter the Heritage Front, antiracist activism in Toronto has always had a wild streak, exemplified by the 1993 trashing of the home of Front spokesman Gary Schipper. But now, with the days of mass protests long gone and moderate antiracist organizers fading from the scene, it is re-emerging as a brand of thuggery scarcely discernible from that of the neo-Nazis and their skinhead army. Police raided the east-end apartment after someone called 911 and asked for "everybody but the police" to help treat a drug overdose, Det. Rogers said. Police knew the address because another resident had just been charged with threatening a woman with a loaded handgun. On the same day, police in neighbouring Scarborough were investigating a full-scale rumble that took place in the Kennedy subway station over the weekend, pitting antiracists against skinheads. A gang of more than a dozen antiracists armed with heavy steel pipes had been stalking the skinheads and succeeded in picking a fight inside the station, police said. But two of the antiracists ended up in hospital with knife wounds. One of them sustained three stab wounds. he spilled most of his bloodon the platform and narrowly escaped death. "This is something that has been comcong for a long time, " says Bernie Farber, who monitors racist activity for the Canadian Jewish Congress. "The violence is getting more intense. Somebody is going to get killed. "It appears those on the left are taking lessons from those on the right," he adds. "They're figuring that what's good for the goose is goose is good for the gander." Other observers of Toronto's political street wars express surprise at the latest outbreak of violence, however. Journalist Clive Thompson, who wrote a history of the militant youth group Anti racist Action for This Magazine, says the movement appeared finished this past fall. he says he is "completely floored" by the week's events. The strengths of Anti-Racist Action was always its broad mixture of members, including well-educated organizers and street-toughs, Mr. Thompson says. But from the beginning, that mix produced disputes about how far one goes in counter overt racist activity. Do you chant slogans and throw the occasional egg? Do you smash windows? DO you smash heads? The end of the antiracists' demonstrations appears to have settled the question. "There are a good solid core of people who are still heavily involved in antiracism," Mr. Thompson says. "For them it's probably a very personal thing, just intensely emotional. It goes beyond a political fight." In short, it becomes gang warfare. Toronto could learn just how intense this battle has become as early as next week. That's when Heritage Front leader Wolfgang Droege goes to trial on assault charges stemming from his role in a 1993 brawl with antiracists.