By Peter Smith and Mathew Kriner
Canadian Anti-Hate Network and the Accelerationism Research Consortium
“Ol’ Slashy,” the symbol and flag of Diagolon.
In February 2022, Ottawa and the Canada-United States border crossing at Coutts, Alberta became epicenters of a far-right populist protest movement calling itself a “trucker convoy.” Many of the elements that make up Canada’s far-right came together in support, primarily motivated by conspiracy theories and anti-government and anti-mandate zeal. During the multi-day protest, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) foiled an alleged plot at the Coutts border to kill police officers. Included among the alleged conspirators were adherents of the “Diagolon” movement. New to many outside of the activist and research spaces, Diagolon is similar to other prominent far-right separatist movements and memes, but is distinctly Canadian. The presence of Diagolon illustrated the potential for violent extremism inside the trucker convoy protests.
Highlighted states and provinces which make up the fictional Diagolon nation.
In its lore, Diagolon is a nation running from Alaska to Florida, cutting out a new country, unencumbered by the sinister burdens of communism, moral degeneracy, and the World Economic Forum. The community surrounding Plaid Army, a live-streamer collective peddling conspiracy theory and antisemitism, use the flag as their symbol. Together, the streamers and their audience have grown into an anti-government movement with militant accelerationist overtones.
Militant accelerationism is defined as a set of tactics and strategies designed to put pressure on and exacerbate latent social divisions, often through violence, thus hastening societal collapse. Unlike the explicit militant accelerationism of The Base and Atomwaffen Division, the Diagolon movement attempts to downplay its inherent accelerationism with memes, denials, and humour.
The Diagolon meme was created over several episodes of Jeremy MacKenzie’s live stream with input from his audience, and rebroadcast on multiple online platforms. MacKenzie, a 36-year-old military veteran and anti-government live streamer, is the de facto leader of the Diagolon movement which he has called his own “low-rent Kekestan” (another fictitious nation created by 4chan’s /pol/ board). Diagolon is also similar to “Boogaloo,” a violent anti-government meme favoured by white nationalists, in that both memes have now grown into an offline mobilizing concept with the ability to inspire acts of violence. These meme-originated mobilizing concepts were both initially developed and promoted in marginal and fringe online spaces, and later printed onto flags and taken to protests.
Diagolon was not explicitly conceived to promote a militant accelerationist ideology as detailed above. Nonetheless, it retains markers of militant accelerationism and narratives shared within the movement serve as primers and justification for accelerationist violence. Members of the movement, generally speaking, share the goals of many far-right populists – the formation of an illiberal republic, a halt to “mass immigration,” and the maintenance of Euro-centric societies. However, they do not believe a political solution exists for their grievances. Consistent with militant accelerationism’s tenets, Diagolon adherents see collapse and conflict as inevitable, sometimes desirable, to take power and punish “unCanadian” elements within society. In this respect, Diagolon is still a reactionary movement seeking to influence political systems even if they have little to no faith in their authority or abilities to course correct towards Diagolon’s preferred policies.
In contrast, violent militant accelerationist networks, like The Base and Atomwaffen, view themselves as the vanguard, adding pressure to a fragile society by inspiring and carrying out violent and destabilizing action. Inspiring violent attacks is not the stated goal of Diagolon writ large like it is in The Base or Atomwaffen. Diagolon’s position in the broader militant accelerationist landscape is more akin to the militia style networks of the Boogaloo movement and Three Percenters in that they serve as a platform for sharing militant accelerationist narratives and themes to a broader audience sympathetic to revolutionary or insurrectionary beliefs. These two movements typically see themselves as sentries, preparing to participate in a coming and inevitable collapse, using it as a means to re-establish supposed liberties lost within the West due to tyrannical influences from the political left and their globalist puppet masters.
What is Diagolon? Separatism & Accelerationism
Jeremey MacKenzie standing in front of the Diagolon flag. Source: Raging Dissident Telegram
There are multiple indicators that the Diagolon movement is home to implicit militant accelerationism. One is the presence of iconography heavily associated with neofascist accelerationist entities, such as The Base and Atomwaffen Division (e.g., the skullmask). Another is the narratives and aesthetics that encourage a patriotic revolution or insurgency against perceived corruption within the Canadian and Western governments. Phrases and key terms used by leaders in the movement, including from Jeremy MacKenzie, are direct allusions to militant accelerationism and societal collapse.
A handful of individuals have risen to become informal thought leaders within the movement, but two of them, MacKenzie and Alex Vriend, best exemplify this uniquely Canadian strain of militant accelerationism – a characterization both men adamantly deny. During a May 2022 live stream, MacKenzie mockingly stated, “I’m an accelerationist,” and proceeded to seriously echo a core tenant of accelerationism:
“This is the entire collapse of civilization and you have multiple generations – mine, the one under me, in some cases, the one before mine – of people who are essentially fighting off the very real feeling of hopelessness.”
He goes on to add that the Canadian government should go "pedal to the metal" and enact its political agenda all the way as it would hasten society's intrinsic decline. "There’s no brakes on this woke train. Let’s just go, let's get it over with,” and “Yes I want you to do what you’re doing faster. I want you to implement your woke nonsense faster. I want $3 gasoline. I want it. I want empty grocery stores. Do it. Take it all. Take it all. Do it. You think things are scary now. ‘Oh there will be more violence, there will be people yelling.’ People yelling will be the least of your problems if these things continue. And they will.”
Leader, chief proselytizer, and originator of the concept of Diagolon, Jeremy Mackenzie (who streams under the moniker Raging Dissident) is a plaid-clad live streamer, Afghanistan combat veteran, and founding member of the populist People’s Party of Canada (PPC). He drew early significant attention after staging a one-man protest of a talk by Omar Khadr – a Canadian child soldier who fought for Al-Qaeda until being captured and detained in Guantanamo Bay at the age of 15.
Diagolon, as it came to be known, was conceptualized by MacKenzie in 2020 by tracing regions without mask mandates on a map, pointing out the “sane” states and provinces of North America. The then-unnamed “diagonal country” ran southeast from Alaska down to Florida. Drawing a simple flag on his phone with a white line running in the same direction, the joke came to include various outlandish characters – including a time-travelling goat figurine – and the solution to increasing problems of globalism and COVID-tyranny.
Charismatic and stinging in his commentary against real and imagined corruption, MacKenzie has grown his Raging Dissident stream to over 12,000 subscribers. He shares content from, and has appeared on, Alex Jones's Infowars, along with a variety of other programs including a semi-regular role as a guest on the white nationalist podcast Red Ice TV. MacKenzie and his followers share COVID conspiracism and broader illiberal views, including content from mainstream influencers like Joe Rogan, Russell Brand, and fringe influencers like Nick Fuentes, the head of the racist Groyper movement.
Analysis of discourse from the Diagolon community also shows a promotion of Holocaust denial and historical revisionist content. This includes sharing the ten-part white nationalist series Europa: The Last Battle, and content on Telegram from former members of the Steel City Proud Boys, who run a series of channels pushing overt neo-Nazi propaganda.
Diagolon’s digital community is spread across regional meet-up groups and dozens of new regional and topic-specific chats. For some, these local pockets have provided support and much-needed community during the difficulties of a global pandemic. Its expansion and incorporation of other Canadian far-right and conspiracy streamers, including the “Canada First” Groypers, illustrates the extent to which Diagolon and MacKenzie’s audience overlaps with pre-existing extremist spaces, a hallmark of accelerationist activity. Diagolon has even garnered the attention of American audiences and niche neo-pagan communities.
While he claims to be a calming voice among his network, and has not explicitly or seriously self-identified as a militant accelerationist (MacKenzie has mocked the label), MacKenzie is content to perpetuate its iconography and rhetoric. In an April 2021 live stream he stated:
“Accelerate, accelerate, there’s no way out. This is going to come to total shit, so let’s just get it over with”
In the same broadcast, he also repeated a quote he has drawn on many times during his streaming career, “If you’re going to be in a fight, hit first. Vladimir Putin said that.”
Cover image of Jeremy MacKenzie’s live stream titled “Step On The Gas, Accelerate.”
MacKenzie’s first BitChute video (posted on March 16, 2019), is about the 2019 massacre of Muslims at prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand that left 51 people dead. MacKenzie refers to mass murderer Brenton Tarrant as the left’s ultimate dreamed-up “white guy with a gun” boogeyman. Despite a negative view on Tarrant, the closing minutes of the video are spent musing about the hard times and inevitable collapse of society.
In another video, MacKenzie tells his audience to get a copy of The Day of the Rope, holding up his own paperback edition. The white supremacist book is titled after the mass hanging scene of “race-traitors” described in The Turner Diaries, and details a guerilla war against a ruling class of pedophilic elite who control the population through a variety of means, including media manipulation. Both books are heavily promoted within militant accelerationist networks online and The Turner Diaries has been heavily linked to acts of terrorism. As with many far-right ideological frameworks and fictional texts, the ultimate evil lurking behind the elite detailed in The Turner Diaries and The Day of the Rope is the Jewish people.
Across much of his digital content and streams, MacKenzie refers to numerous events and themes that are mobilizing concepts for militant accelerationists. Key among them is that we are living in a corrupt system infiltrated by foreign powers hell-bent on the destruction of traditional society. Much of his recent audience came from viral social media clips of him criticizing the RCMP’s handling of a 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia. This fanbase was then shored up during the pandemic, and grew further from his unwavering support of the protest blockades in Ottawa. After the January 6 assault on the US Capitol building, he stated that, “there’s no taking over now, only implosion, I think.” He added after that he is only a “pressure relief valve” echoing the feelings of those around him. These examples illustrate how MacKenzie implicitly promotes militant accelerationism actors and its themes, such as there being no political solution and positive sentiments over social collapse, while avoiding an explicit endorsement.
Recurring themes discussed in both MacKenzie’s streams and among Daigolon followers' chats include fears of a disarmed Canadian population, various iterations of the Great Replacement theory, and populist rhetoric that casts “true” Canadians against ruling elites. Those critical of their in-group are dismissed as subversive elements for the state or worse yet, “wannabe Bolsheviks.” MacKenzie has offered thousands of dollars to his audience for the personal information of detractors as well as repeatedly read out the alleged addresses of others he views as ideological enemies while live streaming. Now, MacKenzie is facing firearms charges stemming from an incident in which he waved a handgun in a business. He claims the charges are a response to his advocacy against the RCMP.
MacKenzie often cites the criticism against him as part of a broader government crackdown against any and all dissent. When criticism comes from activists unaligned with the government, he often categorizes such critics as unwitting tools of the state intent on destroying any attempts to form a strong nationalist movement or running interference for antifa – which he accuses of being a terrorist organization. As more Diagolon adherents reportedly receive visits from intelligence officers and law enforcement, MacKenzie continues to blame both activist reporting and mainstream media for the negative attention. Diagolon also credits their “trolling” for the invocation of the Emergency Measures Act during the Ottawa occupation.
Alex Vriend pictured with the Diagolon Flag.
Alex Vriend is a newer but rising addition to Diagolon’s network. He brought Diagolon community members together, in-person, during a cross-country trip while he was relocating from Ontario to Alberta. Vriend operates within Diagolon under the pseudonym “The Ferryman’s Toll.” Often posing in a white ski mask, the young man originally from the rural Ottawa suburb of Metcalf reports crashing into the Diagolon community after seeing MacKenzie’s videos about the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia. Educated as an architect, he now produces many of the Diagolon memes and videos pushed out via Telegram. He also hosts an unrecorded after-show on Telegram that follows MacKenzie’s streams.
In December of 2021, Vriend spurred on followers to attend a protest against the changing name of a Toronto university. Seemingly more interested in potential conflict than the actual event itself, Vriend asked his audience to prepare to brawl with the opposition.
“You know those Proud Boys videos we all love to see where they just march down antifa and start cracking them? Don’t you want to be one of those guys? It’s your chance. If you can go, go. It's a prime propaganda opportunity for us."
He also explicitly encouraged attendees to prepare for physical conflict, saying, “If you don’t have knuckleduster gloves, like the padded gloves, you can get them at the dollar store. If you don’t have those, get them because you know what? Punching people in the head hurts your f*cking hands.”
Vriend appeared alongside MacKenzie on RedIce in February 2022, during the Ottawa occupation, acting as an on-the-scene correspondent. Often wandering the blockade’s territory in a white ski mask and two empty red jerrycans (fuel canisters) strapped to his chest, he and other purported Diagolon members were swept up and promptly released during the police crackdown on Ottawa protesters that ended the initial occupation.
In a May 2022 post to his Telegram channel, Vriend illustrated his clear familiarity and sympathy with militant accelerationism by posting an image that contained the text “there is no political solution” in a style evocative of Siege font, a font developed specifically for use by neo-fascists within Iron March’s Siege culture and popularized through Atomwaffen Division’s propaganda.
Telegram post by Vriend that is stylistically similar to Siege culture font and perpetuates the no political solution meme. Source: Telegram
Diagolon members posing in skullmasks with firearms and the flag of the Diagolon movement. In a live stream episode, MacKenzie claims this image was taken “as a joke” to poke the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. He added that he is the individual squatting in the bottom left.
The Diagolon network is best classified as an implicit form of militant accelerationism, and their adherents primarily engage with it in three ways. The first is as consumers within the ecosystems in which militant accelerationism is seeded and accelerationist actors seek to recruit and radicalize others. The second is as spreaders of narratives, rhetoric, and aesthetics heavily associated with the more explicit militant acceleration of Atomwaffen and The Base. A third category of engagement that flits across implicit and explicit is the direct invocations of accelerationism by MacKenzie and Vriend as illustrated above. However, because they continue to deny their status as militant accelerationists, we do not place them into the same category as overt and explicit actors like members of Atomwaffen and The Base who generally self-identify as militant accelerationists and do so without irony.
Diagolon’s militant accelerationist tactical repertoire is akin to that found in the American-centric Proud Boys or the Boogaloo movement, in that its organizing is aimed at exacerbating social divisions through radical politics and will occasionally produce individuals or networks at risk of engaging in accelerationist violence, as is alleged to have been the case in Coutts, Alberta. Diagolon, like other militant accelerationist entities, has taken advantage of pre-existing sentiments of social collapse, white supremacy, and antagonism towards liberal democracy to inject their own views and to normalize the concept of violence being a necessary response to social discord.
Diagolon got its start in a manner consistent with another insurrectionary movement with meta-ironic separatist sentiments – the Boogaloo movement. As mentioned previously, Diagolon’s earliest content originates in the fandom of a Canadian streamer collective called the “Plaid Army.” Like the early Boogaloo, Plaid Army content often focused on far-right politics, exchanging in-jokes and commentary based around antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-government sentiment, conspiracism, and, increasingly, a time when things “get kinetic.” Each has drawn on shared grievances within their respective audiences to prime the belief that insurrectionary violence or civil war is not only imminent, but inevitable and necessary.
MacKenzie and Derek Harrison formed the initial “Plaid Army” after appearing on one another’s live streams, telling the hosts of the white nationalist podcast Red Ice they pulled the title from their comments section. Harrison is another Canadian live streamer and key figure in the Diagolon community. His own program has previously delved into the discussion of global conspiracies and the antisemitic “Jewish Question.” Like the Boogaloo, the Plaid Army is intensely anti-government and deeply skeptical of liberal democracy. MacKenzie once stated:
“That's the thing our side has to get over, it's not a misunderstanding. They're not confused, they don't just need to listen, they don't need to just have a talking to, they hate you. They hate you. They're lying on purpose and they will do absolutely anything to get their way and protect their paycheck because they're evil.”
Much like its explicit accelerationist contemporaries, Diagolon’s lore is structured to encourage individuals to lose faith in the system – an approach that inevitably leads to embracing the narrative that “there is no political solution.” In June 2021 MacKenzie told his viewers “voting is pointless,” and invoked conspiracy theories around the 2020 US presidential election.
“If they rigged the US election, do you think they’re not doing this banana republic shit in Canada?”
MacKenzie also says that he hates the current state of politics, “because it basically means my own destruction, more or less. I wanted to be 80 years old, I wanted to live the way my grandfathers did. To have a gig, do my thing and have my podcast tell silly jokes, make fun of the government … I didn’t want any of this. But you forced it on me and I resent you for that. That you put me into a position where I’m going to have to live and be a certain way that’s most likely going to end in my destruction.” Using these types of reactive, defensive justifications allows MacKenzie to position his arguments about the necessity of violence as morally sound, a crucial element of potentially mobilizing followers.
Another key feature of the Diagolon network’s accelerationist rhetoric, and a strong indicator of why militant accelerationism found a home within the movement, is antisemitism. Antisemitic conspiracy theories are a staple of neofascist accelerationism out-group practices. The Diagolon community perpetuates well-worn conspiracy theories about outsized Jewish control over global affairs and governance; discussions of the supposed ongoing, communist-inspired “race war” within the US; and regular mentions of the “slow genocide” against white European people. By the accounts of those within the various Telegram chats and the broader Diagolon audience, the deaths of the Holocaust are vastly overexaggerated, Israeli agents played a hand in the World Trade Center attacks, and every major election involves the further and planned disenfranchisement of white Canadians.
Indicative of the broader conspiracism present within Diagolon’s community, adherents portray Canadian and Western society’s collapse as the ultimate plan by organizations like the World Economic Forum, while other times it is seen as inevitable under the current political system that encompasses all major Canadian political parties – except the nationalist PPC. Similar to their contemporaries in the Proud Boys, Diagolon adherents have promoted the idea that criticism of racism is a “Marxist division tool” and the “slow genocide” of white people will eventually lead to their elimination at the hands of less empathetic, lower IQ races. Despite this rhetoric, MacKenzie tells his audience that they aren’t racist and racialized supporters are regularly encouraged to eschew claims of racism.
The Diagolon community, and MacKenzie especially, place an outsized emphasis on a coming civil collapse as a time for true citizens to bring swift justice to a heavily entrenched political class, the “un-Canadian,” and the media. These themes and narratives heavily mimic the fixation within the Boogaloo movement and explicit militant accelerationist groups like The Base and Atomwaffen Division on hastening social collapse, civil war, and the extrajudicial elimination of political adversaries and race traitors via summary execution. In the case of Atomwaffen and Siege culture, this takes the form of a day of mass hangings – thus the “Day of the Rope” narrative – which MacKenzie has invoked. Ahead of the first weekend of Ottawa’s convoy occupation, Canadian media made note of a joke made by Diagolon adherent Derek Harrison on a stream with several other Diagolon personalities:
"I would like to see our own January 6th event. See some of those truckers plow right through that 16-foot wall."
Diagolon adherents have regularly called for identified traitors to face a “gun or rope.” The individuals facing this fate run the gamut from senior members of the Canadian Armed Forces, politicians from a variety of mainstream parties, public health officials, and more. Prior to 2022, this was a common phrase in Diagolon’s online chats and streams, though the phrase has been mostly eliminated from public Telegram chats after a series of deletions.
The resulting media attention from Harrison’s January 6 comments, as well as MacKenzie’s arrest earlier in January 2022 on weapons handling charges, led visible members of the network to take a much more subdued approach to their attendance early in the Ottawa convoy’s campaign. It also served to temper the language within the chats as MacKenzie asked for peace. Despite having travelled to parliament for the event, MacKenzie and Harrison avoided the first day of the protests.
Many public discussion rooms were deleted on Telegram around the time of the Ottawa occupation, with participants warned explicitly about “fed posting” – meaning posting comments that would suggest the premeditation of a crime. Many of the Diagolon flags adorning trucks were removed before arriving in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. Despite the tempering of rhetoric, Diagolon adherents still frequently condemn the government as treasonous and infiltrated.
Coutts Border Plot
Firearms and equipment seized from the Coutts border plot network. One plate carrier had two Diagolon patches affixed to it (left). Image Source: RCMP.
In February 2022, 11 individuals were arrested and a cache of weapons allegedly seized from people connected to the Coutts, Alberta, border blockade and protests. Charges have yet to be borne out in court However, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the individuals arrested showed a “willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade.” The border protests were carried out in conjunction with numerous others at various ports of entry between Canada and the United States and spawned from among the same populist milieu as the Ottawa convoy occupation.
Police report seizing “13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armour, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition, and high-capacity magazines.” Photos from the RCMP included two morale patches affixed to an armour plate carrier bearing the black and white flag of Diagolon. The Diagolon community says they were staged – a physical false flag – planted to indict Diagolon. Now, four of the men involved face conspiracy to murder charges, at least one of whom is confirmed to be a member of the network.
Telegram post of Diagolon patches allegedly found on those arrested in Coutts compared to the patches sold through an approved retailer.
On an episode of his live stream, MacKenzie dismissed the media attention that Diagolon has received in the wake of the Coutts border plot arrests, and endorses the claim that the RCMP-displayed items were “planted” by the police.
Of the 11 charged, four men – Anthony Olienick, Jerry Morin, Chris Carbert, and Christopher Lysak – face conspiracy to commit murder charges. The others are facing charges of possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose and mischief over $5,000. Two of those accused of conspiracy to commit murder have social media histories that link them to Diagolon. One of them, Christopher Lysak, was active in the Alberta branches of the Diagolon Telegram chats under the alias “Sly fox.” Those rooms have since been deleted, but as Vice World News reported, “it appears that Lysak was a moderator for the Albertan Diagalon group and was sharing information about Coutts with the group.”
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Lysak’s father blamed Diagolon specifically for radicalizing his son, even reporting that Lysak flew the black and white flag in front of his home. Lysak also appears alongside MacKenzie in a photograph posted to a since-banned Instagram account. (Mackenzie emphatically denies knowing the man beyond two encounters.) Christopher Lysak also reportedly travelled to Coutts with Chris Carbert, also accused of conspiracy to murder, who shared Diagolon content on his public Facebook page. In an appeal to followers, MacKenzie claimed the arrested as part of his Diagolon network:
“If you’re the praying type, please in your thoughts, keep the boys in Alberta,” after the arrests. “They got arrested, we haven't heard from them, and we don’t know what’s going on. There are some rumours they're getting f*cking charged with some heavy sh*t. I don’t know what is happening there. I know as much as you do, but I know they’re not bad guys, I know they’re not bad people. We got to have each other's back.”
In doing so he links the plot and the broader Diagolon network. While it may not indicate operational oversight by MacKenzie, it demonstrates an awareness of their presence in Coutts. Since his arrest, Diagolon has rallied around Lysak, categorizing him as a political prisoner, and raising money for his defence through a “Freedom Auction For Sly.”
A picture of Chris Lysak at the Alberta-Montana border (right) and a comment made from Lysak’s “Sly Fox” account during the protests (left).
It is important to understand what Diagolon is and what it is not. The plot to carve up select regions of North America into a new canted superstate is, at its heart, a meme. What Diagolon has become, however, is both an actual and symbolic banner under which participants of this movement can rally and self-identify. The community is a cross-section of trolls, shit posters, content creators, conspiracists, survivalist enthusiasts, and extremists. Much like the Boogaloo movement, Diagolon uses irony and memes to build an offline, insurrectionary, anti-state network that remains attractive to adherents of militant accelerationism. Thus, it is not an explicit terrorist movement or organization. But this does not prevent terrorist plotting or accelerationist violence from emanating from within the Diagolon movement.
Diagolon positions itself into an accelerationist stance by virtue of its use of narratives and aesthetics that are fixtures in overt militant accelerationism networks. It promotes rhetoric and an anti-government identity analogous to militia culture more common in the US. Diagolon and its leaders tell supporters that voting is pointless in a corrupt system infiltrated by foreign powers hell-bent on the destruction of traditional society, a race war is already underway against white people in the US, and that violence is increasingly inevitable. Each of these narratives may prime an individual to support or carry out violence with the goal of hastening societal collapse.
Looking forward, Diagolon may be moving towards a reckoning. The community is under increased scrutiny by law enforcement and security services in Canada, has been connected to the conspiracy to commit murder and weapons charges from Alberta, and is now facing more public scrutiny than ever before. The potential connections to the Coutts border incident illustrate the diffuse threat of an implicit militant accelerationism network like Diagolon. And like MacKenzie himself, the Diagolon movement does not need to explicitly self-identify as a militant accelerationist movement to be a vessel for the violent tactics of adherents to that ideology.
This report is a joint effort between the Accelerationism Research Consortium and the Canada Anti-Hate Network.