2. Naked Fanatics
Authorities were flabbergasted about what to do with the radical Russian religious migrants. Mass nude parades would probably raise eyebrows even today. Back in the early twentieth century, the Doukhobor splinter – who eventually named themselves The Freedomites – shocked sensibilities when they took to protesting in the buff. In one nudist epidemic, police sprinkled itching powder on the protesters. When another march in the buff scandalized British Columbia in 1932, over 600 men and women were banished to serve prison terms in Piers Island, BC.
In a way, the naked protesters’ passive resistance exasperated Canadian authorities like Gandhi’s passive resistance was exasperating the British in India. More worrying was when the Freedomites went from passive protest to actively persecuting other Doukhobors for being too worldly. Time after time, Freedomites turned to violent crime and raided the villages of other Doukhobors, to burn their homes and dynamite their factories as punishment for straying from the simple life.