Montréal Contre-information
Montréal Contre-information
Montréal Contre-information
Jun 212012


In order to have a black bloc, you need to have a group of people dressed head-to-toe in black, including masks, or who are at least doing something as close to that as possible. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a black bloc. The black bloc is a tactic. A tactic is a tool that is used to achieve certain ends.

As a tactic, the black bloc works to anonymize its participants. In an age when facial recognition technology is improving everyday and police departments regularly ask the cooperative public to help them identify participants in riots, a black bloc can be used to conceal the identity of those who break the law in heavily surveilled public spaces, as with almost any demonstration in downtown Montréal.

Before we really get into why people use black bloc tactics, it may be useful to explain why people choose to break the law during demonstrations. Many people consider economic disruption, property destruction, and/or physical resistance to police violence as legitimate and necessary components of a revolutionary strategy, and this is often coupled with the idea that keeping people out of the courts and the prison system as much as possible is a good thing. The black bloc, then, represents a sensible way to do certain kinds of things and (oftentimes) get away with it.

In recent years, the government has repeatedly tried to pass a law that would make it illegal to wear masks during demonstrations for any reason, and it’s already the case that people repeatedly get arrested at demonstrations for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s actually difficult sometimes to discern the difference between legal and illegal tactics. Black blocs are often used to minimize the risk of arrest, no matter what actually happens at a demonstration, because the line between what is legal and illegal is never something that demonstrators in the streets get to determine; it is, in general, a tool of the state to repress us and delegitimize our struggles.

There are people who use black bloc tactics as a way to stay anonymous in order to commit illegal acts during a demonstration, but it’s important to note that folks who show to demos wearing all black may do so for a variety of reasons, and not necessarily because they intend to do anything in particular. Black blocs can be good for promoting a sense of solidarity and complicity amongst participants. They can be good for demonstrating a willingness to engage in militant action if it becomes necessary, as on February 12, 2010, during the Olympic Games in Vancouver; a contingent of Native warriors and black bloc participants were prepared to physically defend a march if the VPD attacked. Black blocs can engage in offensive action, such as when they attack particular targets, but they also frequently engage in defensive action. The first documented use of the tactic comes from Germany in the 1980s, where it was used by squatters to help defend their homes from eviction by the state.

Since black blocs can be used to demonstrate a willingness to engage in militant action, they are sometimes used outside the context of a demonstration in the streets. In Atlanta in late 2011, when a woman was being constantly harassed at home and her place of work by her abusive ex-partner, she showed up at his house with a black bloc in tow to announce there would be consequences if his behaviour continued.

The tactic is used, essentially, because it makes it difficult for police to identify which actions were carried out by which specific people during a demonstration. Even if people are caught by police or media cameras in the act of taking off their clothing, it is frequently the case that the only thing that can be proven against them in court is that they participated in a demonstration wearing that kind of clothing – not that they committed any specific illegal act.

All this to say that a black bloc has practical as well as symbolic purposes and the decision to employ this tactic must be based on the specific circumstances of a situation. To be clear: there is no such thing as the black bloc, nor are there black bloc anarchists or anything else like that. Such categorizations mistake tactics for ideology – or, even more ludicrously, an organization of professional rioters.

Jun 202012


Two banners were hung in Montréal in solidarity with the G20 prisoners. Solidarity with the G20 prisoners / Tear Down the Prison Walls was hung from a building on St. Catherine street downtown. Solidarité avec les Incarcéré(e)s du G20 / Propageons la Révolte (Solidarity with the G20 Prisoners / Spread Revolt) was hung in the St. Henri neighborhood. Flyers were scattered at both sites, and further distributed in the metro system and on the street in the following days. We hope this counter-information action brings a smile to our locked up comrades.

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Solidarity and Complicity with the G20 Prisoners!

It has now been almost a year and a half since the mobilization against the G20 in Toronto that witnessed the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. A $1 billion security operation caged over 1100 people over the course of a weekend in order to defend a meeting of the bureaucrats from the richest capitalist economies. A group of individuals, many using the black bloc tactic (wearing masks and black clothing), nonetheless broke this militarized social peace; a peace that exists to keep us obedient and passive so that capital can flow smoothly. The large breakaway demonstration attacked corporate property and the police, liberating space from the control of authority and targeting places of capital for destruction. What more human response could there be to a financial district—an urban space devoid of life, deprived of affordable rents, scoured of autonomous livelihoods, subordinated to the needs of traffic and commerce, held under the eye of surveillance cameras, occupied by police, and plagued with corporate outlets and banks—than to destroy it?

The day before the demonstration, twenty organizers were rounded up and charged with criminal conspiracy for planning the disruption of the summit. This vague charge is increasingly being used against anarchists and is essentially used for ‘thought crime’. After over a year of non-association conditions, pre-trial detention, house arrest, and a publication ban, six people took a plea deal to lesser charges in which the rest of their co-accused charges were dropped in November 2011. Mandy Hiscocks, Alex Hundert and Leah Henderson are expecting sentences between 10 and 16 months. Peter Hopperton, Erik Lankin, and Adam Lewis are currently serving jail sentences of 3-5.5 months. Others face prison time for alleged participation in the riot.

Innocence and guilt mean nothing to those who understand law as a structure that does not keep us safe, but that keeps us in line. In the words of the conspiracy defendants, “There is no victory in the courts…The legal system exists to protect Canada’s colonial and capitalist social structure.” To consider questions of guilt or innocence is to indulge in all the hypocrisy of a judge, a prosecutor, or a cop. It doesn’t matter that most of these people were already arrested when the property destruction occurred, and it doesn’t matter that they didn’t lead any conspiracies because anarchists don’t have leaders. What matters is that when all those workers died, when all those people were evicted, when all that money was taken from us by the banks, when all those bombs fell, when all that air and water were poisoned, it didn’t matter whether rules were broken or followed. To speak of rules and laws is to perpetuate one of the greatest lies of our society.

Repression is the inevitable consequence of living under capital and the State, whether in a democracy or dictatorship, because few are fully blind to the domination around them and many are willing to fight back against it. To combat this social unrest, the State responds with repression. Many systems of oppression target various identities daily for being a potential enemy to the social order; whether colonized, genderqueer, or not white, to name a few. Imprisonment is structured to perfect control over anybody who’s locked up, and manifests itself outside its walls as a threat towards those whose privileges don’t fool them into identifying with power. Repression tries to prevent us from making the all-too-sensible decision to revolt against the systems that destroy our lives and future.

The new omnibus ‘tough on crime’ bill is an intensification of social control, as is the federal prison expansion that will see expansions at 36 federal prisons between now and 2014, along with provincial prison expansions in every province. Correctional Services Canada will be the largest building contractor by 2012. The Montreal police even have a new ‘anti-gang’ police squad, GAMMA, dedicated to the surveillance and repression of anarchists and other ‘marginal movements’.

Prison is the concrete intensification of the alienation, isolation, and exploitation that surrounds us in our daily lives. With a desire for freedom comes the simple realization that prisons, and the world that needs them, must be attacked with revolutionary intentions. The urgency for rebellion makes itself even clearer when the State is tightening its grip on our throats in times of austerity.

As anarchists, we understand solidarity as lying in action. When we act we expand our own freedom as well. When the State takes anarchists and other rebels captive in its cages of democracy, revolutionary solidarity involves continuing the struggle that they are imprisoned for. Solidarity with prisoners in struggle should not be due to debt or sacrifice, but because our own liberation is intrinsically tied with their liberation and the destruction of prison. By actively pushing their struggles forward outside the prison walls, our solidarity ensures that the State’s attempts to intimidate and control us are only met with escalated resistance. Our struggles against the State and capital must grow into a force that their cages cannot contain.

Let’s lose our fear, and spread rebellion against authority.

Prisoners to the streets!

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Sep 232010


On Monday, May 16th, 2011 a dozen people created a disruption at the Greek consulate in downtown Montreal located at 1002 Sherbrooke West on the 26th floor. We entered the office chanting slogans of solidarity to anarchists and immigrants facing heavy repression at the hands of the Greek state and organized fascists. Furniture and plants were overturned and hundreds of fliers were scattered. One office employee attempted to detain a comrade but failed. Outside people displayed a banner stating “(A) Flics-Porcs-Assassins, Solidarité contre la reprèssion d’État en Grèce” and handed out fliers. The call for international solidarity.