Against the Second Curfew Too

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Jan 172022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

What You May Have Missed

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Québec has imposed two curfews on its population. The first was announced on January 6, 2021, and came into effect on January 9; it lasted, with various modifications and relaxations, until May 28, 2021. The second curfew was announced on December 30, 2021, and came into effect the very next day, New Year’s Eve. A little over a week later, on January 7, 2022, an anonymous submission titled “Unanimous Support for the Curfew?” appeared on this website, the entirety of which appears below:

Since December 31, 2021, a curfew between 10 pm and 5 am is imposed in the province of Quebec.

I firmly disagree with this oppressive measure and I am sure many of you do. However, there has not been any posts criticizing the curfew since it has been re-instated. I wish more of us would stand against this measure.

We have witnessed a significant increase in authoritarian measures in the province. Public health has been used as an excuse to increase the state’s power. Let’s unite and fight the police state!

Since this call, there has been no other post on MTL Counter-Info about this second curfew nor any visible, organized anarchist resistance to it. Such “resistance” as there has been has been in Montréal – meaning dozens of people defying the curfew and gathering in front of Legault’s Montréal offices on the evening of January 1, as well as a much larger daytime demonstration on January 8 – has fallen outside of MTL Counter-Info‘s remit. These events (the organizers, the people who showed up, the signage, etc.) were neither anarchist nor anti-authoritarian. Rather, they seem to be of a piece with the dominant political tendencies in opposition not just to the curfew in Québec, but to pandemic-mitigating measures of any kind in all provinces of Canada and other parts of the world (especially the United States, Australia, and China). In blunt terms, I mean that the people showing have been by and large anti-vaxxers, flag-wavers, and kooks. More on this later.

On Thursday, January 13, 2022, the government announced in yet another press conference that the curfew would end on Monday, January 17. I know for a fact that there were some initiatives brewing oppose the curfew in a properly anarchist fashion, but they obviously won’t be executed now. It seems that this second curfew will come and go without any (publicized) anarchist intervention of any kind. This is in contrast to the period of the first curfew in early 2021, when there were at least three demonstrations in Montréal – on January 16, April 18, and April 22, 2021 – organized on a theme of opposing “solutions policières au crise sanitaire” (police-based solutions to the health crisis). Additionally, at least some anarchists participated in the amorphous demonstration, which turned into a classic Montréal riot, on the evening of April 11, 2021, the date that the curfew in designated “red zones” (which had been relaxed on March 17) was re-intensified. Apart from this, there were a few articles against the curfew published on MTL Counter-Info, including the straightforward essay “Against the Curfew” from January 10, 2021.

The Second Curfew

I tend to think that one of the reasons “there has not been any posts criticizing the curfew since it has been re-instated” is that there is nothing new to say.

There is the fact that the curfew is two hours less obnoxious than last January’s. This detail has its uses for the defenders of the government, but not for us.

Another fact is that we didn’t have much warning that a curfew was coming – less warning than last year, in fact.

In “Barcelona Anarchists at Low Tide” (After the Crest pt. #3), the author writes that

both leftism and the rationalist worldview it stems from train us to view the world in an unrealistic way. This generates false expectations and false criteria with which to evaluate our struggles. The crux of the matter is that we are not the abstract value both Capital and the Left see in us: we are living beings with our own autonomous rhythms that constantly fly in the face of managerial strategies and social mechanics.

[…]

“the leftist obligation to produce motion deprives us of winter. All people in struggle need a time to confront their despair, lick their wounds, and to fall back on the comforting bonds of friendship. Not realizing this animal necessity, many anarchists exhaust themselves by trying to maintain a constant rhythm, or they mistake a slowdown for a loss of strength, and they allow their gains to be washed away. But winter can be an important time to hunker down, to carry forward the projects that sustain us (and realize which those are), to test the strength of new relationships, and to sound the depth of one’s community of struggle.

I bring these passages up because it cannot be emphasized enough that it is currently January in Montréal, i.e. winter is not just a metaphor. More importantly, however, the implicit critique of the initial post on MTL Counter-Info strikes me as indicative of this same “leftist obligation to produce motion” regardless of its utility or larger circumstances. Obviously, to some degree, the curfew has diminished our capacity to fall back on our friends or to test new relationships because it diminishes our ability to see each other, but a curfew, really, is a minor part of the larger complex of restrictions on gatherings and normal sociality.

The curfew has also been proven relatively easy to defy, for those who care to try. I personally know lots of people who regularly defied curfew last year, and who have done so a bit this time too, whether driving across the entire city or meandering through the alleys of their own neighbourhoods, usually to come or go from friends’ houses or various outdoor hangout spots – because, of course, there’s not really anywhere else to go. This sort of activity is hardly the exclusive domain of anarchists, and we are altogether less likely to be stopped by the police when going from point A to point B after curfew than, say, teenagers in Montréal-Nord or Orthodox Jews in Outremont.

A larger collective defiance might be interesting, though of course, as with April 11, 2021, or the anti-vaxxers’ demo near the Olympic Stadium on May 1, that would mean associating with people whose view on ethics and basic reality lies far outside what most North American anarchists would think is acceptable. Perhaps, had the government not done the predictable thing and canceled the curfew relatively quickly, we would get to that place again, where there would be things to say about sharing space with such people. But realistically, that would only happen in the spring, just as it did last year. It is unlikely to happen now – although anything is certainly possible, and it’s clear that the government will (probably) keep throwing curfews at whichever new waves of covid crop up.

Can’t Satisfy Everyone

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a current of anarchists who have comprehensively rejected all measures aimed at mitigating the spread of Covid – not just measures that involve empowering the police, but everything, including vaccines. The Nevermore project is the most prominent example of this current in the Canadian context. Personally, I am okay with vaccines and a lot other measures that make sense to me, and I don’t see much effective difference between these anarchists (who, in many cases, are people who have been involved in our scenes for years) and the mainstream of the anti-vaxxer right. I personally helped to organize an anti-curfew demonstration on April 18, 2021, because I felt it was necessary, in that moment, to create a new pole around which a non-anti-vaxx resistance to the curfew could coalesce. I don’t think the effort was spectacularly successful, but I don’t regret trying.

The other day, I was treated to an inside look at a Signal groupchat, populated by 30+ anarchists and other radicals, where some of the events of spring 2021 were discussed, including the events of April 11 and the demo on April 18. One person claimed that

young anarchists and leftists organized a second anti-curfew demonstration, differentiating theirs from the one several nights earlier, which they recognized belatedly as the usual rightist free-enterprise tripe, and presumably as having little to do with ‘Black youth.’ So now we had a ‘real’ anarchist demonstration against the curfew. Within a few days [in fact, more than a month later] the government cancelled the curfew anyways and the anarchists and other leftists went back to sleep, back to ‘their’ lives.

This comment (which I’ve cleaned up a bit, for the sake of readability) didn’t see any pushback from other participants.

Maybe this is uncalled for, but I feel the need to set the record straight a bit. Personally, I like a good old-fashioned Montréal riot – barely politically coherent, and drawing participation from a wide swathe of society – as much as anyone else. I also hate Rebel News, who were present on the evening of April 11, 2021, and who had been rabble-rousing a bit in Montréal in the days leading up to the event, too. Both things can be true at the same time. It is possible to have appreciated (or participated in) the riot on April 11 while criticizing its limitations and its aimlessness. It is unnecessary to follow in the footsteps of journalists and politicians who, for the sake of their own agendas, have misrepresented that event as a solely anti-vaxx and kookster affair.

We were planning our demo on April 18 before April 11 happened, it just so happens. But even if that weren’t the case, I think it would have been legitimate, and very much within the scope of anarchists’ efforts over the years to keep a culture of street fighting alive and kicking in this city, to organize a collective opportunity for confronting the police and/or maybe defying the curfew (if it lasted that long) that was consistent with our ideas and our ways of doing things. In other words, no Rebel News, no national flags, no Christian preachers, and no multiply stupid denunciations of masks and vaccines. Fighting the police, on the other hand? That would be fine, thank you.

I see a lot of worth in a critique of local anarchists for failing to build a more holistic response to the pandemic, including a deeper practice of mutual aid – though I wonder where that critique is supposed to go and how it is supposed to be useful. The real issue is that our movements are simply not as powerful as we would like them to be, and we have failed, throughout the pandemic, to develop strategies or practices that might help us build the kind of power we need in order to realize any short-term or long-term goals we might have. To a large degree, this has been a failure to overcome isolation. Basic understandings of the facts, be they about vaccines or the demographics of rioters, evidently vary from one online information silo to another. All of this is bad, probably.

I’d like us to do better, because chances are that the pandemic, and the state of exception it has proffered, isn’t over yet.

Call for Contributions to the Journal “Police State” for the 26th International Day Against Police Brutality

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Jan 162022
 

From COBP

Here as elsewhere in the world, the Police play a determining role in repressing anti-colonial, indigenous, environmental, immigration, etc. struggles. The struggle and resistance of Indigenous First Nations around the world will always be present at the front lines to counter capitalist interests and will be supported by international movements and solidarity links.

The theme for 2022 will be: “La police c’est colon en criss”-“shutdown the colonial police”.

Please see the call: https://cobp.resist.ca/fr/node/23061

We are calling on you to write texts, drawings, comics, photos, poems or any other ideas for the “Police State” newspaper of this 26th International Day Against Police Brutality.

You can also send us your texts or existing links already published.

Texts for the journal should be a maximum of 2 pages and can be written in French, English or Spanish. Authors who wish to have their texts translated must let us know in a reasonable time so that we can find people to translate them. Also, we invite you to send us images to accompany your text, if you wish. Images will not be counted in the two pages.

The final deadline for the content of the paper journal is February 1, 2022.

Please submit your text and other contributions to:
cobp@riseup.net

In solidarity
COBP

March 15th, 2022: Shutdown the Colonial Police!

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Jan 122022
 

From the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)

It is difficult to look at what is currently happening in the Yintah, the Wet’suwet’en territory, without reflecting on the role of the RCMP in the Canadian colony. What eventually became the RCMP was founded in 1873, partly in response to the Red River Métis Rebellion of 1869-1870. The primary objective of the RCMP, from its inception, was therefore to maintain imperial hegemony over the territory in order to open it up to capitalist exploitation.

The list of RCMP crimes is too long to be fully enumerated here. From the suppression of the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, to the banning of indigenous cultural practices, to the blockade of reserves and the free movement of native people, to the killing of sled dogs, and of course, the separation of children from their families and sending them to residential schools. We invite you to read the article “A Condensed History of Canada’s Colonial Cops” in The New Inquiry for a quick overview of the history of the RCMP as seen by indigenous people.

But is the grass greener in Quebec? Northern Quebec was under RCMP control until 1960. Colonial residential schools continued into the 1970s, and abuses continued during this period, with the full support of the SQ.

The SQ replaced the RCMP, and it can be said that it has fulfilled and continues to fulfill its role as representative of the colonial authority towards indigenous peoples. Whether in Listuguj (Restigouche) in 1981, in Kitiganik (Barriere Lake) in 1988, in Kanehsatà:ke and Kahnawá:ke in 1990, the response of the SQ to indigenous mobilizations has always been the same: To crush.

The final report of the Viens Commission, presented on September 30, 2019, illustrates the place that the police occupy in the Canadian colonial state. The report explicitly writes:

“These [indigenous] demonstrations are the product of the persistent disregard for the indigenous rights of indigenous peoples and the slowness of the courts to resolve land issues. […] Compared to other demonstrations, […] the police are used to intervene on the side of the government to crush or dismantle the demonstration, assuming that the rights claimed are wrong, before the court has ruled on the inherent validity of the claims.”

In the Le rapport final de la commission Viens, local police like the SPVM are similarly blamed: “In the literature, it is recounted that indigenous communities are both over-policed for minor offenses […] and under-policed, in the sense of under-protection in the face of the violence to which they are subjected.”

The role of the police, then, is not to protect anyone, but always to crush any effort to resist the exploitation of the territory. This desire for exploitation was manifested in 2012 with the Harper government’s omnibus Bill C-45. This bill changed many canadian laws, with the goal of making it easier for extractive companies to access the so-called canadian territory. Territory that is, of course, mainly populated by indigenous people. C-45 led to the birth of the “Idle No More” movement. The reaction of the Canadian government was to reinforce the Canadian police apparatus and the coordination between the colonial police services. The result is what we see now in Wet’suwet’en territory.

So, in 150 years, the role of the police in so-called Canada has not changed at all. Their role is still to open up the land for exploitation, which means driving out the people who live there, no matter the cost.

The police as a colonial force of exploitation is not unique to Canada, however. In Chile, for example, the army has been deployed to support police repression against the Mapuche people who are demanding the return of their ancestral territory from the hands of landowners and multinational logging companies. Colombia beats every year new records of assassinations of environmental activists and defenders of the land, many of them indigenous, all under the gaze of the police, a situation denounced by Amnesty International. In Mexico, it is the Zapatistas of the EZLN, essentially indigenous, who are being attacked by militias armed by the State. And in Brazil, it is the Supreme Court that gives the police the right to chase indigenous people off their land to give it to mining companies, a situation denounced by the United Nations.

Faced with police violence against indigenous peoples, whether here or elsewhere, we all come to the same conclusion: Fuck the colonial police!

We meet at 5:30PM on Tuesday, March 15th, at the Lionel-Groulx metro station!

Photo: Amber Bracken

Unanimous Support for the Curfew?

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Jan 072022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Since December 31, 2021, a curfew between 10 pm and 5 am is imposed in the province of Quebec.

I firmly disagree with this oppressive measure and I am sure many of you do. However, there has not been any posts criticizing the curfew since it has been re-instated. I wish more of us would stand against this measure.

We have witnessed a significant increase in authoritarian measures in the province. Public health has been used as an excuse to increase the state’s power.

Let’s unite and fight the police state!

Wet’suwet’en Water Protectors Evade RCMP as Police Mobilize For Raid

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Jan 072022
 

From Gidimt’en Checkpoint

With plane-loads of cops on the way, Coyote Camp executed a strategic retreat to avoid police violence and criminalization. Cops are left with an empty camp.

We will continue to fight Coastal GasLink, but can not do so if all of our warriors are taken as political prisoners.

We call on supporters to continue to come to the yintah and to continue to take action where you stand. Visit https://yintahaccess.com for more info.

For more info on the strategic retreat, see Monday’s press release.

Bristol, UK: Toby Shone Speaks from the Dungeons of Bristol Prison, Explaining His Case

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Jan 052022
 

From Act for Freedom Now!

My name is Toby Shone, and I’m an imprisoned anarchist held in Bristol prison who was kidnapped at gunpoint by the anti-terrorist unit, as part of Operation Adream in the UK. The repression was aimed to target the anarchist group of critique and practice, 325 collective and the website 325.nostate.net. Operation Adream is an attack by the British State in conjunction with European partners against anarchist direct action groups, counter-information projects, prisoner solidarity initiatives and the new anarchist critique of the technological singularity and the fourth and fifth industrial revolution. Operation Adream is the first time that anti-terrorist legislation has been used against the anarchist movement in the UK.

I was taken hostage by the regime on the 18th of November 2020 by a team of tactical fire arms cops after a car chase through the remote Forest of Dean, which is on the border with South Wales, one hour north of Bristol. At the same time coordinated raids took place at five addresses in the Forest of Dean against collective living projects, hangouts and a storage unit. I was taken under armed guard to a nearby police station where I was held in incommunicado and interrogated many, many times. I refused to speak during the interrogations and I did not cooperate with the murderers in uniform.

I was charged with four counts of terrorism. One charge of Section 2, dissemination of terrorist publications as a suspected administrator 325.nostate.net. Two charges of section 58, possession of information useful for the purposes of terrorism. Those being two videos. One of which showed how to improvise an explosive shaped charge. And the other demonstrated how to burn down a mobile phone transmitter. I was charged with Section 15, funding terrorism, which was related to cryptocurrency wallets hosted on 325.nostate.net which were for the support of anarchist prisoners and publications. I denied all the charges.

I was also accused during the interrogations of membership of FAI/IRF, the Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front. I was accused of writing five documents and carrying out several actions in the Bristol area, which were claimed by cells of the FAI as well as those of the Earth- and Animal Liberation Fronts. These included an incendiary attack against the police station, the burning down of a mobile phone transmitter and liberation of animals.
Bristol is an area of the UK where there has been countless anarchist sabotages and direct actions taking place over the last two decades and which remain unsolved by police, despite multi-million pound investigations and joint media witch hunts against anarchists in the city.

From the collective spaces and hangouts that were raided during Operation Adream the cops seized hundreds of copies of 325 #12 magazine, dozens of anarchist pamphlets, books, stickers, posters and flyers, laptops, mobile phones, printers, hard drives, cameras, radio frequency jammers, gps units, smoke-, noise- and flash charges, replica firearms and cash. In the evidence produced against me was numerous anarchist publications including 325 #12 magazine, which is about the fourth and fifth industrial revolution, the pamphlet “Incendiary dialogues” by Gustavo Rodríguez, Gabriel Pombo da Silva and Alfredo Cospito which is published by Black International Editions. Also the text “What is anarchism” by Alfredo Bonnano, Dark Nights newsletter, the small book “Anarchy, civil or subversive?” by 325 and Dark Matter publications, a flyer in solidarity with anarchist prisoners Alfredo Cospito and Nicola Gai, a flyer against the COVID-19 lockdowns called “Face the fear, fight the future” as well as many other texts and publications in solidarity with anarchist prisoners and revolutionary organisations such as the CCF, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.

I was remanded to Wandsworth prison in London after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court and held under anti-terrorist conditions. I was denied to make any phone call in the prison for ten days as well as a similar embargo on my mail. I was denied to see my lawyers for six weeks. 23.5 hour solitary confinement with sometimes up to 48 hours without being able to leave the cell for anything other than to collect a meal. No yard time for the first 3 weeks and then only allowed to go outside on the yard once a fortnight for 35 minutes. No gym, no library, no education, no activities. I was held in a dungeon like cell with no natural light and subjected to deafeningly loud construction noise as I was placed by the counter-terror unit next to a new section of the prison being built. My letters, phone calls and associations all subject to routine monitoring and censorship with constant obstruction to access for my lawyers, post and books. I did not receive the full case against me for many, many months.

Operation Adream is a montage, fitting together disparate, unconnected elements, typical of repressive operations in Southern Europe which has spread across the continent. This is now being deployed by the British police. Operation Adream seeks to present the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire as a continuation of the armed Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organisation November 17th. This is an important fantasy for the purposes of repression in this operation as November 17th is a proscribed group in UK. Most importantly, Operation Adream sought to present the diverse range of anarchist groups, publishing projects and prisoner support initiatives as an array of organisational hubs for the execution and glorification of terrorism.

The case was authorised by the Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC. The investigation revealed at least the participation of Dutch and German cops, the hidden hand of the security services and an international dimension to the operation based on previous waves of repression in Spain, Italy and Greece was evident. During my interrogations, I was being asked a pre-written script of questions which , for instance, not even the detectives appeared to understand why I was being asked as the entire operation was a marionnette guided by others to achieve a political purpose. About that, I can only quote the murdered anarchist Bartholomew Vanzetti who remarked, “The higher of them, the more jackass.” It is certainly appropriate as on the 6th October 2021 at Bristol Crown Court I was found Not Guilty. However, I was condemned for the possession and supply of Class A and B narcotics: the psychedelic medicines LSD, DMT, psilocybin, MDMA and marijuana, as these were all seized from the collective spaces. I was sentenced to 3 years 9 months.

I am also fighting against a Serious Organised Crime Prevention Order which is demanded by the anti-terrorist unit and the prosecutors. The order would put me under a form of house arrest for up to 5 years when I finally get released with a punishment of up to 5 years if I breach the order. The order would control and monitor my daily movements, contact with others, residence, usage of money, devices, international travel and so on. It demands precise information be given to the cops of all my friends, contacts and loved ones and is simply a means to monitor and criminalise my friendships and living environments. My trial for that is scheduled no earlier than the 15th of January and the investigation against me continues as does Operation Adream which is aimed at the 325 collective.

I want to thank all those who have supported me. My heart is open and strong and I am determined. I send to you all a huge hug and a smile.

The address for sending letters to Anarchist comrade Toby:

Toby Shone A7645EP
HMP Bristol
19 Cambridge Road
Bishopston
Bristol
BS7 8PS
UK

Urgent: RCMP Invasion Expected on Wet’suwet’en Territory

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Jan 032022
 

From Gidimt’en Checkpoint

For the fourth time in four years, we have received information that dozens of militarized RCMP are en route to Wet’suwet’en territory to facilitate construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and to steal our unceded lands at gunpoint. We continue to hold the drill pad site, where Coastal Gaslink plans to tunnel beneath our pristine and sacred headwaters.

Two charter planes from Nanaimo have touched down in the town of Smithers on unceded Cas Yikh territory. RCMP have booked up local hotels for the next month. We have also received word from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs that the C-IRG unit of the RCMP – the paramilitary unit that protects private industries who are seeking to destroy Indigenous lands – are being deployed onto our lands.

We need boots on the ground and all eyes on Wet’suwet’en territory as we continue to stand up for our lands, our waters, and our future generations! If you can’t be here, take action where you stand – at investors’ offices, RBC branches, or your local police detachment.

Taking a Stand: Two Solidarity Actions Against RBC (Vancouver, BC)

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Jan 022022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

The RBC on Commercial drive and 1st ave was molotoved on the night of Nov 15, the other location on Nanaimo and Hastings had 12 windows smashed in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people and all indigenous people resisting colonialism and white supremacy. They ignore peaceful protest, take a stand.

Ottawa: RBC Branch Redecorated in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

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Jan 022022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Fire extinguisher full of white paint was used on the facade of a RBC branch located in Ottawa during the holiday week.

The action was meant as an answer to the calls to action from the Gidimt’en clan who retook possession of “Coyote Camp” with their allies. We stand in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen nation and against KKKanada’s genocidal project.

Fuck CGL, Fuck the RCMP, fuck RBC, Shut down KKKanada and get the fuck out of the Yintah!