International zine of social war continuing the conflict against the rising techno-prison world. Now expanded to 24 pages after the recent repression against our project by the Counter-Terrorist cops. One more blow in the face of their blatant attempt to silence us. Articles expanding on the critique against technology and Covid-19 repression, as well as Alfredo Cospito’s recent contribution about the “Proposal For a New Anarchist Manifesto” and an Introduction from Gustavo Rodriquez’s ‘Covid-19: Anarchy in the times of the pandemic.” Print it out, for your local squat, social centre, mate’s house or give it out at a demo, even leave it in a random place. Lets ignite the next wave of the Black International!
Bristol: Burn Baby Burn!
Communique from 325 Collective on the Repressive Attack upon International Counter-Information
Greece: Attacks in Response to Dimitris Koufontinas’ Hunger Strike & Covid Repression
Neurocapitalism: ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Comes One Step Closer
Chile: Second Public Communiqué on the 32nd day of the Hunger Strike
COVID-19: Anarchy in Times of Pandemic – Gustavo Rodriguez
A Contribution About the “Proposal For a New Anarchist Manifesto” – Alfredo Cospito
A letter from Danilo, accused of setting fire to a police van in Barcelona
An Incomplete Chronology of Direct Actions from around Planet Earth
After Lockdown, Let’s Look At The Situation We’re Finding Around Us
On 29.03.21 the Dutch police raided the data center that holds the nostate.net server, seizing the server itself as the part of a criminal investigation into ‘terrorism’. Nostate.net is a collective that provided a platform for international movement websites from prisoner solidarity groups, multiple campaign collectives, anti-summit pages and international counter-information. Significant sites that used nostate.net as a platform that have been targeted by this repressive attack by the Dutch police are Anarchist Black Cross Berlin, Montreal Counter-Info, Northshore Counter-Info, Act For Freedom Now! (now re-activated on noblogs.org https://actforfree.noblogs.org/) and 325.
We as a collective are aware that this was not just an attack by the Dutch police, but was done in coordination with the Counter Terrorism Unit of the United Kingdom in connection with their recent repressive attacks upon the anarchist circles in this country. Not only have they been threatening ourselves, but recently threatened nostate.net unless they shut down our site. Along with this they demanded information be given to them of the identity of anyone involved in 325. The extent that the authorities will go to attack us and anyone they suspect of aiding us is of no surprise to us, the examples through history of state forces repressing anyone who dares to stand and fight them are numerous.
This repressive attack should be seen as an attack upon all counter-information, on anarchist circles internationally. Under the present ongoing environment of Covid-19 and the repressive actions of states around the world, it is no surprise to us that they co-operate together on an international level, the recent repression against anarchist comrade Gabriel Pomba da Silva, with co-operation between Spanish, Italian and Portuguese states, is a more than obvious recent example. Our minds also cast back to the repression of Indymedia in Germany and Greece, also not so long ago the imprisonment of comrades involved in Culmine, ParoleArmata and Croce Nera Anarchica in Italy. Through time the anarchist movement internationally has had its modes of communicating to the people attacked with countless anarchist publications having their premises raided, comrades arrested and even publications being censored such as in the not too distant past with Alfredo M Bonnano’s ‘Armed Joy‘ in Italy, also Conspiracy of Cells of Fire’s ‘The Sun Still Rises‘ in Greece.
It is also no coincidence that this repressive attack occurs now after our recent publication of ‘325 #12 – Against the Fourth and Fifth Industrial Revolutions‘. This publication that we feel hits to the core of what the states and capitalism are pushing forward, before and even more so now, under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic is a direct threat to their plans of subjugation, of robotosizing and automizing everything. Their attack has momentarily affected our distribution of the publication both online and physically, but it has inevitably failed. The technocrats that want to shape our world into one heaving technological militarized prison society are being exposed, not only by ourselves but by the already growing attacks internationally upon their infrastructure. This is what they fear, that this can grow and this is why they have come after us. From what we know the police who are trying to hunt us down, they are relying upon tactics from their old book of tricks, attempting to get others to snitch and repressing counter-information. Ever since their ‘Operation Rhone’ aimed at attacking the anarchist circles in Bristol, they had only caught one person involved in an attack, but not anyone involved in the Informal Anarchist Federation or the other countless anarchist attacks. Clearly they have not repressed any fire of rebellion as the riot, attack on the police station and burning of cop cars last month shows.
It has been silent for too long on this island of conformity, while the world outside has started to burn again, from Greece to Chile to France to Germany to Belgium to the Netherlands to Italy to Spain to the USA to Indonesia to Hong Kong to China and Tunisia, the embers are still warm. More than ever there is an absolute need for co-ordination internationally between comrades, to attack directly this stinking corpse that attempts resurrect itself, to further imprison us. Counter-information is an integral part of this international co-ordination, to allow those who want to act for freedom in this world to see the signals of complicity in every language possible, to speak the one language of insurrection and anarchy. There must be a re-energisation of the international counter-information network, to once again become a threat internationally, after the repressive reaction that seeks to isolate anarchists from each other, not just around the world but even locally. We the 325 Collective continue to move upon this path we have already trodden, even now we continue with our publication projects including a new re-print of ‘325 #12‘, a new expanded issue of ‘Dark Nights‘ and further projects for the future internationally. They will not silence or stop us and we will have our revenge!
About the website, we do not know yet whether it will return, it is very clear to us that if it is resurrected as ‘325’ anywhere else online, that the authorities will immediately target it once again. This also means that we could put at risk any provider in the future, as well as put other counter-information and movement projects at risk of being shut down as happened with the recent repressive attack. Who knows where all this will take us? What we do know is that we are far from backing down, not one step back, in the face of the enemy. Maybe it might be best to revert to the traditional printed word, to see peoples faces again, to speak words, to conspire once again. We will not say never to the site returning, neither to it re-manifesting itself as a new project, only time will tell.
For now, our absolute solidarity with the comrades of nostate.net & Act For Freedom Now! Along with all the other counter-info projects affected.
The same thing has also happened in Indonesia, the silencing and repressiveness of the counter-information media has been increasingly encouraged by the Indonesian Police, with initiatives such as the creation of a “cyber police” or social media police, with one of their aims being to isolate the spread of information not only from anarchist networks but also from other political dissidents and those who have the courage to criticize the state.
The Indonesian Police from 2014 to 2019 have disbursed funds of ± 900 billion rupiah, which are used as funds for buzzers to curb the spread and growth of counter-information media. In 2018 the Indonesian Police began to re-focus on the anarchist movement in Indonesia. Also, national police recently made a statement about banning media from covering police violence. However, we are sure that both individuals and groups who are focusing on counter-information and grassroots reports will continue to exist and grow. Given the severity of this situation in which all the tools of the State and Capitalism try to carry out silencing and repressiveness either online or physically, this is not the time to be silent and surrender ourselves to fear.
Amid the continuing increase in Covid-19 cases on an international scale, governments in various countries are using it to make policies that not only choke our economic capacity, but also our most basic freedoms.
We believe nothing is completely safe and free from risks, especially when running counter-information sites online. And this is actually the fundamental reason why we must respond to this increasingly suffocating situation.
We are calling for international solidarity (by whatever means possible) for nostate, 325, Anarchist Black Cross Berlin, Montreal Counter-Info, Northshore Counter-Info, Act For Freedom Now! and other counter info sites. Solidarity for every anarchist prisoner in all corners of the world (Toby Shone, Monica, Fransico etc), the anti-eviction movements in Bara-Baraya, Pancoran, Pakel, and all forms of struggle for liberation and independence.
Comments Off on Leaving the SPVM Behind to Attack a High-Tech Hub: A Promising Anti-Capitalist May Day
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
This May Day, Montreal’s annual anti-capitalist demonstration organized by the CLAC gathered in Jarry Park under the theme “No old normal, no new normal”. It was a sunny late afternoon, and the energy was high amid the banners and black flags as the demo began to snake through the residential streets of Villeray.
Heading west on De Castelnau, fireworks were set off, and construction cones were used to block the road behind us. The cops seemed confused about the route we were taking, which meant that there were less of them in our near vicinity. Dropping south onto Jean-Talon, the demo continued west through the viaduct beneath the St-Jérôme commuter rail line.
Leaving the Police Behind
Turning south on Parc Avenue from Jean-Talon, the demo excitedly entered a second viaduct under the same rail line. This time, a surprise was in store for the police vans and bike cops waiting for the crowd to pass to the other side before continuing to trail the demo: smoke bombs were set off in the viaduct, and crow’s feet were deployed on the road to puncture the tires of any cop vans that might brave the smoke-filled passageway. These actions effectively blocked the viaduct, a chokepoint in the area, to all traffic.
With the majority of the cops stuck on the north side of the train tracks, the demo took a hard left toward rue Saint-Zotique immediately upon exiting the viaduct. Garbage and terrasse furniture were pulled into the street to further protect the demo, and our pace quickened.
We don’t have to accept the police surrounding our demos, flanking, filming, and harrassing us, or tailing us with a dozen riot vans ready to tear-gas us at a moment’s notice. Some situations may call for direct confrontation, but on this day our best bet was evasion. With a little inventiveness, foresight, and collective intelligence, we can leave the police behind.
Paying a Visit to the Artificial Intelligence Headquarters
About two minutes later heading east on Saint-Zotique, the demo took a right on Saint-Urbain. An assortment of bike cops were observing the demo from about a block away, but their riot cop backup was nowhere in sight, and the bike cops kept a safe distance.
On our right stood the “O Mile-Ex” building, which functions as the headquarters of Montreal’s artificial intelligence sector, as politicians and academics have strained over the past five years to position the city as a global AI hub. The inter-connected buildings at 6650 and 6666 Saint-Urbain house MILA (a research institute affiliated with Université de Montréal that collaborates with Google and Facebook), Thales (a French defense and security contractor), Borealis (the AI lab of the Royal Bank of Canada), Quantum Black (the AI lab of notorious global consulting firm McKinsey), SCALE AI (a “supply chain supercluster” controlled by the Desmarais family), and a couple dozen other labs and startups.
While they talk a lot about “ethics” to distract the public, these companies develop technologies that strengthen the hold of capitalism and authority over our lives. Whether they lead to more efficient supply chains for large corporations, automated video surveillance and facial recognition to protect the government and the property of the rich, or workplace monitoring algorithms that impose dehumanizing conditions on workers, we know who stands to gain from these tools, and it is not the exploited, excluded and oppressed of society. As anarchists wrote recently, “what is at stake is our capacity to have secrets, to resist, to agitate, to attack what destroys everything we love and protects everything we hate.”
In addition, the O Mile-Ex facility with its hordes of tech yuppies is a massive driver of displacement in the surrounding area. Together with the new Mil campus of Université de Montréal, its effects spill over into Parc-Extension, a working-class, mostly immigrant neighborhood under increasing threat of gentrification.
Technology companies have exploited our isolation during COVID-19 confinement measures to increase their profit margins and expand their presence with little resistance, and as the crisis of the pandemic gives way to the next phase of the crisis of capitalism, they seek to shape a “new normal” that cements their power.
For all these reasons, it was a beautiful sight to see multiple crews within the crowd target these buildings. As MILA’s windows were broken one after another by hammers, rocks and other projectiles, any illusion that these businesses and researchers enjoy the benefit of a social consensus shattered as well. Smoke bombs were tossed into the building through the holes in the windows, hopefully setting off the sprinklers and causing water damage.
After the attack on O Mile-Ex, some cops that appeared toward the south on Saint-Urbain received volleys of rocks and fireworks. The demo headed east on Saint-Zotique, continuing to evade major police deployments, turning south on Clark then cutting through Parc de la Petite-Italie to then turn north on Saint-Laurent. The park and the many intersecting streets on Saint-Laurent provided respectable opportunities for de-blocking and departure. The dispersal was accelerated by riot cops that began charging up Saint-Laurent behind the demo, firing tear gas. Some police were even spotted on the roof of a residential building, dropping tear gas canisters on the crowd: an unexpected maneuver. A civilian driver who was aggressively trying to push through protesters was confronted and had his car windows smashed out. The cops that swarmed the area where people were dispersing detained a few people, arresting two, but no serious charges have been laid. Blocking streets more consistently with garbage and other obstacles in these contexts could have been helpful.
It is a precious experience to take risks together in the streets with hundreds of comrades and anonymous accomplices, who dream of a world after capitalism, of burning police stations and border posts, of looted supermarkets, of forests, mountains, and rivers protected from all forms of industrial degradation and returned to the nurturance of indigenous peoples’ territorial autonomy. Although the accomplishments of one May Day demo may be minor as regards the whole landscape of our aspirations, we believe the relationships we develop through these moments should not be underestimated.
The Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC) denounces the violent repression of its demonstration again this year. Indeed, the SPVM proceeded, as usual, to unjustified and brutal arrests. The police used truncheons and tear gas to silence the people who are tired of being exploited every day to enrich the nauseating bourgeoisie and their companies that profit from COVID-19. Several people were injured and the police even destroyed the cell phone of one participant.
More than 750 people gathered to denounce the exacerbation of social injustice and precariousness during the current pandemic. Capitalism and neo-liberalism have laid the foundations for this disaster and it is certainly not through this economic system that we will get out of the crisis. The organizers would like to thank the participants of the demonstration who took to the streets this year, despite the health crisis, with masks and distancing measures.
As part of the International Workers’ Day, CLAC organized today the annual May Day anti-capitalist demonstration, which started at 4PM in Jarry Park. Last year, due to the health situation, there was no rally, but we did call for a day of visibility actions, which was a great success.
This year, we went to protest in the Mile-Ex to denounce the artificial intelligence companies that are shamelessly taking advantage of the crisis, converting public subsidies into tools for the private sector. The companies located there are a major force in the gentrification and displacement of the residents of Parc-Extension in addition of participating in the technological surveillance proliferation.
Stacy Langlois, a protester, said: “As always, it is the workers, the poor, the migrants, the people in predominantly female jobs, who are killing themselves – literally – to support the rich. We’re the ones who cook and deliver their food so they don’t have to go line up at the grocery store like the rest of us.” She continues: “Their recovery plan is to keep us in misery.”
In addition, the tightening of borders and the abuse of immigration authorities are on a mission to preserve these inequalities. Migrants who were “lucky” enough to come here are dying in our hospitals and warehouses. The streets of the poorest neighborhoods are empty, as the police are always looking for their next victims. The First Peoples are being humiliated, assaulted and killed by the governmental bodies driven by the extractivist companies. And in all this chaos, we are forced to obey, to remain silent, to be blind to everything that is happening around us. It is absurd and revolting!
In a fiery opening speech, Steven Lafortune-Sansregret cried out: “What we must revive is not the economy, but the struggles for the end of capitalist exploitation! “Together, ready to fight, we are much stronger and much more numerous than those who oppress us with impunity. Let’s refuse this “uberized” future and build a world of mutual aid and equity. To achieve this, we will use all necessary means.
We don’t want the world they are trying to sell us! No old normal, no new normal ! Let’s abolish capitalism!
that, today, as has always been the case, May 1 is an opportunity for the workers of all nations to celebrate their historic victories and to put forth demands for further improvements to their working conditions and their health and safety conditions in general;
that protecting the health and safety of health care workers is of primordial importance;
that the health care system and all of its workers, nurses, doctors, councillors, managers, office workers, and support staff are currently under enormous pressure and deserve our unconditional support;
We, the popular groups, unions, and community groups that organize and participate in the May 1 public events, call on those who will be joining our events:
to express their solidarity with health care workers, as well as with all “essential” workers, regardless of their citizenship status;
to wear a mask at all of our events;
to respect, insofar as possible, a safe two-meter distance from others at all of our events;
to avoid all unnecessary contact during our events.
We call on all groups and organizations that are planning events for May 1, 2021, to adhere to and respect this pact. Otherwise, we demand that they not hold an event on that day and, instead, stay home and not pose an additional threat to heath care workers and our health care system.
–> Si votre groupe ou votre organisation endosse ce PACTE pour un 1er mai solidaire, veuillez écrire à firstname.lastname@example.org pour être ajouté à la liste des signataires/participants.
–> Si vous adhérez à l’esprit de ce pacte en tant qu’individu, nous vous invitons à “participer” à l’événement Facebook qui se trouve à cette adresse, et à le relayer dans vos réseaux.
Across the world, May 1 is known as International Workers’ Day.
For 135 years, the working class has taken to the streets, organized, and demonstrated on this day, in a show of force to assert its interests and its opposition to the capitalist class and the politicians who play its games. The May 1 tradition was born in the blood of revolutionary trade unionists in the US, in 1886, thereafter spreading through the Americas and from there to Europe and the rest of the world, carried forward by the trade union movement, revolutionaries, anti-capitalists, and internationalists. Historic compromises have since led to its institutionalization in a number of countries, but anti-capitalist movements and milieus have, nonetheless, preserved its revolutionary expression in numerous initiatives in diverse contexts
This tradition is very much alive in Montréal and throughout Québec, where numerous events mark May 1 every year, including union rallies, an anti-capitalist demonstration, and a variety of community gatherings and social events meant to advance a range of demands and to, in different ways, mount a visible opposition to the privileged classes.
There are a number of events taking place in Montréal this year:
It seems that some of the leaders of the “conspiracy theory” anti-masking, anti-distancing, and anti-vaccination movement are behind a march organized for May 1 to “manifester [leur] désaccord face aux mesures sanitaires au Québec” [express (their) discontent with the public health measures in Québec]. (A number of citizens’ intiatives, including Montréal Antifasciste and Xavier Camus, have documented the influential roles of a number of individuals with ties to the far-right in the movement against Québec’s public health measures.)
This particular action in opposition to these measures will be held outside of the main vaccination center in Montréal, the Olympic Stadium, clearly without masks and with no intention to practice safe distancing.
At a point when the third wave is beginning to peek throughout Québec, when the health system
risks being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 variants, with the vaccination campaign not unfolding as quickly as would be optimal to offset these variants, and at a point when heath care and social service workers are at the end of their rope after thirteen months of intense efforts to counter the pandemic, we find it breathtakingly unacceptable that the conspiracy theory movement and the COVID deniers will take to the street on May 1 and put those workers’ lives, as well as the lives of all other workers deemed essential, at risk with their irresponsible behaviour.
The health and safety of workers have always been a key preoccupation of the movements advancing the interests and demands of the working class and the organizers mobilizing for May 1.
It’s about time the majority of workers make perfectly clear their growing fatigue with the recklessness of the conspiracy theorists behind the movement against the public health measures, who, it must be stressed, have submerged themselves in the far right’s pseudo-ideology.
On Sunday April 11th, in response to Legault’s re-instatement of the 8pm curfew, people took to the streets in Montreal to enjoy the spring weather and express joyous rage at this shit world that continues to steal our lives away from us. Without any stated political intenton, a callout was made on social media to gather in the Old Port to party and defy the curfew. A number of anarchists joined what turned out to be a mixed crowd of people, mostly younger, whose main commonality was anger that their few freedoms were being further curtailed by the government. The atmosphere prior to 8pm was excited and raucous, with ‘fuck Legault’ being the most frequent and loud chant. Motorcycles revved their engines, people danced, drank, and laughed with their friends to celebrate spring in defiance of this bullshit world.
The first SPVM cruiser to drive by was met with boos and middle fingers, the second with eggs, bottles and rocks. Revolt was in the air, and we were delighted to be in the midst of such a rowdy display, especially after such a long, bleak winter. As the curfew approached, we noticed riot cops gathering to the East on Rue de la Commune and Rue St. Paul. There were only a few cruisers West on de la Commune. At that time they kept their distance, monitoring the demonstration.
Around the same time, ‘reporters’ arrived from ‘Rebel Media’, a far-right, Toronto-based news outlet. Rebel Media is famous for employing reporters with ties to Stormfront, a prolific neo-nazi website, and working with other racist, transphobic, alt-right personalities, as well as peddling anti-immigrant, COVID-denying conspiracy theories. Despite Rebel Media’s desperate attention-seeking behaviour, they are pretty obscure failures, even as youtube provocateurs (note: as of April 14 they were suspended from YouTube). It was clear that the vast majority of attendees did not know who they were, so unfortunately many young people excitedly and positively interacted with them.
The vultures from Rebel Media produced a laughable and pathetic report that blamed ‘antifa’ for the property destruction and looting that happened that night, rather than showing how a real cross section of Montrealers respond with legitimate rage and a desire to be heard in a world that marginalizes their voices.
We felt we lacked the numbers to deal with Rebel Media, and it seemed likely if we did attack, the crowd may have taken their side, because no one knows who Rebel Media is, let alone that they were being used to create far-right propoaganda. It was a frustrating situation.
At the same time, fires were being lit by small groups within the demo, but were extinguished by what appeared to be a small but organized group of white men wearing tactical gear and patches associated with far-right types attatched to their jackets, one of who had a go-pro camera on his head. They were seen at times having a group discussion before moving in and around the demonstration to monitor the crowd. Despite some unrelated fights and confusion here and there, the vibe was still extremely positive, people partied and chanted, and celebrated being in the streets together.
Later, larger groups began starting even bigger fires in the square, and this time the LARP-ing paci-flics didn’t intervene. There was some resistance as riot cops began tear-gassing and trying to disperse the crowd, but most people began running and scattering away as the cops entered the square. West of St. Laurant was seemingly free of cops, and multiple groups of people autonomously began setting fires, looting and destroying shops and other property as they left. Even though we wish it lasted longer, in that short time it was heartening to see people work together to take a little bit of their lives back by looting from the bougie shops in the Old Port, as well as generally fucking shit up. A city bus being used to transport riot cops was also liberated and covered in graffiti while others partied in and around it, celebrating a small victory if even for a brief minute.
In a media comment, Mayor Plante called the revellers ‘stupid’, and cried about the damage done to small businesses, asserting ‘we must remain united and stick together’. This is just the usual shitty liberal narrative: suddenly ‘we are all in this together’, all equal as ‘citizens’ when it’s time to maintian social order. They gloss over the very real divisions within society, held together through oppressive structures by which the wealthy, predominantely white property owning classes exploit working class, poor and predominantly POC folks.
At the same time, leftist identity politicians on social media condemn the riots, claiming they are responsible for causing further harm to those already most at risk. Others fall for the narrative of elusive ‘outside agitators’, white anarchists, who infiltrate peaceful crowds to cause violence. While we acknowledge the very real dangers that marginalized people in particular face from COVID19, we’d point it it was mostly people of color who showed up, and acted on their own initiative during this riot.
It is not revolt and militant solidarity in the streets that causes harm, but the institutions and laws which govern capitalist civilization. These are what keep us chained to shitty jobs where we are the most at risk of catching COVID19,that harass and murder us, and protect an economic system based on the theft of indigenous lands. We accuse these IDPOL clout-chasers of taking power away from the marginalized people who showed up and threw down. We accuse them of doing the work of the police and the politicians by trying to pacify, alienate and delegitimize the rioter’s rage.
Demonstrations continue to be called on the nights following April 11th. So far, the second and third demos were quite a bit smaller than the first, and were heavily repressed by the police. Nevertheless, with no real end in sight to the curfew, we think it is imperative to keep up the struggle. In this sense we are ‘all in this together’- we have militant solidarity with the youth (and others) whose futures are also increasingly bleak.
There are a number of tactical considerations we would like to consider in light of the events on the 11th. While the paci-flics were able to intervene when smaller groups were starting smaller fires, when bigger fires were being lit they were not able to. And as soon as the crowd was dispersed, they were not ready to deal with looting or vandalism. Clearly they are relatively weak, and small in number. While there weren’t enough of us to feel confident in confronting them at the time, we believe if anarchists and anti-authoritarians showed up in larger numbers, acting together, its possible we could shut them down and even force them out of the crowd if they attempted to pacify folks. Our numbers will lend us a greater legitimacy to others present, and likely allow us to have critical conversations with them about who these people are and why we defend certain actions.
In regards to the police, they didn’t engage with the crowd until large fires were lit. We feel it may be possible to strike at the police first, before they intervene, but it didn’t seem viable at this time. Rage is growing against the police, and it is possible that at later times we may be able to take action first, but this would also require us having sufficient numbers, and reading the vibe of the crowd. In any case, in order to allow us to hold the streets in these situations, we must also be able to defend against dispersal techniques. Specifically this means dealing with tear gas, which has been effective at quickly breaking up crowds. Coming prepared with projectiles, or having the means to break up paving stones etc in order to provide them for those present would be advantageous as well. We also need to have the numbers to be able to act as a distinct group, to deal with tear gas, and to calmly resist the riot cops. We believe that this would build confidence within the crowd, facilitate a more combative engagement with riot cops, and show that we don’t need to simply retreat.
We must continue to counter liberal narratives intent on pacifying revolt, taking us off the streets, and giving our power back to the politicians and self-appointed experts. We can do this during demos when pacifists try to speak and act out against violence against police and property, and after the fact by responding to IDPOL types and media reports with our own analysis. As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, we must be present for these defiant events. This is where we build complicity and affinity with rebels outside our circles, and when possible, have critical conversations with those present about tactics and targets. Equally, we need to be able to push out far-right grifters and reactionaries who are there to exploit our revolt.
This summer is gonna be hot, let’s throw gas on the fire and burn this fucking prison world down!
Solidarity with the rioters and revellers! Fuck the curfew!
Comments Off on R.I.P. Matt Cicero: Anarchist Militant, Journalist, Community Organizer
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
On March 16, 2020, our comrade Matt departed for the spirit world. We have lost one of the most committed anarchists in our part of the world, and the loss is felt intensely due to the tragic circumstances of his death.
Many people who did not know Matt well will probably remember him as the guy that bombed the bank back in 2010. At this time, there was a major mobilization of anarchists preparing for the G20 summit in Toronto. Several months prior to the summit, a group calling itself FFF (Fighting For Freedom) released footage of the firebombing of an RBC branch in Ottawa. The footage was dramatic – a black-clad figure runs out of the bank minutes before it explodes in flame.
Although he never confessed to the action, I think that Matt would have wanted to be remembered for this action. He was arrested for it, jailed, and put on trial, but charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Six years after the bombing, he posted an article entitled “6 reasons I support arson (as a tool of social change)” on his blog. “I think it’s an example… of direct action, and I think that social movements in Canada are far too pacified, they are way too comfortable with the ideology, with non-violence as an ideology, not as a tactic, but as the only possible way forward,” he said. “I think social movements need to become more militant and I wanted to highlight that, which I think the action does.”
The communique released by FFF explained the reasons why RBC had been targeted. They had been a major sponsor of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which had involved a massive crack-down on the street population of that city, and RBC was also a major financier of the Alberta Tar Sands.
It’s important to note here that Matt was one of the anarchists who was at the forefront of indigenous solidarity organizing. 2010 really was the year that anti-colonial politics came to the forefront of anarchist analysis in so-called Canada. It was through the relationships that anarchists formed with indigenous people around that time that began to significantly shift anarchist discourse. Matt was one of the pioneers of this, and he remained active with IPSMO (the Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement – Ottawa) for the better part of a decade.
Matt was a committed activist. Serious, principled, and intense, he knew what he believed and had the courage of his convictions. His stubbornness often led to him butting heads with other activists, as for myself, I usually found myself agreeing with him and supporting his stance. He thought that radical politics should be about action. When it was time to throw down, you knew Matt was game.
It is difficult to grieve Matt, partly due to the tragic conditions of his death. I have not spoken to anyone who had really spoken to him in the past two years. Not only was he estranged from his family, it seems that he was also estranged from his friends. It would seem that his mental health deteriorated, and he was living in a tent by the Ottawa river, close to the War Museum, and not far from Asinabka, the Algonquin sacred site currently be desecrated by a huge condo development.
The circumstances of his death were mysterious. Apparently, the police told his mother that he had fallen out of a tree. I was a part of a group that visited the tree, and we all agreed that it just wasn’t possible that that had happened. Not only was the tree not very tall, it was a spruce tree, and it would have been impossible to climb without breaking branches, and no branches were broken. What is known is that he died of blunt force trauma and the police didn’t rule it a suicide.
We are still trying to put the pieces together, so if you do have information that would help us understand what happened in the last two years of his life, we would encourage you to write us. Even though we can’t change what happened, understanding what happened can be an important part of the grieving process.
We also have some soul-searching as a movement to do. There have been a significant numbers of deaths of despair amongst activist men in the past few years. To name a few: Derek, Dave, Hugo, Jean, and Charles. What is leading our comrades to such depths of emotional pain? Is it the state of the world, or it is something about the way that activists treat each other?
The reality is that, despite our best efforts to change the world for the world, things are not improving on planet Earth, and in fact, many of the gains made by previous generations of activists are now being undone. This can be deeply disheartening, especially for people who have based their whole lives around struggling to make the world a better place.
There is another question that is more disturbing, and that is whether it is something in the activist scene is killing us. Has the anarchist culture become deeply toxic? Both Dave and Matt were being excluded by their respective activist communities at the times of their deaths. In both cases, it seems likely that this was a factor in the deterioration of their mental health. Is a toxic activist culture partly to blame?
In any case, Matt’s body is gone, but his spirit has moved on. Perhaps the freedom that he desired so passionately was not possible in this world, but I hope that where he is now, his spirit will know true freedom.
Rest in peace, Matt, you were a good anarchist, and I will honour your memory. More importantly, I will honour your spirit by continuing the fight that you dedicated your life to – the fight for freedom, for autonomy, for Mother Earth, and in solidarity with the oppressed against the state.
It seems right to end by quoting the FFFC communique released after the bank bombing:
We pass the torch to all those who would resist the trampling of native rights, of the rights of us all, and resist the ongoing destruction of our planet.
A memorial is being organized by Matt’s friend Albert Dumont, an Algonquin spiritual leader. It will be held on May 16. By pure coincidence, a massive global day of action happens to be planned for that exact day. So, wherever you are, if you do want to honour Matt’s memory, consider torching or smashing something in his honour, or at least lighting off some fireworks.
For details regarding the memorial service, please write email@example.com. If you have photos or videos of Matt, please share them with us. We would also encourage people to reach out to share their memories of Matt, which could be shared at his memorial.
A song-in-progress is being written by Matt’s friend. If you have memories of actions that Matt participated in, and want them to be part of a song that will be sung at his memorial, please check out this video: https://youtu.be/-BjzjBghTf8 and get in touch.
PDF of posters. Like millions of other people in Ontario, I woke up this morning in a world where the police had been given the authority to stop you at any time, question you, demand information without any reason, and make orders which have to be followed. In practice, a lot of this stuff already happens, but formalizing what is usually an abuse of power is a huge blow.
The government claims this is to try to stop the spread of covid. They are banning us all from sitting outside in the park with friends at a distance while factories and prisons are still operating full steam, prioritizing profits over relationships. Giving the police enhanced power to enforce these kinds of rules is just unbelievably fucked.
I was pretty upset so I made a bunch of posters and put them up around my neighbourhood in East Hamilton. Would they have been better if I’d taken more time? For sure. Should I have put “Covid is real” or something on them so it’s more clear I’m not an anti-masker or denialist? Probably. But I would say it’s more important to act, to make visible some opposition to these authoritarian measures, so that we don’t all feel scared and alone.
As an anarchist, I believe in informing myself, discussing with people close to me, and coming up with our own set of practices for dealing with covid that reflect our own values and priorities. Just like with any other law, even when the things we decide are appropriate are illegal, it just means we have to put a bit more effort into finding the means to do them. I oppose the ability of the state to dictate practices and priorities onto us, and especially their ability to enforce them with repression, even if I might choose to adopt practices that a similar to the ones they suggest.
Some anarchists have been circulating texts that mimic the discourse of the far-right, worrying about the free speech of dissident conservative politicians, or about the right of religious reactionaries to gather, or minimizing covid. Others have become indistinguishable from liberals and try to shut down criticism from their comrades by claiming we are trying to kill their grandparents or something. We can do better.
Things are scary right now, it’s true. The social pressure to just go along with whatever authoritarian crap is super heavy, but putting these posters up alone in the middle of the day on the weekend was a good experiment in talking with my neighbours about it. We are never as alone as we think we are.
(I’m including a pdf of my posters in case you suck at graphic design more than I do. But it’s easy to make your own with free software like Gimp and LibreOffice Draw. Wheat paste is three or four parts warm water to one part flour; add the water to the flour slowly, stirring lots, then dump in a whole bunch of sugar.)
Solidarity to the people in Montreal who have been fighting against the curfew there!
Keep your collectives and affinity groups tight, and always maintain a good social distance from the state!
Thank you all for attending last night’s protest! Many hundreds of us took to the streets to denounce the imposition of a curfew, a measure that is an attack on our freedom and on our relations and aspirations of solidarity.
Together, we were able to put forward a clear message that rejects the false solutions of Legault’s government and the City of Montreal. We denounced the curfew and any use of police to deal with the health crisis, highlighting its cruel impacts on homeless people, sex workers, drug users, undocumented workers and so many others.
The struggle against the curfew and false, authoritarian solutions to the pandemic continues and is gaining steam. We stand firm in the will to refuse the dichotomy between blind obedience to the government and the silly manipulations of conspiracy theorists, which are exploited by the far right.
Just as we marched against the police state, the SPVM devoted themselves to providing a clear demonstration of it. Despite the deployment of hundreds of cops, we took the streets, chanting and shooting fireworks, for more than an hour! Things heated up when riot police forced their way into the crowd to grab a comrade. Despite the crowd’s efforts to help the comrades targeted by the police, we didn’t succeed in freeing them. It is the responsibility of all of us to develop practices so that such situations cannot happen again.
Many of you have expressed your willingness to continue the struggle. Please know that we do not intend to give up. Our main goal is to help mobilize. Feel free to self-organize, plan actions; we will not hesitate to use our platform to support you to the best of our abilities. In particular, we encourage our comrades to join the more spontaneous gatherings organized by the young Montrealers who have been acting on their legitimate anger over recent days; we will circulate relevant calls on our platforms. Stay tuned!
A special thanks to the AQPSUD with whom we have been fortunate to struggle since the very beginning of mobilizations against the curfew. Thank you for your presence and for all the work you do on a daily basis.
If you have received a ticket for breaking curfew, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in a mutual aid effort for contesting the fine.
Let’s stand together in the face of police repression, let’s learn to leave no one behind.