Comments Off on Call for solidarity from the #EkoniAci movement! Blockade at km 16!
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
In order to enforce the moratorium on logging on their territory, Nitaskinan, members of the Atikamekw of Manawan are currently setting up a new blockade. It is located at km 16 on the road to Manawan, north of St-Michel-des-Saints. Logging companies have been informed that they will not be able to return with their machinery when the thaw occurs on May 19. We need to be many to ensure that they respect this instruction.
It is possible to come now to help set up the camp. Those who can free themselves, the most sensitive moments are likely to be from May 19 to 26. The blockade will remain in place afterwards and solidarity will still be necessary.
The Atikamekw of Wemontaci also need support at the moment, in the area of Renard au rat. Tensions are rising and threats are being made.
Conspiracy theorists, the far right, and a few neo-Nazis got together to intimidate drags queens; Standing shoulder to shoulder, the LGBTQ+ community and anti-fascists drew a line and resisted these despicable trolls; In what has become a tradition, the far right found itself isolated at the far end of a parking lot…
The drag artist Barbada de Barbades was invited by the municipality of Sainte-Catherine, on Montréal’s south shore, to host a drag queen story hour on April 2, 2023, for twenty interested families from the area, the key goals being to encourage children to read, to demystify gender diversity, and to promote openness to difference. The event was to take place at the municipal library in Sainte-Catherine.
Barbada has hosted story hours since 2016 (and she has not been the only drag queen to do so), but it is only in recent years —and in a particularly apparent way in recent months— that a section of the local far-right adjacent conspiracy theory milieu has had a bee in its bonnet about the issue, under the combined influence of the conservative evangelical right and the anti-protocol conspiracy milieu that coalesced around the so-called “freedom convoy.” This anti-drag hysteria is one element in a larger movement meant to demonize sexual and gender identity minorities, trans identities in particular, on the basis of a variety of conspiracy fantasies, including, for example, the “grooming panic,” “pedosatanism” (a key theme in the QAnon milieu), and, in some particularly extreme cases, the racist and antisemitic “great replacement” theory. This fundamentally far-right transphobic movement has, at this point, made legislative and institutional headway in the US.
In this case, it was the anti-protocol militant François Amalega Bitondo, best known for his shenanigans during the COVID-19 pandemic, who decided to lead the charge against the drag queen story hour, because opposition to health measures is no longer getting him the attention he’s clearly grown accustomed to. It seems that Amalega has grown increasingly fanatical in recent years, particularly as a result of his contact with the evangelists at Théovox and André Pitre (Lux Média), a key source of disinformation. He has become pro-Trump, pro-Putin, and has generally drunk the various flavours of conspiratorial Kool-Aid available, including the anti-drag hysteria, which is explicitly constructed around transphobic rhetoric. In recent weeks, he mobilized his followers to demonstrate against Barbada’s story hour in Sainte-Catherine. With a handful of his sympathizers, he also unsuccessfully tried to disrupt a story hour at the Westmount library on March 25.
In the face of the imminent threat posed by this reactionary movement, which in the final analysis wants to marginalize and suppress their communities, an ad hoc network of queer and trans antifascists and their allies decided to organize a community defense intervention in Sainte-Catherine. At the same time, other initiatives were spontaneously organized on social media to mount a festive counterforce in support of drag queens and against the conspiracy theorists and haters.
A week before the event, Barbada and her entourage indicated that they would prefer no response of any type against the anti-drag demonstration, labouring under the peculiar illusion that simply ignoring this movement will naturally lead to it dissipating and fading away. As we have often said, when it comes to fascist and fascist-adjacent movements, magic thinking doesn’t work. The organizer of the “OUI aux DRAGS” (Yes to Drag Queens) demonstration nonetheless chose to respect Barbada’s request and cancel her event. In reaction to this evasion, an anonymous statement was published two days before the event and circulated by the P!nk Bloc and Montréal Antifasciste addressing why this analysis is problematic and confirming that the self-defense mobilization would be going forward.
The Day Came. . .
Story hour was planned for 10:00 a.m. Amalega and his trolls called for a demonstration at the community center where the library is located at 9:30 a.m. Amalega arrived at 8:45 a.m. and parked his car at a small strip mall across the street from the community center. He was immediately encircled and blocked by a dozen militants, who prevented him from crossing the street and effectively trapped him in the parking lot. On his webcast, he claims he was the “victim of aggression” and “feared for his life,” but the video clearly shows that the militants simply blocked his way and demanded that he leave. This face-off lasted for a few minutes, as a growing number of anti-drag demonstrators gathered, (at that point, one particularly aggressive sympathizer decided to play the big man and needed a gentle reminder not to cross the line). Meanwhile, the community defense contingent was also growing, and the police from MRC Rousillon arrived and separated the two groups.
In the following half hour, the two camps continued to grow, and the confrontation gradually became static. The core of the anti-drag demonstration gathered around Amalega remained confined to a sidewalk behind a police line for two hours. While a section of the self-defense demonstration surrounded this core group, others circulated in the neighbourhood to greet the anti-drag demonstrators and make it clear to them that they were in a hostile environment. There were a few minor skirmishes but nothing serious. Over time, both sides gained reinforcements. There were a number of vehicles in the parking lot decorated with the nauseating flags and ornaments familiar from the conspiracy theorists of the “freedom convoy,” and a bus chartered for the event arrived with around thirty community defenders, who brought snacks and coffee, festive costuming accoutrements, and a sound system. For the subsequent hour and half, the defensive bloc took on a festive, colourful, and irreverent quality, with comrades dancing in the street to popular songs and Disney classics, while the mortified anti-drag demonstrators remained trapped on their bit of sidewalk.
It’s worth noting that the conspiracy theory milieu was largely spared having to deal with anti-fascists during the last three years of the pandemic. In spite of the close and often explicit proximity of the far right to conspiracy theory fantasies, the challenges raised by the health measures had to do with personal decisions, and responding to people and vaguely defined organizations whose key shortcoming is to adhere to anti-scientific nonsense is complicated and far from straightforward. Nonetheless, a line is crossed when these conspiracy theory fantasies directly target our communities and compromise our security, whether in the short-, medium-, or long-term, and that is the line the anti-drag movement has crossed with its ridiculous panic, and it is absolutely essential to deliver the message that queer and trans communities will defend themselves in the face of this intimidation. There should be no doubt: if the queerphobes/transphobes persist in their demonization exercise, they will always come face to face with us. Queers bash back, darling. . .
Finally, at around 11:00 a.m., the information began to circulate that the story hour had been moved to another municipal building and had unfolded as planned undisturbed. Anyway you look at it, the anti-drag contingent lost, and the community defenders can feel a certain pride in their strategic victory.
At a certain point, three individuals had the questionable idea that they would plant themselves in the middle of the defensive contingent and unfurl a banner that read “sales pédos hors du Québec” (filthy pedos out of Québec). While ultimately it is entirely noble to denounce and combat pedophilia, in this instance one can safely presume that these dubious characters were not there with good intentions, and as a result their banner was immediately confiscated, which led to some pushing and shoving when one of them tried to reclaim it. He got knocked around a bit, so the police intervened to end the altercation and escort the three intruders off to the side at some distance, but another altercation occurred, which led to the arrest of one of these irritating individuals. When examining the photos of the people in question, comrades identified the leader of the local White Lives Matter network, which was the topic of a Montréal Antifasciste article in March 2022.
The banner unfurled by whites supremacists at the anti-drag protest in Sainte-Catherine, on April 2 2023, and quickly confiscated by antifascists.
On the left, Raphaël Dinucci St-Hilaire, a leader of the whites supremacist project White Lives Matter; on the right, someone we believe to be Bruno Lacasse-Freeman, an (ex-)militant of the Soldiers of Odin.
This very active white supremacist militant, whom, up to this point, we have only identified by his Telegram sobriquet “Whitey,” is a Laval resident named Raphaël Dinucci St-Hilaire. This little neo-Nazi twerp got his warning shot last winter and has had an entire year’s reprieve to give up his militant activities, but instead he has redoubled his efforts, putting up hundreds of white supremacist stickers in the Montréal area and participating in banner drops. He made a fatal error in Sainte-Catherine. The gloves are off, and Mr. Dinucci can take it for granted that the Montréal anti-fascist community’s patience with him has run out.
As to his comrade, who was arrested, we can’t be a 100 percent certain, but we believe he is a (former) member of the Soldiers of Odin, Bruno Lacasse-Freeman, aka “Burn SOO,” who was never at pains to disguise his white supremacist proclivities.
That, however, wasn’t the last surprise! A few minutes later, another neo-Nazi, and not the least of them, showed up at the edge of the demonstration: none other than Sylvain Marcoux, a special target of antifascist surveillance activities (a raging antisemite, a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and Adrien Arcand, a close associate of the Fédération des Québécois de souche, the leader of the Parti nationaliste chrétien, etc.) in the company of two young adults. He was intercepted and politely encouraged to join the anti-drag contingent to avoid any escalation. He chose instead to strut his stuff and increase the tension, which didn’t take long. He met some opposition and started flailing about like a madman before finally hitting a comrade, after which he ate a knuckle sandwich. The police intervened with pepper spray and detained Marcoux, who it seems was later released with no charges.
The Nationalist Identitarian -> Conspiracy Theory -> Queerphobe Hatred Pipeline
In a video released several hours after the event, the doddering fascist and former Farfadaa, Luc Desjardins, who was decompressing and recovering from the stress all by his lonesome at home (20 Chemin Talbot, L’Assomption), whined about the complete humiliation suffered by the anti-drag crowd and called for a “militant” alliance to “really, really, really” resist “the antifa and all the crazy faggots,” while pouring bile on his old comrade Steeve Charland.
It’s no coincidence that all of these known far-right figures (soft and hard) now find themselves together sharing the conspiracy theory hysteria that is currently in vogue. For some years now, these milieus have submerged themselves in various social media bubbles where all manner curious amalgamations, disinformation, and toxic fantasies that incessantly promote fanaticism on the part of those exposed to them circulate freely, leading to these crazes being imported from the US. The vast majority of the people involved are completely unaware that they are being pulled into a down spiral that gradually desensitizes them to hatred and inexorably pushes them into the sphere of the far right and neo-Nazis.
Faced with this phenomenon, we have no choice but to mobilize our forces, develop community self-defense, and do everything in our power to deconstruct and defeat the hateful discourse targeting our communities. Transphobic discourse in particular has been increasingly resonating in mainstream society for some time now. Laws have been adopted in the US to strip sexual and gender minorities of their rights, influential comedians have normalized mockery and threats targeting the trans community, and the religious right is gaining greater traction every day.
It would be a grave error to think that these phenomena will stop at the border and Québec will remain impervious to them. The mobilizations against drag queens are only the first sign of the contamination, and we think this movement must be nipped in the bud, as is the case with any attempt by the far right to impose its ideas and its program.
Never forget that together we are stronger, and that when our rights and our very existence are attacked the only possible response is community self-defense.
Comments Off on A few notes and explanations of the April 2nd situation
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
On the 2nd of April (this Sunday) a far-right group with close ties to evangelical and conspiracy movements has called for a protest of a drag queen story hour hosted by Barbada, at the Ville Sainte-Catherine municipal library. This group is openly transphobic and homophobic and has explicitly indicated that this new effort targeted at child-friendly drag performances is the beginning of a campaign against our community.
Faced with this reality, a network of trans individuals, groups and allies has elected to launch a call to counter-protest this far-right presence and protect the event and the families attending the story hour. Other individuals/groups have also made calls supporting a similar reaction.
In the last few days, Barbada has opposed these tactics and prefers a non-confrontational strategy: to ignore the far-right presence in the hopes that by ignoring them we may limit their visibility and potential growth. Some initiatives have been cancelled to respect Barbada’s will.
We have elected to maintain our call to action and maintain our presence on the ground. While we respect the other groups’ strategic and political choices, we consider our strategy to be preferable, here’s why:
First, we must understand that this campaign is just emerging here in Québec and also reflects the importation of a movement with a strong presence in North America. This movement is organized against child friendly Drag shows, specifically story hours, with the goal of creating a predation narrative (grooming panic) around « transgenderism ». This effort has already led to the adoption of anti-drag/anti-trans laws in the United States (https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1966780/interdiction-spectacle-drag-show-etats-unis-enfants). These recent developments are what follows in a larger movement which favors the oppression – and eventual eradication – of trans people. With this in mind, we cannot tolerate the appearance of this movement on the territory on which we live our lives.
Ultimately, this is about our security and our survival. (These movements come too often with waves of murders targeting trans people, especially trans women.)
It also seems to us be a poor analysis to believe that this situation only concerns Barbada as an individual. While her performance is indeed being targeted, with the possibility that this situation can have repercussions on her career, this far-right group and its protest are not just about Barbada. We are all affected by their actions and their discourse. To do nothing might be the best course of action for Barbada’s activities, but that would be sending the message that we let these groups operate unopposed. It is unfortunate that Barbada finds herself in the middle of all of this, and we sympathize with the situation. However, we consider it necessary to oppose this proto-fascist group and any others who might want to erase our existence whenever and wherever they might show their ugly faces. We have neither hopes nor expectations for police and politicians to protect us.
We express all this in a spirit of honesty and dialogue. We invite all drag/trans defenders to listen to their conscience when choosing how they want to act in response to this situation. We are not looking to denounce anyone for their choice of strategies or actions, and hope to receive the same treatment from our community.
The Legal Self-Defense Committee of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) is getting its Legal Self-Defense Fund back together. The fund aims to support people who are victims of police or legal repression for alleged acts committed in the context of individual or collective actions with an anti-capitalist, feminist, anti-colonial or anti-racist scope.
We need your contributions to help the Fund! Following the large mobilizations of 2012, several legal funds were created to support those arrested, but for the past few years, these have not been available, including the one at CLAC until now. We are starting a new legal fund to support people arrested for political activities, because it is important to support arrested people financially so that they can face the government’s biased and unjust police and judicial systems.
By cheque Write the cheque to “Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes” and send it at the following adress:
CLAC-Montréal / QPIRG-Concordia c/o Université Concordia 1455 de Maisonneuve O Montréal, Quebec H3G 1M8
Write “Legal Defense Fund” on the cheque, so that we know it’s for the Fund
By interac e-transfer Send it to: finance @ clac-montreal.net With the security question: “Legal defense”, And the answer: “fund”. If you are doing a donation specifically to the Atlanta solidarity campaign: Write the question: “Atlanta solidarity” And the answer: “stopcopcity”.
Comments Off on Banner Drop for Welaunee Forest Defenders
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Militarization and expansion of police power is a global threat. The fight back against the Cop City development project in Atlanta mirrors other local struggles everywhere. This solid and long standing frontline struggle represents how the destruction of natural habitats is interconnected with state violence and repression.
At the edge of Welaunee forest, every cop pushed back with fireworks and every piece of construction equipment set ablaze is welcomed with cheer from companions all over turtle island and beyond.
We made and dropped this banner in Montréal in solidarity with all the arrestees in Altanta, even the innocent ones. We will never forget Tortuguita.
Over the past few months, several sections of the coastal gaslink pipeline have been vandalized. Financially, the consequences of each act were minor: a few holes in the pipeline here, some corroded welding seams there, damaged concrete here. Our goal was to contribute to the small delays in a project that was already well over budget.
We drilled holes less than a penny wide in a section of pipe that had not yet been lowered into the trench. We covered the holes with fiberglass film, which temporarily prevents leaks in the pipes, but only lasts a few months. We know that welded sections of coated pipe are assessed before being lowered into the trench. After the trench is backfilled, they are tested under pressure. The holes were sealed in the hope that they would pass the first pressure test, but will have to be excavated and repaired before the pipeline is completed. This occurred during the last week of October on section 8 of the pipeline, between Kilometers 610 and 613.
Between 585 and 588 kilometers of the pipeline, we found a section of pipe that had been dug out, so we damaged the coating at the joints by chipping and sanding it off in less visible places. This coating is needed to protect the pipe from corrosion and rust. We did this in early November. We liked this approach because the damage is not visible, but can still have a significant long-term structural impact if corrosion and rust show up, so it will need to be fixed.
We drilled very small holes and filled them this time with an epoxy putty, somewhere between Kilometers 605 and 608 of the pipeline route (that’s in section 8.) We did this in the second week of November. We weren’t sure if the sealant would withstand the pressure test, but decided it was worth a try since this sealant is easier to source and use than the fiberglass coating.
At the end of November, we drilled and filled holes in the pipe string before it would be lowered into section 6 of the pipeline between Kilometers 486 and 489.
In early December, we chipped and busted the welds on a section of pipe that had not yet been lowered into the trench between Kilometers 606 and 609.
We damaged the protective coating on a section of pipe by chipping and grinding, and chipped a welded seam on several sections of pipe before they were backfilled between Kilometer 377 and 380 of section 5 of the pipeline. This work was performed in early January.
Near Kilometer 27 of North Hirsch forestry road we damaged welds and coating on a pipe section in the middle of January.
We poured hydrochloric acid on the concrete pipes we knew were meant for the tunnel under Wedzin Kwa and used a concrete drill inside the pipe to weaken them even further. The concrete pipes are designed to protect the pipe itself from the pressure of the surrounding soil. Given the heightened security and surveillance of concrete pipe storage, we can’t say when this happened.
In early December, we grinded and chipped the coating on the welded seams of the pipe sections between Kilometers 598 to 601.
In mid February, we scraped and chipped large portions of the pipe coating of the string between Kilometers 626 and 629.
Or is that in fact what happened? Only some of these activities have actually taken place. We waited to share this information all at once, complete with some additional false reports, so the only way to know where repairs are really needed is to excavate and re-examine all the above-mentioned pipes. Cracked concrete or rusted and patched pipes can lead to small leaks and large-scale spills, which is why every action, whether genuine or falsified, is being brought to the attention of the public long before the pipeline is operational.
While we would prefer to write only completely honest report backs, we also believe that we should be resourceful and use every means at our disposal to delay construction as best we can. We apologize to those involved in the struggle for not being able to give you an accurate picture of what we have really accomplished. CGL we wish you all the best in your treasure hunt.
Comments Off on Tenants’ Union March into the Offices of Transport Québec
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Monday, February 20th, members of the Montreal Autonomous Tenants’ Union (SLAM-MATU) stormed into the offices of Transport Quebec. Any plans for a future eviction of the Ville-marie encampment must be cancelled, and encampment members need to be given housing that fits their needs. We marched on TQ’s offices, just as we march on the offices of landlords, because direct action gets the goods.
We’re calling on members of the public, supporters, and unhoused comrades, to take to the streets this coming Monday, February 27th, 5:30pm, Atwater Metro (Cabot Square) to help put an end to these evictions.
These evictions are not solutions to homelessness and do not improve the lives of people who are homeless. Homelessness is caused by our broken shelter system, the predatory rents and evictions of landlords, and the modern austerity politics of capitalist governments who underfund and mismanage mental health, social, and housing services. The housing crisis affects us all! Defend your neighbours!
Music is once again from Action Sédition. Go check them out.
Comments Off on McGill Wintemute Blockade Report & Analysis: A bloody nose for the TERFs, but where to from here?
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
The protest and blockade against the UK anti-trans campaigner Robert Wintemute at McGill on Tuesday 10th Jan 2023 is potentially a moment of polarisation for the queer and trans liberation movement in Montreal. It is also a serious blow against the ability for anti-trans campaigners to freely build support for their ideas in the city. Further, the militancy of the rally clarifies some of the current contradictions in our movement and demonstrates the movement’s interest in moving in a more radical direction.
This report intends to assess the different forces of the protest. It will explain who Robert Wintemute is, what his ideas are and why they represent the thin end of the wedge on attacks against (trans) women and queer people internationally. It will provide an account of the rally itself, demonstrating how the movement is being pushed in different directions. It will also provide some brief information on the far-right personalities who attempted to break the picket and attack the protesters. Finally, it will make an argument for where we should take the movement from here – that the radical, anarchist and socialist elements should be willing to take this opportunity to organise and mobilise.
Who is this Wintemute guy exactly and why does he suck so much?
Wintemute is a King’s College London law professor who has become the fresh posterboy of the UK anti-trans movement after he denounced support for gender self-identification in the UK conservative magazine The Critic in 2021. He withdrew his support for the drafting of the Yogyakarta Principles, which outline best practices for legally protecting gender and sexual orientation, stating “nobody was thinking about males [read trans* women] with intact genitals gaining access to women’s spaces”. The baseless conflation of genitals and rape with trans women has been expanding recently in popular discourse in the UK and globally. If they weren’t thinking about it, it’s probably because their heads were somewhere other than in the general public’s underwear.
This shift has led him to making fast friends in the anti-trans movement, notably through the right-wing front group LGB Alliance, of which he is now a trustee. The LGB Alliance spends all its energy campaigning against transgender people, and lists amongst its financial and political supporters the US conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation. Wintemute is gay, and a professor of human rights law; this coupled with his soft support of Palestine and with his claims that his new anti-trans(femme) position is because he “listened to women” gives him apparent left-wing credibility.
This credibility is important for groups like the LGB alliance because they play a role as wedges against the left in the international drive against transgender rights. This wedge is led by a narrow sector of radical feminist NGO bosses and academics who gained status by following the New Left in the 70s. They are now garnering opportunistic support from the conservative and far-right to promote anti-trans ideas, ideas they are happy to support as they confuse, disorganise, and deflate the left. These ideas, and radical feminism generally, are essentially a petit-bourgeois analysis of gender and sexuality (this meaning: coming from NGO and business owners and bosses, and well-paid academics, rather than working-class people). At its core, it claims that women and men have universal, natural differences that self-identification or gender transitions cannot alter. Gender transition in their view represents the possibility of sexism entering places where women have organised together to fight for their distinct interests. The subject of Wintemute’s talk – the separation of transgender from the rest of queer rights – is a classic example of this radical feminist politics of division.
This attack line is the thin end of the wedge for broader policing around gender and sexuality in society. Today the attack is against transgender people, but tomorrow the attack is against lesbians and dykes for looking too much like men, and ultimately against anyone who does not live in a traditional family structure. This is something Wintemute’s friends at the Heritage Foundation know too well, given they’ve recently celebrated their victory in overturning Roe v. Wade in the United States. It’s of interest to all queer people and workers generally to stand against transphobia to stop this attack in its tracks.
The cries by the right around free speech for TERFs are largely a distraction by conservatives to deflect criticism of their ideas. It deflects from the fact that bourgeois and petit-bourgeois speakers have access to the levers of social communication that working class people lack. Wintemute is not voicing confusion in a discussion with friends or colleagues, he is hosting a presentation proposing the queer and trans movements separate with the support of a major university – who celebrated the occasion by providing a light lunch. The real attack on academic freedom is coming from austerity-hungry governments and university managements. Trans* people are locked out of the workforce and their ideas are marginalised, while ‘free-speech advocates’ and speakers like Wintemute are centered and paid cushy salaries to shit on trans folks. This is not a conversation between equals, but a conflict between classes.
The Protest Itself
The protest against Wintemute’s event was called after it came to the attention of well-known Montreal activist and micro-celebrity [name removed following request], who then put out a call to protest a little under a week before the event. Other supportive organisations such as Queer McGill and RadLaw McGill were brought on-board to promote the event. The event planning functionally ended at Instagram and Facebook posts, with [name removed] doing a media tour, including several media interviews the day before the rally. Meanwhile outrage about the defence of the event by Wintemute’s allies in McGill law spread the rally information widely.
The rally was essentially disorganised on arrival, and began only when a few members of the crowd took the lead in bringing people to the front doors of the event chanting. McGill security had not made any preparations to guard the room or prevent students from protesting. There were a few speeches at the front of the door by crowd members and rally organisers. The crowd had easily swelled to around 200 people and the hall was full of chanting people. LGB – With the T! / 1, 2, 3, 4, kick the bigots out the door! – 5, 6, 7, 8, no right to discriminate!
At the end of her speech, [name removed] called a press conference for media interested in talking to her in the foyer starting in one minute. Soon after however, other members of the crowd started blockading the door with a banner, shouting down the few TERFs who were still attempting to break through. The action was just starting. The crowd was chanting in an effort to disrupt the event and holding the blockade for about half an hour. McGill law staffers–including the Dean himself– blocked the door to avoid the protesters getting inside, where less than ten people were gathered for the conference.
The door to the conference (now being held on zoom) was opened, and a member of the crowd took the opportunity to move in on the event. The McGill Law staffers tried to physically block them from entering but were greatly outnumbered, and the crowd began surging at the door. Once a few people entered the room and started chanting, much of the crowd followed. Someone walked inside and immediately unplugged the projector to stop the talk. Someone in the crowd had prudently brought a cup of flour for the event and covered Wintemute clean. He was covered head to toe with white flour like a sad and confused ghoul. The few people present at the talk retreated to the following room – the dean’s office – and were trapped there until the rally ended nearly an hour and a half later. Someone loaded the food and bottles of Perrier in the room onto a cart and wheeled it into the main foyer – light lunch was served.
After a further half an hour of eating and sitting around, more than 100 people were still in the original conference room, functionally preventing Wintemute and his supporters in McGill Law from leaving, as there was no other exit. There was discussion about whether to start an occupation or to end with a march. Some potential demands for an occupation were discussed, including increased trans healthcare support for students and an expansion of the student health centre, but it was eventually agreed to have a march to a major McGill intersection and finish the rally there. Meanwhile, [name removed] kept part of the crowd at the original location to try again to hold a press conference. Around 50-70 people joined the march, which concluded with words from a few members of the crowd.
Who Were the TERFs Who Tried to Break the Blockade?
Around 4 people made an organised attempt to break the blockade and enter the event. These were not naïve feminists who were interested in a debate, but far-right agitators attracted to the event in hopes of building their profile.
Annie-Ève Collin is a Quebec far-right personality who has built a profile as a covid sceptic and anti-trans campaigner. She arrived (wearing a “I <3 JK Rowling” shirt [cringy]) with two people, and collectively they were the most aggressive in trying to break the picket, elbowing and body-slamming those who had formed the picket line. After the event she immediately got an article published in the Journal de Montreal saying that she was attacked by the protesters. She’s written for the far-right magazine Le Quebec Sceptique, has spoken on panels in support of Bill-21 campaigning organisation Mouvement laïque québécois and hosted a public talk on January 21st called “Woke” where she intended to argue against cancel culture. This talk is alarmingly hosted by the Société Gilgamesh, seemingly a front group in Montreal for the ideas of the powerful pro-Assad Syrian Social Nationalist Party.
Malcom Clarke arrived with a full camera set-up to film the event for far right publications such as Rebel News. He travelled from London, Ontario in order to crash the event, and has since been campaigning against the event organisers and providing footage to far-right and radical feminist organisations capitalising on the event.
These two far-right agitators are example that the TERF movement is acting in conjunction with the far-right movement at large. Their collaborations are also not solely based in Montreal nor Canada, but are intertwined in an international network that radical left needs to dismantle.
The political significance of this rally was not only that it was overwhelmingly successful in mobilising people and shutting down the event, but that it clarified the existing contradictions in the queer liberation movement today in Montreal. The current official leadership of the movement, although politically putting forward decent views on gender and queer rights, views rallies as being primarily symbolic and relies on the press as the locus for building and maintaining our power. This trans-liberalist strategy has been prioritized in the Quebec LGBTQ+ movement for the last decade, perhaps to its own detriment. In terms of its message, it trades trans autonomy and power for visibility and recognition by the state and media. It also prioritises a kind of trans-exceptionalism rather than solidarity with all oppressed people.
This tendency, which could be gleaned in the unfolding of the protest, represents a wider tendency towards the de-mobilisation and disposability politics within the movement. The current structure of activism has emerged more through the absence of an alternative rather than through its own cohesiveness and organisation. This is likely due to the difficulty of organising throughout covid-19, an over-emphasis on the “communautaire” or non-profit sector, a culture of political purity and capitalistic micro-social-entrepreneurship. This Neoliberal era in which the current queer community is embedded has been blunting the momentum of previous queer liberation groups.
Here in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, most long-term radical activists are either retired, cancelled, or in burn-out. This is especially true for trans women and femmes, who are often marginalised even within the liberation movements that purport to serve them. The exclusion of the trans* woman from our movements makes obvious what is always true of the encroachment of liberalism on radicalism. She is heard until she is too loud, centered until she is perceived as a threat, righteous until her politics transcend identity and demand liberation – this is why we find a 19-year-old with enormous drive, little experience in militant organising, and insufficient support, placed in the spotlight of a movement in dire need of measured strategy, disruptive tactics, and a solidaric commitment to universal liberation.
Where to from here?
The blockade has shown that the movement is confident and ready to take further action to advance trans and queer rights, despite the practical liberalism of its leadership. Militants should be confident and willing to intervene in events like this in the future to demonstrate an alternative political strategy. This means being loud and organised at rallies and events, bringing leaflets and megaphones to spread out ideas widely, and intervening to raise these events’ militancy. Further, the medium-term goal of socialists, anarchists, and radicals should be to become the prevailing voice of the movement, with the organisation and confidence to notice opportunities like these and call the rallies ourselves, in a way that is democratic and builds a base of militant support. This means building open and democratic political organisations that give members of the movement a voice, provides an opportunity for political education, and develops their capacity to engage in militant action.
The far-right and their radical feminist friends have been quick to take this event and use it to agitate their base of support. Nearly every far-right publication internationally has written about the event, including a glowing write-up in the Daily Mail calling us ‘transgender zealots’ and many trash articles in the Quebecor media empire. We cannot let them use this opportunity to grow their base without also using it as an opportunity to grow and develop ours. Liberalism is incapable of providing the framework to fight against the far right and create the solidarity we need to fight against oppression and exploitation. It’s our job to provide an organised and cohesive alternative.
Notes: This mini-zine was created with our experience in a mid-sized town being at close to 7,000 feet in elevation with intense winter storms and a relatively smaller unsheltered community than other larger occupied areas. It’s notoriously hard to squat and camp in (though we’ve done it). We use the term “patrol” cause it’s what we started with and it stuck, use whatever terms your crew is cool with like “outreach” or whatever. Please amend and edit for your area.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately seven hundred people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are killed from hypothermia annually in the so-called United States.
Absolutely no one should be left to sleep outside during cold weather yet a range of factors may force people to sleep in the cold; from discriminatory shelters kicking people out, being kicked out of a house during a storm, being forced to flee an abuser, simply being unprepared, etc. Raids sweeps and anti-homeless laws, such as anti-camping ordinances push people to camp in hidden and dispersed areas which puts them more at risk.
What is street patrol? Street Patrol (SP) consists of an autonomous (decentralized) volunteer crew or multiple crews of people who mobilize to support unsheltered relatives when weather is extremely cold. SP’s primary objective is to ensure people don’t freeze. This is done by providing cold weather gear, warm supplies, food, transportation, and possibly shelter if needed.
In some situations SP’s also act as copwatch and may intervene or de-escalate situations of police aggression and violence. SPs can also mobilize to defend encampments against “sweeps” and help to open up squats (get people sheltered in empty buildings!). Variations of crews supporting unsheltered relatives have also struck out against anti-homeless businesses with creative re-decoration or smashed windows, organized mass mobilizations and attacked cops for attacking relatives on the streets, and torn up anti-homeless barriers/benches etc. Some established street patrols have incorporated defense and attack into their practices and mobilize to address fascist threats at events.
Through building solid relationships of support we can go beyond paternalistic charity and provide meaningful solidarity that goes beyond one season. Mutual aid isn’t about being a “savior” it’s about solidarity. Make it a point with your crew that your effort organizes with unsheltered relatives. Street Patrol should be part of a larger effort to attack the root causes of homelessness such as capitalism and colonialism such as; Land Back, abolishing private property, fighting against the commodification of housing by supporting free camps and squats, food not bombs/meal distros, supporting rent strikes and attacking “slumlords” etc.
To the streets.
Street patrol can take anywhere from 1-4 hours (depending on when the crew starts). We recommend at least two people (3 being optimal) per crew/vehicle for street patrol. Always practice the buddy system! It’s up to you & your crew to organize internal communication (we recommend a Signal group), transportation, and supply pick up. It is important that anyone mobilizing for SP upholds any agreements and COVID safety protocols. Be aware that due to the unpredictable nature of some situations, SP crews place themselves at greater risk of COVID exposure as they may be in closer contact with unsheltered relatives who may be COVID positive.
Equipment: * Flashlights/headlamp (each persn on the SP crew). * Fully charged cell phone. * Warm packs (about a dozen per crew). * Emergency & wool blankets (about 4-6). * Basic first aid kit. * Trauma kit (if trained in its use).
Basic warm pack contents: Notes: our crew plans months ahead for warm pack making: organizing donation drives, doing off-season bulk purchases, and stock-piling etc. Some crews also are adept at liberating items. 😉 We hold warm pack making parties as winter comes close so we’re prepared. We also distro warm packs to other crews in the region.
* Hand warmers * Emergen-C * Cough lozenges * Beanie * Gloves * Socks * Facemask * “Know Your Rights: info
Additional items for outreach: * Sleeping bags (keep in mind wool blankets are better as they insulate even if they are wet). * Tents * Jackets * Underwear * Snacks (granola bars etc)
Some patrol/outreach recommendations:
* Ask unsheltered relatives where to check for other folks who may be in need of support. * Respect people’s privacy. Some don’t want to be bothered at their camps or in their cars. * Bring extra warm packs and offer them to unsheltered relatives to give to others. * SP can be conducted well before sundown when people are still moving around (before people hunker down and camp). In severe weather and surprise storms SP can be done anytime (early morning or late at night). In our experience the shelters are known to kick people out early in the morning while it’s still freezing. A few years ago a relative passed from freezing at local park after he was kicked from a nearby shelter in the early morning.
In most instances SP will mainly be locating unsheltered relatives who are caught out in the cold unprepared. Just a check-in and distribution of any cold weather gear, warm packs, etc usually is sufficient. But in other situations, the needs could be more serious.
What to do if a persn is unresponsive or in need of emergency medical attention (hypothermic): * Ensure that the relative is warm and covered. • Do not attempt to move them. • Contact local street medics or emergency services (state that no cops should be involved) immediately if you suspect someone is hypothermic, explain the situation, & wait for EMTs or street medics to arrive. Assess their condition and treat them only if you have the skills. Carry a med kit if you have basic first aid knowledge, carry a trauma kit if you are able. Life-threatening hypothermia can set in between 32 degrees F – 50 degrees F. It may be difficult to distinguish whether a person is profoundly hypothermic or deceased. The profoundly hypothermic person may have a pulse and respirations that are barely detectable.
Warning signs of hypothermia: * Uncontrollable shivering. * Drop in body temperature below 95F. * Slurred speech. * Clumsiness. * Fatigue. * Confusion.
Until medical help is available, follow these first-aid guidelines for hypothermia:
* Be gentle. When you’re helping a persn with hypothermia, handle them gently. Limit movements to only those that are necessary. Don’t massage or rub the persn. Excessive, vigorous or jarring movements may trigger cardiac arrest.
* Move the person out of the cold. Move the person to a warm, dry location if possible. If you’re unable to move the persn out of the cold, shield them from the cold and wind as much as possible. Keep them in a horizontal position if possible.
* Remove wet clothing. If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove it. Cut away clothing if necessary to avoid excessive movement.
* Cover the person with blankets. Use layers of dry blankets or coats to warm the persn. Cover their head, leaving only the face exposed.
* Insulate the persn’s body from the cold ground. If you’re outside, lay the person on their back on a blanket or other warm surface.
* Monitor breathing. A persn with severe hypothermia may appear unconscious, with no apparent signs of a pulse or breathing. If the persn’s breathing has stopped or appears dangerously low or shallow, begin CPR immediately if you’re trained.
* Provide warm beverages. If the affected persn is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, sweet, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage to help warm the body.
* Use warm, dry compresses. Use a first-aid warm compress (a plastic fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed), hand warmers, or a makeshift compress of warm water in a plastic bottle or a dryer-warmed towel. Apply a compress only to the neck, chest wall or groin. Don’t apply a warm compress to the arms or legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
* Don’t apply direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the person. The extreme heat can damage the skin or, even worse, cause irregular heartbeats so severe that they can cause the heart to stop.
Tips for surviving hypothermia: – Prevent any further heat loss by getting out of the wind, water, and removing wet clothing. – Be delicate. Organs are in a more fragile state. – Focus on warming the core (chest, neck, head, and groin) with fire, warm water, warm stones, blankets, layers, other people’s body heat—anything to turn the tide. – Be still. This may seem counterintuitive, but at this point pumping more blood will just lose heat through the limbs, and cold blood from the limbs can shock the core (aka “after drop”).
Treating frostbite: Beyond the basics, it’s important be exercise extreme caution if you are forced to deal with frostbite. You can cause even worse damage if you warm a frozen area and then let it freeze again. A range of sources recommend these steps to thaw frostbitten tissue: – Remove wet clothing. – Elevate slightly the injured area. – Start warming by soaking the area in warm water, and stop when the skin becomes soft. – Cover area with sterile medical cloth if possible. If frostbite has affected fingers and or toes, wrap each digit individually. Keep them separated. – Try not to move or use the damaged area at all. – Do not rub frostbitten areas because rubbing could cause tissue damage.
Basic tips for sleeping in extreme cold:
If shelter cannot be accessed the following tips may help anyone survive in the cold. Create or locate any kind of shelter that protects you from moisture and wind. Sleeping bags may give a false sense of protection from exposure. Most sleeping bags lose all insulating properties once they are wet.
We recommend using a combination of wool (or wool blend, some synthetics work like polyester fleece) blankets & a mylar (space) blanket or sleeping bag. If you combine a Mylar blanket with an insulating blanket, you will prevent all forms of heat loss. To do this, wrap yourself in a wool or fleece blanket. Put the Mylar blanket outside of these blankets. You can use duct tape to sandwich a Mylar blanket between two wool blankets for even more protection.
Although wool can be heavy and bulky, it loses little insulating properties when wet and is fairly water resistant. Mylar emergency sleeping bags retain body heat and are water & windproof. Combined with a wool emergency blanket (on the inside of the mylar bag), cold weather clothing, and other forms of insulation, this emergency sleep system can be the difference between life or death when faced with extreme cold conditions.
Keep in mind that mylar does not provide any insulation. It will reflect some of your body heat, but not if you are hypothermic.
Tips for using a Mylar blanket * NEVER put a Mylar blanket right next to your skin. You need an insulating layer between you and the Mylar. * Dry the Mylar blanket if it gets wet. Since it stops evaporation, sweat easily builds up on Mylar. This will make you wet and colder. Make sure you thoroughly dry the Mylar blanket. * Beware of rips. Mylar is very durable. However, once it punctures, it will rip easily along the puncture line. Use duct tape to repair tears. * Add a source of heat. If you are hypothermic, your body won’t have heat for the Mylar blanket to reflect back to you. You’ll need another source of heat. * Note: Hand warmers are not effective in warming someone’s core body temperature if they are suffering from hypothermia.
Other important tips:
The cold ground can suck a huge amount of heat away from your body. Use anything to create a barrier or padding between you and the ground (dry debris, dry leaves, cardboard, etc). Stay off the ground.
All your clothing should be dry. Change your clothes or dry them before attempting to sleep, if your clothes are wet, your risk of hypothermia is greatly increased.
Cover your head and neck, and block drafts, but don’t cover your head in your sleeping bag. If you breathe into your sleeping bag you may wake up warm and wet. Over time, all the added moisture will make your bag cold and clammy.
If possible, go to bed with a full stomach and stay hydrated. It’ll help you stay warm through the night. Pour heated water into a bottle and tuck it against you while you sleep. Try to wrap it in a sock or something similar.
Precautions to Reduce the Risks of Hypothermia: – Wear hats, mittens, gloves and clothing that create a static layer of warm air, provides a barrier against the wind, and keeps the body dry. – Wear loose fitting layers and outerwear that will keep you dry. – Avoid cotton: It dries slowly, and saps body heat when wet. Instead, pick synthetics or wool. – Avoid alcohol and other mood- and cognition-altering drugs. – Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia (e.g., shivering, slurred speech, and drowsiness) that indicate the need to seek shelter and call for help. – Keep and carry emergency supplies containing blankets, non-caffeinated fluids, high-energy food, and an extra supply of medications for chronic conditions readily available.
Some SP specific questions/scenarios and responses/actions based upon our local experiences are (discuss or review these scenarios with your crew esp. if there are any new folks to SP):
What to do if an unsheltered person requests transportation to a local shelter or another place? * Discuss with your crew before going on patrol whether or not you will be able to provide transportation or shelter. In some cases a crew doing SP communicated needs back to the larger group and other transportation was arranged (buddies who were ok with sharing space in their ride with possible COVID positive individuals etc). * Our group keeps emergency funds for hotel rooms. While there are many challenges and gets expensive quickly. We do not recommend checking anyone into a hotel with your credit card or information. Note that some unsheltered relatives will not have ID on them so that might be a barrier for room check-ins.
What to do with a safety/security threat? * Always use the buddy system. Read the section below “Mutual Defense & Addressing Threats.” Adapt these practices and make a plan with what works for your crew.
Mutual Defense & Addressing Threats:
SP volunteers may face cops/fascists, aggressively intoxicated and potentially threatening individuals. As outlined in our response recommendations below, we find it helpful to de-escalate, practice harm reduction, and communicate clearly that your crew is providing support and assistance. If people are hostile to you then your’e not part of their community, so don’t push it. We have realized over the years that our best defense and de-escalation tactic is building meaningful relationships and treating those with substance use or mental health issues with dignity and respect.
* No cops or any law enforcement agents. Do not call the cops on unsheltered relatives. We highly recommend that all volunteers patrolling familiarize themselves with their “rights.” If law enforcement agents ask what you’re doing you do not have to answer unless you are being detained. Simply ask, “Am I free to go?” If they answer “No” you have the right to know why you are being detained. Do not consent to any searches. You have the right to document law enforcement activities at a distance that is not interfering with their “work.” More info: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights. Local laws vary on providing identification, so do your research.
* If there is a threat to your’s or other’s personal safety we recommend the following responses: Deescalate. Evade. Backup. Defend.
* Deescalate: We prefer any situation to be deescalated as a first response, check this resource for tips: www.neighborhoodanarchists.org/deescalation/. In our experience documenting a threatening situation with a phone camera can also help de-escalate a situation (though it could also aggravate a situation so be aware).
* Evade: If a heightened threat exists it may be more effective to evade or leave the area. Some tactics have been to return to your vehicle, lock the doors, leave if possible and call or text your crew for support.
* Backup: We do not recommend doing any street outreach/patrols without the buddy system. Our crew has a community defense Signal thread to mobilize if people face physical threats.
* Defend: We encourage volunteers to defend themselves against threats. Consider personal defense weapons such as pepper spray, knives and firearms. We recommend volunteers do training and orientation on personal and collective defense.
* Practice security culture. Recommended reading: What is Security Culture? A Guide to Staying Safe available at: www.sproutdistro.com/catalog/zines/security/what-is-security-culture-a-guide-to-staying-safe. We recommend that everyone be familiar with security culture and not to discuss other volunteer’s whereabouts or schedules with anyone. In the past we have had police and abusers attempt to contact volunteers and we want to ensure that we keep each other safe.
* Transformative and restorative justice processes are used to address conflicts.
Practice intersectionality. * We ask that everyone be actively aware of and accountable to gender, race, and class dynamics. Specifically the ways in which these matters pervade our everyday lives and inform and impact all of our relationships. Please read this on anti-colonialism and orient yourself: www.unsettlingminnesota.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/um_sourcebook_jan10_revision.pdf and Accomplices Not Allies (by us).
Comments Off on Ukraine: Solidarity Collectives – No Rest ’till the Last Dictator Dies
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
“Solidarity Collectives” (former “Operation Solidarity”) is an anti-authoritarian volunteer network formed before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine to help comrades on the front line and civilians affected by the war. “Collectives” isn’t merely a name but the essence of our initiative which was joined by various organizations and groups from Ukraine, Germany, Poland, France, US, Netherlands, Canada, and many other countries.
None of it would be possible without a huge number of people united by the idea of helping the Ukrainian resistance movement. The ABC network (especially ABC Dresden, germany – ABC Galicja, No Borders team poland, 161crew poland, XVX Tacticaid, The Antifa International from US, Yellow peril tactical from US, Ecological Platform from Lviv, and many others- they all made it happen. And without our friends in Labour initiatives, we wouldn’t have a beautiful office/warehouse in Kyiv.
Based on our anti-authoritarian values, we decided to actively resist Russian aggression. We support the right of the Ukrainian people to self-defense and consider the Russian invasion an imperialist act. Despite the multidimensional characteristics of any global event, the key reasons for this war are the imperial policy of the Russian Federation, the belief in the historical mission of the Russian elites, and an attempt to establish control over what they think is their sphere of influence. The reasons should not be sought neither in the economic interests of the Russian oligarchy nor in “Russian security precautions”, and especially not in NATO’s scheming. Full support of the Ukrainian people in their struggle (which doesn’t necessarily mean supporting the government’s policies) is the only consistent stance for anarchists and leftists worldwide.
Ukrainians wage an armed struggle against Russia because there is no other way of effective resistance now. Classic pacifist recipes don’t work here because the sides of the conflict aren’t equal. If the Russian army surrenders, the war will end. If Ukrainian soldiers lay down their weapons or “turn them against their government”, as some ‘experts on Ukraine’ suggest, the Russian army will occupy more territories and commit more war crimes. Both solutions are equally unrealistic though. And reality requires practical answers and specific actions.
On a big scale, Ukraine has no choice other than to defend itself with weapons. However, on the individual level, many Ukrainian men and women, including our comrades, joined armed units voluntarily and consciously.
So what do we do? We’ve created a volunteer team of very different people and initiatives, managing to maintain its work despite crises and reformatting. We’ve established a logistics network and strong partnerships with many anarchist and left-wing initiatives in Europe and beyond. Domestically, we cooperate with anti-authoritarian groups, labor unions, local activists, and institutions in areas near the front line.
The soldiers we support are activists of various convictions: anarchists, human rights defenders, trade unionists, eco-anarchists, anarcho-feminists, punk-rockers, political refugees from Belarus and Russia, etc. Many of them would not agree with each other’s vision and ideas before the war. There are also people of various political views, and members of different organisations and movements, who oppose the Russian aggression today.
Most of the fighters are regular workers of different professions without political parties or foundations to back them. That’s why we in Solidarity Collectives try to support trade unions whose members have been mobilised or have volunteered to go to the frontline. First of all, these are the unions of railway workers, construction workers, and miners. We also stand in solidarity with them in the fight against the passing of the anti-social laws pushed by some odious politicians under the pretext of war necessity.
All those we support, however, are united by a common enemy, because the Russian imperial machine will not allow any of us to exist.
Here some presentation of different comrades we are supporting:
– We are members of the Bread for life cooperative. Before the invasion, we were popularising the ideas of freeganism and DIY. We were freelancing, cooking, feeding at local events, squatting and building open workshops on the squat. In February, part of the group decided that we would stay here in the South (of Ukraine) in case of invasion to fight back. At the beginning of March, we joined one of the armed groups to form our medico-evacuation crew on its base. At that stage, we were supported with equipment by comrades from Operation Solidarity, and now we continue to be supported by Solidarity Collectives. Currently, we are working in different directions, no longer in the same group. But united by a common idea – the idea of freedom, equality, sisterhood, fraternity and everything that can only be achieved through fighting.
– Our friend Oleg: he’s a political scientist, musician, photographer, animal rights advocate, and activist. And now he serves in the 72nd Brigade which is fighting in the east of Ukraine. Among other things, they’ve been holding the Lysychansk – Bakhmut road. We’ve been supporting Oleg for quite some time now.
– The resistance committee was born as an initiative a few weeks before the full-scale invasion of Russian forces started. Its purpose was to coordinate efforts of different anarchist/antiauthoritarian groups and individuals in the military field. Now it is more coordination than organisation. It corresponds to its original task then. Our common ideological grounds are defined in our Manifesto. Our immediate enemy currently is Russian imperialism. However, we oppose authoritarianism and oppression in general. From the very start and up to now, anarchists from Belarus and Russia who survived in Ukraine from political repressions in their respective countries actively participated in the Resistance Committee along with Ukrainian comrades. We define the Resistance committee as antiauthoritarian coordination, so a little bit broader than just anarchist. The exact number is both not secure and not that easy to specify since there is no fixed membership in the RC. It is not that big, and we can’t say that it’s growing, even though since the full-scale invasion had started, more anarchists have joined the fight.
Currently, we have several small groups of anarchist and antifascist comrades integrated into territorial defence, regular army and volunteer units.”
– In 2013, our comrade «Swallow» was a member of the anti-authoritarian self-defense group of Kharkiv’s Euromaidan, then participated in creating the «Autonomia» squat in Kharkiv, organized a social and cultural center, and was an active participant in several activist initiatives. On the morning of February 24, Swallow was already performing air reconnaissance on the frontline using ordinary civilian drones.
Currently, “Solidarity Collectives” have three main areas of work:
From the onset of the war, our primary task has been to provide the anti-authoritarian activists who joined military units with everything they needed. Thanks to donations, we purchased and handed over a hundred bulletproof vests (4th protection standard), dozens of helmets, night vision devices, thermal imagers, rangefinders, drones, tactical medicine, military uniforms, shoes, clothes and much more – both special and everyday equipment. Today, Solidarity Collectives regularly supports up to 80 fighters, many of whom are on the front lines.
Thanks to the logistics network we built that includes 4 warehouses and cars, we have been receiving and transporting humanitarian aid to where it is most needed since the beginning of the war. To date, we have organized our own humanitarian convoys or delivered cargo to Bucha, Bilohorodka, Chernihiv, Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv, Kramatorsk, Malyna, Kharkiv and other cities. These transports consist of medicines, clothes, food, sleeping bags and mattresses, gas bottles with cylinders, and electronic equipment.
People discuss the “Ukrainian question” all over the world. Explaining why all anti-authoritarian forces, despite everything, should support the Ukrainian resistance movement is our primary task today. Therefore, we are always ready to take part in conferences, debates or share our vision with journalists.
We work daily collecting fighters’ needs, making purchases in Ukraine and abroad, organizing humanitarian trips to war-affected regions, communicating with friendly initiatives, and publishing the results of our work. For many, this is the most important part of our lives now.
Practice is one of our founding principles. We came together to help the Ukrainian resistance fight off Russian aggression. But we aren’t just against something, we also stand for. Our goal is a free and just society, our main values are social, economic, and gender equality.
We believe that the Ukrainian reconstruction which politicians and diplomats already discuss should benefit the people. It shouldn’t be based on neoliberal dogmas that the authors of the reconstruction plan are trying to include there.
We think feminism today should be based on a proactive position. Now, female activists of the anti-authoritarian movement bravely fight the aggressor, head military units, and provide medical aid on the battlefield. Also, most of the ‘Solidarity Collectives’ members are women, and they do most of the work in the military direction.
We support anti-authoritarian and anti-colonial movements around the world. Today, anti-authoritarian activists in Ukraine acquire experience which might be useful to topple dictators and authoritarian regimes both in post-soviet countries and other regions. We support animal rights movements and fight against climate change. We pass vegan food to vegan fighters and advocate for the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. It’s not just about preventing climate disasters in the distant future but also about reducing the dependency on the resourse-oriented Russian economy.
Our goals are incompatible with Putin’s authoritarian regime. But we’re ready to fight for them in post-war Ukraine too opposing authoritarian tendencies in our society.
We’re grateful for the support to everyone who’s been working with us through all these months. To those who help raise money, transfer vehicles, organize public events, or come to Ukraine with humanitarian aid. Today, we feel the strength of international solidarity which is capable to do great things, despite the international left’s split on the ‘Ukrainian question’. We realize this solidarity isn’t easy but we call for you not to give in to the war weariness, especially now when your support is crucial to us.
We are also ready for open dialogue with those who still hesitate but are ready to hear the position of the Ukrainian anti-authoritarian community. We want to see you on our side of the barricades!