Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners, Free Them All!

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Jun 192021
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

In the summer of 2020, three high schoolers – Bogdan Andreev, Denis Mikhaylenko, and Nikita Uvarov, all 14 years old – were arrested in the city of Kansk in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, within the claimed borders of the Russian state. The three boys are accused of forming a terrorist organization, and plotting, among other things, to construct a model of the Russian secret police (FSB) headquarters in the game MineCraft then blow it up. More credibly, they are accused of demonstrating solidarity with Azat Miftakhov, a graduate student in mathematics in Moscow and an anarchist, presently aged 28. Miftakhov was initially accused of constructing a smoke bomb that had been thrown into an office of the ruling political party over a year before. He has more recently been sentenced to six years in a “penal colony”. Andreev, Mikhaylenko, and Uvarov are all awaiting trial.

On June 13, we held up a banner that says “Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners, Free Them All” outside the Russian consulate in Montréal, located at 3655 avenue du Musée. We did this in part to mark the occasion of the day in solidarity with Marius Mason and all long-term anarchist prisoners on June 11, but also to signal our desire to keep in mind the situation in Russia, where even very young people face the risk of entering the prison system and, perhaps as a result, never leaving again.

Our thoughts go out to all our comrades inside, anarchist or not.

Fire to the prisons!

From MTL to Sask: Long Live Cory Cardinal!

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Jun 162021
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

We were shocked and saddened to learn of Cory Cardinal’s death from a suspected overdose this week, so we headed out late on the night of June 12th to paint the walls of our neighbourhood in his memory.

Cory was a poet, writer, artist, and prison organizer from Sturgeon Lake First Nation. We came to know of him and his work during the Saskatchewan prison hunger strikes in the earlier days of the pandemic, when he acted as an organizer and did media work from inside while participating.

Cory understood and articulated the connections between the systems of prison and colonialism and he fought, inside and out, to bring them both down.

In Cory’s words:

“It is true we have been targeted as Aboriginal men by a racist system. Despite this epidemic of incarceration, our resilient community of modern Aboriginal warriors has survived by will and creative ambition to prevail over many an enemy of poverty, addiction, and racism to find community and belonging and acceptance in this mainstream model of humanity. It is not by our own standards, for we are an oppressed people.”

Our thoughts, solidarity, and love are with his family, friends, and comrades.

We’ll continue to direct our rage towards prisons, colonialism, and this world that criminalizes and kills people who use drugs.

Carry Naloxone!

#FreeThemAll
#SafeSupply

Long Live Cory!

– a couple white anarchists in Montréal

Why We Destroy “Boycott China” Stickers

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Jun 042021
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

“Boycott China” stickers are going up in the zone between Atwater and Peel — and perhaps elsewhere in Montréal! We do not know who is doing it, but we sometimes see these stickers accompaned by other stickers that say FUCK TRUDEAU or that call for the liberation of Hong Kong.

We are among those who remove and cover up these stickers.

We do not know for certain the intentions of the people who put up these stickers. However, we have the following analysis:

  1. Some in our society seek a total war between “the West” (defined in various ways) and China. They are not driven by a love for freedom; what they want is an orgy of violence across the world.
  2. There is already a wave of violence directed towards our Asian neighbours across North America and in other countries.
  3. It is legitimate to denounce the Chinese state — the ultimate example of “red fascism” in the modern era! — but it is even more urgent to denounce the empire at home. The Communist Party of Xi is dangerous, but it is not as dangerous as local police, local fascists, local ecocide, local greed. The evil empire overseas is a distraction from the urgent need for social revolution here and now!

We encourage all Montréalers to destroy and cover up these stickers!

We encourage the purveyors of these messages to smarten up a little bit!

For more info: https://mastodon.bida.im/@squarebethune

Call to Action For Palestine

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May 192021
 

From subMedia

For the week of Monday, May 17th, Palestinians are calling for a week of action in solidarity with their national uprising and general strike. Please take action to support those fighting against apartheid and modern colonialism.

#savesheikhjarrah #gazaunderattack #freepalestine

Voiceover by Nader Haram, music by John Prod. Produced in collaboration with Antimidia.

Vancouver Island, BC: Gate Locked as RCMP Ramps up to Attack Growing Logging Blockades

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May 192021
 

Anonymous submission to It’s Going Down

On May 17 2021, the same day RCMP scum began enforcing Teal Jones Group’s court injunction against long-term logging blockades in Pacheedaht and Ditidaht territory, we locked TJG’s gate on Grierson Main road.

This action happened inside the injunction zone, within a few hours of the pigs beginning their assault on the brave land defenders at Caycuse blockade.

This gate, one of many in the area installed by Teal Jones to restrict access to their operations, is so easily turned against them. It now obstructs them from further destroying the upper reaches of the already ravaged Camper Creek watershed.

Fuck the injunction. Fuck Teal Jones. FUCK the police. The land is too big for you to control.

And hey liberals, let’s get real. Defending the last 1% of old growth forests only, while actively promoting all other industrial logging in so called BC, is like trying to save a few wild animals in a tiny zoo, while promoting the factory farming of millions of others.

-Some anarchists.

Report with additional context via It’s Going Down:

In so-called British Columbia, a campaign to stop the logging of old-growth forests has been building, with a network of active blockades forming a direct line of resistance to logging. According to the Fairy Creek Blockade on Instagram:

Our movement is growing far beyond what anyone originally imagined. We are holding down a half dozen forest protection camps, and this fight is becoming about a lot more than just the forest. The time will soon come when the RCMP will show up in an attempt to break our movement. When they do we need you to be ready to spring into action and join us on the front lines.

After over 285 days of direct resistance to the logging of old-growth forest, on May 17th, “they announced they will be setting up a checkpoint on McClure Road near the Caycuse Blockade, with arrests to follow.”

In a call for solidarity and support, the Fairy Creek Blockade wrote on Instagram:

[L]and defenders have been preventing the clear cutting of old growth forest on Southern Vancouver Island for over 9 months, and now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are beginning to arrest protesters to clear the way for Industry to log some of our last old growth forests.

We need everyone to join us on the frontlines! Bring your friends and friends, bring your kids. Join us at Fairy Creek HQ. It’s on Google Maps and just a few hundred meters of pavement, from there you will be redeployed to where you are needed the most! There is room for both arrestable and non-arrestable positions at camp. Come self-sufficient.

For updates, follow the Fairy Creek Blockade here.

Leaving the SPVM Behind to Attack a High-Tech Hub: A Promising Anti-Capitalist May Day

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May 032021
 

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.

The O Mile Ex building with its windows missing

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.

– Anarchists

Anticapitalist May Day 2021: No Old Normal, No New Normal!

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May 022021
 

From the Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes

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!

A Pact of Solidarity for May 1, 2021

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Apr 262021
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

Given

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;

given

that protecting the health and safety of health care workers is of primordial importance;

and given

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.

Signatories:

–> Si votre groupe ou votre organisation endosse ce PACTE pour un 1er mai solidaire, veuillez écrire à alerta-mtl@riseup.net 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.

BACKGROUND

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.

Rioting Against the Curfew!

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Apr 242021
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

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!

Hamilton: Fuck the Covid Cops!

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Apr 212021
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-Info

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!