Tenants Escalate Against Cromwell Renoviction

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Dec 062022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

The views expressed within this text are not those of the Montreal Autonomous Tenants’ Union (SLAM). The following is an account and analysis by one union member. SLAM is built on anarcho-syndicalist principles but is not an explicitly anarchist organization and contains many (if not mostly) non-anarchist militants. Working together has not been a question of compromising our principles, but of growing our strength based on tactical agreement.

This article provides an update to a previous article published by another member of SLAM. Read for more context here

On Saturday, November 26, dozens of banners were dropped from the balconies of 3605 St-Urbain, painted with slogans such as “SOLIDARITÉ ENTRE LOCATAIRES” and “WE NEED HEAT!”. SLAM members danced to union tunes and handed out flyers at the street corner. 

Fourteen tenants remain in the 130-unit building, holding out against a large-scale renoviction by notorious landlord George Gantcheff, owner of Cromwell Management Inc. Quebec. These last few tenants live scattered throughout a dangerous and distressing construction site. Recently they have joined forces with the Montreal Autonomous Tenants Union (SLAM), fighting for compensation, rent reductions, heating, transparent and consensual construction work, and that the renovated units remain affordable. The banner drop is the most recent escalation in their campaign, following several ignored attempts at “playing nice.” When tenants sat down for a good faith negotiation with the management company a few days before the banner drop, Cromwell’s representatives walked out after less than ten minutes of discussion.

On Saturday, union members joined tenants across the street from the newly decorated building. They played music, talked, and handed out over 200 flyers to curious passersby. Neighbours and community members expressed outrage, distress, sympathy and solidarity.

Cromwell aims to profit as much of they can off their property, regardless of the human consequences. So long as housing is bought, sold, and rented on the basis of profit and not need, Cromwell is a prime study of companies acting intelligently in a competitive market. As profit-oriented corporations seize larger portions of the market, Cromwell is an example – not an outlier. With a tenant class increasingly unable to afford housing, more and more people are organizing with their neighbours to take matters into their own hands. Oft-used pressure tactics serve short term goals, demonstrate power, and win concessions. 

These actions lay the basis for a tenant movement capable of revolutionary change. Through the practice of pushing systemic boundaries and wielding our collective power, we make immediate improvements to our lives while preparing for a larger fight. 

To support the tenants of 3605 St-Urbain or join in on our other projects, email us at slam.matu@protonmail.com or stay up to date on our instagram @slam.matu

​​​​​​​Check out the union’s Kolektiva account for an upcoming mini-doc on the banner drop.

More information is coming out soon on other anti-eviction actions from the month of November, including a tenant union demo against the eviction of the Ville Marie expressway encampment and rallied in and outside the Quebec Housing Tribunal to stop an eviction by landlord Satish mantha. Stay tuned to learn more!

Sabotage at the Terrain Vague

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Nov 302022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

The excavator that arrived at the boisé steinberg was sabotaged. All possible cables were cut.

We will continue to fight the expansion of the port and its infrastructure. The people who plan the roads, the containers, the maritime strategy Advantage Saint Laurent and the innovation zones that are being set up along the river are working for projects that bring death. We are fighting for the living.

The planned destruction of the terrain vague will not go down without a fight! We have been fighting for a long time and we will keep fighting.

Solidarity with Alfredo Cospito! From Barton to Bancali

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Nov 282022

From North Shore Counter-Info

We were out holding up a banner with a phone number on it to connect with prisoners at the Barton jail in Hamilton, Canada, the way we usually do, but we thought we would also take a moment to express our solidarity with anarchist prisoners in struggle.

Alfredo Cospito has been on hunger strike in Italy’s Bancali prison since October 20th to demand that he be moved out of segregation and have his phone calls, mail, and visits restored. He was placed in these conditions back in May essentially to punish him for staying involved in the anarchist struggle from inside.

As the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project, we strongly believe in not leaving prisoners behind and in supporting them when they struggle against the prisons that oppress them. Some of us have done time and others have supported their locked up friends, and we all know how important and valuable it is to keep anarchist prisoners present in our lives. Not as an act of charity for people who are locked up, but because of the comradeship and valuable contributions they can still make.

Ivan Alocco, Anna Beniamino, and Juan Sorroche are also anarchist prisoners who launched hunger strikes in solidarity with Alfredo, and we extend our solidarity to them as well. It is only through the multiplication and convergence of struggles that we gain the power to win, and know that as we work with prisoners in Barton to destroy prison here, all of you are in our hearts.

Our ugly, quick little banner is a small gesture, but know it represents your presence alongside us in struggle.

Responsibility Claimed for Arson of C-IRG Vehicles on Wet’suwet’en Territory

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Nov 262022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

In the early hours of Oct 26th several RCMP C-IRG vehicles were lit on fire in the Smithers Sunshine Inn parking lot.

As you read this, Coastal GasLink drills beneath the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa. The ground shakes in Wet’suwet’en territories. For every tremor of the earth as they drive their borehead and blast their explosives through riverbed and rock, right beneath schools of spawning salmon, tremors of pain and rage reverberate through the hearts of those who still have space to feel it.

Death surrounds us. Salmon die en masse as creeks run dry. Massive areas of once-flourishing rainforest burn. A billion snow crabs disappear and die in Alaska. Climate chaos runs rampant while mega projects churn the living world into a living nightmare. So many people pass out of this world too soon. Maybe it gets called suicide. Or overdose. Or stroke. Maybe it is a police bullet that rips through flesh and organs. All of this is the manifestation of the unbearable pain, suffering and violence brought on by colonialism and the state.

In “british columbia” it is the RCMP who defend and enforce this violence. And where extractive industries meet indigenous resistance the RCMP employ a specialized division called Community-Industry Response Group. It is C-IRG cops who volunteer to raid, surveil, harass, and brutalize land defenders on behalf of their corporate masters.

Early on October 26th four C-IRG vehicles in Smithers were set ablaze while C-IRG officers slept just meters away. The fires damaged or destroyed all four trucks and spread to several industry vehicles and an ambulance in the parking lot. The CGL and BC Hydro trucks burned are hardly regrettable. The damaged ambulance was unfortunate and unintended. No one was injured in this action because steps were taken to ensure no one would be. Vehicles were only lit where it was certain fire would not spread to structures or endanger life.

The violence enacted by industry and enforced by the police damns an entire planet to a fiery desertified future. Recognizing the fact that each of us has a stake in this struggle means recognizing the importance of acting with our own agency, autonomy, and urgency. We must all sharpen our pain into the determination necessary to act against those responsible for our suffering.

There are no words to be shared with government or industry that can change the core of their nature. These institutions are not people. They have no soul, no ethics, and no conscience. Their driving force is profit at any cost, and they cannot be negotiated or reasoned with.

Liberals and centrists want politics to be neat and tidy, within the bounds of respectability. The labeling of actions outside of these bounds as a ‘false flag’ operation severely limits our ability to broaden the scope of struggle and directly challenge the state’s violence. Successful movements utilize a broad set of tactics to achieve their goals. False flag accusations only serve to isolate those who choose to engage in more confrontational actions from broader support, which is dangerous and limiting. If there is a conspiracy here, it is the overt collusion between corporations and state forces to continue the legacy of genocidal violence on indigenous peoples and land.

Burning cop cars is easy. Taking the steps to prevent arrests is less so. Research methods that work; warriorup.noblogs.org is a good place to start. Use security oriented and open source tech tools on public WiFi for this, or better yet, go old-school and get books. Test your methods. Think carefully about how fire can spread to make sure you will not unintentionally burn down a building or cause injury. Know how to avoid leaving evidence. Think critically about the consequences of action as well as inaction. Trust your rebellious instincts and move with courage.

It has always been the time to fight. It still is.

Windy Morning for Condo Sellers

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Nov 242022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

On Monday, November 14, gusts of air were the only visitors to the Le Moden condo sales office by Frontenac metro.

The city is already fucking ugly but new condos make shit worse. The yuppification of Place Frontenac and Centre-Sud is imminent. The domination of capitalism advances quickly. Don’t wait a second more to practice your window-smashing throw with your friends!
– accessibility 10/10
– impact 9/10
– discretion 7/10 (less loud than we thought)
– handling 10/10
– fun 10/10

Reportback from the Solidarity Struggle with the Kahnistensera Against McGill’s New Vic Project

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Nov 192022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Through this solidarity struggle, it has become clear that as a radical community, we need to stand in solidarity with the kanien’kehá:ka kahnistensera.

Because these traditionalist activists from Kahnawa:ke have been fighting for the last fifty years for the sovereignty of their people.

Because they are among the few Mohawk people who still hold fast to their pre-colonial mode of governance, called the Great Law of Peace.

Because this code organizes the Haudenausaunee confederacy as what we would interpret as libertarian federalism, where all decisions are made on a small scale by consensus before being taken to a higher level: from family to clan, from clan to community, from community to Nation, from Nation to Confederacy.

Because in the Great Law, women are considered the progenitors of the nation, and are therefore responsible for ensuring the protection of the territory and the children (past, present and unborn).

Because as settlers and anarchists, we have many of our own reasons to support Indigenous communities in their battle against the state that deprives them of their relationship with their mother, the territory, the land.

The kahnistensera are currently suing McGill University, the city of Montreal and the government of Quebec and Canada to stop renovation work for McGill’s New Vic project, on the grounds of the Allan Memorial Institute and the Royal Victoria Hospital. These institutions were the site of torture experiments conducted as part of the [MK-Ultra] program (https://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/09/mk-ultraviolence/) of the 1950s and 1960s. There are strong suspicions that Indigenous children (as well as Duplessis orphans and other “delinquents”) may have died there and been buried anonymously on the site, and McGill has downplayed this terrible history as it proceeds with excavating the area. As traditionalists, the Mothers are not aligned with the government-backed Band Council in their community, and have received no support from them for this lawsuit or the broader struggle.

The lawsuit sought an interlocutory injunction to halt the renovation of the Royal Victoria, which threatens to destroy the evidence of these atrocities forever, as well as potentially destroying archeological evidence of a very important Kanien’kehá:ka village that stood on the exact location of the Royal Vic before the French arrived on the island. On October 27, 2022, the Quebec Superior court surprisingly ruled in favour of the Mothers and granted an injunction to stop the renovation work. McGill University is now forced to sit down with them to establish a plan for a complete and non-intrusive archaeological excavation of the site.

Since the beginning of their lawsuit against McGill University, the Mothers have done a lot of mobilization in the Haudenausaunee confederacy, but also in radical circles in Montreal: a presentation during the occupation of the McGill arts building, a presentation at l’Achoppe last spring, a presentation at the anarchist bookfair this summer, and probably many other events I am not aware of. In the last few months, rumours began to circulate that McGill University was going ahead with the excavation without waiting for the scheduled interlocutory injunction hearing. In September, McGill announced that the excavation would take place in early October, while the trial was scheduled for October 26. This was the impetus for the “Stop the New Vic” campaign, as people wanted to find a way to delay the excavation until at least the time of the trial. We weren’t very optimistic that the court would decide in favour of the Mothers, but if work was going to start before they’d even had a chance to make their case then we were going to try to stop it.

In early october, a mobilization meeting was called, where there were a good 30 people motivated to get involved in an occupation of the Hersey Building lot at the Royal Vic, where the excavation would take place.

Week of October 10, two weeks before the hearing
October 10, Columbus Day in the United States and Thanksgiving Day in Canada, is considered by many Indigenous people on Turtle Island to be the “Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage”. That evening, at the planned excavation site, people went to set up camp and some stayed overnight.

The next morning, very quickly, the police were called. The activists at the camp tried to delay the police as long as possible. They ended up playing cat and mouse on Mount Royal with the cops who were getting more and more pissed. The cops were screaming at everyone that the next time they came across them they would be arrested, but as far as I know there were no arrests. That afternoon, about 15 people managed to get together to assess the possibilities for action. The energy was still very good and people started planning right away.

During that week, affinity groups went to the site several times a day to slow down the work. The offices of the archaeological firm were also attacked. This action was the subject of a press release from the Mohawk Mothers, who found themselves accused by their legal opponents:

“We are being held accountable legally of all such actions at this time, as the opponents are trying to construe us as criminals before the Judge with less than two weeks remaining before the hearing at the court on October 26, 2022.”

To the activists who organized the action, the Mohawk Mothers remarked:

“We greatly appreciate tokens of solidarity and demonstrations, but we ask you to be mindful of the dire legal repercussions for us, and the high risk of jeopardizing all the work we have invested for more than one year to obtain an injunction, which could be ruined, as well as the hope of our families to know the truth and get justice.”

As for Arkéos, when questioned by a sentimentalist journalist from La presse, the boss of the firm stated “We don’t want [the workers] to dig without archaeologists. It would really be a loss”, implying that the renovation work would take place with or without the presence of archaeologists, and thus further exposing McGill’s “rubberstamping” strategy, which deals with archaeologists only to give legitimacy to its colonial project.

Week of October 17, one week before the hearing
The following Monday a thirteen-person vigil with candles also managed to slow down the work. The cops were so worked up from the previous week that they outnumbered the protesters. Armed to the teeth, they blocked the front door, which pissed off the archaeology firm’s workers as well as the hospital’s employees. Compared to the very quiet crowd of the security guard, the cops looked like hyper-aggressive monsters.

On Thursday night, an “artistic intervention” took place: children’s graves, clothes, and shoes were placed at the excavation site to highlight the violence associated with digging up and thus disturbing the potential unmarked graves.

Week of October 24, Court Week
The week of the trial preparation, Divest Mcgill people worked extremely hard to organize three mobilization events:

Monday: A day of teach-ins and leafleting on the McGill University campus,

Tuesday: Screening of the film “Kahnesatà:ke, 270 years of resistance”,

Wednesday: Rally in front of the courthouse for the first day in court.

The trial
On Wednesday, October 26, the energy at the courthouse was electric. The courtroom was too small to accommodate all the people who wanted to attend the trial. Young people were sitting on the floor, comrades outside were mobilizing, there was food for an army. Everyone who was at the rally and inside ate the collective food, even the Mothers!

On Thursday, the energy wasn’t high enough to do the rally outside again, but the comrades made and brought about 20 servings of food to feed the Mothers and the people who supported them at the trial. I was told that this led to a very funny scene where about 20 people were eating seated on the floor in a courthouse hallway because the courthouse cafeteria wouldn’t accept people who had their own lunches.

On Thursday night, the ruling was announced: considering that the case was likely in the public interest, the judge had a duty to make an immediate ruling in front of the people, not just write it and send it to the parties. He ordered a 3-4 month interlocutory injunction until the next court date. In the meantime, McGill University has to sit down with the Mothers and come up with a plan for an archaeological dig that would suit them. This means that the renovation work is halted until the injunction is over!

A historic win
Without a doubt, this trial will make history. For the first time since its inception, the Superior Court has accepted that a collective of Indigenous people represent themselves. It was really important for the Mothers to do it this way, for the sake of their self-determination, and also to remain consistent with the Great Law. The judge had no reason to order an injunction: after all, on Thursday at noon, McGill’s lawyer had announced that the search was over and that nothing had been found. Moreover, all the defense lawyers argued that the current legal procedures were adequate and that going to the Quebec Superior Court was not. In his oral ruling, the judge recognized that sending the Mothers back into the legal vortex of the state would not be beneficial to reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

In fact, this is the first time that a court has recognized that the horrors of residential schools also took place in the mainstream health care system, which is a huge step forward in terms of recognizing genocide. Moreover, at the same time as the Mothers’ trial, the National Assembly finally recognized that residential schools were a genocidal tool. So, with this judgment obtained by the Mothers, white hospitals should soon be recognized as genocidal tools against Indigenous Peoples.

Another major gain: the Mohawk Mothers have succeeded in establishing their legitimacy on the basis of the fact that they are traditionalists, and therefore in direct opposition to the Band Council. The October 27 ruling reinforces the fact that band councils are colonial institutions (federal boards) and that their consultation cannot in any way be confused with the consent of a nation. They succeeded in imposing their legitimacy with the strength of their laws, their character, their courage, and the support they found in their community, as well as from radical left and anarchist settlers.

Finally, the judge particularly insisted on the fact that the traumas associated with the unmarked graves corresponded to “irreparable damage”, that is to say that the damage cannot be compensated monetarily. He therefore decided to impose the injunction even though it was not necessary since McGill had supposedly completed the excavation. He felt that the inconvenience of the delay to McGill was outweighed by the trauma and loss of confidence in the justice system that would result from the refusal of the injunction. He said a really powerful phrase that I will try to recount from memory:

“For the past two days, you have all been looking toward the front of the room. From where I’m standing, I’m looking in the opposite direction, and I’ve seen clearly over the past two days that the pain and emotions associated with disturbing anonymous graves doesn’t just affect the kahnistensera. For the past two days, I’ve seen the emotional reactions of people in the live audience, and I can’t ignore that.”

It really surprised me that a judge would base his judgment on emotional perceptions, let alone emotions from the audience. I mean, the testimony of the Mothers and all the historical context that was discussed during the trial was absolutely enough to tip the scales. But I still seriously think that the fact that people mobilized to be at the courthouse with them drove the point home.

As anarchists, we are very critical of the canadian court system. This system has been put in place to enable the colonization and exploitation of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, capitalist developpement, and to protect the rich and powerful. We can not let ourselves trust this oppressive institution. That is why it is so important that we organize ourselves outside of this institution, on the ground and within our communities. Let’s be ready for when the court system reaches it’s limit. Let’s be ready for when it will reveal it’s true function, which is mainly to pacify and recuperate struggles, even if from time to time, under very particular circumstances, it slightly cracks under the pressure. It’s not over yet. The Mothers are still in court, the site of the old Royal Vic Hospital is still threatened to become a green washing pavilion for McGill and the State, in short we still have a lot of work to do.

I’d like to thank all the people who gave even just an hour of their time to this fight in the last few weeks, it would never have happened without all the support we received. I am especially grateful for the way we were able, as comrades, to take care of each other by redistributing our resources, food and building strong relationships. I feel light, optimistic, and absolutely ready for what’s next.

A fellow anarchist

Solidarity Rail Sabotage in Eastern Ontario

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Nov 132022

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-Info

In the early hours of Nov 5, groups of anarchists acted in solidarity with Sleydo’s call for action to support the ongoing Wet’suwet’en battle to protect the yintah and kill the drill. Rail lines were sabotaged at several points in a disruption of business-as-usual along main arteries of the freight system. They will continue to be sabotaged at random far into the future, at every corner of rail line across the turtle’s back.

Others are encouraged to take this route however, wherever, and whenever they can – grab yourself some bolt cutters or copper wire. Grab a friend or go alone. Enjoy the birds, the wind, the silence.

The night sky yawns and the stars and moon stare down at us, working in the night. They cast their gaze upon us near and far, as they do also on the shimmering waters of the Wedzin Kwa. The drilling begins, and while we weep for the water, the salmon, and our beloved dead, our rage begins to burn, a lit fuse.

CGL, RBC, Kkkanada – you are not safe and you have ignited something that will never die.

Chicoutimi: Banner Drop in Support of the Pipeline Blockade in Montréal-Est

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Oct 232022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

We wish to underline the urgent need for action in the face of climate change, which is real and directly threatens biodiversity as well as the health of millions of inhabitants of the territory of Quebec.

This action is undertaken in support of the ongoing blockade, in Montréal-Est, of the supply of diluted bitumen to oil tankers from the largest pipeline in Quebec, Enbridge’s line 9B.

Commemorating Unmarked Graves When McGill Won’t

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Oct 222022

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

We are settler anarchists acting independently in solidarity with the Kanien’kehà:ka Kahnistensera. We support the Mohawk Mothers strong opposition to the New Vic renovation project. Our action is an artistic intervention that seeks to amplify the dire consequences of McGill’s current approach to the area; that is, covering up possible evidence of unmarked graves and ancestral sites of the Rotino’shonni people.

We decided to act because we oppose the settler colonial state and the grotesque society that exists in this colonial context. We want to make it very clear that we planned and carried out this action completely independently of the Kahnistensera and did not communicate with them about it in any way.

The Kanien’kehà:ka Kahnistensera (known in English as the Mohawk Mothers), a group of women from the Mohawk communities of Kahnawake and Kanehsatake, are considered progenitors of the Kanienke’hà:ka nation, and the sovereign caretaker of the land and the soil, including Tiohtiá:ke (so called Montreal). They have been resisting the New Vic Project for more than a year. They are currently engaged in a court case against McGill and the SQI (Société québécoise des infrastructures), who are behind the renovation project. Their next court date, October 26th, is fast approaching.

This specific site, the grounds around the Allen Memorial and the Royal Victoria, is very likely to contain unmarked graves of victims, many of whom were Indigenous children, from the MK-Ultra psychiatric torture experiments that happened at the hospital. These experiments were conducted by the CIA and funded by the Canadian government. Over the past year, across the so-called Canada, Indigenous people have demanded the investigation of unmarked graves at colonial institutions, such as the residential schools. In spite of this, McGill refuses to respect this broader political context surrounding their planned New Vic renovations.

For these reasons, we chose an artistic intervention at the suspected gravesite. We arranged childrens’ shoes and clothing, assembled tombstones labelled “unknown” with flowers, and lined the area with “crime scene” tape because McGill and Arkéos are actively going against the kaia’nereh’ko:wa (Great Law) by digging up potential unmarked graves against the Kahnistensera’s wishes. This space should be considered as the crime scene that it is.

These children should have been allowed to grow out of these shoes, and to remain within their communities where they belong. We want these material items to invoke the lost relationships and the open wounds that remain when any family member goes missing. We want to honour the possibility that there are potentially buried bodies that need the proper care and attention so they can rest peacefully. We want the broader communities of Kahnawake and Kanesatake to be able to tend to such bodies in their diverse and proper ways. More so, we chose this intervention to remind McGill, Arkéos, and the public at large that there are so many unknown factors at play that an intrusive dig set to be completed within 5 days is completely careless and outrageous.

The Kahnistensera have explicitly demanded the following: 1) McGill University must stop the New Vic’s renovations, 2) The Kahnistensera must be overseeing searches, including an non-intrusive forensic investigation of the grounds of the Allen Memorial and the Royal Victoria to locate possible unmarked graves of victims from the MK-Ultra experiments, along with 3) a proper non-intrusive investigation of Rotino’shonni archeological sites known to be in that area. There is no excuse for McGill to refuse to hear and comply with the Kahnistensera’s demands. 

The potential for unmarked graves of Indigenous children and adults is a harrowing ordeal. McGill and Arkéos (the firm hired by McGill to conduct the investigation) have demonstrated contempt and disregard for the Kahnistensera’s demands. The so-called archeological inquiry taking place at this very moment goes against these demands, and risks destroying evidence. Both McGill and Arkéos need to be held accountable for this, as well as for the rest of their shameful history.

Arkéos, the company conducting the work, isn’t equipped to do this type of forensic investigation. They haven’t even discussed with the Kahnistensera before planning or starting the digging. However, this isn’t very surprising considering the previous collaborations that Arkéos has had with other violent, colonial projects with extractive companies and the state. McGill, having been built on white supremacist foundations and with the profits made from the slave trade and stolen Rotino’shonni Trust Fund money, has nothing to show for conscience as they shamelessly move forward with this project while knowing that children’s bodies who were scooped from the arms of their mothers are lying underground. Their work must be stopped immediately.

We also want to empasize that Kanien’kehà:ka sovereignty on this land goes well beyond this current campaign. Some land acknowledgment in McGill’s official communication is not enough. We support the Kahnistensera’s broader vision of a university which has been renamed to not pay homage to James McGill, a colonial slaveholder. We also agree with the Kahnistensera that McGill should at the very least repay its financial debts to the Rotino’shonni peoples, and stop all military research, in accordance with the Kaia’nereh’ko:wa.

We hope that this action, as only one humble portion of this ongoing struggle, reminds McGill, Arkéos and those who collaborate with them in this unacceptable colonial desecration that they must stop the digging immediately and cooperate fully with the Kahnistensera’s demands. Once again, we want to make it very clear that we planned and carried out this action completely independently of the Kahnistensera and did not communicate with them about it in any way.​​​​​​​ There is very little time to stop Arkéos from completing these senseless acts of violence, it remains urgent for independent groups to use a diversity of tactics to discourage them while respecting the Kaianereh’kowa (the Great Law of Peace).

Arkéos, Drop the McGill Contract Now!

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Oct 162022
“Respect indigenous sovereignty”

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Important Update: Monday, October 17, 2022

It has come to our attention that certain phrasing of our previous communique requires immediate correction and clarification. We deeply respect and honour the hard work the kahnistensera have done, so in an effort to address certain concerns we would like to communicate the following.

Since the colonial institutions involved in supporting McGill’s New Vic project have apparently attempted to use this action against Arkéos to threaten the kahnistensera and their ongoing court case, the organizers of the action want to add the following update to our statement below: we planned and carried out this action completely independently of the kahnistensera and did not communicate with them about it in any way. Our use of the word “accomplices” in the original communique was influenced by broader anti-colonial anarchist discussions around the use of that word in other contexts, with our working definition being that ”the work of an accomplice in anti-colonial struggle is to attack colonial structures & ideas.” (See here.) We also wish to redirect you to this engaging text about similar issues, titled “On the question of allies”, which can be found here. Our point isn’t to squabble about term usage, but rather, to give context as to why we chose this term. In retrospect, we realize the use of this term was not appropriate given the ongoing, separate and independent legal battle the kahnistensera are involved in.

Again, let us reiterate, under no circumstances are we working for or on behalf of the kahnistensera. As settler anarchists, we decided to take our own initiative to attack Arkéos, without any involvement from the kahnistensera. This is an autonomous action, we alone claim it. We see Arkéos as another obstacle McGill has put in the way of the kahnistensera to prevent them from conducting a proper non-instrusive forensic investigation. Arkéos will be proceeeding with an intrusive dig, which is against the public demands of the kahnistensera.

In the realm of the legal fight that is set to reconvene in court on October 26th, McGill, and to some extent, Arkéos, are using this action to strategically try to undermine as well as cast doubt upon the goodwill and honourable way the kahnistensera have fought this legal battle. There is ample evidence throughout history that shows the state, the police and/or corporate entities working together with the media to create narratives of doubt, conspiracies, and mistrust between all parties acting in solidarity with an Indigenous-led campaign. This is often referred to as a tactic of counterinsurgency. 

Let us once again redirect the attention to the real culprits: McGill and Arkéos who are collaborating in acts of colonial violence for profit. With such a short timeline to stop Arkéos, it is imperative for independent groups to use a diversity of tactics while respecting the Kaianereh’kowa (the Great Law of Peace). Such autonomous organizing is not new, this is how anarchists have worked in other anti-colonial struggles. 

Friday October 14, 2022

Since the eviction of the camp from the Royal Vic site on Tuesday morning by police, McGill’s contractors have begun their excavation of the site, putting up fences and hiring a security guard who himself doesn­’t seem to know who he is working for. They have already stripped the asphalt and broken ground, and reports say that the archeological firm Arkéos is planning to start the digging of sensitive material on Monday.

The Kanienkeha Kahnistensera (known in English as the Mohawk Mothers) have opposed the New Vic Project multiple times over the past several months. They initiated a court case against McGill and the SQI (Société québécoise des infrastructures), who are behind the renovation project in April of this year. The Kahnistensera are presently awaiting their next date in court against McGill, which will come on October 26, long after Arkéos has stripped the earth around their historical village.

We as settler anarchists and accomplices decided to attack Arkéos today, because we want them to know that they must be accountable for working on this colonial project for McGill. This university, founded with profits from selling the products of the slave trade and from stolen Haudenausaunee Trust Fund money, has yet again acted in total disregard of Indigenous sovereignty by ignoring the legitimate demands made by the Kahnistensera, the guardians of the land under the Great Law of Peace.

We demand that Arkéos takes responsibility for the work they are doing for McGill. After McGill cancelled consultations with the Mohawk Mothers, Arkéos has still not met with the Mothers to address their concerns over the excavation. Despite a flurry of calls and emails to Arkéos to cancel their involvement in the project, Arkéos has continued their participation in this excavation without any consultation with the Kahnistensera. Arkéos is not an apolitical actor in this struggle, as they prepare to work behind fences and guards while they desecrate a historical Indigenous cultural site.

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the past of that very company. Indeed, Arkéos has been founded by engineers who needed archeologists and anthropologists to legitimize construction projects. It’s definitely not the first time that Arkéos stands hand in hand with the Quebec Settler colonial state, as they have been involved in Hydro-Québec projects on Eeyou Istchee, mining projects on unceded Nitassinan, pipeline projects in the south of so called Québec as well as various gentrification projects in the so called cities of Montréal and Québec.

To Arkéos, we would like to say this: next time, if you don’t wanna cry over a couple of spilled boxes and some dirt on your luxurious couches, maybe dont get involved in fucking colonial contracts.

Sincerely, a couple of anarchists.