Call for your contribution to the “Police State” journal for the 27th International Day Against Police Brutality

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Jan 262023
 

Du COBP

In 1851, Victor Hugo wrote what would become the well-known slogan: “Police everywhere, justice nowhere”. We have to admit that he was right, and that his words are still relevant today. The function of the police is not and has never been to serve and protect; nor is that of the prison to help the offenders to repair the harm (when there is harm!) and to reintegrate society. The police and prison apparatus are part of the repressive machine of the state, which has the primary function of maintaining the established order and allowing capital to profit, and only secondarily of preventing violence and abuse. No wonder it is so inefficient.

As every year for more than a quarter of a century, the journal “Police State” is a platform used to denounce how the current social order is relying on such state violence to maintain itself. We therefore call for your contribution in the form of texts, drawings, comics, photos, poems or any other ideas for the newspaper of this 27th edition of the IDAPB.

This year’s thematic will be : “In the streets or in jails, police brutality prevails”.
You can also send us your already published texts, or existing links.

Contributions to the journal should be no more than 2 pages long and can be written in French, English or Spanish. Authors who wish to have their texts translated must let us know in a reasonable time frame so that we can find translators. We also invite you to attach images to accompany your text, if you wish. The images will not be counted in the two pages.

The final deadline for the content of the paper journal is February 8, 2023.

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

In solidarity
COBP

The Public Order Emergency Commission

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Jan 162023
 

From From Embers

LISTEN HERE

Interview with an anti-fascist observer about insights gained from the Public Order Emergency Commission hearings, a public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to repress the so-called Freedom Convoy in February 2022.

We discuss why governments invoke emergencies, OPP’s Project Hendon, how the Convoy was funded, the relationship between convoy organizers and police, comparisons with #ShutDownCanada, liberal conspiracy theories, the scale of economic disruption during the Convoy, and more.

Links

Public Order Emergency Commission

Our previous episodes on Yellow Vests Canada and the Freedom Convoy

Ill Winds From Ottawa – Crimethinc report on the Freedom Convoy

Anarchist report from Ottawa during the Convoy

Music: Lee Reed

Note: Due to a technical glitch, this episode was removed, edited and re-published after it’s initial release on January 11, 2023.

We Repeat, Borders Kill, CBSA Negligence Kills

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Jan 072023
 

From Solidarity Across Borders

We denounce the death of migrants detained at the Detention Center in Surrey, BC, and at Roxham Road.

We are, once again, infuriated and saddened to learn of the death of two migrants within a period of two weeks.

The death on Christmas Day of a person detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the Surrey’s CBSA detention center in British Columbia was announced on December 27 by CBSA. On January 5, Sûreté du Québec confirmed they found the dead body of a man near Roxham Road, an irregular crossing of migrants between the USA and Canada.

We deplore the death of the migrant man near Roxham Road and hold the Canadian government responsible and accountable for it. While we do not know the cause of the death, we can say with certainty that no one should have to die alone trying to cross the border at great personal stress, danger, and grave expense. Every person has the right to migrate, the right to resist forced displacement, and the right to return to their country of origin if they so choose.

Let us recall that it is the Safe Third Country Agreement that forces people to choose riskier ways to cross the border. The STCA is an agreement between Canada and the United States that has been in place since 2004 and states that the United States and Canada designate the other country as a safe country for refugees and close the door to most refugee claimants at the US-Canada border. This agreement has been widely criticized by many organizations and by migrants and refugees themselves, particularly because it undermines the right of anyone fleeing persecution to seek asylum. Under this agreement, migrants and refugees who make asylum claims at official border crossings in Canada not meeting the criteria are automatically removed to the United States without due process. As a result, many migrants and refugees resign themselves to crossing the US-Canada border through so-called “irregular” ports of entry, including Roxham Road, sometimes at great risk to their lives – as seen in this case.

As for the death of the person detained by CBSA, their statement mentioned that the next of kin of the deceased migrant were contacted, but gave no information concerning the name, age, gender, country of origin, let alone the reason or duration of their detention. The information on the circumstances under which the person died in the detention center — as to why they could not get the person to a hospital in time to save their life — was also withheld. As usual, CBSA claims to do so “due to privacy consideration” (source: CBSA statement).

The death of this migrant in the Surrey BC prison echoes that of another person detained in Laval QC in January 2022. The CBSA similarly shared no details, particularly of the circumstances of the person’s death, and insisted that no information would be released as an “investigation is ongoing”. Almost a year later, there have been no updates. It is now becoming more and more clear that the CBSA means only to obscure the extraordinary violence of their detention regime and ensure that they are never accountable for the deaths in their custody, as they attempt to outwait the public scrutiny.

The person in Surrey, BC who was under CBSA custody died in the newly built immigration detention center. Ironically, in Montreal, groups have been protesting the newly built migrant prison – the so-called detention center, that is marketed as a more comfortable place for those detained. A prison is a prison whether there is a yard inside or not. These facilities are inhumane and the treatment of people detained therein remains harsh and as we saw, at times, lethal. Millions of dollars spent in new facilities does not replace freedom. No imprisonment provides justice or dignity.

We repeat: Borders Kill, CBSA Negligence Kills. No migrant, no human being, should have to suffer such inhumane treatment. We will fight until every person is free.

The way CBSA handles the detention and the medical care of people detained makes it clear how they dehumanize people while in detention and also in their death. This treatment of people detained is evident from the number of deaths of people while under CBSA custody; over the past twenty years, at least 17 people have died in detention:

Bolante Idowu Alo
Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan
Fransisco Javier Roméro Astorga
Melkioro Gahung
Jan Szamko
Lucia Vega Jimenez
Joseph Fernandes
Kevon O’BrienPhillip
Unidentified man
Shawn Dwight Cole
Unidentified man
Joseph Dunn
Unidentified person
Sheik Kudrath
Maxamillion Akamai
Unidentified person
Unidentified person

“As long as the CBSA continues to detain migrants, deaths in detention will continue,” said a joint statement issued by migrant justice organizations based in BC.

We, the undersigned groups, stand in solidarity with the family of the person killed and with the groups in BC on the frontlines fighting this injustice.

Let us recall that detention is an inherent part of the repressive matrix of the Canadian immigration system. It’s a tool of the Canadian imperialist state that ignores any responsibility towards the people who are migrating for a better life, seeking to leave situations of poverty, exploitation and violence, where the Canadian state and companies are often complicit in creating these very conditions.

The aim of the detention apparatus of the State is to deter people from entering fortress Canada. This oppresses migrants and forces them to live in the margins, isolated and underground, constantly fearing arrest and imprisonment. The practice of putting migrants in prison promotes exploitation where the vulnerable people resort to working and living in abusive and unsafe conditions without recourse or protection.

We denounce the deaths of migrants at the Roxham Road and in the detention center in Surrey, BC and demand that this violence and impunity of CBSA ends. Not one more death.

We demand open borders, no Safe Third Country Agreement, and the free movement of people seeking justice and dignity. That is, freedom to move, freedom to return, and freedom to stay.

Stop the detentions, stop the deportations! We demand a comprehensive, ongoing regularization program without any exceptions and discriminations!

Endorsed by:

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)
Carranza LLP
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Migrante Canada
Migrante BC
No One Is Illegal Toronto
Parkdale Community Legal Services
RAMA Okanagan
RAMA Isla
Sanctuary Health
Sanctuary Students Solidarity & Support Collective
Solidarity Across Borders
Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights
Workers’ Action Centre

Three Myths about Fascism

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Jan 022023
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

A broader definition of fascism

As we know all too well, the definition of fascism tends to vary. In the last few years, politicians have been repeatedly throwing the word at each other, to the point that it means everything and its opposite. A more serious definition that gets thrown about a lot is the “Ur-Fascism” definition written by Umberto Eco. While Eco’s article is very interesting and absolutely worth a read, it is too often taken out of context. Eco describes the fascism he experienced, namely 1930s and 1940s fascism, and more precisely, Mussolini’s fascist Italia. It is a very historically accurate definition, but one rather limited for our times.

Another approach used more recently is the “duck definition” of fascism. The point is, if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, flies like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. Or, to put it clearly:

  • If it represses opposition like a fascist does,
  • If it promotes the importance of one strong leader like fascists do,
  • If it scapegoats, oppresses and enslaves minorities like fascists do,
  • If it pushes for a police state like fascists do,

Then it is fascism.

It is a larger, wider definition of fascism, and yes it does include a lot of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. But does the difference between “Ur-Fascism” and a dictatorship matter to us? While that distinction remains important for scholars, in practice, in the street, in our workplaces, in our houses, the color of the boot stomping on your face forever matters little.

What matters is that we, our comrades, our friends, suffer. What matters is that the mechanisms of the State increasingly become hostile to us. What matters is that this authoritarianism, whatever the shape and name it takes, is for many of us an existential threat. Fighting it is a matter of survival. It does not matter whether the boot is black, brown, red, white or blue: the boot itself must be destroyed.

But under that new definition, a lot of current and past regimes show, at the very least, fascist tendencies. China’s enslavement of the Uighurs certainly sounds fascist. Modi’s India and its treatment of its Muslim population looks eminently like Nazi Germany. Putin’s Russia and its satellite totalitarian states definitely walk like fascists. The current governments of Italy, Hungary, certain states of the USA and Israel, to name only them, make more and more place to supremacists and religious integrists.

To say nothing of ancient regimes. Imperial Rome typically relied on a large militarized state apparatus to maintain order and, more importantly, to keep slaves in line. The reign of absolute monarchies in XVIIIth and XIXth century europe, with a reliance on an elaborate and strong police apparatus, exhibits strong fascist traits.

Myth 1: Fascism is Rare

or : why bother, it’s all in the past

And here we come to the crux of the matter. Fascism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorships, whatever you want to call it, are rather the norm than the exception when you study States’ histories. The fact is, as bad as the situation is today, we don’t live in exceptional times. To be free, even relatively free, remains the exception.

And even this relative freedom is constantly threatened. Not only through a violent coup d’état, but simply from people voting them in. India’s Modi and Hungary’s Orban keep getting re-elected. Israel just resurrected Netanyahu. Millions of people voted for Trump, and will most probably vote for his next incarnation. Italy just elected an openly fascist government. Even Quebec voted in an advocate of Duplessis, an advocate for the return to “La Grande Noirceur”.

The current so-called “culture wars” are nothing new: it’s the neverending fight between the ancient landed gentry against the rest of us who struggle to be more than simple servants. Conservatives fight to maintain an hierarchy stretching back centuries, and they have nearly unlimited wealth to push their agendas forward. To do nothing is leaving them with all the space they need to distribute their poison. To do nothing is to dig our own graves.

Myth 2: Fascism is Universally Despised

or: why bother, it’ll never catch on

The current rise of authoritarian regimes, and the crumbling of the so-called Western democracies, show one sad fact: a lot of people actually like fascism. After all, if you are a part of the faction catered by the fascists, what’s not to like? The people you hate have been expelled, enslaved or killed. Their jobs are yours, their houses are yours, their wealth is yours. That’s the siren call of fascism, the fact that the scapegoating and massive exploitation of part of the population, whether immigrants, jews, muslims, LGTBQ+ or any other minority, is extremely profitable to the rest of the population.

It is, after all, what makes imperialism and colonialism so attractive. The exploitation and enslavement of part of the world for the benefit of the other is very profitable for us. For instance, Canada is home to 75% of the mining companies of the world, and many people here work in their administrations, their accounting departments, their banking schemes. The same mining companies who keep committing war crimes and other atrocities outside Canada. Now, a factory worker might not have the choice but to work for Nestlé to survive, but an accountant could probably work somewhere else than Talisman Energy, for instance. And the fact is, a lot of people in Tio’tia:ke willingly work for companies like Talisman Energy, companies with blood on their hands. A lot of blood.

One of our main objectives should therefore be to act before they get a taste of what fascism can bring to them. Because once a fraction of the population get a taste of what it can bring to them, once this fraction is well catered (and often well-armed) by fascists in power, it becomes very hard to dislodge them. It’s a recurring theme in Latin America, for instance, where we see a middle-class which is only a sliver wealthier than the rest of the population, that fights tooth and nails when their privileges are questioned.

And it’s easy for the actual wealthy elites, who own all the media, to push propaganda down their throat. It’s easy to make that precarious middle class believe that the menace comes from those living in absolute squalor who just want to survive, and not from the fact that 99% of the wealth they produced is siphoned by them. There’s a reason why networks like Fox and TVA always target the left: we are in their way.

Myth 3: Fascism is Self-Destructive

or: why bother, it’ll be done in a few short years

We often laugh at the fact that Hitler’s thousand years Reich barely lasted a decade. Unfortunately, the nazis are rather the exception; most fascist regimes are very stable. Mussolini was in power for over 20 years, and might have lasted even longer if it weren’t for Hitler’s hubris. Pinochet’s Chile lasted 25 years. Franco’s Spain lasted more than 35 years. Salazar’s Portugal lasted more then 45 years. And while some of these dictatorial regimes survived through external support (in many case supported by the US), the fact is they managed to navigate both internal and external threats and survived for a long, a very long time.

The definition of the State is usually the determination of who has the monopoly of force in a specific area. Who writes the law, yes, but more importantly, who enforces it. Fascists regimes can be extremely stable because they strive on exploiting part of the population to lavish benefits on another, usually well-armed, part. The well-armed beneficiaries of the regime have no interest in seeing it toppled, and will often brutally defend it.

Fascist regimes typically have two points of failure :

  • The reliance on a “one strong leader” who, despite State propaganda, is merely mortal. A lot of theses regimes therefore fall apart when the “dear leader” gets sick, senile or finally croak.
  • When they start believing their own propaganda. They might claim to be the superior race, the superior people, the superior caste, they are merely humans like the rest of us. There’s no check to your power like a reality check.

But these are not under our control… If a fascist regime come into power, we cannot wait 35 years… hell, we might not survive the first few weeks.

What should we do?

As bad as our current liberal society is, it does offer us a bubble of freedom to express our ideas, even in the wider imperialist and colonialist context. Minorities have some rights, even if they are very often violated. People can live on the margins of society, even if they are typically ostracized for it. The reality is that, outside of this liberal bubble, most of us would not even have the right to exist. It is something we can see in marxist theory: it is difficult for a social revolution to take place in an authoritarian regime. We need a space to share our ideas, where we can practice our ideals, even as limited as it is right now.

Our goal should therefore be to expand this bubble as much as possible. To test and push the boundaries of our freedoms, so as to expand them even further. How can we do this? In our current context, where the bubble keep shrinking, it implies that we must defend that bubble. As much as we loathe this liberal society, we would be in a heap of trouble if it were ever to crumble. That does not mean that we should play the political game: our time and energy is too precious for that circus. But, as the IWW like to say, we should organize. This means:

  • Organize protests and denounce its inevitable police repression,
  • Organize minority defense groups,
  • Organize right defense groups: anti-racist, anti-borders, anti-landlord, anti-police, anti-prison…
  • Organize independent media and actually free internet forums,
  • Organize anti-fascist actions and block fascists events,
  • Organize solidarity spaces and cooperation networks, and invent new ways to work together,
  • etc.

As our tiny bubble is threatened, exercising each of these threatened freedoms is antifascist action. As the fascists clamp down on what we can do, what we can say, where we can say it, doing it *anyway* is antifascist action.

Because the liberals won’t save us. The signs are everywhere: liberals are poised to sell their freedoms, our freedoms! for a little more security, a little more stability. After all, they have little interest in protecting a bubble which they don’t need themselves to survive.

To finish like we started, let’s quote Umberto Eco : “Our duty is to uncover [fascism] and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world.”

History tells us that it is much easier to prevent fascism than to topple it. So let’s get to it!

Love and rage!
Dance and riot!
Organize and revolt!

Auxane Jonot: The Racist Cop Who Is Coming to Live in Québec

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Dec 102022
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

Montréal Antifasciste monitors hate groups whether they are active in the real world or online.

In recent years, the radical fringes of the far right have tended to leave traditional platforms like Facebook and Instagram in favour of platforms that they judge to be less regulated (e.g., GAB) or more secure (e.g., Telegram). That has not prevented us from continuing our surveillance work, as has been the case this year with the Québec section of the nebulous White Lives Matter.

Despite their loss of some platforms, this year we’ve been interested in the community gathered around Alexandre Cormier-Denis and his media tool Nomos TV. Specifically, we were able to observe much of interest on the Telegram chat reserved for subscribers.

Recently, one user of this chat in particular caught our attention.

The user “Aux” is a young man from France who is preparing to move to Québec. He is a fervent supporter of Éric Zemmour (a former journalist who was a far-right candidate during the 2022 French presidential election, who makes Marine Le Pen seem like a cuddly kitten) and his organization Reconquête. Obviously, “AUX” ended up on the chat reserved for paying subscribers of Nomos TV because its host Alexandre Cormier-Denis was a strong supporter of Éric Zemmour. He’s been active on the chat since August 29, 2022.

From Mr Deez…

“Aux” is active in the video gamer community. He is most notably known as a player on the game Call of Duty, using the pseudonym “Mr Deez.” He also hosts a Twitch channel with 2,200 followers under that name and is behind the YouTube project “5 choses à savoir.” There is evidence galore that makes it virtually effortless to connect “Aux” to “Mr Deez”:

to the Cop Jonot

“Aux” finally divulged that he worked as a cop somewhere in the Parisian region. As well as posing in his uniform, he started sharing photos from his workday, e.g., photos of his Taser.

Even more shocking, he decided to share photos of arrestees in police custody—people handcuffed to a chair, obviously photographed without their consent. Growing increasingly uninhibited over the course of several weeks, he started to regularly publish the names and photos of people he questioned in a way meant to justify his racist ideology. He ended up publishing the photos and coordinates of at least fifteen detainees, revealing their arrest histories and the charges they faced, with tasteless racist commentary.

Here is a sample of the pictures of detained individuals that Auxane Jonot published on Nomos’ Telegram channel. We have blurred the faces and other elements that could be used to identify these persons.

He even went as far as to publish extracts from his notes with names, birth dates, addresses, and telephone numbers—and a photo of the police internal computer system with details about a police intervention, with names, addresses, etc.—all of that as a pretext for a discussion of the “great replacement theory” and to denigrate people of colour.

“My four current interrogations will give you an example of the names 🙂 It’s us, we write very quickly 😭 they barely know how to write ahah In fact, I’m showing Québec that in France everything is going quite well and those who say otherwise are conspiracy theorists”

His behaviour and actions say a lot about the culture that reigns within the police services, which are submerged in systemic racism.

“Basically, it’s simple, I’ve been in the police force for four years and I’ve taken into custody five people with French or Western first names. All the rest had African/Maghrebin or East European first names.”

The Police and Systemic Racism

That the police is an institution that embodies systemic racism is not open to question—study after study proves it, with devastating consequences for BIPOC people (violence, death, imprisonment), as even police forces in large cities in Canada are recognizing. As we have seen, the Toronto police have lost the right to randomly stop people (the “stop and frisk” policy) because of flagrant racial profiling—and more recently Québec police lost the right to stop drivers without cause for the same reason.

There is also increasing documentation of substantial police sympathy with far-right movements, with some cops being members of far-right groups. In the case of the last January’s so-called Freedom Convoy, we saw examples of police being filmed offering their enthusiastic support, and even more shockingly have heard allegations of strategic leaks from “all police forces” to the convoy. In the US, we’ve seen the police offer support to militias intimidating Black Lives Matter activists, as well as not wanting to arrest Kyle Rittenhouse after he killed two demonstrators and seriously injured another at a mass demonstration. Rittenhouse was finally acquitted of all charges. In September, the Anti-Defamation League published a study addressing a leak about the American militia the Oath Keepers, which includes 373 police officers among its members, as well as relaying information about how they spread the militia’s anti-immigrant values within police forces. An ex–FBI agent also produced a report in 2020 that documented the extent of the connection between “law enforcement agencies” and militant racist activity in at least twelve states over the previous decade. In Europe, there are numerous studies addressing the far right in police forces—as the Guardian put it, there is a “culture of extremism,” including evidence that 81percent of police in France voted for the Rassemblement National, reminding us of the leak of a French police WhatsApp group riddled with racism.

Qui est « Aux »?

Auxane Jonot
Aux Tonoj: https://www.facebook.com/auxane.soy
Twitter : https://twitter.com/MrDeeZHD
Twitch : https://www.twitch.tv/mrdeezhd
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmamnT89_gghqsDP5-JvBaA

Emeline Maire
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/emeline.maire.14
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anywherexx

A number of clues scattered around the Nomos TV subscribers’ chat allowed us to quickly learn more about him. His first name is Auxane, he was born in the Bretagne region, and he lives in the Parisian region, where he worked as a police officer in Val-de-Marne (Department 94), specifically in the city of Arcueil.

His partner is a pharmacist who largely shares his racist ideas, which was confirmed by her Twitter account. It was from exchanges on their Twitter accounts that we were able to verify with certainty the identities of the couple Auxane Jonot and Emeline Maire.

An Imminent Arrival in Québec

Fortunately for French youth, Auxane announced his resignation from his police position in November 2022. The French couple are now planning their move to Québec. They are scheduled to arrive on January 11, 2023.

They anticipated settling in Montréal, where Auxane would study computer science. On a chat, for example, Auxane asked:

“From your point of view, what are the best neighbourhoods in Montréal? The neighbourhoods most devoid of diversity”

An exploratory visit last autumn changed everything. After that visit to Québec, Auxane said on the chat:

 “Montréal is far too LGBTQophile/anglicized to death/and great replacement for me.”

The couple have decided to settle in Québec City, which they judge to be more conservative. They have already found an apartment in the Lebourgneuf neighbourhood.

///

In a surprising moment of lucidity, Auxane Jonot posed this question on Nomos TV’s Telegram channel:

“Are we sure that there are no infiltrators on this channel? Because we’d quickly find ourselves the focus of attention on Mediapart”

This indicates that Auxane is entirely aware of the seriousness of his actions and statements, which expose hatred in a shared racist environment that he hopes is anonymous. But as Alexandre Cormier-Denis himself says: “We can be certain of absolutely nothing at all.”

Let’s make Auxane and Emeline feel unwelcome. And why not have them prominently covered in Mediapart!

There is room for everyone in Québec, except a former racist cop.

Refugees welcome, racists fuck off!

///

P.-S. Here is a last screen capture of a racist post by Auxane Jonot on Nomos’ Telegram channel. Surely, the ironic nature of this little “joke” will be lost on no one…

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.

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

Call for Texts : Towards the Creation of an Anarchist Organisation

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Nov 052022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

On October 1st, an assembly of the Montreal revolutionary milieu took place. This meeting followed discussions that were first initiated at the strategic gatherings. Many people had pointed out the limits of our current forms of organisation. Many people highlighted the limits of our current forms of organisation. Since the gatherings did not enable the question to be explored in sufficient depth, a committee was asked to organise a new moment for discussion.

This new meeting was able to agree on several matters. First of all, it is necessary to create an open, public and visible anarchist organisation working for the abolition of the state, the destruction of oppressive systems, namely capitalism, imperialism, racism, colonialism, cisheteropatriarchy and ableism as well as the maintenance of ecosystems. The functions of this organisation would include recruiting and training new activists, producing strategies and theoretical analyses, providing popular education, having a cultural presence in the public sphere, supporting other organisations and amplifying existing struggles, having physical and/or virtual spaces, and establishing a network.

Although these points of agreement clarify some political issues, the assembly did not have time to discuss which structure would be best suited to fulfil these objectives. A second meeting will therefore be dedicated to discussions on structural issues. Furthermore, these objectives are only broad outlines and would benefit from being better defined. In an effort to ensure that our debates are fruitful, we therefore call on all comrades interested by this project to send us in writing the results of their reflections and debates, including questions or proposals to be addressed at the assembly.

As an example, the texts may discuss the following topics

  • the question of membership (who can join, what does membership involve, are there different types of membership);
  • decision-making (what are the decision-making bodies, how are decisions made, on what issues do we want to make decisions, what is the constraining force of decisions)
  • how the political positions of the organisation (anarchism, anti-racism, anti-capacism and others) should be manifested both on the external and on the internal level
  • the code of conduct (should we have one, how can we improve caring and respect in discussion and decision making).

The website will also host suggested texts produced by other groups or organisations on the subject. The next assembly will be held before the holidays. Please contact us for more information. Send your texts and suggestions to orga-revolutionnaire@riseup.net

Moreover, reflections from the first assembly, as well as from strategic gatherings and from different activist circles, have underlined the need and desire for organisational spaces and political discussions in chosen gender mixity, without cis men. The follow-up committee therefore calls for a revolutionary feminist assembly, with no cis men, in early 2023. This meeting could include practical organising issues, reflections on cis-heteropatriarchy, processes of restorative justice and accountability, but also more broadly on the problems of capitalism and colonialism, and the exclusion, racism and ableism that benefit these systems. Comrades interested in joining the organisation of such a meeting should contact us at orga-revolutionnaire@riseup.net. Texts, questions and proposals on forms of organisation that specifically address gender and inclusion issues are also welcome.

Considering that this assembly will take place after the anarchist organisation’s assembly in December, we tentatively propose two things: 1) discussion groups without cis men will be held in the morning of the second assembly and 2) at the assembly, issues and modes of organisation linked to gender and inclusion dynamics that raise concerns or require further reflection will be deferred until the meetings in chosen gender mixity feel it is appropriate.

In summary:

– There will be a second assembly about establishing a revolutionary anarchist organisation in December 2022 and it will focus on the issue of structure.

– An assembly without cis men will be held in early 2023. Please contact us to be part of the organising group for this event.

– The call for papers and proposals is aimed specifically towards questions related to structure, including issues of gender and inclusion.

– For any questions, information, interest in getting involved, clarification, there is one address: orga-revolutionnaire@riseup.net

New Communication Infrastructure For Anarchists

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Nov 042022
 

From From Embers

Interview with the author of the PET Guide, a zine discussing secure digital communication tools from an anarchist perspective. We discuss Signal and its critics, and some new tools being released that incorporate peer-to-peer communication, end-to-end encryption and the Tor network.

Further reading:

How the U.S. Military buys location data from ordinary apps

The challenge of cracking Iran’s internet blockade

Catholic bishop / Grindr / App data scandal

Signal

Interview with new Signal president Meredith Whittaker

Signal Warning? Why Moxie’s Departure Is Not The End Of Signal

Signal Fails

PET apps

Briar Project

Cwtch

From Embers: Quebec Nationalism and Settler Futurity – Refusing Innocence

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Oct 312022
 

From From Embers

A conversation with two anarchists following a workshop they gave at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair entitled 10 years since the strike: the place of nationalism within militant struggle. We discuss the history of Quebec nationalism and its influence in anarchist and radical milieus, responsibilities of settlers in anti-colonial struggle and in relating to land, possibilities and uncertain futures opened up by anarchism as a guiding practice, and more.