map.negate.ca: An Interactive Map of Extractive Infrastructure in BC

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Oct 032022
 
Screenshot of northern bc showing the routes of CGL, PTP, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, and the location of Site C and Telkwa Coal.

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

There is a ever growing amount of pipelines and other extractive projects within so-called “british columbia”. It is challenging to understand the scope of this infrastructure and how each project relates to others.

We collected information about planned, in construction, and completed projects and combined them into one map. We also include all freight rail lines. 

We publish this map to gain collective perspective on the state of extractive industry in bc. We will continue adding new data as it emerges. If there are any projects that you want added you can email map@negate.ca. 

The map is entirely hosted on our server. Your browser won’t connect to google or open street map. If it is slow, this is probably why :-)

LINK: https://map.negate.ca
TOR (slightly glitchy): http://ddoa2hephx2q7bqi4qbdaizmigpvqzpnprebqlophukrc4nncmfzvqad.onion

BC Counter-info is Now Live!

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Sep 152022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

https://bccounterinfo.org is now live! We at BC counter-info have gone to great lengths to create a secure and accessible platform for anarchist and anti-authoritarians of all stripes to upload their stories of inspirational revolutionary actions happening across so called ‘BC’ and eventually to help broadcast others from around the world. We encourage all ‘BC’ comrades to submit their handiwork using the portal provided in the submit section of the website, after reading the security tips provided. If you have any suggestions on ways to improve the site, especially around security, or to tell us how much we suck, don’t hesitate to email us at bccounterinfo@riseup.net or alternatively you can use the submission portal for one-way secure messages. If you have submissions that fall outside the area known as ‘BC’ please submit to existing sites, and we will share them automatically in a separate feed. Stay tuned for further updates to the site, we have big plans! BC counter-info is an onion service with a public facing URL. Our onion address is: bcinfosst3tgmyfar6sessdkpkaxrc5sdjagvxvkbu6z74yhin7e5gid.onion

Your Cancer, Courtesy of Capitalism

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Sep 092022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Many cities in Quebec are home to one or more industries that destroy the environment and make the inhabitants sick.

In Rouyn-Noranda, Glencore benefits from a right to pollute that has allowed it to pocket billions for decades. The flora, the fauna, and all living things are affected. Vulnerable people, pregnant women, babies, and children, are particularly affected. All of this is indirectly with the permission of the Ministry of the Environment, who issues the remediation certificate that allows for exceeding the standards for emissions of a cocktail of heavy metals: arsenic, lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium, etc. These exceptions to compliance with provincial standards are an easy way for shareholders to profit.

We are an affinity group from Rouyn-Noranda. Today, we are starting a series of symbolic and direct actions against Glencore. We will no longer accept dying to enrich this kind of of ruthless multinational corporation! We have dropped this banner on the cancer research center that is delaying its operations because of hiring difficulties – and we understand! People who work in the health field do not want to come to Rouyn-Noranda to be poisoned.

Announcing Creeker Vol 2 and The Creeker Companion Vol 2

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Sep 062022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Creeker is a grassroots, anti-authoritarian zine series that aims to bring depth, variety, critique and continuity to the ongoing process of reflecting on the Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek blockade and related efforts. It is intended for creekers themselves, land defenders elsewhere, and the land defenders yet to come.

Last summer on so-called Vancouver Island, thousands of people moved through a de-facto autonomous zone spanning multiple watersheds. A constellation of struggle burned bright, welcoming into its fold a new generation of land defenders. We cannot begin to fathom the amount of stories of collective and individual experience that have piled up, but we also recognize how sleep deprivation, trauma loops, burnout, and the shock of returning to society can preoccupy our minds.

In response to an open invitation to contribute to this zine project, many have shared some of what they have begun to process. Creeker Vol 1 and Vol 2 include art, analysis, photography, history, personal reflection and poetry that were anonymously sourced from participants at the blockade.

Creeker Vol 2 expands on some of the themes of Vol 1 with eloquent and hard-hitting writing exploring the dynamics of autonomous forest defense in conflict with recuperative tendencies at Fairy Creek, and the ever-present treachery of environmental NGOs and the non profit industrial complex. Vol 2 also begins to revive vital histories of radical, uncontrollable resistance in the nearby Kax:iks/Walbran and Elaho Valleys, helping to bridge emerging generation gaps caused in part by decades of pacifist liberal whitewashing.

Creeker Volume 2

The Creeker Companion zines are curated to complement the Creeker zines with material that’s relevant to Ada’itsx and similar movements, but much broader in scope. Companion Vol 1 and Vol 2 both explore topics such as movement history, state repression, and thoughtfully critical approaches to identity politics. Vol 1 features mostly longer form pieces, while Vol 2 samples briefly from various material including essays, poetry, communiques and more, joined together with a playfully insurrectionary vibe.

The Creeker Companion Vol 2

Both Creeker and the Creeker Companion may be of interest to anarchists and land defenders in general.

https://creekerzine.wordpress.com

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

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Aug 152022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

In 1973, Pierre Elliott Trudeau enacted a regularization program resulting in 39,000 undocumented migrants living in so-called canada being eventually recognized as citizen. While there have been other regularization programs over the years, this was, by far, the largest one implemented [1].

You might have noticed that this large regularization program took place almost 50 years ago, by the father of the current prime minister, Justin Trudeau. And if there’s something that Trudeau can be relied upon, is to do some grand commemorative gesture for the occasion.

Because we are really in a perfect storm situation for migrant regularization. First, we are facing a serious labor shortage. Many essential jobs cannot find any takers because of the difficult work conditions and bad salaries. Undocumented migrants are currently working, of course, since most people cannot survive in canada without a job. But without a valid Social Insurance Number, many jobs remain inaccessible, most especially in government positions.

Second, there are already a lot of undocumented migrants in essential healthcare and food production jobs, because they are the shittiest jobs anyone can do. And we need them to continue to function as a society, a lot more than we need grubby bankers, tax haven accountants and slimy corporate lawyers, anyway. But it’s getting kinda shameful how the government ends up paying undocumented migrants for these jobs. Downright embarassing, even, given how badly they are treated.

And third, Trudeau’s minority government is in dire need of stealing votes from the left. Therefore, the Liberal government introduced Motion M-44 in May 2021 to get the ball rolling [2]. But while it might sound like a wide sweeping regularization program, let’s not be fooled: they want to steal votes to the left, while not alienating their racist right. As it stands now, it might only be a liberal regularization program: by and for the industry, the bankers, the stock market. And not for, you know, the actual people being currently refused entry to citizenship.

The reality of undocumented migrant lives

Ok, so why would we care? We want to destroy the so-called canadian state anyway, why would we want to see more people accepted by it? Why does citizenship in a colonial state matters?

Well, for starters, we don’t have in so-called canada the same infrastructure of support for undocumented migrants that there is south of the border. There are not that many non-profit organizations in here, and those present are often overwhelmed with people still clinging to the official citizenship pipelines. On the legal end of things, our racist provincial governments have not enabled the kind of loopholes we can see in California. And municipalities have very little power, especially since the police is controlled at the provincial and federal levels. Not that Projet Montreal’s “let’s fund the pigs no matter what they ask for” would have changed anything anyway.

Healthcare for undocumented migrants is a macabre joke. If you don’y have your “sun card”, you’re pretty much doomed. You either have to pay through the nose to see a doctor and get a prescription, and you still have to pay full price for medication. And that is if the doctor doesn’t denounce you to the pigs. Them doctors sur take that Hypocrite Oat to heart…

Anarchists in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal) will recall one undocumented comrade who gradually went blind, as she could not afford the doctors’ appointments and medications which were available to all of us. And another comrade, whose leg almost burst open from blood circulation problems, and who could not affort to get treated either. Living undocumented has a cost, a cost measured in human lives.

School ain’t much better either. Undocumented migrants recently won the right for their children to attend middle and high school, but it remains very limited [3]. They are always at risk of being denounced. Some schools will break government guidelines and refuse undocument children nonetheless. Because why a racist government would sanction a racist administrator? For those who overcome these hurdles and manage to finish high school, few prospects await them. And what opportunities are open nowadays to someone with just a high school degree?

Because work is ever so much worse. Undocumented migrants cannot complain to the CNESST, and are therefore not protected by health and safety guidelines, nor by minimum wage laws. Recent articles showed how official temporary migrant workers are mistreated in fields and farms, what do you think happens to undocumented migrants?

And that’s not covering the worst of the worst, the fucking police. Undocumented migrants are constantly one police stop away from getting deported. And guess what happens when they actually need to be protected from a rapist or a violent spouse? The SPVM is well-known as a “Deportation Machine That Hunts Down Non-Status Immigrants”, to quote an article from the McGill Daily [4]. And they probably jerk off while doing it too.

So yeah, fuck the state, destroy it, burn it to the fucking ground. But still, that shitty piece of citizenship paper still means a world of difference between life and death for a lot of people. And with a theorized 500,000 undocument migrants here, that’s a lot of pain and suffering that could be alleviated.

The fascists and liberals have no problem sleeping on the blood and bones of undocumented migrants. Can we?

What are the obstacles to expect?

If you follow federal politics, then it is obvious that Trudeau is quite heavy on symbolism, and pretty light on substance. The Trudeau government makes a lot of grandiose gestures but is often lackluster when it comes to actual action. After all, their goal here is not to actually regularize migrants, but just to steal some vote to the left. And maybe provide some cheap labour to their financiers.

So there’s a real chance that the regularization proposed might only be window dressing. That it might only regularize people who would be regularized eventually anyway. So we must put pressure on the government to ensure this regularization proposal is as wide and inclusive as possible. the canadian-based “Migrants Rights Network” has compiled a list of demands, their main ones being [5]:

  • The goal of the program must be regularization of all undocumented people
    residing in Canada.
  • The program should be permanent and available on an ongoing basis because the
    factors leading to people becoming undocumented will continue for the
    foreseeable future.
  • Applications must be simple, such that undocumented people are able to apply
    themselves, online via mobile devices or on paper. There should be a large
    selection of acceptable documents for the purposes of establishing identity and
    residence in Canada, none should be mandatory.
  • People should not be excluded based on past failures to comply with immigration
    law.
  • There must be a prohibition on detentions and deportations throughout the course
    of the regularization program; without this, the regularization program will fail as
    undocumented people will not apply.
  • No one should be deported if their application is rejected.

///

The other major obstacle is, quite obviously, the racist and white supremacist provincial CAQ government. The CAQ made no secret that they want full control of immigration in Quebec. They have already made legally dubious moves against immigrants, whether through:

  • Bill 9, which threw 18,000 immigration dossiers in the trash,
  • Bill 21, which blocks many non-christians from teaching jobs,
  • Bill 96, which forces migrants to learn french in six months.

The CAQ would almost certainly try to block any regularization efforts, unless the undocumented migrants were both french and white.

///

And finally, the other obstacle would probably be your unfriendly neighborhood fascist. The far-right propaganda against migrant workers is widespread, the most popular being that more foreign workers means lower wages and fewer housing opportunities.

First, let’s be honest about wages. The pandemic convinced a lot of baby boomers to retire a bit earlier than expected, leaving a large number of jobs available. Simple free market economics would theorizes that a workers’ shortage would therefore mean salaray raises. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case so far, and nothing shows that it will improve in the future. Or even match the inflation.

Evidently, our capitalist masters will not increase wages, no matter what. They would rather let the job left undone, and pile the work on the remaining workers, than pay us a penny more. The only significant gains made in recent months were in unionized jobs, and only after difficult struggles, and often long strikes. As the IWW slogan goes: if we want better work conditions, we need to organize. The “free market” has always been stacked against workers: a few more migrants, who are already here and already working anyway won’t change a damn thing.

Second, housing. As housing committees in Tio’tia:ke and elsewhere keep hammering: we don’t have a housing shortage, we have an affordable housing shortage. There are a shittons of apartments held empty for speculation purposes. The financiarization of the housing market means that you are no longer dealing with your regular scummy landlord, but with a scummy stock market broker landlord. Our old landlords could pressure us as much as they wanted, but in the end they needed at least some money to pay their mortgage at the end of the month. Deals could be cooerced, and limited rent strikes could work. Our new landlords have 50,000 appartments and don’t give a shit if a few of them don’t pay them for a few months, while they fill the paperwork to throw your ass out in the street at 2AM in -40 weather. Again, more migrants who already live here won’t change a thing either.

Or in other words, don’t punch down on comrades down on their luck. Punch up to the bosses and the landlords: they’re the own making all our lives miserable. And maybe punch your local fascist while your there.

What should we do?

The Trudeau government should publish a first draft of their regularization law in late September 2022. This should gives us an idea on where Trudeau want to go with that program, and subsequent reactions from the CAQ and the far-right should give us an idea of what kind of obstacles we would be facing.

It was easier to pressure the government in 1973 because the undocumented migrants included a large portion of white people, mostly war resisters from the united states fleeing the vietnam draft. We don’t have this luxury today. Any gain we make will have to be made despite the white supremacists currently vying for power.

But thankfully, others have paved the way before us. The 39,000 persons regularized in 1973 might sound like a lot, but it was merely 0.1% of the population of canada at the time. These 39,000 are massively dwarfed compared to recent regularization programs in other countries. In 1981, france regularized 132,000 migrants, or 0.2% of their population at the time, twice as many as canada. In 2005, spain regularized 570,000 people, or 1.3% of their population at the time. It is therefore possible to do it much better than in 1973, and the mobilization behind the regularization campaigns in france and spain can provide us with a lot of good arguments.

After all, these undocumented migrants are already here. They work with us, eat with us, live with us. It’s time they enjoyed the same rights that we all do.

///

The canadian-based Migrant Rights Network calls for days of action on Agust 16th and September 18th: https://migrantrights.ca/

Solidarity across borders (SAB) organizes events in Tio’tia:ke and might plan something for this Fall: https://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/

The french radio show “Les Apatrides anonymes” presents up-to-date news on migrant issues in so-called canada and elsewhere around the world: http://www.apanad.koumbit.org/emissions-de-radio-2022/

Love and rage!

///

[1] See: https://www.kairoscanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Regularization-of-NonStatus-Immigrants-in-Canada-1960-2004.pdf for the different programs.

[2] See: https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en/89339/motions/11528727 This was followed by a mandate letter to the minister of immigration: https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2021/12/16/minister-immigration-refugees-and-citizenship-mandate-letter It laconically only mentions “Build on existing pilot programs to further explore ways of regularizing status for undocumented workers who are contributing to Canadian communities”.

[3] See: http://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-144-41-1.html (in French only).

[4] See: https://www.mcgilldaily.com/2020/10/opinion-spvm-a-deportation-machine-that-hunts-down-non-status-immigrants/

[5] You can find the full document here: https://migrantrights.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/MRN-Brief-Regularization-July-2022.pdf

Against Your Demands: Lessons from Occupy McGill

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Aug 012022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

In 2022, I was an active anarchist in the two week occupation of McGill University. In the months prior to the occupation, I was part of the meetings that discussed the idea of pitching up tents in the Arts building. Back then, we were just 6 people at a picnic table. I witnessed the successes and failures of the occupation (and of its offshoots at Concordia and UdeM) but until now have not written anything on the subject.  

Earlier this month, an international call to action was launched: “End Fossil – Occupy“. In a Guardian opinion piece, students are urged to “occupy our campuses to demand the end of the fossil economy.” This call seems to follow the example set by McGill, which has received somewhat broad attention. However, it fails to take key lessons from the McGill experience. By explaining these lessons, I am hoping to influence people who are thinking of organizing an occupation (which I still strongly encourage), and to challenge dominant notions of what a movement needs to be. Above all, we are past making End Fossil’s demands.

Purely and simply, the success of the McGill occupation was rooted in two guiding principles: 1) it refused to just be about the climate, and 2) it refused to make demands. Without a doubt, the occupation was successful. Up to 25 people a night slept in the lobby of the Arts building. Our public assemblies surpassed one hundred attendees. Audiences were often several dozen at film screenings, workshops, reading circles, and discussions which happened on a daily basis.* Every day you could show up, no matter who you were, and be fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. A few days into the occupation, several crews ran riot with spray paint through McGill, tagging up security vans and walls with slogans like “Occupy Everything” and “Students: Remember your Power.”

People showed up, not because of the specific issues we brought up, but because of the insurrectionary energy that was created. We printed and handed out hundreds of zines on pretty much everything but the climate. Educational sessions were also hardly-ever climate-related. Instead, the ideas being discussed centred around anarchist pedgagogy. People’s worldviews were not just being reemphasized (as they are when listening to yet another droning rad-lib environmentalist speech), but challenged or developed. 

As a student movement, it was important that we did not make demands or centre on any specific issue. We were a place to locate people with a variety of concerns. Some of the most loyal comrades at the occupation were not there because of climate-related anxieties. Participants in assemblies often discussed issues under the sun that touched on anything-but. We cast a broad net, and created a broad base. This wider focus allowed us to then bring to bear a radical critique of all hierarchy, all forms of domination, and to propose revolution, not reform (no matter how green).

I am going to be honest here. If I were to see another purely narrow environmentalist occupation – I’d keep walking. Most working class people also rightly distrust this messaging. From Occupy, Shut Down Canada, to the George Floyd uprising, it is clear that people want insurrection. You still want reforms? Fine. But let’s not ask for reforms. Let’s build a revolutionary movement and allow politicians to panic and try frantically to slow us down with concessions. That is, let’s not be ineffectively boring.

I do not want to pretend that every participant in the McGill occupation was a born-again anarchist. In fact, many campers complained that our intentions were outwardly vague. Some raised concerns that people were not participating because, without demands, they couldn’t understand what was going on. First, it’s worth saying that virtually everyone who claimed not to understand what we were doing were more conservative or liberal students who would never have participated anyway. But more crucially, we fail to bring people into our movement not because we lack demands, but because we are not effective enough at illustrating to others why joining our projects will change the world. This is harder to do: it takes good discussions, fun actions, effective assemblies, clear strategy, strong zines, and organizing. But it is possible.

It is certain that some of our camp organizers did not have a strong enough grasp of radical politics to explain convincingly why we don’t make demands but struggle for insurrection. However, this is not a barricade; it’s a small hurdle that one or two deliberate group conversations could have fixed.

The experience of Concordia’s short occupation was entirely different. The occupation at Concordia was quickly co-opted by the student union. Power and responsibilities became increasingly concentrated in a small set of vocal elected students who, already burdened with union responsibilities, could hardly carry out the tasks they took on. Union representatives began asking opponents to leave the occupation. Other students left by themselves — fed-up by the union or not at all enchanted. Any initial radical insurrectionary energy was sapped out by narrow syndicalist politics. I briefly attended the University of Montreal occupation. From what I observed (although more pleasant), the singular focus on the school’s fossil fuel investments had become hegemonic; and the occupation concentrated in an offshoot of Greenpeace.   

There was, of course, a core limitation to Occupy McGill’s strategy. The occupation was only powerful as an attractive / communal symbol of resistance and rallying point for radical ideas. To break past this point, it would have had to go on to actually shut down the university, spread into a strike, create new combative student organizations, practice new tactics like property destruction, or spill into neighbouring communities. These are also training, coordination, and mobilization tactics for revolutionary action. They go further and rally more people. We do so until we hit a moment where we finally revolt – and start winning.

We have a world to win. Not just the end of the fossil economy, but a whole society that could be created from solidarity. The landlords, police, capitalists, politicians, machos, and anyone calling themselves “authority-figures,” will be abandoned and replaced by cooperation. The university will not just be green but be transformed beyond the alienation, the work-to-death ethic, and the carreerism that infects it today. Unless we take direct control, we will be lied to, taken advantage of, and used for others’ political ends. We don’t have patience for the piecemeal reforms that have failed us for hundreds of years. There is so much to do and so little time to do so. It is time we strike.

That is our only demand, not to authorities, but to one another.


*Films viewed included Street Politics 101 (by Submedia), and two documentaries on the Rojavan Revolution. Reading circles read a selection on revolutionary education from Democratic Autonomy in North Kurdistan, and Autonomous Education in the Zapatista Communities: Schools to Cure Ignorance. Discussions included a discussion on anarchist pedagogy, a discussion on anarchism, a workshop on the just transition framework, a workshop on accessibility, and a talk by a long-time Mohawk activist. Zines included “Education for Liberation not Corporation” (by Divest McGill) “Anarchism: Towards a Revolution in Montreal,” “Blockade, Occupy, Strike Back,” and “A Recipe for Nocturnal Direct Action.”

Call for an International Anarchist Week of Fun August 14th-21st

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Jul 202022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

We are tired of being serious. We are bored with dry meetings, solemn marches, and being told to read this or that text written to convince people that anarchism is worth their time. We are exhausted with inaction being the consequence of feeling like we have to get everything right.

As anarchists, what we truly want is everything, but in this very moment, what we really want is to have some fun.

We believe that anarchy should be a verb; not just a set of ideas one thinks inside one’s head but of actual follow through on those ideas. We think that being anarchists means that we should fight for a world worth living in, and we believe that any world worth living in absolutely requires insurmountable feelings of joy. Only we can make it happen.

This is a call to action for an Anarchist Week of Fun. August 14th-21st, we want to see anarchists of all stripes to participate in throwing parties, pulling pranks, letting loose, and having some motherfucking fun.

There are many ways to participate and we encourage creativity & innovation. But, if you’re at a loss for how to have fun (as we tend to be), here are some suggestions;

Throw a party. Have an orgy. Ding dong ditch the mayor. Break stuff. Make a fancy meal for your friends. Climb something real high and see what it looks like up there. Pull a friendly prank on another milieu. Pull a mean spirited prank on the city. Have a dance party in the street. Throw a surprise party for a dog. See if you can put your whole fist in your mouth. Render a parking meter useless. Try hormones for fun. Do a banner drop. Piss on a cop’s grave. Troll an open house in your neighborhood. Shitpost irl. The world is your playground. Get out there and have a good time.

Write a report back & submit it to your favorite counter-info website.

There Are No Isolated Arsonists

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Jul 112022
 

From Indymedia Lille, translation by Act for Freedom Now!

Poster to download (PDF, 11 x 17)

There are no isolated arsonists

An anarchist companion, Ivan, was arrested in the Paris region on June 11, 2022. He is suspected of several car arsons: cars with diplomatic plates, cars of the rich, of Enedis, and of others. We consider the arson and sabotage of cars, cell towers, electricity pylons and corporate targets as a strategy of the international anarchist struggle.

The omnipresence of our enemies makes them vulnerable. Some targets seem unreachable, yet all their tentacles are Achilles’ heels. If a company’s headquarters is difficult to access, we can torch one of its many cars, its branches and its power supply. We find joy in severing these tentacles, alone or in groups, with or without claims, with the means at hand or with more sophisticated techniques. In this way, we attack specific structures of domination.

These attacks take place everywhere, all the time, because they are reproducible and the targets are on every street corner. We attack because we do not accept the horror of this world, because it is a way to show our solidarity, because we want to put a grain of sand in the gears of power. For all these reasons, these attacks bring us joy.

Solidarity with anarchist prisoners!
Freedom for all!
To the attack!

Some anarchists, July 2022

Nazis Out of Our Neighbourhoods! Nazis Out of Everywhere!

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Jul 092022
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

Anti-fascist demonstration at the trial of neo-Nazi Gabriel Sohier Chaput

The Montréal Antifasciste collective invites comrades and allies to join us outside of the Montréal Palais de Justice on the final trial date of neo-Nazi ideologue and propagandist Gabriel Sohier Chaput. The struggle against the far right, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, and all other fascistic and hateful ideologies is first and foremost a matter of community self-defence, and not of police repression or court proceedings.

From 2012 to 2018, using the pseudonym “Zeiger,” Sohier Chaput was involved in a number of neo-Nazi projects, including the Daily Stormer website and the Iron March forum. He is now charged with hate speech in connection with a single article out of the hundreds he has written. (Read Montréal Antifasciste’s exposé on Zeiger here: https://montreal-antifasciste.info/gabriel-sohier-chaput-aka-zeiger.)

The first three days of his trial, held last February and March, revealed a botched police investigation and a poorly prepared prosecution, which is all the more galling given the overwhelming mass of evidence already assembled by journalists from the Montreal Gazette in a series of articles published in spring 2018 based on research carried out by anti-fascist activists. (Read a summary of the first three days of the trial at: https://bit.ly/3nDhzHn.)

At the time, Montréal Antifasciste wrote: “It is clear that the police and the crown completely ignored our work and that of the Gazette journalists who publicly exposed Zeiger. . . . This shocking lack of preparation confirms two things that we have always known: 1) the police do not take the threat represented by the far right and neo-fascist currents at all seriously; 2) it is not in the courts that true justice is to be found but in community solidarity and self-defence.”

Sohier Chaput was never called to account for his central role in the Iron March forum, a key meeting place for neo-Nazi militants around the world who are disposed to engage in violence against their enemies, notably the Atomwaffen Division, an organization that recently made headlines in Québec following an RCMP operation in Plessisville and Saint-Ferdinand. The evidence shows that Sohier Chaput was an Iron March moderator, as well as having published numerous essays on the forum and having promoted the establishment of an international neo-Nazi network that was to include a clandestine terrorist wing. He also organized an immense digital archive of fascist works for this network and re-published James Mason’s Siege, the principal ideological text used by the Atomwaffen Division and the so-called “accelerationist” tendency of the international neo-Nazi movement. Sohier Chaput also joined other white supremacists at the infamous “Unite the Right” rally, in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, where an anti-racist activist was killed by a neo-Nazi.

There can be no doubt as to the central role that Sohier Chaput played in the neo-Nazi ecosystem from 2012 to 2018, a period marked by the Donald Trump presidency and the rise of the alt-right movement, just as there can be no doubt as to the contributions he made as an ideologue and a prolific propagandist. He himself has stated that he published hundreds of articles in which he unquestionably incites hatred against and encourages the harassment of Jews, Muslims, racialized people, LGBTQ+ people, feminists, progressives, etc. Nonetheless, this major propagandist of racial hatred is likely to walk out of court today entirely unscathed, because the police and the crown didn’t consider it necessary to make use of the abundance of evidence anti-fascists had gathered against him. At most, he will receive a symbolic sentence and then be turned loose to return to his toxic activities.

In a leaflet that will be distributed at the demonstration, the Montréal Antifasciste collective explains: “As anti-fascists and anti-racists, we believe that combatting the hateful positions of white supremacists cannot be left to the police and the courts. Rather, it is the responsibility of the community at large, in solidarity with the groups and individuals who are being targeted. It falls to each and every one of us to identify and flush out the Nazis and other fascists in our neighbourhoods, to expose, isolate, and neutralize them by any means necessary. It is also our responsibility to deal with anyone who tries to follow in their footsteps and emulate them. . . . Whatever the verdict in Sohier Chaput’s case, his punishment will certainly not be commensurate with all the harm he has caused. In the final analysis, far from the closed doors of the Palais de Justice, our communities are responsible for our own safety. We must organize ourselves to resist the harm done by racists/sexists/homophobes/transphobes like Sohier Chaput. We must deny Nazis, white supremacists, and other fascists space to grow and develop. Finally, we must all continue to fight the far right and the fascist threat in our daily lives, at our workplaces, in our neighbourhoods, in our cultural spaces, and everywhere else for as long as it takes!”

But why are you running?

 Comments Off on But why are you running?
Jul 012022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

The anti-capitalist MayDay 2022 blatantly showed the limits of our offensive demonstrations. It’s a good thing that comrades were able to hit certain symbolic targets, but it’s a real problem that these attacks signaled the end of the demonstration instead of rekindling its momentum. We must therefore reflect on our means, our tactical choices, and our collective capacities.

To start off, lets be clear that it is not the attacks that cause the demonstration to disperse. Some people will always leave an event when it starts becoming more offensive but this is not so much the case here, or only very marginally. We can assume that most of the comrades present know what they are getting into, and what to expect. In the same way, the massive police presence, sometimes sticking very close to the crowd, does not prevent the event from taking place (cf. the last COBP demonstration). The fateful moment arrives with the use of tear gas.

For some reason, the stinging smoke seems to instill a nameless terror in the Montreal milieu. Gas is certainly very unpleasant and can become a real problem for some people who are more sensitive to it, but this is certainly not the case for everyone and its use in other countries does not provoke the same reactions. In other places, the gas is often more concentrated and used more generously. So the problem here is most likely a lack of training and collective solidarity. I think we can identify several interrelated factors; fear of the gas and its effects, fear of arrest, collective panic/mob movement, and local culture.

I run because you run…

The fear of gas and its effects seems at first to be quite rational. It is normal to try to get out of a painful or uncomfortable situation. However, this fear of pain or discomfort is largely disproportionate. The problem with this phenomenon is that it acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone knows that the effects of gas tend to worsen with fear or stress, especially for people who are not used to it. The act of trying to get out of the gas at all costs paradoxically reinforces its effects by contributing to collective panic phenomena. Moreover, when desperately trying to get out of the area, we are more likely to make bad tactical choices, individually or collectively. Some people choose to leave the demonstration in small groups, under the illusion that they will be able to rejoin later. In fact, the behavior spreads and the random calls to gather elsewhere only serve to camouflage the chaotic dispersal. It seems to me that this state of affairs must be radically changed.

First of all it’s good to draw the attention of the demonstration to what the police are doing, but shouting “they are gassing” seems to have the opposite effect of what is desired. Even before seeing the pucks bouncing on the ground, a wave of panic runs through the group and those with less experience already start to run. A solution should be found so as not to indirectly reinforce the effectiveness of the police attacks. Perhaps it would be good to punctuate these calls with encouragement not to panic, to stay together, and not to run.

When the capsules are on the ground, rather than trying to get away from them, it should be common practice to move them away from the demonstration, or even to return them to the sender (the cops on bicycles did not have masks on May 1st and seem to have been quite inconvenienced by the gas). When some people did try to move the capsules away, most of the observed attempts were to kick the capsules towards other parts the demonstration, even if this was not the objective. The intention of these comrades is good, but their initiative is made very complicated by the fact that the demonstration is already starting to break up, that the area to protect is becoming blurred, and that they risk finding themselves isolated.

Once the gas starts to spread, let’s invite the more panicked among us to take a second to analyze the situation. Is the gas really that bad? Are the police really getting too close? Does it look like they are targeting people or preparing to make arrests? Does it look like they are trying to set up a trap? If none of these conditions are met, running will only make the situation worse. Instead, we can stick with our buddy, stay with the group, follow the front banner, and try to remain calm to not to worsen the effects of the gas. To escape in small groups is an individualistic solution to a collective safety problem.

Of course, sometimes it is necessary to run, but again, there is no need to start a panicked sprint if the cops are not on your tail. In most cases, it is enough to jog a few dozen meters to get out of a dense cloud or to get out of the riot squad’s reach. Not running too fast also contributes to maintaining the coherence of the demonstration, prevents slower comrades form falling behind, and avoids the targeting of isolated individuals.

But… I run because YOU run…

The risk of arrest has been discussed above, but it seems important to return to it in more detail. This fear is much more legitimate than just the fear of gas. Getting caught can have serious consequences for the lives of comrades, especially if they have carried out offensive or criminalized actions. Again, it seems that the solution everyone chooses is to try to get out alone, or with their small group.

It should be remembered that currently the cops are trying to target certain people from the demo, but rarely the crowd as a whole. By running around unreasonably, we make their work easier; individuals and small groups are isolated, changing as best they can, without any protection, with the omnipresent risk of being arrested, especially for the slowest or least discreet. This provides opportunities for the police, whether the person has done anything or not. Most of the time the riot police charges are just to make us run or back up. Due to their heavy equipment, they will not try to follow us for long; their tactic is essentially to scare us by shouting “Boo!”.

However, there is no simple solution for how to resolve this issue of fear of the police and the lack of trust between comrades. It is a matter of learning to work together to develop the solidarity that is sorely lacking. It is also necessary to train collectively and to participate as groups so that there is a critical mass of people who know each other and are familiar moving together, to prevent our demonstrations from descending into “everyone for themselves”.

Should we stop running then?

It is therefore necessary to speak here about the question of collective panic and crowd movements. We have seen that these demonstrations exhibited patterns of irrational behaviors (fear of gas, arrests etc.) which provoke a form of collective panic. In my opinion this is the main danger in our demonstrations, before the police and their weapons. We should not be surprised by police brutality, arrests and trials. All revolutionary militants know these risks or have experienced them. Nevertheless, most of us began our involvement with the idea that collective force was the way to make change. But these moments of individualistic breakdown are a blow to the beautiful myth of solidarity in our movements; when the going gets tough, it’s every person for themselves and then we’ll see each other afterwards. For new people, this can put them off organizing with us for good. This problem on its own should encourage us to find solutions but unfortunately it is not the only one.

A crowd movement caused by panic can be particularly dangerous and difficult to stop. The size of the demonstration makes the danger limited in our case and should not cause any deaths. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to imagine that serious injuries could be caused by the movement of people trying to escape from the gas and/or the police; pushing and shoving making people fall down, trampling of people who have fallen on the ground, not to mention the inherent dangers of traffic.

It is very difficult to stop these kind of panicked movements once the phenomenon spreads through the group. Everyone has experienced it, it starts with a few people running or shouting and soon the panic spreads like a wave through the group to the point that even cool-headed people are forced to run or become isolated (thus participating in the reproduction of the phenomenon). It is essential to try to nip this panic in the bud. We must calm our panicking comrades and make them come to their senses. We must refrain from running as long as possible and regularly call on everyone to remain calm, grouped, and united.

I’m lacking trust

Here we must point out the underlying problem of everything that has already been raised; the lack of a culture of collective resistance that encourages united behavior. It is still incredible that, in a city that has so many revolutionary militants, better coordination is not possible. The lack of practice is definitely a factor, as offensive demonstrations are not so frequent throughout the year, but the problem remains. The work carried out by certain groups to organize these moments is disproportionate in relation to the duration and impact of the event. It is the responsibility of everyone to make the best use of these dates that we impose on the calendar of our enemies; 20 minutes of attacks in the city center should not be enough to satisfy us, nor should the disconcerting ease with which the police are able to stop the problem. Far from coming out of it energized, I am instead assailed by a feeling of great collective weakness. Comrades should forgive this conclusion which contrasts with the usual post-demo self-congratulations, but this text does not seek to play the role of a press release. There are clearly problems, and it is important that we address them collectively.