Bristol (UK): Update on the Situation of Anarchist Comrade Toby Shone

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Oct 122021
 

From Dark Nights

Toby’s trial began on 6th October at Bristol Crown Court. The charges for administration of 325.nostate.net, funding of terrorism through the website and dissemination of and collection of material useful to terrorists have now been dropped due to lack of evidence.

The other charges of possession of Class A and B drugs with intent to supply, producing a class B drug and a further count of class AA drug possession are still being pursued. At this present time we understand this could carry a jail term of 3-6 years imprisonment.

The Operation Adream that has been unleashed by the British state is an attempt to destroy 325 & its publications, an attack on counter-information that is connected to the repression that has been ramped up on this island since the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, a repression that has always existed, an attack on any form of active revolt here.

We do not believe in guilt and innocence, neither in passivity, only in solidarity that contributes to the continuation of the conflict against the existent.

Strength & Solidarity to anarchist comrade Toby Shone!

Nothing is over, the conflict continues!

Dark Nights Collective

#AllOutForWedzinKwa: Call for a Week of Action October 9th-15th

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Oct 082021
 

From Gidimt’en Checkpoint

Cas Yikh of the Gidimt’en Clan are counting on supporters to go ALL OUT in a mobilization for the biggest battle yet to protect our sacred headwaters, Wedzin Kwa. We have remained steadfast in our fight for self-determination, and we are still unceded, undefeated, sovereign and victorious.

In January 2019, when Gidimt’en Checkpoint was raided by the RCMP, enforcing an injunction for Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, your communities rose up in solidarity! 

You organized rallies and marches. You published Solidarity Statements. You wrote your representatives. You put on fundraisers and donated to the Legal Fund. You pledged to stand by the Wet’suwet’en. The pressure worked to keep Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters safe as they navigated the colonial court system. All charges were dropped.

In January 2020, you answered the call to #SHUTDOWNCANADA! The world watched as the RCMP violently confronted unarmed Wet’suwet’en land defenders, on behalf of CGL, in an intense 6-day struggle for control over the territory, following industry’s eviction by Hereditary Chiefs. 

This invasion ignited a storm of solidarity! The Wet’suwet’en were embraced in beautiful and powerful actions coast to coast and overseas. During February and March, thousands of people rose up in hundreds of demonstrations in solidarity with Indigenous sovereignty and environmental protection against the fracked gas industry.

During a wave of international uprisings, Canada came under fire for its refusal to engage in meaningful Free, Prior and Informed Consent with Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island. Canada’s denial of responsibility and failure to implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples resulted in the fight for #LANDBACK. 

We are humbled by the power of our allies, friends and supporters. We have love, respect, and gratitude for those that stood their ground beside us on the yintah to defend Wedzin Kwa. We vow to reciprocate the solidarity from everyone that followed, all our allies/relatives and supporters that put their feet in the street defending Indigenous sovereignty. 

Now, we need you to rise up again.

October 9th-15th 2021, go #AllOutForWedzinKwa

⭐ Come to the land: https://www.yintahaccess.com/come-to-camp

⭐ Find or host a solidarity rally near you: https://fb.me/e/1fv4oHsfv

⭐ Pressure the government : call the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the Ministry of Forests and the Environmental Assessment office:

BC Oil and Gas Commission (2950 Jutland Rd, Floor 6, Victoria BC): https://www.bcogc.ca/what-we-regulate/major-projects/coastal-gaslink/

  • Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer BC Oil & Gas Commsion: Paul Jeakins; (250 419 4411), paul.jeakins@bcogc.ca

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development Contacts:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/forests-lands-natural-resource-operations-and-rural-development/ministry-contacts

  • Katrine Conroy; (250-387-6240), flnr.minister@gov.bc.ca

Enviromental Assement Office: https://projects.eao.gov.bc.ca/p/588511c4aaecd9001b825604/project-details

  • Project Lead: Meaghan Hoyle; (778 974-3361), meaghan.hoyle@gov.bc.ca
  • Executive Project Director: Fern Stockman; (778 698-9313), Fern.Stockman@gov.bc.ca
  • Compliance & Enforcement Lead: Compliance & Enforcement Branch (250-387-0131), eao.compliance@gov.bc.ca

⭐ Donate: https://go.rallyup.com/wetsuwetenstrong/Campaign/Details

⭐ PayPal yintahaccess@gmail.com

⭐ Share our posts: Use the hashtag #AllOutForWedzinKwa to spread the word! 

⭐ Check out our TAKE ACTION page for resources and previous actions

The time is NOW to recognize Indigenous sovereignty around the world. 

It is up to the Gidimt’en, Wet’suwet’en, and our supporters to determine the fate of future generations. #ALLOUTFORWEDZINKWA

More info:

1 year recap with Dr Karla Tait : https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/17858045/tdest_id/1618577?fbclid=IwAR04QkB3cc8wtQxgCaizg16bf-0fBYig2HnSnR1pdtzudhavcj-tz1KoWCI

Solidarity action archive: https://www.yintahaccess.com/solidarity-action

1 year recap video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=540243243557568

Yannick Vézina: A Leader of Neo-Fascist Organization Atalante Working at Desgagnés

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Oct 062021
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

[Special collaboration between Montréal Antifasciste et Québec Antifasciste]

Since 2018, Montréal Antifasciste has been documenting the activities of the neo-fascist group Atalante, a group that for the most part operates in Québec City. Since its Facebook page has been closed in August of 2021, it has lost much of its visibility and now seems to be in decline, regrouped around its core militants. Nonetheless, its members and sympathizers remain present and active in our communities, and the possibility that they could recruit new people pushes us to call for vigilance and to continue to keep the pressure on them. That is why we still think it is necessary to continue to expose Atalante members, particularly those who we know have been involved in acts of violence.

This article will focus on Yannick “Sailor” Vézina, one of the founding members of Atalante Québec who is still active to this day and whose involvement has not previously been examined in any depth.

Yannick Vézina took part in Atalante’s latest  action n Québec City, during the weekend of 25-26 September, 2021. Photo extracted form Atalante Québec’s Telegram channel.

 

 Yannick Vézina and the Québec Stomper Crew

Yannick Vézina has been part of the scene around the Québec Stomper Crew (the street gang that gave rise to Atalante Québec) for quite a while. Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau, a schoolmate from the Institut Maritime de Rimouski in the early 2010s introduced him to the Stompers entourage. Montréal Antifasciste has already exposed Antoine as the ideological leader of Atalante and the author of Saisir la Foudre [Ride the Lightening], the group’s manifesto. We know that after he met Mailhot-Bruneau, Vézina rapidly radicalized and joined in numerous escapades to win a place in the crew. Specifically, we know that he became a member in good standing following an attack on an anti-fascist militant.

Yannick Vézina (right) with Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau, leader of Atalante Québec.

 

Québec Stomper Crew and entourage.

 

Some of the Québec Stompers.

 

Yannick Vézina during a show by Légitime Violence. By his side, we recognize Steve Lavallée, a member of the entourage of the  Québec Stomper Crew who was charged in the late 90’s following a series of assaults with weapon in Montréal..

 

Yannick Vézina, fully patched.

 

Légitime Violence and the entourage of US-based band Offensive Weapon.

Vézina seems to have a pronounced penchant for violence, in any case. A few years ago, he saw a young man tearing down Atalante posters in broad daylight and chased him down, baseball bat in hand. He also openly uses hashtags like #quebecfascistcrew on his personal Instagram account. All of which gives you a good idea of what this guy is about…

Vézina and Atalante

As well as being a part of the Québec Stomper Crew, Yannick Vézina is also a key active member of Atalante. Among other things, he joined the “pilgrimage” to Italy and has been present at Atalante actions from the get-go, including having participated in the invasion of the Vice Québec office in 2018 to intimidate it’s employees.

It’s easy to recognize the wristwatch and the tattoo on the forearm.

He can also be seen in numerous photos of the sandwich distribution exercises and the banner collages. Furthermore, the revelations of the mole Quentin Pallavicini suggest that Vézina is Atalante’s treasurer.

Yannick Vézina (front row, right) with Atalante Québec’s core members.

 

Atalante Québec’s members, in January 2019, on the rooftop of CasaPound’s HQ, in Rome.

 

With other members of Atalante Québec, in Rome, January 2019. We recognize Sébastien Magnificat, CasaPound’s international affairs minister.

 

Québec Stomper Crew and Légitime Violence, with some buddies from the US, gather around Steven Bissuel, ex-leader of Bastion Social and Groupement Union Défense – Lyon (GUD). Yannick Vézina is in the middle, to the left of Bissuel.

  

Yannick Vézina speaks to Atalante Québec’s militants, on May 1st, 2016.

 

Left, Yannick Vézina proudly holds Atalante Québec’s flag, during a torch-lit march organized soon after the organization’s creation, in 2016.

 

Yannick Vézina has been part of countless actions since the creation of Atalante, including this flyering blitz in Québec, in 2019.

 

Yannick « Sailor » Vézina

Yannick Vézina chose the nickname “Sailor” and seems very attached to his marine profession. Oddly enough, the Atalante logo seems to draw upon an illustration from an Institut Maritime du Québec study manual that to some degree resembles the fascist “flash and circle” symbol adopted a decade earlier by the Blocco Studentesco, the student wing of CasaPound, the Italian neo-fascist organization that was the inspiration behind the formation of Atalante.

Atalante Québec’s logo…

 

…was clearly plagiarized from this training manual used at the Institut Maritime du Québec.

The “flash and circle” motif, used by several fascist organizations, is the logo of the Blocco Studentesco, the youth wing of Italian neo-fascist organization CasaPound.

Yannick Vézina is currently employed by the shipping company Desgagnés and sails regularly on the Zélada, a ship that resupplies communities in Northern Québec and Northern Canada.

    

Yannick Vézina is employed aboard the Zélada, which is part of Groupe Desgagné’s float.

It will be interesting to see how this company reacts to the fact that it is employing a charter member of a neo-fascist organization, a member who has been involved in a number of violent attacks motivated by a detestable ideology, particularly as we have good reason to believe that he carries Atalante stickers to put up during his stopovers in Rimouski.

We encourage you to contact the company and ask them about this:

telephone: (418) 692-1000

e-mail: info@desgagnes.com; info@transarctik.desgagnes.com

For some time now, it appears that things have been going pretty well in Vézina’s personal life. He recently bought a house in Charlesbourg/Lac-Beauport, a Québec city suburb, with his partner, whom he recently proposed to. It seems like a good time to remind him that violent acts and the hateful ideas he adheres to have their consequences.

We must highlight the extra note of romanticism that the bowl of kibbles confers to the scene.

 Conclusion

Given that the Atalante neo-fascists have lost both their Facebook page and their website, it might seem reasonable to consider them no longer a serious threat. We think that would be a mistake, and that we should redouble the pressure on these militant fascists so that they finally wrap their head around the fact that their detestable ideas are not welcome in Québec.

Whether on land or on sea, we will continue to track these neo-fascists everywhere they go for as long as necessary.

If you have information you’d like to share with us about Yannick Vézina or Atalante and its sympathizers, don’t hesitate to write to us at alerta-mtl@riseup.net or qcantifasciste@riseup.net.

Call for an Anticapitalist Contingent at the Global Climate Strike March of September 24th

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Sep 212021
 

From CLAC

Another big protest for climate, what’s the point?

Of course it’ll be nice to have as many people as there was in 2019, but in the end, even Greta couldn’t make our governments change their policies. Well, ok, it falls a few days after the federal election, and we can hope that it can put some pressure on the newly elected officials… But we know it won’t: whoever is in power after the elections, nothing significant will be done, nothing significant has ever been done for climate in so-called Canada. Since the beginning of colonization, the State steals, exploits and destroys the land on which we live and which, ironically, ensure our survival. It is however important to note that many political parties have clearly played their card: these political parties will continue to invest in pipelines and other ecocidal projects, until death do us part. And these parties, who are happily walking toward our collective deaths, should obtain most, even almost all of our votes. In Québec, as the writing of this call, more than 80% of the votes are going to political parties with an horrific ecological policy history.

We can complain about the useless bickering going on at the parliament, but we can see that the problem goes beyond that. Most of the population does not want to change, and want to perpetuate their unsustainable lifestyle as long as possible.

And why should we blame them? Capitalism keeps selling this lifestyle, through shitty publicity pushing us to buy useless crap, through repetitive movies glorifying the rich and powerful, through a mercantilist education system which sells diplomas based on an expected salary… And the State follows suit, promising young families the possibility to buy a house. We are however very aware that the young generation will never be able to buy a house! And frankly, everyone getting a house would be a urban sprawl nightmare and a perpetuation of a toxic car culture…

But this is the lifestyle that the system hammers constantly into our daily lives, the so-called “american dream” they try to push down our throats. But this lifestyle sold by the Capital spells death for Earth, and therefore death for us all. And so, if the Capital wants to keep bugging us with this unsustainable lifestyle, well too bad, we will go without the Capital!

And so what if we are but a tiny minority who still worries about its future. So what if most of the world still dreams of big fucking cars, big fucking houses, and big fucking all-paid vacations in the south. We won’t stay on our asses while the world burns! We won’t stay arms crossed while capitalism sells the last few remnants of the world!

THE CAPITAL DESTROY THE EARTH? DESTROY CAPITAL!

We’ll see you in the anticapitalist contingent!

Friday, September 24th, 1PM, in front of the George-Étienne-Cartie statue

Poster

Health on a Human Scale: A Vaccinated Anarchist Against Vaccine Passports

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Aug 202021
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-info

Quebec is instituting a system of vaccine passports in the coming days, and Ontario is likely to follow suit. The passport is a document confirming your identity and your vaccination status that will have to be shown in order to access many spaces. Not a day goes by here without a barrage of open letters and social media posts asking to be required to show a passport to move around the city, for every worker to be given a policing function.

I got fully vaccinated as soon as it was available to me, and so did all my close people. However, I think the vaccine passport is despicable and that those who are advocating for it are making a serious mistake.

My crew’s choice to get vaccinated was just one product of ongoing discussions about how to relate to collective health during the pandemic. We did not obey the lockdowns or the rules about gatherings – we established our own guidelines based on our own ethical, political and practical considerations. We asked a different question. Sometimes this resulted in us being more cautious than the law allowed, sometimes it resulted in breaking the rules. We were far from alone in this, and I know my circle benefited from other people’s discussions.

The pandemic has been unique in our lifetimes, but its ethical challenges are not: controlling the behaviour of others is a pretty central element of democratic politics. The government looks at us as a mass of people to be managed towards various goals, notably profit and social peace. They look at the world from above, through a lens of domination and control – this is as much the case for the pandemic as for climate change and poverty. Different politicians and parties will have different priorities, and our agency is reduced to advocating for how we want to be managed – or how we want those other people to be managed.

We come to internalize the logic of domination and put the needs of order and the economy above our own. We start to view the world from above too, far from our own experiences, desires, ideas, values, and relationships. “The social war is this: a struggle against the structures of power that colonize us and train us to view the world from the perspective of the needs of power itself, through the metaphysical lens of domination.”

In the context of the pandemic, to view the world from above means understanding the situation through corporate media (whether social or traditional), through colour-coded maps, through the designation of hot zones, through policy debates, through rules laid out by experts (I want their knowledge, not their authority). It means to think about our own decisions in terms of what everyone should do, to act ourselves the way we think everyone should act. Our own priorities vanish, and the agency of others is perceived as a threat.

As a state-led covid measure, the vaccine passport is like the curfews and the stay at home orders, the expanded fines and the coercive powers given to bylaw. It is a public order measure. All these restrictions are meant to prevent the kinds of conversations that had people in the streets in recent months to carry out encampment defense, tear down statues, and honour residential school victims.

I want to oppose domination, but also its false critics. Some anarchists have thought they developed a critique of authoritarian responses to the pandemic, but they only succeed in being reactionaries. They are still seeing the world from above, where the only conceivable collective action is that of the state. They fall back on the discourse of individual rights, but there is nothing anarchist about a freedom carved into bite-sized pieces and spoon-fed back to us. Their analysis becomes totally unprincipled when they start defending the rights of religious conservatives to continue holding their services. They are involved in the anti-masking movement, which is not about individual ethical choice, but rather covid denialism,. They end up in bed with those who see any common good as an attack on their privilege.

To me, freedom also means responsibility. It is an individual imperative to make your own choices, but also to understand yourself as embedded in a web of relationships. It is about voluntary association, but also understanding that we are also embedded in webs of relationships with all people (not to mention all living things, the land and water). We have responsibilities to those webs as well. When our choices in the pandemic start from ourselves and builds outwards, to our chosen people and onward to the societies we exist in, we are no longer seeing the world from above, but on a human scale.

This is called autonomy, and it is itself a threat to the powerful. It means organizing our lives on a radically different basis, one that comes into conflict with the attempts of the powerful to maintain order and obedience.

A vaccine passport system is a way of cracking down on autonomy. I don’t give a shit about going to a restaurant or a concert, and my crew is continuing to avoid indoor crowds even though the state says we don’t have to. Let’s organize ourselves to avoid the repression and continue to act on our own priorities. See you in the streets.

Burning Churches, Taking Down Statues

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Aug 092021
 

From Antimídia

In different parts of the colonized territories, there’s been tearing down, demolishing or destruction of statues of slavers, rapists, colonizers and genociders. Why let go of these symbols? What do they represent? And what values keeps them standing?

[The video has English subtitles.]

Crypto-eugenics, biopower and “Freedom Day”: Another response from some anarchists in Wales and England

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Aug 092021
 
Leaked photograph of Downing Street whiteboard sketch from beginning of the pandemic, reading “who do we not save?”.

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

This piece is a belated response to “You Can’t be Anti-State & Pro-Lock-down”, which is itself a response to our “Anarchy, Lockdown and Crypto-Eugenics” (a critique in turn of “On the Anarchist Reponse to the Global Pandemic”).

The state has blood on its hands. Anarchists know this. Police killings are normalised – it takes riots to be noticed. Mass death beyond fortress Europe is all too usual, even as it intensifies. But it is unusual for the West to dispose of its own citizenry on such a large scale, and to do so with such a steady manner. In the UK, the pandemics’ mass of dead bodies is the greatest since the second world war.[1] And yet, at this very moment, we hear comrades slip into apologetics. They excuse the state and its economy of death. They wash the blood from its hands and blame “nature” in its place. Yes, we attack the curfews, the policing, the evolving surveillance and disciplinary techniques. We wouldn’t expect anything less. But some anarchists enter new topics; in the same breath, they shout for the freedom of business, of pubs and retail, the return to schools, the reopening of Churches. Their rallying cry: “Anti-lockdown”! The existential threat faced by the disabled and the elderly is simply an inconvenient footnote to liberal rights.

In our critique, “Anarchy, Lockdown and Crypto-Eugenics”, we didn’t begin with abstract notions of “consent”, but from this reality of an existential threat. From there we located targets for attack and provided some speculative points of unity. We welcome the space given to our piece and the wider discussion. We agree with our recent critic that such discussions often “devolve into name-calling”; indeed, we found it amusing to be compared with Italian futurists, Soviet and Trumpian propaganda and (unexpectedly!) the Spanish Inquisition. (On top of all this they described us as British!) We won’t bother refuting these labels in this piece, but will focus on their other claims; (1) that our critique, particularly our use of crypto-eugenics, was in “bad faith”, (2) that we refuse to critique the pharmaceutical industry and (3) that we are “pro-lockdown”.

A very short genealogy of “crypto-eugenics”

In our original piece we located eugenics (and its father, Malthusianism) as a logic of capitalism and the state. The notions of degenerate bodies in need of improvement, efficiency and elimination, and of surplus, disposable bodies, burdensome and unnatural, have a long and deadly history – one which is intimately tied with the modern state and colonialism in particular. As our critic notes, eugenics is the most statist of the concepts – but this does not necessarily make it obvious. The term “crypto-eugenics” was first used in a 1957 memorandum of Dr. C. P. Blacker, Honorary Secretary of the (British) Eugenics Society, to describe a policy of “pursuing eugenic ends by less obvious means” – the obvious being unfashionable in light of Nazism’s recent horrors. (Policy (b) was “to campaign for the control of immigration, and for a reduction in the total population of Great Britain”).[2] Confusingly, the term has more recently been appropriated by anti-Semitic conspiracists (claiming a worldwide Jewish plot of secret eugenics) and the Christian evangelical right (who see a grand eugenic plan in reproductive rights and gay parenthood). Decolonial and disabled critics on the other hand have long pointed to the continuity between classical eugenics and post-war state policies, particularly with regards healthcare, welfare and immigration. We used the term in our piece in a double sense: to refer to an ideology, either covert (as in Blacker’s proposal) or unconscious and “accidental”, and to a eugenics which is increasingly technological, encrypted in a proprietary care algorithm.[3] We then used it in a third sense, proposing that “capitalism itself could accurately be described as an algorithm of crypto-eugenics”.

Our discussion of crypto-eugenics certainly proved to be provocative, but we assure our critics that it was done in good faith. We do not believe our friends are secretly engaged in an eugenic plot, but we do argue that eugenics is a creeping logic, a logic which has crept to certain corners of anarchist thought. Our words were chosen with careful forethought. Claiming that Covid isn’t a risk, because it is only deadly for specific minorities, is crypto-eugenics. Claiming these deaths are simply “natural”, that death from Covid is nature’s plan for certain bodies, is crypto-eugenics. Masking the risk for specific minorities with statistical averages (the “normal” body) is crypto-eugenics. Perhaps tellingly, our friend did not engage with this part of our critique. Instead, they simply quote further statistical averages (from an article which in fact emphasises our very point – that Covid-19’s lethality is highly differentiated across population groups).[4] They limit any notion of “eugenics” to reproduction in its narrowest sense (procreation) and claim that we are not only in bad faith, but off-topic! We would point out that it’s difficult to procreate once dead, and that eugenics concerns not only procreation, but the altered reproduction of populations as a whole and the non-reproduction of specific minorities. They protest that we make an accusation which is impossible to refute: that our accusation of crypto-eugenics is an unfalsifiable claim in the style of “the Spanish Inquisition”. We counter that our claim is clear. Rather than engage with it or refute it they have chosen simply to repeat their friend’s initial argument.

Beyond “big pharma”: biopower

According to our critic, our analysis of eugenics is simply a distraction, a smokescreen to avoid critiquing the pharmaceutical industry. We would argue that it is only through an analysis of eugenics that we can properly critique the pharmaceutical industry. Rather than limit ourselves to “big pharma”, we argued in our last piece that the entire field of public health is based on eugenic logics. The problem isn’t just drugs – but healthcare in general, as a process of ranking, disciplining, saving and disposing of bodies. Our friends’ problem is really that our critiques are not quite the same.

Medicine under capitalism is of course based on exploitation and domination, rather than free desire. The animal liberation movement has done much to critique and attack the specific violence of the technical-production of medicines. And we agree with our friends, that capitalism in turn complicates questions of dependence in relation to medicines as commodities. In the context of Covid-19 this is clear – in the name of the economy it spreads everywhere, and now (unless we are to celebrate mass death) we are dependent on vaccines. Vaccines are powerful – not because Bill Gates will control your mind, but because they can prevent death in a world of death. The urgent question now is not their composition, but their availability: their artificial scarcity. Vaccine capitalists have reaped super-profits through monopolisation, patents (including process patents) and subsidies, on an incredible scale even for pharma corporations. These patents are written in the blood of postcolonial populations. Just as death was displaced on to racialised and migrant bodies within the UK, intensified death-worlds are being created in the “Global South”. We saw world leaders discussing these intensities in the G7 spectacle – how many vaccines to distribute, whether “too much” contagion and death might or might not undermine global racial capitalism. Many anarchists pay lip-service to Foucault’s notion of biopower, but few remember that this is the power to “make live and let die”. The biopolitical state is indeed “letting the bodies pile high”.[5] Our critic’s original piece described anarchism as a set of liberal rights, as a subject’s freedom from “external” coercion. As a result it fails to understand the full power of the modern state, and ends up apologising for its violence.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Now partially vaccinated, the UK government is once again actively pursuing contagion as state policy, with “only” 60 average daily deaths at the time of writing. The eugenic violence remains, particularly for the 500,000 immuno-compromised, a group for whom Covid-19 is a far higher risk and for whom vaccines are suspected to be ineffective.[6] This group faces peak rates of infection in the wider community, forced to try and survive in the midst of England’s maskless “Freedom Day” celebrations. They face a situation worse than even the Barrington Declaration’s proposals, which at least suggested some support for those forced to isolate to survive. Many hundreds of thousands more will suffer from long Covid, many it would seem from long term organ damage. Meanwhile, the UK, already a mass exporter of the Delta variant, is feared to be a “variant factory”, producing the existing virus and new variants on a mass scale to infect the unvaccinated world.[7]

Anti-Lockdown or Anti-State

For recognising the state’s violence for what it is, we are accused of being “pro-lockdown” and, consequently, statist non-anarchists. In our original piece we discussed how “lockdown” in fact refers to a nebulous set of measures – from curfews and policing to closing retail premises and schools. We argue that anarchists should locate our targets, and not allow ourselves to be reduced to one side in the latest culture war. Let’s take schools for example. Anarchists, since Godwin, have critiqued education. We recognise that schools lie on the same continuum as factories and prisons. Hierarchical institutions, which in turn judge and rank pupils, made to produce docile, disciplined bodies, future productive workers, housewives, bureaucrats and prison guards. Why would anarchists support a return to these schools? Of course, a virtual-classroom computer stuck in the walls of the nuclear family household is just a different problem. An anarchist approach must reject both these worlds. In the strikes against unsafe schools, the pupils who faked infection tests to get a day off (or the students burning the union jack at Pimlico) – it’s here we begin to see the possibilities of anarchy.

The “anti-lockdown” narrative offers us nothing. In the UK the organised anti-lockdown demos have clearly shown their colours. Anti-Semite David Icke has regularly topped the bill of speakers amongst other similar reactionaries. They decry the “Covid conspiracy”, masks and vaccines and celebrate the deaths of the disabled. This is not some diffuse gilets jaunes movement of oppositional tendencies and diverse, separated riots. Unless you hate masks and vaccines and are happy to walk under union jacks with known fascist groupings, you cannot join in good faith.

But these are weird times. Simply for affirming violence to achieve disabled liberation, our critic associates us with Italian Futurists and proto-fascists. (They might remember that anti-fascist anarchists, such as Renzo Novatore, were also part of the Futurist movement.) Our critic is half-right however: we should all heed the cautionary tale of those “anarchists” involved with early Italian fascism. The far-right have had a field day, and with little anti-fascist opposition to the London conspiracy demos the anarchist scene has opened itself to entryism. We have heard concerns of crypto-fascists gaining affinities with anarchists and squatters in London, and others sharing videos with and allowing a far-right youtuber to accompany and film the black block at kill the bill demonstrations.[8][9] Without a critique of eugenic state violence, creeping fascism remains a threat to the anarchist scene.

Away from the anti-lockdown demonstrations we can see real antagonisms against the state. Renewed protests against police murders in South Wales, the kill the bill riot at Bristol police station and even a resurgence in political squats (despite tremendous repression). But with regards the mass of Covid death, anarchists in the UK have been outmaneuvered. There have been mutual aid groups and some syndicalist attempts, but little critique and even less attack. The black flag was at one time a flag of mourning: we call on comrades to remember, and to avenge the dead.

Notes

[1] Total UK civilian deaths in the second world war numbered around 67,000. As of 23rd of July, total deaths within 28 days of a positive test number over 129,000; total deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate over 153,000. This makes it the highest death toll from a disaster or war since the total casualties of the second world war. https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths The third measure used, excess deaths, numbered over 90,000 for the UK in 2020, again the highest on record since the second world war. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/12/2020-was-deadliest-year-in-a-century-in-england-and-wales-says-ons

[2] Blacker’s Memorandum claimed that “crypto-eugenics … was apparently proving successful with the US Eugenics Society”. In 1960 it was “generally” agreed that “the Society’s activities in crypto-eugenics should be pursued vigorously”. See “The Activities of the Eugenic Society” (1967) in it’s own Eugenics Review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906074/pdf/eugenrev00003-0012.pdf . Documents relating to the 1960 Extraordinary General Meeting, which reference Blacker’s 1957 Memorandum, can be found here: https://wellcomecollection.org/works/gew94w8y/items?canvas=1 . The original “rolled-off” Memorandum is detailed as being digitised here, but appears to be missing: https://wellcomecollection.org/works/umfds5vk The point for us as anarchists isn’t to overstate the influence of the Eugenics Society (later renamed The Galton Institute), but to expropriate their terminology.

[3] “Unfortunately it directly stems from the COVID-19 critical care referral algorithm which mentions those with learning disabilities or autism with the under 65-year-olds as being potentially frail and therefore not in line for ITU [Intensive Care Unit] care.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/246490/catholic-doctor-calls-for-independent-inquiry-into-dnr-notices-for-covid-19-patients-with-learning-disabilities An algorithm is also mentioned with regards “blanket do-not-resuscitate orders” in the context of care homes here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/mar/18/blanket-do-not-resuscitate-orders-imposed-on-english-care-homes-finds-cqc

[4] As the article cited by our critic states: “COVID-19 death risk shows tremendous risk stratification with over 1000-fold variability between children and elderly nursing home residents … Divergence may be larger in some low-income countries, for example, India … Within several countries, disadvantaged minorities have a greater toll … UK has almost 5-fold higher COVID-19 death rate in blacks and Bangladeshi/Pakistani than in whites … Regardless, COVID-19 is a disease of inequality and it also creates even more inequality … Substantial increases in death risk (1.5- to 5-fold) are conferred by organ transplantation, severe obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, severe chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, liver failure, kidney failure, haematological malignancy and recent cancer.” Notably, the article’s speculation that “the proportion of people who need to be infected to reach herd immunity [i.e. without vaccination] may be much lower than originally estimated”, with specific reference to estimated seroprevelance in India (!), has since proven catastrophically incorrect. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/eci.13423 The other journal article cited by our critic regarding the effectiveness of lockdowns has been marked controversial by its own publisher.

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premiership_of_Boris_Johnson#%22Let_the_bodies_pile_high_in_their_thousands%22

[6] “With just over a week to go before the so called ‘Freedom Day’ in England, a coalition of 16 health charities are calling on the Government to do more to support around half a million people(1) who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, and so may be less protected by the Covid-19 vaccine(2).” https://www.kidneycareuk.org/news-and-campaigns/news/lack-awareness-covid-19-protection-puts-half-million-risk/

[7] “Government advisers expect about 1,000 to 2,000 daily hospital admissions over the summer as restrictions are lifted, and 100-200 deaths a day under what was described a “central scenario”… Minutes published by the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) also highlighted the threat of a new vaccine-resistant variant emerging in the UK, which they warned would pose a risk to the whole world.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jul/12/boris-johnson-urges-covid-caution-amid-warnings-of-1000-hospitalisations-a-day

[8] ResistanceGB is a classic case of calculated fascist entryism. British symbolism is frequent but ideology generally covert. In this video however they can be seen carefully encouraging viewers to get on the “alternative” social network Gab (a neo-Nazi, alt-right and Q Anon fork) and 4chan following Trump’s ban from twitter and Parler’s demise, and complaining about “communists”: https://youtube.com/watch?v=A27zmatEEGY In another live-stream they complain that the filmed “communist” demonstration (one of many following Sarah Everard’s murder by police) is left alone by police. Within moments of the live-stream starting, known fascists can be seen commenting in the chat: https://youtube.com/watch?v=WTSHoUoIbi8 In addition to a Gab account they also maintain a Bitchute channel (far-right youtube alternative).

[9] As others have pointed out, our critic also cites the “anarchist voices” of “Winter Oak, and the Acorn” (in reality one website) as having informed the original piece – a UK blog which has turned to full blown “Great Reset” and anti-mask conspiracies. Winter Oak was already fond of conspiracies, having previously deduced that those who confronted the TERFs at the London Bookfair must be undercover police (!). They have also taken a whole host of other bizarre and damaging positions as detailed here: https://nothingiseverlost.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/in-defence-of-anarchism-and-antifascism-a-reply-to-the-winter-oak/

Greece: So What About Vaccinations?

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Aug 062021
 

From Athens Indymedia

While the Greek state – like many other European states – is ramping up the pressure on its population to get the Covid19 vaccination, many seem to have ceded to this imposition of “making the responsible choice”. Let it be clear that we think individuals can have legitimate reasons to get the vaccination. We do not hold a moralistic judgment on getting vaccinated or not. But we keep on being reluctant. We think that the whole discourse about taking responsibility actually aims to give greater powers to the state by creating a dual society with privileges for those who comply and sanctions for those who don’t want to or cannot comply. This means a reinforcement of control and inequalities.

Believe the leaders

We don’t think we have to dwell on this very long. We have been forced to wear masks while walking alone in a park. We have been fined for being on the street at night while the metros were overcrowded during the day. We have been insulted for sitting on the squares while the indoors work places were running at full capacity. And we have seen them cynically calculating the costs of providing extra hospital beds against shutting down parts of the economy. We have seen them opting to hire more cops while the health of people was at stake. We have seen them trying to smother any form of protest while ramming through more exploitative and oppressive policies. They have lost all credibility and they know it, the only thing they can still do is twisting our arms and blackmailing us.

Believe the data

We are told that the data are clear, that getting the vaccination is the safe(r) choice. But even if we might accept that the existing data on vaccinations is correct, there is a whole lot of data we don’t have (yet). The first thing that springs to attention is that all the available vaccinations are temporarily approved through an emergency process. None of the Covid19 vaccinations are fully approved and they cannot be because we don’t have any data on the long-term effects. We can make assumptions based on other similar vaccinations in the past (although the vaccines based on the new mRNA technology don’t have such a history), but there are no guarantees about the long-term. Everyone taking the vaccination should be fully aware of this. And already because of this fact alone any obligation or pressure to take the vaccination should be ethically wrong.

The data we do have about the vaccines are mainly from trials in labs and controlled settings. These tests have to be set up in highly controlled conditions (even if they’re tested on people living their daily life) to make any meaningful conclusion about cause and effect. Of course, real life does have many complications, interferences, unforeseen events etc. Thus these data can only predict the behavior of vaccinations in a very limited way. Indeed, we have seen the recommendations on who not to give certain vaccinations to and the lists of possible side-effects being updated while the vaccinations are being administered in the real world and unforeseen problems start to occur. On this scale side-effects that only have an effect on a tiny percentage of vaccinated people can mean in reality a collateral damage consisting of thousands of people. Even at the best of times, modern medicine has far from an impeccable track record when it comes to respecting life in all of its diversity, nuances, complexities and totality. Make no mistake, this is an ongoing experiment on a massive scale.

Believe science

We are told to have confidence in science. But even when we only look at the scientific recommendations during this year-and-a-half of Covid19 pandemic, that statement is naive or dishonest. At the beginning of the pandemic in Europe, the wearing of masks was strongly advised against. The theory then was that the virus spreads by contact and thus disinfecting was the right answer (and there was a shortage of masks so they were reserved for hospital staff). Months later this opinion changed and the consensus now is that the virus spreads through the air and not contact. Suddenly masks became the answer to everything. Nevertheless, we also keep on disinfecting everything (instead of ventilating – this is called the sanitary theater, where the impression of safety matters most). This is an example that demonstrates that science can get it wrong and that broader society can take even a longer time to realize it was wrong.

Another example from the pandemic about how we should not just trust science is the fuzz around the lab-leak theory. Early on in the pandemic an article cosigned by many scientific specialists on the matter, declared the hypothesis that the Covid19 virus could be coming from a laboratory as total nonsense. At the time this article became the basis for mainstream media, social media, politicians and specialists to label any mention of the lab-leak hypothesis as a conspiracy theory. It took a whole year, at a time when this virus was nevertheless on the front-pages every day, before some scientists and journalists looked more critically at this article to conclude that the main piece of evidence was irrelevant and that some of the authors had a direct interest in keeping up the good name of (the methods of) the laboratory that would be the first suspect in the lab-leak hypothesis. Now it’s widely accepted that a lab-leak is possible and merits to be investigated (to be clear neither the lab-leak hypothesis nor the zoonotic hypothesis have been proved or refuted, they both are probable to a more or lesser degree). This is an example that shows that the scientific method isn’t as robust and foolproof in reality as it claims to be. Consensus that shifts due to non-scientific arguments (political opportunism, financial interests, etc.), a small circle of highly specialized scientists that don’t want or don’t have the time to control each other, etc. The philosophy and sociology of science have already demonstrated the gap between the ideology of science and its reality since the 2nd half of the 20th century (see for example Paul Feyerabend and Pierre Thuillier). Still people seem to hold on to a very naive conception of what scientists do.

Believe in group immunity

We are told to mobilize to reach group immunity and “be free” again from the virus. For this the aim of vaccinating 70% of the population is put forward. But actually this number dates from before the appearance of variants (like the Delta one) that are more infectious and against which the vaccinations are less effective. Let’s also keep in mind that the vaccines are designed to limit the severeness of the sickness, and the reduction of infections is only a side-effect (and most non-mRNA vaccines seem to be not very good at it). Given these new variants, many experts believe now that actually 80 to 90% of the population should be vaccinated to reach group immunity. This number would mean that – if we still consider it unethical to massively give minors a new and not fully understood vaccination and that some people can medically not get vaccinated, the whole rest of the population would need to get vaccinated. Any public policy that needs 100% compliance to succeed is doomed to fail.

Another factor is that immunity decreases over time. There’s already talk of booster shots after a 6 month or 9 month period (Would that be one time, or should it be repeated every half year, or every year? At this moment we don’t know), making the opportunity for failure even bigger.

Moreover, since this is a worldwide pandemic of a very transmittable virus it seems very unrealistic that a country or region could reach group immunity on its own. Big parts of the world have hardly enough supplies or the infrastructure to vaccinate a small part of the population, let alone the big majority of it. They also mainly rely on vaccines that are less effective at stopping infections. The chances of eradicating this virus are nonexistent. At this point it has reached its endemic phase, meaning that Covid19 will start to behave like other corona varieties with their seasonal epidemics. Group immunity is the latest carrot that is being dangled in front of our eyes, it will sooner or later be replaced with yet another one to make us believe that we can achieve “freedom” if only we follow.

Be responsible

The issue of group immunity (or at least vaccinating as many people as possible) points towards the question of who gets the vaccines. In many regions people that do run a risk of severe sickness from Covid19, don’t have access to health care and want to get vaccinated, are not getting any vaccination. While in Europe people that don’t even have a big risk of developing mild symptoms and have an infinitely small risk of severe illness have millions of vaccinations reserved for them. The hoarding of vaccines will increase again with the need for boosters. The fact that the WHO doesn’t want to recommend boosters now seems primarily inspired by these kind of worries. The responsible choice or the reproduction of global inequalities?

The building of group immunity and the “war against the invisible enemy” rhetoric goes in practice together with a strict control of access to the territory and an intensified population management. It seems like we have come to a situation where the so-called progressive side of society is now in favor of controls on movement and closed borders (of course, they will hardly notice it themselves since they possess the right documents to move “freely”). The responsible choice or an intensification of surveillance and exclusion?

If we have learned anything from the past decades – 9/11 and the threat of terrorism, the financial crash and the threat of bankruptcy, austerity and the threat of social cannibalism, refugee boats and the threat of racist pogroms, climate change and the threat of ecological disasters etc. – is that a position that doesn’t radically opposes the power of the state (no matter who controls it), will eventually only reinforce it and thus open up the way for the next cycle of crises provoked by the state and capitalism and their management by the state and capitalism.

Anarchists
Athens, Mid-July 2021

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From Embers: A Year At 1492 Land Back Lane

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Jul 272021
 

From From Embers

This episode features an interview with Skyler Williams of 1492 Land Back Lane, a land reclamation on the edge of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve near Caledonia, Ontario. This week marks the one year anniversary of the camp which was reclaimed last July in response to plans to develop a subdivision on Six Nations Territory. Skyler speaks about a year spent at the camp, the recent announcement that the McKenzie Meadows subdivision has been cancelled by the developer because of Six Nations resistance, and what’s next for folks at Land Back Lane.

Music in this show is all from artists who have performed at Land Back Lane: Six Nations singer-songwriters Derek Miller and Logan Staats, as well as Ottawa-based “powwow-step” group The Halluci Nation, formerly known as A Tribe Called Red.