Comments Off on 1492 Land Back Lane Forces Cancellation of McKenzie Meadows Development
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
After nearly a year of re-occupying a tract of land slated for a settler housing development of around 200 homes, Six Nations members have successfully forced the cancellation of the project. Haudenosaunee land defenders and their supporters have been occupying the 25-acre site since July 19th, 2020. They have survived a raid, dozens of arrests, constant surveillance by the OPP as well as CSIS, and court orders from racist judges.
On July 1st, Canada Day took another hit when it was announced that Foxgate Developments — a joint venture between Losani Homes and Ballantry Homes – had been forced to cancel the project and would be returning deposits to their prospective homeowners.
In the words of Skyler Williams, spokesperson for Land Back Lane:
“I think this is a big statement to Indigenous communities and to all of Turtle Island … these wins are attainable. I think we have an opportunity to be able to say to the feds and the province that if our community says no to these developments, whether that’s massive housing developments or resource destruction — if we say no to that and we stand behind it, these wins are possible.”
While the developers were able to raze the site, removing all the trees and grass from the area before the occupation began, land defenders have since planted an orchard, a community garden, installed multiple tiny homes, and built two small buildings on the site. Foxgate cited the “evolution of the project from a temporary camp to a site with more permanent buildings” as one of the reasons for the cancellation of their development.
The news of the cancellation is a wonderful partial victory but the struggle is not over; at least 50 people have been charged in connection to Land Back Lane, and people will continue to occupy the site while it remains under injunction. Foxgate also initiated a $200 million lawsuit against the Indigenous land defenders and others in April.
“We do have to take a moment to celebrate those wins, but understand that the work is only just beginning,” Skyler said. “This is just the very foot of the mountain.”
Land Back Lane is still asking for donations to their camp/build fund by e-transfering firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments Off on From MTL to Sask: Long Live Cory Cardinal!
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
We were shocked and saddened to learn of Cory Cardinal’s death from a suspected overdose this week, so we headed out late on the night of June 12th to paint the walls of our neighbourhood in his memory.
Cory was a poet, writer, artist, and prison organizer from Sturgeon Lake First Nation. We came to know of him and his work during the Saskatchewan prison hunger strikes in the earlier days of the pandemic, when he acted as an organizer and did media work from inside while participating.
Cory understood and articulated the connections between the systems of prison and colonialism and he fought, inside and out, to bring them both down.
“It is true we have been targeted as Aboriginal men by a racist system. Despite this epidemic of incarceration, our resilient community of modern Aboriginal warriors has survived by will and creative ambition to prevail over many an enemy of poverty, addiction, and racism to find community and belonging and acceptance in this mainstream model of humanity. It is not by our own standards, for we are an oppressed people.”
Our thoughts, solidarity, and love are with his family, friends, and comrades.
We’ll continue to direct our rage towards prisons, colonialism, and this world that criminalizes and kills people who use drugs.
Welcome to Canadian Tire Fire, a new weekly roundup of anarchist and anti-authoritarian news from so-called Canada. We’re excited to provide a central place for “Canadian” news on IGD.
In Canadian Tire Fire, you can expect to find news on anarchist actions, Indigenous struggle, land and environmental defense, anti-fascism, borders, labour, police, prisons, and more. We aim to provide regular updates on news from across the country, from an anarchist perspective. We may also occasionally publish more in-depth analysis on ongoing struggles.
The Canadian state claims a vast area, and has a fairly dispered population compared to our neighbours to the south. Explicitly anarchist news can at times be harder to come by, but there is no shortage of resistance, nor of authoritarian violence and oppression to resist against.
We welcome tips on news stories from all corners of so-called Canada. If you’d like to get in touch, email us at email@example.com. You can also find us on twitter at @CdnTireFire.
With all that said, let’s get to this week’s news!
Rolling Blockade in Kanehsatà:ke
Photo credit: The Action Network
On May 22, the group Kanehsata:Ke Land Defence held a rolling blockade to protest ongoing land development pressures on the community. Community members and allies made up a blockade of around 100 cars and stopped at sites throughout the community, ending at the site of a housing development near the Pines. The Mohawk community of Kanehsata:ke has a long tradition of asserting their right to the land and fighting back against development, one notable example being the Oka Crisis of 1990.
As reported by No Borders Media, this blockade focused in particular on the suburban housing developer Grégoire Gollin, who has threatened to cut down trees in the Pines. In a speech, spokesperson Ellen Gabriel stated:
We call upon Prime Minister Trudeau to declare a moratorium upon all development and to sit down with the Rotinonhseshá:ka or Haudenosaunee, Peoples of the Longhouse. The traditional government upon which the women are not only vested as the titleholders of our Homelands, but also have an obligation to protect the land.
From Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Francois Legault, to Mr. Gregoire Gollin, Mayor Pascal Quevillon, and the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, they have disrespected the Kanien’kehá:ka of Kanehsatà:ke, in particular the women of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation. We have tried the peaceful methods to bring resolution to our land conflict but our voices incessantly fall upon deaf ears. The economy trumps the inherent human rights of Indigenous peoples. We are constantly squeezed into smaller parcels of land. Our community is unable to overcome the impacts of the dysfunction of colonialism which Canada and Quebec benefit from.
1492 Land Back Lane Spokesperson Turns Himself In, Three More Arrests in Connection with Ongoing Occupation
Further west in Haudenosaunee territory, on May 19th, Skyler Williams, spokesperson for #1492LandBackLane, turned himself in to the police after living with outstanding warrants related to the occupation for 10 months. Skyler told media that he made the decision so that he would be able to go back to work to support his four kids, saying he would continue to support and advocate for the camp. He was accompanied by a caravan of supporters to ensure that the Ontario Provincial Police would release him immediately as promised.
1492 Land Back Lane is an occupation of a site slated for a settler housing development called McKenzie Meadows. The occupation has been ongoing since July 19, 2020. Since Land Back Lane was established, dozens have been arrested in connection to the site. In the past weeks alone three other people from Six Nations, the reserve adjacent to the site, have been arrested on warrants nearly a year old for participation in land defense actions.
Despite the ongoing repression, the occupation continues, with 25 fruit trees newly planted at the site and the one year anniversary of the beginning of the occupation drawing near. For updates, follow @1492lbl on twitter.
Tiny House Warriors Found Guilty in Court Ruling
On May 21, siblings and founders of the Tiny House Warriors movement Kanahus and Mayuk Manuel were found guilty of theft and intimidation, respectively, in B.C. provincial court. Tiny House Warriors is a group committed to stopping the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline across unceded Secwepemc territory, through direct action. One of group’s primary tactics involves building tiny homes in strategic locations along the pipeline route. Participants have faced repeated criminalization for their actions. As reported by APTN, this latest charge stems from an interaction with security personnel outside a Trans Mountain pumping station in September 2019.
Mayuk and two other members of the Tiny House Warriors were in court the following week, related to charges laid in December 2018. Mayuk, Snutetkwe Manuel and Isha Jules were charged with mischief, causing a disturbance and assault as they interrupted a private meeting between federal politicians, government staff, regional First Nations leaders, representatives of Trans Mountain, and security personnel. The group pled not guilty to all charges, and in the first week of trial, Isha Jules was acquitted on one assault charge.
Fairy Creek Forest Defense
Photo credit: @SaveFairyCreek
It’s been an extremely eventful few weeks at the Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island. Forest defense has been ongoing in the area since last summer, when the Rainforest Flying Squad established a series of blockades to stop the logging of old-growth forest in the Fairy Creek watershed, one of the largest remaining areas of old growth in North America. Teal Jones, the largest privately-owned timber harvesting and lumber product manufacturing company in B.C., has been granted a permit to log in the area. The area is part of unceded Pacheedaht territory.
On May 17, RCMP gave protesters 24 hours’ notice to vacate the area or be arrested, and from there, conflict has escalated significantly. Protesters have employed a variety of creative tactics to hold blockade positions along logging roads, where the threat of clear-cutting is imminent. Activists have chained themselves into fallen trees, suspended structures, into the ground, and to other infrastructure. Some have also hung in platforms suspended from trees, and were arrested by helicopter. Over 170 arrests have been made so far. At the same time, over a thousand people have joined the protests, including seniors, youth, Indigenous folks and allies.
As of June 4, organizers announced that 10 plainclothes RCMP officers breached Waterfall Camp, and that road building equipment is on its way to Fairy Creek. An urgent call-out has been issued for supporters to join forest defenders at Fairy Creek Headquarters. Those who can’t join are being encouraged to hold solidarity actions.
Discovery of Bodies of 215 Indigenous Children in Residential School Mass Grave Sparks Vigils across Country
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced on May 29th that the bodies of 215 children had been found in a mass grave following a ground-penetrating radar survey on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in so-called British Columbia. The residential school was operated by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969, at which point the Canadian government took over to administer the building as residences for a day school until 1978. Residential schools, the last of which closed in 1996, were a central tool in the genocidal attempt by Canada to separate Indigenous children from their families and communities and raise them without access to their cultures and languages. Indigenous people have always maintained that there was mass undocumented abuse and death at the schools.
In response to the announcement, vigils, memorials, and demonstrations have been held across the country. Many memorials placed children’s shoes at significant sites, statues, and government buildings to represent the kids whose bodies were found. At Ryerson University, a sit in was held at the graffitied statue of Egerton Ryerson, an architect of the residential school system, calling for the statue’s removal. The Charlottetown city council has voted to permanently remove a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from a downtown intersection in response to the revelations, reversing their previous vote not to remove it and instead to add an Indigenous figure to it. Anishinaabek in anishinaabek aki (Central and Northern Ontario) are calling for Indigenous people across Canada to #HaltTransCanada on June 21, National Indigenous People’s Day, in response to the news.
In response to public outcry about the discovery, the provincial and federal governments have issued statements and called for flags to be lowered to half mast. However, many are drawing attention to the hypocrisy of these actions given that Canada is simultaneously headed towards trial in a lawsuit by 105 First Nations seeking reparations for harms to First Nation cultures, languages and communities caused by residential schools. The federal government denies responsibility in court filings.
Palestinian Solidarity Rail Blockade in Mississauga
On May 30, hundreds of protesters blockaded rail tracks at the Lisgar GO transit station in Mississauga, in solidarity with Palestine. In an escalation of the many pro-Palestinian solidarity rallies taking place across the country in recent weeks, protesters blocked commuter traffic and demanded an arms embargo on Israel. Protesters dispersed after three hours without any arrests. As pointed out in further IGD coverage, this action shows a promising continuation of a tactic that gained prominence last year during the Shut Down Canada movement.
Mi’kmaq Fishers Forced to Scale Back Operations while COVID Restrictions in Effect
Mi’kmaq fishers, who last September faced settler violence in response to their lobster fishing operations, are currently dealing with a government clampdown on their fishing. While Mi’kmaq have a treaty right to fish for a “moderate livelihood”, the federal Fisheries Department has been actively removing any traps that are not licensed.
As reported in the Toronto Star, the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia has announced that it will modify its plans to launch a “moderate livelihood” fishery in June, instead scaling back to a “smaller food, social and ceremonial fishery.” Because June is outside of the federal commercial season, fishers had been warned that any commercial operation would result in their traps being seized.
Fishers also noted that when COVID restrictions ease up, they would feel empowered to expand their fishing with more supporters being able to travel to the wharf in Saulnierville from the Halifax area.
Fascist Calgary Mayoral Candidate Denied Access to Voters List
The current brand of far-Right personalities have been using election candidacies to gain power and notoriety over the last few years, and many anti-fascists have spoken up about the about the dangerous platforms and power this risks providing them. Recently, in Calgary, Alberta, a new related threat has emerged. A current Calgary mayoral candidate, fascist, grifter and failed Mississauga mayoral candidate, Kevin J. Johnston, has been threatening Alberta Health Services (AHS) employees for their role in the occasional enforcement of the province’s public health act during the pandemic. Johnston has said he will release the names and addresses of AHS employees and threatened to show up at their homes, armed.
The city of Calgary usually creates a list of voters and gives it to each candidate a month before the election. The list contains names, addresses and phone numbers of each voter. As reported by the Calgary Herald, because of the threats made by Johnston, city staff have said they have not yet created that list and have no plans to do so. The list is not mandatory in Alberta, so not every municipality creates a list, or does so every year.
Comments Off on Noise, Flags, and Fists: Reflections on a Weekend in Downtown Montréal
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Since May 6 of this year, apparently first with respect to the Sheikh Jarrah property dispute, there has been an intercommunal conflict between neighbours in ethnically mixed urban parts of occupied Palestine, from Jerusalem to Jaffa and beyond. Consequently, there has been an uneven exchange of bombs and rockets between the Israeli state and Hamas, the latter being the state authority in the small territory of Gaza. Where things will go in Palestine, I cannot say. I don’t pretend to have more than a Wikipedia-level understanding of the situation. I do not speak the relevant languages and am not trying to follow the news too closely anyway.
My reflections concern the situation in Montréal, home to sizeable populations of both Muslims and Jews, many of whom, respectively – and I understand that this is quite reductive – bolster the ranks of local social movements in support of both the Palestinian side and the Zionist/Israeli side of the conflict. This past weekend, a part of both movements took the streets of downtown Montréal in response to the most recent events overseas.
On Saturday, May 15, tens of thousands (at a minimum) of people came out in support of the Palestinian side; they demonstrated both at Westmount Square, an office tower complex that is home to the Israeli consulate, and in Dorchester Square, more or less in the central part of downtown. The entire zone in between those two locations was, for hours, convulsed with people waving the Palestinian flag, shouting slogans, and honking horns. It must have certainly been one of the largest demonstrations that has taken place in Montréal in the last year. There was little violence or vandalism, although a window was broken at Westmount Square and some people climbed scaffolding on a building adjoining Dorchester Square. All of this was preceded by a motorcade that started on the other side of town. Some anarchists and “radical leftists” without close family ties to any sort of Muslim community were present, but seemingly not many, in comparison to the rest of the crowd.
On Sunday, May 16, the pro-Israeli side had its own rally – that is, a static event – in Dorchester Square, which was opposed by a roughly equivalent number of people in a pro-Palestinian crowd that gathered initially in Place du Canada, directly to the south of Dorchester Square. From my own observations, I think it is fair to say that some people on the pro-Palestine side were deliberately provocative with respect to the pro-Israeli crowd, doing their best to get close to them and wave flags and stuff of that nature. The police attempted to keep both sides from coming into conflict with one another, but the logistics of their operation degraded over time, and there were several moments when members of both crowds were able to get close enough to each other to throw fists, try to steal each other’s flags, etc. Although the absolute number of people was much smaller than the day before, the area of downtown around Dorchester Square at least (and particularly on the nearby section of rue Sainte-Catherine, a major commercial artery that always has a lot of foot traffic) was gummed up with the movements of pro-Palestinian demonstrators trying to get to Dorchester Square or Place du Canada, then with members of the pro-Israeli crowd trying to leave the area, and certainly with police. Tear gas was deployed quite indiscriminately, affecting numerous bystanders and passers-by that had nothing to do with the unfolding skirmishes and attempts to fight each other. Pro-Palestinian groups remained in the vicinity for many hours after the pro-Israeli side had dispersed completely, defying the police, getting chased, and getting shot at with “less-than-lethal” munitions.
This weekend was preceded by numerous, significantly smaller pro-Palestine protests in the broad area of Montréal’s western downtown, which were less openly defiant of the police, but still loud and visible. It is my tentative prediction that more demonstrations will happen locally in the coming days. [Update: Between when I started writing this text, and when I submitted for publication on anarchist websites, another rally at the Israeli consulate came and went.]
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY Images resonate. Words inspire. People in the stadium love it when the audience roars in their favour. I think it might work the same way, at least a little bit, with struggle. But I don’t know for sure.
I do know that the violence that happened in Montréal on Saturday and Sunday – whether interpersonal or simply defenestrative, whether against the police or between partisans of competing nationalisms – did not materially help out anyone, from either national camp, in Palestine. It is perfectly unclear, to me, how many people in Palestine heard about what happened in Montréal at all. There have been demonstrations in cities all around the world, but I presume they are, in any case, paying more attention to local news.
Anarchists in Montréal have occasionally demonstrated at the consulate of a foreign government in Montréal. We have done other things too. The Russian consulate, specifically, was attacked at least twice in the last decade.
Most of the time, though, demonstrations of solidarity with people involved in some sort of overseas political issue has been by communities of people who have family in those places. They happen all the time, although few Montréalers will ever hear about them. They don’t tend to be very large, most of the time, and it is unlikely that they will be reported upon in the news. You have to be in the right place at the right time to see a banner, a sombre speech (perhaps in a language other than English or French), and usually about 60 people tops. Even when they are bigger, they rarely become riotous (and it is worth noting that, despite isolated moments of rowdy energy, the Saturday demonstration was overwhelmingly nonviolent).
The problem with campaigns of international solidarity is that, pretty frequently, they distract attention from projects that are more locally pertinent. I feel like I can get myself into trouble here, so let me be clear: I don’t think they are without value. But I do think, quite categorically, that it is generally disadvantageous when people know more about the latest events happening in a place far away than they do about the events that are happening in their own city. When they have a narratively simple understanding of events and the lead-up to those events in societies on the other side of the world, but they don’t understand, or at least fail to recognize, the tensions and dynamics that are manifest in their own social context.
International solidarity may sometimes be for the people far away, but it also needs to be for the people who are doing it. For anarchists, it is imperative that these campaigns of struggle feed into strategies that are about making anarchy – or other projects that align with what anarchists want – happen locally, whatever that might concretely mean.
MONTRÉAL RIOTS The above header is a verb. Montréal riots, and does so with some regularity. In the present context, after more than a year of the pandemic and several months of curfew imposed by a government sitting in Québec City and elected by the suburbs, that current is bubbling up again. If it wasn’t this issue, it would be something else.
There are a lot of sweeping claims to make about demographics, which I’ll just get out of the way now. First of all, it is usually young men who riot, and while this need not be inevitable, it is what seems to happen, insofar as I have been able to infer the gender identities of people I’ve seen smashing windows, looting stores, throwing things at police, or trying to get closer to pro-Israelis rallies in the last year. Second of all, it seems that racialized people are as likely if not more likely than white people to riot.
Really, I am bringing up demography to dismiss it as a concern. If people riot, as they did on the evening of April 11 in the context of the curfew’s intensification, then certain progressive journalists and commentators will label the participants “white” as a matter of course – which is exactly what happened. And, for the people who have deemed anarchist scenes themselves to be hopelessly problematic, including those who remain adjacent to those scenes, they are going to see some big problems with any engagement I might offer – as well as any failure to engage on my part – with respect to the fact that, broadly speaking, the participants in a given riot might be markedly browner, poorer, or more marginalized than the people who populate anarchist scenes.
To the extent that this becomes a distraction from, or an argument against, contributing to a youth-led social rupture, I think it’s a serious problem.
In Montréal, everyone riots. Not everyone everyone, but a lot of people, across many demographics. And people here have been rioting for a very long time. This city has an esteemed history of fucking shit up that goes back deep into the early decades of the 19th century. This continues through all sorts of political cycles and social crises, at times when white people of various kinds comprised the near totality of Montréal’s urban population, and certainly a much greater proportion of the population than is the case today. This is something that every Montréaler who hates the police and loves the culture of the streets can and should take pride in. This is not to say that every riot has been pure or perfect, but that there is more to celebrate in all of these histories than there is to condemn. Riots, after all, work. To the extent that we enjoy living in welfare capitalism versus, like, whatever they have in Texas, it is in part thanks to riots, and I think a little more sustained rioting now could get us a lot more stuff further down the line.
Being who we are, we don’t necessarily need to form a “contingent” within someone else’s demo. With respect to the most confrontational and defiant elements in the pro-Palestine street movement right now, we are talking about crews that most of us don’t have connections with, that we may not know how to talk to, where a relationship of trust doesn’t yet exist between us, and which are in any case entirely capable of doing things on their own. Our goal, instead, should be to expand the scope of the disruption to downtown commerce and police logistics, at the same time but not in precisely the same place as other events. We should want to be our own pole, which can attract different participants than those who would already come out to pro-Palestine stuff, and which can also preoccupy the strategic imperative of the police, which is to be everywhere at once. The job of the police is always impossible, but by being present, we can make that impossibility show itself faster.
There were glimpses of a total breakdown of police logistics and police strategy on Sunday, in the context of operations to stop just two relatively small cohorts of people from fighting one another. Every little bit of extra chaos counts.
A SUGGESTION: À BAS LA FRANCE Apart from Jews and Muslims, Montréal is also home to a sizeable population of French people – that is, not francophones, but people born and/or raised in France, or who at least have close family ties to people living in France. Many anarchists I have known who lived in Montréal were themselves French. Additionally, lots of other Montréal anarchists, who are not exactly “French” themselves, have spent a lot of time in France, have close friends there, opinions about political issues that are local to France, etc. Although France is far away, it is emotionally close to many of us (but certainly not all of us).
France has banned demonstrations in support of the Palestinian cause, citing the disturbances that happened in 2014, during the last big crisis.
What is happening in France is worrying. Already in 2016, in response to the jihadists’ massacres the year before (Charlie Hebdo, Hypercasher, the Bataclan, the Stade de France), the French state embarked on a path that included the banning of demonstrations, emergency laws, and the expansion of police powers. In the last month, it was made illegal to film the police. Of course, in our territory, French models of governance are much-admired; policies devised there will get imported here. We can see this, too, in the orientation of the government in Québec City’s efforts to suppress all things labelled radical and all things labelled Islamic – two categories which, very often, get conflated.
Between trying to beat up nationalist clowns wearing Israeli flag capes, and kicking in the window at Westmount Square, I personally thought the latter was the more respectable action; I know that many of the clowns were spoiling for a fight, too, but I don’t love angry interpersonal violence. The French consulate is in a building facing avenue McGill College, a few short blocks away from Dorchester Square. Maybe it would make sense for anarchists, and all other opponents of colonialism and capitalism writ large, to call our own demonstration at that location if it ever looks like pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian crowds are about to throw down again downtown. Or hell, somewhere else? But everyone loves a theme!
Really, though: whatever excuse it takes to get us downtown so that we contribute to the disruption and create a larger space of destruction, possibility, and encounter of the kind that is only possible when there is a complete breakdown of the logistical machine that is the police.
THE SPIRIT OF REVOLT Teenagers have analyses, but they might not be very good. Most of them don’t know what anarchism is, what nationalism is. They might know the words, but that doesn’t count for much. Most of them don’t have a clear or cogent idea about Jews or Palestinians or Zionists or terrorists or whatever. And it’s not like teenagers are necessarily doing the things they are doing entirely because of their political ideas, either.
All of this is true of most adults, too, but teenagers usually have better excuses for why they don’t know about any of these things than adults do, and it’s usually worth trying to explain these things to them, because they probably aren’t lost causes yet. But not by seeking them out to tell them these things. That’s never gonna work.
You cannot have conversations with people about ideas until it is clear that you even want to talk to each other. That is true for both parties. But it is impossible to know whether you want to talk to each other – really talk, with all the risk of misunderstanding and insult that exists in any conversation with stakes – until there is a good reason for you to talk.
If people see each other in the streets, consistently, they will probably start to talk at some point. Particularly if people in both groups seem to sort of be doing the same weird thing as one another, in a way that is complementary. Maybe cool things come out of that, or maybe they don’t. I feel like it would be a good thing, though, if some kid whose family talks a lot of shit about Jews was able to find out that there are Jews who are anarchists, who hate the police, who incidentally don’t much like Israel, who have style and/or know how to throw down.
The point is not to go into the streets to “make anarchists” but, instead, to make anarchy. Most anarchists, after all, eventually become social-democrats. Most of the people in any crowd of angry, activated youth are unlikely to find that anarchism, in whatever subcultural form it may take, is able to speak to them or their particular concerns. So be it. It’s after anarchy triumphs in some way, perhaps in part because the partisans of anarchy were in the streets as well, that some people will start to pay attention. Some people will like what they see, and may try to find us. It’s not worth thinking about much, though. All of that is outside of what we can plan for.
What we can do is recognize where new energy is, how and where why it is bubbling up, and we can also think about where we want to place ourselves in relation to it. What are we trying to do? How are we trying to help? What does it mean for us when police logistics are tied up downtown?
ANARCHY, NOT THE RIOT If events must take the form of running battles with the police in the downtown core, then anarchists have something to contribute to that situation. But we can do other things, too. The point is not to fetishize the riot or the people who are doing the most to actualize the riot in the present moment. The point is that the path to where we are trying to go, where the police are gone, passes through rioting. C’est pas les pacifistes qui vont changer l’histoire.
The point is that we do things, that we don’t sit out insurrectional moments, and that we keep our principal focus on what is happening in our own region. The terrain is shifting, and it’s hard to keep track, but we need to do our best.
AGAINST THE CURFEW. AGAINST THE BOMBING. AGAINST EVICTIONS HERE AND EVERYWHERE. FOR A WORLD WITHOUT POLICE. LET BLACK FLAGS FLY HIGH.
For the week of Monday, May 17th, Palestinians are calling for a week of action in solidarity with their national uprising and general strike. Please take action to support those fighting against apartheid and modern colonialism.
#savesheikhjarrah #gazaunderattack #freepalestine
Voiceover by Nader Haram, music by John Prod. Produced in collaboration with Antimidia.
Comments Off on R.I.P. Matt Cicero: Anarchist Militant, Journalist, Community Organizer
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
On March 16, 2020, our comrade Matt departed for the spirit world. We have lost one of the most committed anarchists in our part of the world, and the loss is felt intensely due to the tragic circumstances of his death.
Many people who did not know Matt well will probably remember him as the guy that bombed the bank back in 2010. At this time, there was a major mobilization of anarchists preparing for the G20 summit in Toronto. Several months prior to the summit, a group calling itself FFF (Fighting For Freedom) released footage of the firebombing of an RBC branch in Ottawa. The footage was dramatic – a black-clad figure runs out of the bank minutes before it explodes in flame.
Although he never confessed to the action, I think that Matt would have wanted to be remembered for this action. He was arrested for it, jailed, and put on trial, but charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Six years after the bombing, he posted an article entitled “6 reasons I support arson (as a tool of social change)” on his blog. “I think it’s an example… of direct action, and I think that social movements in Canada are far too pacified, they are way too comfortable with the ideology, with non-violence as an ideology, not as a tactic, but as the only possible way forward,” he said. “I think social movements need to become more militant and I wanted to highlight that, which I think the action does.”
The communique released by FFF explained the reasons why RBC had been targeted. They had been a major sponsor of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which had involved a massive crack-down on the street population of that city, and RBC was also a major financier of the Alberta Tar Sands.
It’s important to note here that Matt was one of the anarchists who was at the forefront of indigenous solidarity organizing. 2010 really was the year that anti-colonial politics came to the forefront of anarchist analysis in so-called Canada. It was through the relationships that anarchists formed with indigenous people around that time that began to significantly shift anarchist discourse. Matt was one of the pioneers of this, and he remained active with IPSMO (the Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement – Ottawa) for the better part of a decade.
Matt was a committed activist. Serious, principled, and intense, he knew what he believed and had the courage of his convictions. His stubbornness often led to him butting heads with other activists, as for myself, I usually found myself agreeing with him and supporting his stance. He thought that radical politics should be about action. When it was time to throw down, you knew Matt was game.
It is difficult to grieve Matt, partly due to the tragic conditions of his death. I have not spoken to anyone who had really spoken to him in the past two years. Not only was he estranged from his family, it seems that he was also estranged from his friends. It would seem that his mental health deteriorated, and he was living in a tent by the Ottawa river, close to the War Museum, and not far from Asinabka, the Algonquin sacred site currently be desecrated by a huge condo development.
The circumstances of his death were mysterious. Apparently, the police told his mother that he had fallen out of a tree. I was a part of a group that visited the tree, and we all agreed that it just wasn’t possible that that had happened. Not only was the tree not very tall, it was a spruce tree, and it would have been impossible to climb without breaking branches, and no branches were broken. What is known is that he died of blunt force trauma and the police didn’t rule it a suicide.
We are still trying to put the pieces together, so if you do have information that would help us understand what happened in the last two years of his life, we would encourage you to write us. Even though we can’t change what happened, understanding what happened can be an important part of the grieving process.
We also have some soul-searching as a movement to do. There have been a significant numbers of deaths of despair amongst activist men in the past few years. To name a few: Derek, Dave, Hugo, Jean, and Charles. What is leading our comrades to such depths of emotional pain? Is it the state of the world, or it is something about the way that activists treat each other?
The reality is that, despite our best efforts to change the world for the world, things are not improving on planet Earth, and in fact, many of the gains made by previous generations of activists are now being undone. This can be deeply disheartening, especially for people who have based their whole lives around struggling to make the world a better place.
There is another question that is more disturbing, and that is whether it is something in the activist scene is killing us. Has the anarchist culture become deeply toxic? Both Dave and Matt were being excluded by their respective activist communities at the times of their deaths. In both cases, it seems likely that this was a factor in the deterioration of their mental health. Is a toxic activist culture partly to blame?
In any case, Matt’s body is gone, but his spirit has moved on. Perhaps the freedom that he desired so passionately was not possible in this world, but I hope that where he is now, his spirit will know true freedom.
Rest in peace, Matt, you were a good anarchist, and I will honour your memory. More importantly, I will honour your spirit by continuing the fight that you dedicated your life to – the fight for freedom, for autonomy, for Mother Earth, and in solidarity with the oppressed against the state.
It seems right to end by quoting the FFFC communique released after the bank bombing:
We pass the torch to all those who would resist the trampling of native rights, of the rights of us all, and resist the ongoing destruction of our planet.
A memorial is being organized by Matt’s friend Albert Dumont, an Algonquin spiritual leader. It will be held on May 16. By pure coincidence, a massive global day of action happens to be planned for that exact day. So, wherever you are, if you do want to honour Matt’s memory, consider torching or smashing something in his honour, or at least lighting off some fireworks.
For details regarding the memorial service, please write firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have photos or videos of Matt, please share them with us. We would also encourage people to reach out to share their memories of Matt, which could be shared at his memorial.
A song-in-progress is being written by Matt’s friend. If you have memories of actions that Matt participated in, and want them to be part of a song that will be sung at his memorial, please check out this video: https://youtu.be/-BjzjBghTf8 and get in touch.
We are a group of people who, back in february 2020, held an all-day railroad blockade in so-called Lennoxville, Quebec, on stolen Abenaki land, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and against the ongoing violence of colonialism. We have recently learned that the criminal accusations that had been laid against us have finally been withdrawn and that our case has been closed.
On the one hand, it brings us joy to avoid the stress and hassle of a criminal trial, and even moreso considering how the Sherbrooke police shamelessly lied to us and broke their own protocols in order to arrest us on that sunny winter day.
On the other hand, however, we find it important to remember and acknowledge that the criminal charges we were facing come from a State (and its whole legal system) that sees nothing wrong with colonial genocide, with murdering and dispossessing indigenous folks, and with destroying life in the name of profit. So-called Canada and so-called Quebec are on stolen native land, and no amount of laws or repression will ever make us see this as fair or acceptable. Our action was one of many others in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en people who have been continuously threatened and harassed by the RCMP and pipeline industry goons.
The funds we had raised for our legal battle will be split evenly between the lawyers who supported us, the Tyendinaga and Hamilton friends who are facing trial for their own solidarity blockades, as well as the Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund.
Comments Off on Queen Victoria Statue Vandalized with Red Paint After Curfew on Saint-Patrick’s Day
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Delhi-Dublin Anti-Colonial Solidarity Brigade declares: End the monarchy in Canada; end monarchies everywhere!
March 17, 2021, Montreal — The Delhi-Dublin Anti-Colonial Solidarity Brigade re-united in Montreal last night on an anti-colonial Saint-Patrick’s Day. They defied curfew to again vandalize the landmark bronze statue to Queen Victoria — unveiled in 1900 and located on Sherbrooke Street at McGill University — this time in red paint.
According to Pádraig Patel of the Delhi-Dublin Anti-Colonial Solidarity Brigade: “There is a renewed focus on the brutal legacy of the British monarchy, which is a clear symbol of racism and colonialism. Forget about celebrity distractions, let’s focus on getting rid of monarchs as one important action linked to our movements for social justice.”
Another member of the brigade, Sujata Sands, mentions: “We do regret that we were unable to topple the statue tonite, as those cool kids did back in August 2020 to the John A. Macdonald statue.”
A third member of the Delhi-Dublin Anti-Colonial Solidarity Brigade, Lakshmi O’Leary, declared: “Just put the British Royal Family, all of them, into a limousine, give them a drunk French chaffeur, and let nature take its course.”*
Concerning the Queen Victoria statue, the Delhi-Dublin Anti-Colonial Solidarity Brigade wrote on St. Patrick’s Day 2019: “The presence of Queen Victoria statues in Montreal are an insult to the self-determination and resistance struggles of oppressed peoples worldwide, including Indigenous nations in North America (Turtle Island) and Oceania, as well as the peoples of Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent, and everywhere the British Empire committed its atrocities. Queen Victoria’s reign, which continues to be whitewashed in history books and in popular media, represented a massive expansion of the barbaric British Empire. Collectively her reign represents a criminal legacy of genocide, mass murder, torture, massacres, terror, forced famines, concentration camps, theft, cultural denigration, racism, and white supremacy. That legacy should be denounced and attacked.”
Some previous attacks on Queen Victoria statues in Montreal:
There are currently at least sixty people still facing serious criminal charges from the 2019 and 2020 raids on Wet’suwet’en territory and the solidarity movement known as Shut Down Canada. Dealing with criminal charges is often an isolating and scary experience, especially when the legal system intentionally tries to make people feel alone and powerless. We think a support campaign is the best way we can fight back against these forces and show the state that we will not allow our friends and comrades to be criminalized. If we can support one another now, then we can support one another in all the struggles to come.
More than avoiding repression, what matters is how we deal with it. We need to always be finding ways to show those targeted they are not alone — this makes it easier for them to get through it with strength and integrity. As people move through the justice system, displays of solidarity and practical support make a real difference in the outcome. We need to show that those who are brave and take risks will be supported if we want to be brave together again in the future and see our movements grow.
We want to provide a space where defendants can write about their experiences with repression and criminalization, statements of solidarity, and updates about the charges, which will be posted on our Updates section.
We want to help defendants to fund raise for their legal battles, where we provide links to different defendants and communities’ GoFundMe pages.
We want to help defendants feel more supported in the incredibly isolating process of state criminalization, and are offering a PO box where letters of support, postcards, and zines can be sent, which we we then forward to defendants.
And, finally, we want to create an email campaign to pressure for charges to be dropped or for prominent figures to publicly support charges being dropped. We have created a basic sample template for a (polite) email, and a list of talking points that defendants have given us, and compiled a list of emails for it to be sent to.
Please share this campaign on your various data-mining surveilance platforms and use the hashtag #BlockadeDefense