In the summer of 2021 on Vancouver Island, thousands of people moved through a de-facto autonomous zone spanning multiple watersheds. An entire constellation of struggle burned bright, welcoming into its fold a new generation of land defenders. Creeker is a grassroots, anti-authoritarian zine series that aims to bring depth, variety, critique and continuity to the ongoing process of reflecting on the Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek blockades. It’s intended for creekers themselves, land defenders elsewhere, and the land defenders yet to come.
The latest volume is the biggest yet, containing a timeline, maps, multiple firsthand accounts, reflective pieces, and critique. Printed versions are available at Camas Books in Victoria and Spartacus Books in Vancouver.
Comments Off on Call for solidarity from the #EkoniAci movement! Blockade at km 16!
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
In order to enforce the moratorium on logging on their territory, Nitaskinan, members of the Atikamekw of Manawan are currently setting up a new blockade. It is located at km 16 on the road to Manawan, north of St-Michel-des-Saints. Logging companies have been informed that they will not be able to return with their machinery when the thaw occurs on May 19. We need to be many to ensure that they respect this instruction.
It is possible to come now to help set up the camp. Those who can free themselves, the most sensitive moments are likely to be from May 19 to 26. The blockade will remain in place afterwards and solidarity will still be necessary.
The Atikamekw of Wemontaci also need support at the moment, in the area of Renard au rat. Tensions are rising and threats are being made.
Over the past few months, several sections of the coastal gaslink pipeline have been vandalized. Financially, the consequences of each act were minor: a few holes in the pipeline here, some corroded welding seams there, damaged concrete here. Our goal was to contribute to the small delays in a project that was already well over budget.
We drilled holes less than a penny wide in a section of pipe that had not yet been lowered into the trench. We covered the holes with fiberglass film, which temporarily prevents leaks in the pipes, but only lasts a few months. We know that welded sections of coated pipe are assessed before being lowered into the trench. After the trench is backfilled, they are tested under pressure. The holes were sealed in the hope that they would pass the first pressure test, but will have to be excavated and repaired before the pipeline is completed. This occurred during the last week of October on section 8 of the pipeline, between Kilometers 610 and 613.
Between 585 and 588 kilometers of the pipeline, we found a section of pipe that had been dug out, so we damaged the coating at the joints by chipping and sanding it off in less visible places. This coating is needed to protect the pipe from corrosion and rust. We did this in early November. We liked this approach because the damage is not visible, but can still have a significant long-term structural impact if corrosion and rust show up, so it will need to be fixed.
We drilled very small holes and filled them this time with an epoxy putty, somewhere between Kilometers 605 and 608 of the pipeline route (that’s in section 8.) We did this in the second week of November. We weren’t sure if the sealant would withstand the pressure test, but decided it was worth a try since this sealant is easier to source and use than the fiberglass coating.
At the end of November, we drilled and filled holes in the pipe string before it would be lowered into section 6 of the pipeline between Kilometers 486 and 489.
In early December, we chipped and busted the welds on a section of pipe that had not yet been lowered into the trench between Kilometers 606 and 609.
We damaged the protective coating on a section of pipe by chipping and grinding, and chipped a welded seam on several sections of pipe before they were backfilled between Kilometer 377 and 380 of section 5 of the pipeline. This work was performed in early January.
Near Kilometer 27 of North Hirsch forestry road we damaged welds and coating on a pipe section in the middle of January.
We poured hydrochloric acid on the concrete pipes we knew were meant for the tunnel under Wedzin Kwa and used a concrete drill inside the pipe to weaken them even further. The concrete pipes are designed to protect the pipe itself from the pressure of the surrounding soil. Given the heightened security and surveillance of concrete pipe storage, we can’t say when this happened.
In early December, we grinded and chipped the coating on the welded seams of the pipe sections between Kilometers 598 to 601.
In mid February, we scraped and chipped large portions of the pipe coating of the string between Kilometers 626 and 629.
Or is that in fact what happened? Only some of these activities have actually taken place. We waited to share this information all at once, complete with some additional false reports, so the only way to know where repairs are really needed is to excavate and re-examine all the above-mentioned pipes. Cracked concrete or rusted and patched pipes can lead to small leaks and large-scale spills, which is why every action, whether genuine or falsified, is being brought to the attention of the public long before the pipeline is operational.
While we would prefer to write only completely honest report backs, we also believe that we should be resourceful and use every means at our disposal to delay construction as best we can. We apologize to those involved in the struggle for not being able to give you an accurate picture of what we have really accomplished. CGL we wish you all the best in your treasure hunt.
Notes: This mini-zine was created with our experience in a mid-sized town being at close to 7,000 feet in elevation with intense winter storms and a relatively smaller unsheltered community than other larger occupied areas. It’s notoriously hard to squat and camp in (though we’ve done it). We use the term “patrol” cause it’s what we started with and it stuck, use whatever terms your crew is cool with like “outreach” or whatever. Please amend and edit for your area.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately seven hundred people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are killed from hypothermia annually in the so-called United States.
Absolutely no one should be left to sleep outside during cold weather yet a range of factors may force people to sleep in the cold; from discriminatory shelters kicking people out, being kicked out of a house during a storm, being forced to flee an abuser, simply being unprepared, etc. Raids sweeps and anti-homeless laws, such as anti-camping ordinances push people to camp in hidden and dispersed areas which puts them more at risk.
What is street patrol? Street Patrol (SP) consists of an autonomous (decentralized) volunteer crew or multiple crews of people who mobilize to support unsheltered relatives when weather is extremely cold. SP’s primary objective is to ensure people don’t freeze. This is done by providing cold weather gear, warm supplies, food, transportation, and possibly shelter if needed.
In some situations SP’s also act as copwatch and may intervene or de-escalate situations of police aggression and violence. SPs can also mobilize to defend encampments against “sweeps” and help to open up squats (get people sheltered in empty buildings!). Variations of crews supporting unsheltered relatives have also struck out against anti-homeless businesses with creative re-decoration or smashed windows, organized mass mobilizations and attacked cops for attacking relatives on the streets, and torn up anti-homeless barriers/benches etc. Some established street patrols have incorporated defense and attack into their practices and mobilize to address fascist threats at events.
Through building solid relationships of support we can go beyond paternalistic charity and provide meaningful solidarity that goes beyond one season. Mutual aid isn’t about being a “savior” it’s about solidarity. Make it a point with your crew that your effort organizes with unsheltered relatives. Street Patrol should be part of a larger effort to attack the root causes of homelessness such as capitalism and colonialism such as; Land Back, abolishing private property, fighting against the commodification of housing by supporting free camps and squats, food not bombs/meal distros, supporting rent strikes and attacking “slumlords” etc.
To the streets.
Street patrol can take anywhere from 1-4 hours (depending on when the crew starts). We recommend at least two people (3 being optimal) per crew/vehicle for street patrol. Always practice the buddy system! It’s up to you & your crew to organize internal communication (we recommend a Signal group), transportation, and supply pick up. It is important that anyone mobilizing for SP upholds any agreements and COVID safety protocols. Be aware that due to the unpredictable nature of some situations, SP crews place themselves at greater risk of COVID exposure as they may be in closer contact with unsheltered relatives who may be COVID positive.
Equipment: * Flashlights/headlamp (each persn on the SP crew). * Fully charged cell phone. * Warm packs (about a dozen per crew). * Emergency & wool blankets (about 4-6). * Basic first aid kit. * Trauma kit (if trained in its use).
Basic warm pack contents: Notes: our crew plans months ahead for warm pack making: organizing donation drives, doing off-season bulk purchases, and stock-piling etc. Some crews also are adept at liberating items. 😉 We hold warm pack making parties as winter comes close so we’re prepared. We also distro warm packs to other crews in the region.
* Hand warmers * Emergen-C * Cough lozenges * Beanie * Gloves * Socks * Facemask * “Know Your Rights: info
Additional items for outreach: * Sleeping bags (keep in mind wool blankets are better as they insulate even if they are wet). * Tents * Jackets * Underwear * Snacks (granola bars etc)
Some patrol/outreach recommendations:
* Ask unsheltered relatives where to check for other folks who may be in need of support. * Respect people’s privacy. Some don’t want to be bothered at their camps or in their cars. * Bring extra warm packs and offer them to unsheltered relatives to give to others. * SP can be conducted well before sundown when people are still moving around (before people hunker down and camp). In severe weather and surprise storms SP can be done anytime (early morning or late at night). In our experience the shelters are known to kick people out early in the morning while it’s still freezing. A few years ago a relative passed from freezing at local park after he was kicked from a nearby shelter in the early morning.
In most instances SP will mainly be locating unsheltered relatives who are caught out in the cold unprepared. Just a check-in and distribution of any cold weather gear, warm packs, etc usually is sufficient. But in other situations, the needs could be more serious.
What to do if a persn is unresponsive or in need of emergency medical attention (hypothermic): * Ensure that the relative is warm and covered. • Do not attempt to move them. • Contact local street medics or emergency services (state that no cops should be involved) immediately if you suspect someone is hypothermic, explain the situation, & wait for EMTs or street medics to arrive. Assess their condition and treat them only if you have the skills. Carry a med kit if you have basic first aid knowledge, carry a trauma kit if you are able. Life-threatening hypothermia can set in between 32 degrees F – 50 degrees F. It may be difficult to distinguish whether a person is profoundly hypothermic or deceased. The profoundly hypothermic person may have a pulse and respirations that are barely detectable.
Warning signs of hypothermia: * Uncontrollable shivering. * Drop in body temperature below 95F. * Slurred speech. * Clumsiness. * Fatigue. * Confusion.
Until medical help is available, follow these first-aid guidelines for hypothermia:
* Be gentle. When you’re helping a persn with hypothermia, handle them gently. Limit movements to only those that are necessary. Don’t massage or rub the persn. Excessive, vigorous or jarring movements may trigger cardiac arrest.
* Move the person out of the cold. Move the person to a warm, dry location if possible. If you’re unable to move the persn out of the cold, shield them from the cold and wind as much as possible. Keep them in a horizontal position if possible.
* Remove wet clothing. If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove it. Cut away clothing if necessary to avoid excessive movement.
* Cover the person with blankets. Use layers of dry blankets or coats to warm the persn. Cover their head, leaving only the face exposed.
* Insulate the persn’s body from the cold ground. If you’re outside, lay the person on their back on a blanket or other warm surface.
* Monitor breathing. A persn with severe hypothermia may appear unconscious, with no apparent signs of a pulse or breathing. If the persn’s breathing has stopped or appears dangerously low or shallow, begin CPR immediately if you’re trained.
* Provide warm beverages. If the affected persn is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, sweet, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage to help warm the body.
* Use warm, dry compresses. Use a first-aid warm compress (a plastic fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed), hand warmers, or a makeshift compress of warm water in a plastic bottle or a dryer-warmed towel. Apply a compress only to the neck, chest wall or groin. Don’t apply a warm compress to the arms or legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
* Don’t apply direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the person. The extreme heat can damage the skin or, even worse, cause irregular heartbeats so severe that they can cause the heart to stop.
Tips for surviving hypothermia: – Prevent any further heat loss by getting out of the wind, water, and removing wet clothing. – Be delicate. Organs are in a more fragile state. – Focus on warming the core (chest, neck, head, and groin) with fire, warm water, warm stones, blankets, layers, other people’s body heat—anything to turn the tide. – Be still. This may seem counterintuitive, but at this point pumping more blood will just lose heat through the limbs, and cold blood from the limbs can shock the core (aka “after drop”).
Treating frostbite: Beyond the basics, it’s important be exercise extreme caution if you are forced to deal with frostbite. You can cause even worse damage if you warm a frozen area and then let it freeze again. A range of sources recommend these steps to thaw frostbitten tissue: – Remove wet clothing. – Elevate slightly the injured area. – Start warming by soaking the area in warm water, and stop when the skin becomes soft. – Cover area with sterile medical cloth if possible. If frostbite has affected fingers and or toes, wrap each digit individually. Keep them separated. – Try not to move or use the damaged area at all. – Do not rub frostbitten areas because rubbing could cause tissue damage.
Basic tips for sleeping in extreme cold:
If shelter cannot be accessed the following tips may help anyone survive in the cold. Create or locate any kind of shelter that protects you from moisture and wind. Sleeping bags may give a false sense of protection from exposure. Most sleeping bags lose all insulating properties once they are wet.
We recommend using a combination of wool (or wool blend, some synthetics work like polyester fleece) blankets & a mylar (space) blanket or sleeping bag. If you combine a Mylar blanket with an insulating blanket, you will prevent all forms of heat loss. To do this, wrap yourself in a wool or fleece blanket. Put the Mylar blanket outside of these blankets. You can use duct tape to sandwich a Mylar blanket between two wool blankets for even more protection.
Although wool can be heavy and bulky, it loses little insulating properties when wet and is fairly water resistant. Mylar emergency sleeping bags retain body heat and are water & windproof. Combined with a wool emergency blanket (on the inside of the mylar bag), cold weather clothing, and other forms of insulation, this emergency sleep system can be the difference between life or death when faced with extreme cold conditions.
Keep in mind that mylar does not provide any insulation. It will reflect some of your body heat, but not if you are hypothermic.
Tips for using a Mylar blanket * NEVER put a Mylar blanket right next to your skin. You need an insulating layer between you and the Mylar. * Dry the Mylar blanket if it gets wet. Since it stops evaporation, sweat easily builds up on Mylar. This will make you wet and colder. Make sure you thoroughly dry the Mylar blanket. * Beware of rips. Mylar is very durable. However, once it punctures, it will rip easily along the puncture line. Use duct tape to repair tears. * Add a source of heat. If you are hypothermic, your body won’t have heat for the Mylar blanket to reflect back to you. You’ll need another source of heat. * Note: Hand warmers are not effective in warming someone’s core body temperature if they are suffering from hypothermia.
Other important tips:
The cold ground can suck a huge amount of heat away from your body. Use anything to create a barrier or padding between you and the ground (dry debris, dry leaves, cardboard, etc). Stay off the ground.
All your clothing should be dry. Change your clothes or dry them before attempting to sleep, if your clothes are wet, your risk of hypothermia is greatly increased.
Cover your head and neck, and block drafts, but don’t cover your head in your sleeping bag. If you breathe into your sleeping bag you may wake up warm and wet. Over time, all the added moisture will make your bag cold and clammy.
If possible, go to bed with a full stomach and stay hydrated. It’ll help you stay warm through the night. Pour heated water into a bottle and tuck it against you while you sleep. Try to wrap it in a sock or something similar.
Precautions to Reduce the Risks of Hypothermia: – Wear hats, mittens, gloves and clothing that create a static layer of warm air, provides a barrier against the wind, and keeps the body dry. – Wear loose fitting layers and outerwear that will keep you dry. – Avoid cotton: It dries slowly, and saps body heat when wet. Instead, pick synthetics or wool. – Avoid alcohol and other mood- and cognition-altering drugs. – Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia (e.g., shivering, slurred speech, and drowsiness) that indicate the need to seek shelter and call for help. – Keep and carry emergency supplies containing blankets, non-caffeinated fluids, high-energy food, and an extra supply of medications for chronic conditions readily available.
Some SP specific questions/scenarios and responses/actions based upon our local experiences are (discuss or review these scenarios with your crew esp. if there are any new folks to SP):
What to do if an unsheltered person requests transportation to a local shelter or another place? * Discuss with your crew before going on patrol whether or not you will be able to provide transportation or shelter. In some cases a crew doing SP communicated needs back to the larger group and other transportation was arranged (buddies who were ok with sharing space in their ride with possible COVID positive individuals etc). * Our group keeps emergency funds for hotel rooms. While there are many challenges and gets expensive quickly. We do not recommend checking anyone into a hotel with your credit card or information. Note that some unsheltered relatives will not have ID on them so that might be a barrier for room check-ins.
What to do with a safety/security threat? * Always use the buddy system. Read the section below “Mutual Defense & Addressing Threats.” Adapt these practices and make a plan with what works for your crew.
Mutual Defense & Addressing Threats:
SP volunteers may face cops/fascists, aggressively intoxicated and potentially threatening individuals. As outlined in our response recommendations below, we find it helpful to de-escalate, practice harm reduction, and communicate clearly that your crew is providing support and assistance. If people are hostile to you then your’e not part of their community, so don’t push it. We have realized over the years that our best defense and de-escalation tactic is building meaningful relationships and treating those with substance use or mental health issues with dignity and respect.
* No cops or any law enforcement agents. Do not call the cops on unsheltered relatives. We highly recommend that all volunteers patrolling familiarize themselves with their “rights.” If law enforcement agents ask what you’re doing you do not have to answer unless you are being detained. Simply ask, “Am I free to go?” If they answer “No” you have the right to know why you are being detained. Do not consent to any searches. You have the right to document law enforcement activities at a distance that is not interfering with their “work.” More info: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights. Local laws vary on providing identification, so do your research.
* If there is a threat to your’s or other’s personal safety we recommend the following responses: Deescalate. Evade. Backup. Defend.
* Deescalate: We prefer any situation to be deescalated as a first response, check this resource for tips: www.neighborhoodanarchists.org/deescalation/. In our experience documenting a threatening situation with a phone camera can also help de-escalate a situation (though it could also aggravate a situation so be aware).
* Evade: If a heightened threat exists it may be more effective to evade or leave the area. Some tactics have been to return to your vehicle, lock the doors, leave if possible and call or text your crew for support.
* Backup: We do not recommend doing any street outreach/patrols without the buddy system. Our crew has a community defense Signal thread to mobilize if people face physical threats.
* Defend: We encourage volunteers to defend themselves against threats. Consider personal defense weapons such as pepper spray, knives and firearms. We recommend volunteers do training and orientation on personal and collective defense.
* Practice security culture. Recommended reading: What is Security Culture? A Guide to Staying Safe available at: www.sproutdistro.com/catalog/zines/security/what-is-security-culture-a-guide-to-staying-safe. We recommend that everyone be familiar with security culture and not to discuss other volunteer’s whereabouts or schedules with anyone. In the past we have had police and abusers attempt to contact volunteers and we want to ensure that we keep each other safe.
* Transformative and restorative justice processes are used to address conflicts.
Practice intersectionality. * We ask that everyone be actively aware of and accountable to gender, race, and class dynamics. Specifically the ways in which these matters pervade our everyday lives and inform and impact all of our relationships. Please read this on anti-colonialism and orient yourself: www.unsettlingminnesota.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/um_sourcebook_jan10_revision.pdf and Accomplices Not Allies (by us).
With good preparation and trusted comrades, overcoming the fear of repression is much easier than it may first appear…
This Friday, December 16th around 7am, a column of black smoke rises in the snowy sky of the winter’s first storm. A pile of tires are on fire on the rails of line 2 of the Exo commuter train network. The fire was lit a hundred meters south of Bois-de-Boulogne station in order to halt rail traffic in the middle of rush hour. By disrupting the start of this new day of commerce, we wanted to target the Canadian economy and contribute to avenging the Wedzin Kwa under which Coastal GasLink has drilled.
Solidarity with land and water defenders everywhere! Solidarity with Atlanta Forest! Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan in struggle! Fuck CGL, fuck the RCMP, Shutdown Canada!
Comments Off on Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Action to Block the Port of Montreal
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
While COP15 is taking place in the streets of Montreal and the Canadian government is doing its greenwashing dance for the world, construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory continues against the will of the nation, whose guardians have opposed oil drilling for years. This ecocidal project threatens the Wedzin Kwa River and the wildlife of the Yintah; while Canada pays lip service to biodiversity at COP15, CGL blasts dynamite and lays pipe through Wet’suwet’en waters*, threatening already endangered salmon, eel, and other non-human life.
Faced with the resistance of the First Nations, the Canadian petro-state has deployed and continues to deploy millions of dollars** in militarized police to force the passage of this monstrous project. Everywhere else in Canada’s state-occupied lands, similar transportation and raw material extraction projects are endangering fragile ecosystems and the people who depend on them, from tar sands to the Ray-Mont Logistics project that threatens the Terrain Vague facing the Port of Montreal.
In the winter of 2020, Indigenous activists and allies mobilized from coast to coast to coast to shut down Canada’s commercial infrastructure in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. Today, we are ready to confront the extractivist and ecocidal machine that is the Canadian state, its goons, its greenwashing communications teams and its economic apparatus. We are on the side of the living, on the side of Indigenous peoples fighting for their sovereignty. We know that another world is possible, far from their disgusting ecocidal projects that benefit only a handful of billionaires and their parliamentary stooges.
Every day, the port of Montreal sees products from all over the world circulate in ever greater quantities. Yet our living conditions are declining, ecosystems are collapsing, and Indigenous peoples are still the targets of repressive and genocidal policies. The economic system that runs the Port of Montreal is leading us to our collective doom. It demands more oil, more raw materials, more mega-infrastructure, and more land for its mines, pipelines, and container storage. Today we shut it down!
After successfully blocking the port of Montreal and part of Notre-Dame Est, despite a huge and violent police presence the group of activists walked towards downtown to meet the protest in front of RBC called by Sleydo and other Wet’suwet’en land defenders.
Fuck CGL, Fuck the Police, Fuck the banks, Fuck the Port of Montreal, Fuck COP15, and Fuck Canada! Long live the Wet’suwet’en, Long live the people who resist, Long live the resistance! Because the Air, Land, and Seas need Revolutionaries!
Comments Off on Responsibility Claimed for Arson of C-IRG Vehicles on Wet’suwet’en Territory
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
In the early hours of Oct 26th several RCMP C-IRG vehicles were lit on fire in the Smithers Sunshine Inn parking lot.
As you read this, Coastal GasLink drills beneath the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa. The ground shakes in Wet’suwet’en territories. For every tremor of the earth as they drive their borehead and blast their explosives through riverbed and rock, right beneath schools of spawning salmon, tremors of pain and rage reverberate through the hearts of those who still have space to feel it.
Death surrounds us. Salmon die en masse as creeks run dry. Massive areas of once-flourishing rainforest burn. A billion snow crabs disappear and die in Alaska. Climate chaos runs rampant while mega projects churn the living world into a living nightmare. So many people pass out of this world too soon. Maybe it gets called suicide. Or overdose. Or stroke. Maybe it is a police bullet that rips through flesh and organs. All of this is the manifestation of the unbearable pain, suffering and violence brought on by colonialism and the state.
In “british columbia” it is the RCMP who defend and enforce this violence. And where extractive industries meet indigenous resistance the RCMP employ a specialized division called Community-Industry Response Group. It is C-IRG cops who volunteer to raid, surveil, harass, and brutalize land defenders on behalf of their corporate masters.
Early on October 26th four C-IRG vehicles in Smithers were set ablaze while C-IRG officers slept just meters away. The fires damaged or destroyed all four trucks and spread to several industry vehicles and an ambulance in the parking lot. The CGL and BC Hydro trucks burned are hardly regrettable. The damaged ambulance was unfortunate and unintended. No one was injured in this action because steps were taken to ensure no one would be. Vehicles were only lit where it was certain fire would not spread to structures or endanger life.
The violence enacted by industry and enforced by the police damns an entire planet to a fiery desertified future. Recognizing the fact that each of us has a stake in this struggle means recognizing the importance of acting with our own agency, autonomy, and urgency. We must all sharpen our pain into the determination necessary to act against those responsible for our suffering.
There are no words to be shared with government or industry that can change the core of their nature. These institutions are not people. They have no soul, no ethics, and no conscience. Their driving force is profit at any cost, and they cannot be negotiated or reasoned with.
Liberals and centrists want politics to be neat and tidy, within the bounds of respectability. The labeling of actions outside of these bounds as a ‘false flag’ operation severely limits our ability to broaden the scope of struggle and directly challenge the state’s violence. Successful movements utilize a broad set of tactics to achieve their goals. False flag accusations only serve to isolate those who choose to engage in more confrontational actions from broader support, which is dangerous and limiting. If there is a conspiracy here, it is the overt collusion between corporations and state forces to continue the legacy of genocidal violence on indigenous peoples and land.
Burning cop cars is easy. Taking the steps to prevent arrests is less so. Research methods that work; warriorup.noblogs.org is a good place to start. Use security oriented and open source tech tools on public WiFi for this, or better yet, go old-school and get books. Test your methods. Think carefully about how fire can spread to make sure you will not unintentionally burn down a building or cause injury. Know how to avoid leaving evidence. Think critically about the consequences of action as well as inaction. Trust your rebellious instincts and move with courage.
It has always been the time to fight. It still is.
Comments Off on Reportback from the Solidarity Struggle with the Kahnistensera Against McGill’s New Vic Project
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Through this solidarity struggle, it has become clear that as a radical community, we need to stand in solidarity with the kanien’kehá:ka kahnistensera.
Because these traditionalist activists from Kahnawa:ke have been fighting for the last fifty years for the sovereignty of their people.
Because they are among the few Mohawk people who still hold fast to their pre-colonial mode of governance, called the Great Law of Peace.
Because this code organizes the Haudenausaunee confederacy as what we would interpret as libertarian federalism, where all decisions are made on a small scale by consensus before being taken to a higher level: from family to clan, from clan to community, from community to Nation, from Nation to Confederacy.
Because in the Great Law, women are considered the progenitors of the nation, and are therefore responsible for ensuring the protection of the territory and the children (past, present and unborn).
Because as settlers and anarchists, we have many of our own reasons to support Indigenous communities in their battle against the state that deprives them of their relationship with their mother, the territory, the land.
The kahnistensera are currently suing McGill University, the city of Montreal and the government of Quebec and Canada to stop renovation work for McGill’s New Vic project, on the grounds of the Allan Memorial Institute and the Royal Victoria Hospital. These institutions were the site of torture experiments conducted as part of the [MK-Ultra] program (https://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/09/mk-ultraviolence/) of the 1950s and 1960s. There are strong suspicions that Indigenous children (as well as Duplessis orphans and other “delinquents”) may have died there and been buried anonymously on the site, and McGill has downplayed this terrible history as it proceeds with excavating the area. As traditionalists, the Mothers are not aligned with the government-backed Band Council in their community, and have received no support from them for this lawsuit or the broader struggle.
The lawsuit sought an interlocutory injunction to halt the renovation of the Royal Victoria, which threatens to destroy the evidence of these atrocities forever, as well as potentially destroying archeological evidence of a very important Kanien’kehá:ka village that stood on the exact location of the Royal Vic before the French arrived on the island. On October 27, 2022, the Quebec Superior court surprisingly ruled in favour of the Mothers and granted an injunction to stop the renovation work. McGill University is now forced to sit down with them to establish a plan for a complete and non-intrusive archaeological excavation of the site.
Since the beginning of their lawsuit against McGill University, the Mothers have done a lot of mobilization in the Haudenausaunee confederacy, but also in radical circles in Montreal: a presentation during the occupation of the McGill arts building, a presentation at l’Achoppe last spring, a presentation at the anarchist bookfair this summer, and probably many other events I am not aware of. In the last few months, rumours began to circulate that McGill University was going ahead with the excavation without waiting for the scheduled interlocutory injunction hearing. In September, McGill announced that the excavation would take place in early October, while the trial was scheduled for October 26. This was the impetus for the “Stop the New Vic” campaign, as people wanted to find a way to delay the excavation until at least the time of the trial. We weren’t very optimistic that the court would decide in favour of the Mothers, but if work was going to start before they’d even had a chance to make their case then we were going to try to stop it.
In early october, a mobilization meeting was called, where there were a good 30 people motivated to get involved in an occupation of the Hersey Building lot at the Royal Vic, where the excavation would take place.
Week of October 10, two weeks before the hearing October 10, Columbus Day in the United States and Thanksgiving Day in Canada, is considered by many Indigenous people on Turtle Island to be the “Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage”. That evening, at the planned excavation site, people went to set up camp and some stayed overnight.
The next morning, very quickly, the police were called. The activists at the camp tried to delay the police as long as possible. They ended up playing cat and mouse on Mount Royal with the cops who were getting more and more pissed. The cops were screaming at everyone that the next time they came across them they would be arrested, but as far as I know there were no arrests. That afternoon, about 15 people managed to get together to assess the possibilities for action. The energy was still very good and people started planning right away.
During that week, affinity groups went to the site several times a day to slow down the work. The offices of the archaeological firm were also attacked. This action was the subject of a press release from the Mohawk Mothers, who found themselves accused by their legal opponents:
“We are being held accountable legally of all such actions at this time, as the opponents are trying to construe us as criminals before the Judge with less than two weeks remaining before the hearing at the court on October 26, 2022.”
To the activists who organized the action, the Mohawk Mothers remarked:
“We greatly appreciate tokens of solidarity and demonstrations, but we ask you to be mindful of the dire legal repercussions for us, and the high risk of jeopardizing all the work we have invested for more than one year to obtain an injunction, which could be ruined, as well as the hope of our families to know the truth and get justice.”
As for Arkéos, when questioned by a sentimentalist journalist from La presse, the boss of the firm stated “We don’t want [the workers] to dig without archaeologists. It would really be a loss”, implying that the renovation work would take place with or without the presence of archaeologists, and thus further exposing McGill’s “rubberstamping” strategy, which deals with archaeologists only to give legitimacy to its colonial project.
Week of October 17, one week before the hearing The following Monday a thirteen-person vigil with candles also managed to slow down the work. The cops were so worked up from the previous week that they outnumbered the protesters. Armed to the teeth, they blocked the front door, which pissed off the archaeology firm’s workers as well as the hospital’s employees. Compared to the very quiet crowd of the security guard, the cops looked like hyper-aggressive monsters.
On Thursday night, an “artistic intervention” took place: children’s graves, clothes, and shoes were placed at the excavation site to highlight the violence associated with digging up and thus disturbing the potential unmarked graves.
Week of October 24, Court Week The week of the trial preparation, Divest Mcgill people worked extremely hard to organize three mobilization events:
Monday: A day of teach-ins and leafleting on the McGill University campus,
Tuesday: Screening of the film “Kahnesatà:ke, 270 years of resistance”,
Wednesday: Rally in front of the courthouse for the first day in court.
The trial On Wednesday, October 26, the energy at the courthouse was electric. The courtroom was too small to accommodate all the people who wanted to attend the trial. Young people were sitting on the floor, comrades outside were mobilizing, there was food for an army. Everyone who was at the rally and inside ate the collective food, even the Mothers!
On Thursday, the energy wasn’t high enough to do the rally outside again, but the comrades made and brought about 20 servings of food to feed the Mothers and the people who supported them at the trial. I was told that this led to a very funny scene where about 20 people were eating seated on the floor in a courthouse hallway because the courthouse cafeteria wouldn’t accept people who had their own lunches.
On Thursday night, the ruling was announced: considering that the case was likely in the public interest, the judge had a duty to make an immediate ruling in front of the people, not just write it and send it to the parties. He ordered a 3-4 month interlocutory injunction until the next court date. In the meantime, McGill University has to sit down with the Mothers and come up with a plan for an archaeological dig that would suit them. This means that the renovation work is halted until the injunction is over!
A historic win Without a doubt, this trial will make history. For the first time since its inception, the Superior Court has accepted that a collective of Indigenous people represent themselves. It was really important for the Mothers to do it this way, for the sake of their self-determination, and also to remain consistent with the Great Law. The judge had no reason to order an injunction: after all, on Thursday at noon, McGill’s lawyer had announced that the search was over and that nothing had been found. Moreover, all the defense lawyers argued that the current legal procedures were adequate and that going to the Quebec Superior Court was not. In his oral ruling, the judge recognized that sending the Mothers back into the legal vortex of the state would not be beneficial to reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
In fact, this is the first time that a court has recognized that the horrors of residential schools also took place in the mainstream health care system, which is a huge step forward in terms of recognizing genocide. Moreover, at the same time as the Mothers’ trial, the National Assembly finally recognized that residential schools were a genocidal tool. So, with this judgment obtained by the Mothers, white hospitals should soon be recognized as genocidal tools against Indigenous Peoples.
Another major gain: the Mohawk Mothers have succeeded in establishing their legitimacy on the basis of the fact that they are traditionalists, and therefore in direct opposition to the Band Council. The October 27 ruling reinforces the fact that band councils are colonial institutions (federal boards) and that their consultation cannot in any way be confused with the consent of a nation. They succeeded in imposing their legitimacy with the strength of their laws, their character, their courage, and the support they found in their community, as well as from radical left and anarchist settlers.
Finally, the judge particularly insisted on the fact that the traumas associated with the unmarked graves corresponded to “irreparable damage”, that is to say that the damage cannot be compensated monetarily. He therefore decided to impose the injunction even though it was not necessary since McGill had supposedly completed the excavation. He felt that the inconvenience of the delay to McGill was outweighed by the trauma and loss of confidence in the justice system that would result from the refusal of the injunction. He said a really powerful phrase that I will try to recount from memory:
“For the past two days, you have all been looking toward the front of the room. From where I’m standing, I’m looking in the opposite direction, and I’ve seen clearly over the past two days that the pain and emotions associated with disturbing anonymous graves doesn’t just affect the kahnistensera. For the past two days, I’ve seen the emotional reactions of people in the live audience, and I can’t ignore that.”
It really surprised me that a judge would base his judgment on emotional perceptions, let alone emotions from the audience. I mean, the testimony of the Mothers and all the historical context that was discussed during the trial was absolutely enough to tip the scales. But I still seriously think that the fact that people mobilized to be at the courthouse with them drove the point home.
As anarchists, we are very critical of the canadian court system. This system has been put in place to enable the colonization and exploitation of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, capitalist developpement, and to protect the rich and powerful. We can not let ourselves trust this oppressive institution. That is why it is so important that we organize ourselves outside of this institution, on the ground and within our communities. Let’s be ready for when the court system reaches it’s limit. Let’s be ready for when it will reveal it’s true function, which is mainly to pacify and recuperate struggles, even if from time to time, under very particular circumstances, it slightly cracks under the pressure. It’s not over yet. The Mothers are still in court, the site of the old Royal Vic Hospital is still threatened to become a green washing pavilion for McGill and the State, in short we still have a lot of work to do.
I’d like to thank all the people who gave even just an hour of their time to this fight in the last few weeks, it would never have happened without all the support we received. I am especially grateful for the way we were able, as comrades, to take care of each other by redistributing our resources, food and building strong relationships. I feel light, optimistic, and absolutely ready for what’s next.
In the early hours of Nov 5, groups of anarchists acted in solidarity with Sleydo’s call for action to support the ongoing Wet’suwet’en battle to protect the yintah and kill the drill. Rail lines were sabotaged at several points in a disruption of business-as-usual along main arteries of the freight system. They will continue to be sabotaged at random far into the future, at every corner of rail line across the turtle’s back.
Others are encouraged to take this route however, wherever, and whenever they can – grab yourself some bolt cutters or copper wire. Grab a friend or go alone. Enjoy the birds, the wind, the silence.
The night sky yawns and the stars and moon stare down at us, working in the night. They cast their gaze upon us near and far, as they do also on the shimmering waters of the Wedzin Kwa. The drilling begins, and while we weep for the water, the salmon, and our beloved dead, our rage begins to burn, a lit fuse.
CGL, RBC, Kkkanada – you are not safe and you have ignited something that will never die.
A conversation with two anarchists following a workshop they gave at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair entitled 10 years since the strike: the place of nationalism within militant struggle. We discuss the history of Quebec nationalism and its influence in anarchist and radical milieus, responsibilities of settlers in anti-colonial struggle and in relating to land, possibilities and uncertain futures opened up by anarchism as a guiding practice, and more.