Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
This morning, twenty metro stations were covered with posters across the city.
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
This morning, twenty metro stations were covered with posters across the city.
From It’s Going Down
Excerpt from Canadian Tire Fire #65
Since Hamas’s October 7th attack, killing around 1,400 people and taking around 240 hostages, Israel has been carrying out a massive campaign of death and destruction on the Palestinian people through a brutal siege and military offensive. Thousands of Gazans have died, over 10,500 at last estimate, with thousands more estimated buried under the rubble of countless buildings collapsed by the bombings. Fuel has run out at many hospitals, worsening an already deadly crisis caused not only by the air and ground assault but also by the blocking of food, water, and fuel from entering the open-air prison.
The colonial violence of the Israeli state has intensified in the West Bank as well, where Israeli settlers have been given increasing access and encouragement to arm themselves. Between IDF and settler civilian attacks, at least 133 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed. Israel recently deported Palestinians working in Israel to Gaza, where they will be under constant threat of death, but only after imprisoning, beating, and interrogating many of them. In the face of all this, Western states like the US and Canada have been standing by Israel, publicly mourning the deaths of Israeli soldiers, shying away from providing any meaningful international pressure for a ceasefire, and creating an environment generally hostile to solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
Across Canada, anarchists and others have been organizing to support Palestine from afar. So much has been happening there’s no way we can cover it all, but we’ve put together a summary of some of the efforts that have taken place over the last few weeks, as well as some reflections on proposals for anarchist interventions.
On October 30, coordinated office occupations began of 17 Canadian MPs demanding that Canada call for a ceasefire.
In addition to office occupations, MPs have been targeted in other ways. On November 1st, the entrance to Melanie Joly’s MP office was drenched in red paint and had a banner hung on it. As well, the list of the names of the Palestinians killed by Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza (produced by Palestine’s Health ministry) was left in front of the door of the building.
Weekly marches have been happening in many cities in Canada. In Vancouver, protests have met most Saturdays at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
In Montreal, protests have been been happening downtown at least once a week as well, with emergency protests called a few times as well. These demonstrations have consistently brought out thousands of people.
A recent Montreal demonstration on November 4th was attended by an estimated 50,000 people and coincided with a symbolic blockade of the CBC/ Radio Canada building.
Weekly marches have been occurring in Toronto, with the latest on November 4 including a 5 hour sit-in in Toronto’s financial district going late into the night.
In Toronto, INKAS Armored, a defense contractor with tied to the IDF, was picketed:
Early on the morning of October 30th, a crowd descended on INKAS Armored, a Toronto-based defence contractor with ties to the Israeli Defence Forces. Responding to a call from Palestinian trade unions for workers around the world to shut down exports to the Israeli military, the protesters set up picket lines to block access to the facility.
In Vancouver on November 3rd, anti-Zionist Jews held an action where they blocked a major artery to the Port of Vancouver, calling for an end to business as usual in the face of the assault on Gaza.
A few proposals have emerged recently for how anarchists and radicals should engage in this moment of international solidarity with Palestine. Because we imagine our readers will come across them, we’d like to offer a few reflections.
An anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-info has called for anarchists to escalate their interventions in the current moment. The article speaks, in part, to a desire for a specifically anarchist response to the unfolding crisis, one in which it is easy to feel powerless, and where the way to respond from a specific politic is at times unclear.
Commentary published in Montreal Counter-Info offers a different suggestion: for anarchists and the radical left to “prioritize the voice(s) of the people concerned and acknowledging their complete leadership of the ongoing resistance movement…accept a secondary role: to sometimes stay silent, to listen, and to learn.” It also asserts: “it is in no way our role to emphasize “complexity” and bring “nuance” to the situation.”
We believe that an anarchist response to this situation requires careful reflection, and identification of both the specific analysis and skillsets that anarchists bring. A meaningful anarchist response requires political clarity, which in turn requires time spent understanding the issue and building political analysis together. It requires reflecting on our range of tactics and skills, and what these can offer to an international solidarity movement. It also requires an honest discussion of strategy, developed with our comrades or adapted from other contexts. We can use a lens of effectiveness, or of what tactics we wish to see generalized, what skills we may be able to help foster and spread, but the why matters. Whatever words we use to describe it, we should assess both the intentions and likely effects of our interventions. Are we aiming to spread a message of solidarity in a new but still symbolic way, have we identified a chokepoint that allows for a more material intervention in the flow of money, information, or equipment to Israel and those supporting it, or are we doing something else entirely?
We should remain critical of our desire to ‘escalate’ – does this stem from a belief that ‘escalated’ actions (one-off or sustained) are more effective than marches and rallies in this moment, do they feel more politically fulfilling (to us, or to a broader movement), does taking on more risk mean we care more? How does acting with urgency support or hinder our goals? There are myriad good reasons to escalate, and it is worth being clear about what those reasons are, and whether the tactics we choose align with those reasons.
While the submission to North Shore Counter-info may give some anarchists a much needed push to begin reflecting on how to engage more thoughtfully and consciously in this context, its lack of specificity makes its message ring hollow. While hope is a critical part of any struggle, the vision for anarchists to “share food, tell stories, dance and sing songs, bask in the warmth of the sun, and marvel at the deep night sky” feels out of touch while the Gaza sky, day and night, is filled with explosions. Living free in Canada is not a suitable anarchist intervention in the absence of a direct proposal to use that freedom to affect something outside of ourselves.
While the commentary in Montreal Counter-Info proposes a model of solidarity that misses the opportunity for deeper understanding, unity, and empowerment, its assertion that showing up is never the wrong thing remains true: “While solidarity in words means little at the moment, solidarity in the streets will never be too much.” In this moment, we must not look away – with our eyes on Palestine, and a critical gaze toward every violent nation state, including our own, we can turn to each other and find a way forward.
Today, November 1st 2023, when the veil is at its thinnest, the dead in Gaza speak to us.
We, the writers, are not Palestinian. We write this for fellow north american anarchists of a certain type. You’ll see yourself as you read. We also write this for the anarchy-adjacent, and for anyone who is interested.
The horror of Israel’s genocide of Palestinians is deep, inescapable, and intricate. We, anarchists and those close to anarchy, understand the history, the context of apartheid, the numbers, the hypocrisy, the exceptionalism, the cruelty, the torture. We sob. We lose sleep, and friends, and family.
We feel helpless, so we undertake the relatively and subjectively fearsome tasks available in the current repertoire of “resistance”. These tasks are fine, and understandable: marches, popular education, “movement-building”, “speaking out” at school or at work, petitions and declarations, non-violent direct action.
Are you truly satisfied with the fine and understandable? Is the moral righteousness of “taking a stand” all that you need to live in freedom with others?
We see each other on the streets, marching grimly. We see each other on the subway, or at our places of work or study, wearing keffiyehs or other talismans of who we are and where we stand. We see hundreds of thousands like us, in the glassy black mirrors of our lives, lit up with both spectacles of death, and spectacles of refusal.
It is unnecessary to repeat to each other, and possibly to anyone else, what we already understand. Anarchists, please don’t waste your time organizing webinars. Someone else will write the petitions, make the memes, write the tweets. Leave the begging of the state to the liberals. Hundreds of thousands will inevitably fill the perennial role of those who grovel for scraps, for concessions, for living death, instead of full and ecstatic life. They will film themselves dancing out these rituals.
What are these social movements that march and beg? Mass theatre. It’s fine and understandable, but don’t overestimate it.
We don’t beg. We take.
What of the students who are censored, the teachers who risk losing their jobs? Resist the seduction of individal drama raised onto the pedestal of collective action. That’s the work of radicals who have accepted they are living in non-radical times, professional revolutionaries making their personal trouble into a campaign.
It’s fine and understandable for some – but anarchists, please, don’t waste much of your breath arguing with enemies and trying to prove to the world you are right.
The speeches, the poems, the open letters, and declarations? Do these things quickly and don’t let yourself get exhausted by it, because words drift and flutter and dissolve, as will this text. Enjoy their transient effect while they last, but know that the expressions that last are of a more concrete kind.
Direct action? How direct is it? How long does it last? Is the effect just another colourful blip on the network of black mirrors, plus a fine or charge? We hear slogans chanted as you, the solidarity activist, gets dragged away. It’s good you’re doing the scary meaningful thing – whatever that may be for you, or you, or you. It is fine and understandable. But is that it? Is your end game just to shut down a small part of the infrastructure of genocide for a few hours, and inspire others and make people think?
Not all direct action gets the goods.
Whatever you do above ground, maybe it’s time to take it under. Whatever you do with the utmost care and secrecy, maybe now’s the time get even better at it.
It’s an old adage that few follow: Live as if you are already free.
We’re not going to be prescriptive except in this one regard: our entire existence should change. The horror compels us to do so. If you’ve been hesitant, the time is now to dramatically transform the self, the way we relate to it, and the way we relate to others. No matter how many stupid social rules you have already discarded, get ready to toss away even more. It’s not just a quantative effort, though: you’ll need to face the sacred cows of your subservience, your biggest fears, the most daunting obstacles.
Only in the condition of living free can we ever be able to enact our desire to live with Gazans in freedom. Together, literally or symbolically, we want to share food, tell stories, dance and sing songs, bask in the warmth of the sun, and marvel at the deep night sky.
It’s time not just for reversals, though these are fine and understandable for some: replacing inertia with action, silence with speech.
It’s time for a decisive step outside of the circle of death, the boring theatrics of refusal, repression, further protest, then more death. That circle is drawn by the nation state and his loyal pal: existing society. Within that circle, genocide and land theft will certainly persist, almost as if – it absurdly seems – fueled by our grief, our funeral marches.
If we haven’t already, it’s time for us to leave that circle, entirely. When we leave, we do not march.
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Recent years have seen intense and conflictual debates within the radical left on how to act in solidarity with marginalised and oppressed groups and on the role of allies (a word to which many, including myself, prefer the term accomplices). There is no doubt that Indigenous, Black, queer and transfeminist struggles have deeply reshaped both vocabularies and practices, greatly enriching and complexifying our thoughts and struggles. These questions have simultaneously created profound disagreements, enabled new alliances, transformed relations of force, and led to scissions. Despite certain divisions, the particular context of the past years has at least established certain relatively agreed-upon principals, and I am stunned that we need to recall these principals now, as Israel’s war against the Palestinian people demands that we once again adopt a position of solidarity.
Apparently, the need to listen to and believe the oppressed, particularly when we find ourselves on the side of the oppressor, is not self-evident in the Palestinian context, even as it is considered imperative in many other contexts. Similarly, it is somehow unclear that we must take the posture notably adopted during Indigenous decolonial struggles : prioritize the voice(s) of the people concerned and acknowledging their complete leadership of the ongoing resistance movement. In our solidarity with Palestine, we must once again accept a secondary role: to sometimes stay silent, to listen, and to learn.
Listening does not mean stopping our critical reflection on the information and positions that we receive. Listening means avoiding the temptation to homogenize Palestinians, attempting to hear the multiple voices of their liberation movement, taking the time to try to understand their internal conflicts, and thinking with the care necessary when considering situations with foreign codes of meaning. And listening certainly means “not speaking” recognizing our extreme exteriority to the reality lived by Palestinians—in Palestine or elsewhere—and acknowledging that we may not be in a position to develop and publicly share strategic considerations. If this seems obvious to me, there is something I am even more certain of: it is in no way our role to emphasize “complexity” and bring “nuance” to the situation. At a moment when the so-called “complexity of the conflict” is constantly deployed to avoid a strong condemnation of Israel in the public space, to present this type of reflexion is simply unacceptable.
We must couple a position of true listening, with the humility and uncertainty this implies, with a position of firm and engaged solidarity. In a context where Canadian government keeps reiterating its support to Israeli violence, this second dimension is essential and urgent. Above all, we must show up. Go to protests and actions, regardless of whether their tactics could differ from the rituals of the Montreal far left. Solidarity with Palestine is not a question of abstract and symbolic internationalism, but of concrete opposition to our own state, which is materially engaged in the oppression of the Palestinian people.
We also bear this responsibility towards those for whom our home is a land of exile, whether it be temporary or permanent. It is critical that the Palestinians with whom we share our city not only feel respected as humans whose fundamental rights we defend, but as actors with real agency, possessing thoughts, heritages, and political practices that are rich and singular. As citizens of a state directly implicated in making Palestine inaccessible and uninhabitable for its diaspora, we must do all we can to make our home liveable for those who find themselves here, a place where life is a synonym of dignity and not solely survival, and where exile may unfold as a political experience. This comment also applies to those peoples for whom the Palestinian struggle is a fundamental issue deeply rooted in their political culture.
To Palestinians and their long-standing accomplices from the Middle East and Arab world: know that certain silences arise from an immense respect for your struggle, and they do not exclude total solidarity, in words and in actions. I release this statement only because I see my friends from the Middle East dismayed by the weak stance taken by local radical left; this has pushed me to write, out of the wish that my political world be a place of sincere welcome and solidarity.
To those who share my form of silence: show up. While solidarity in words means little at the moment, solidarity in the streets will never be too much.
Long live free Palestine.
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
A banner was hung in front of the building where Mélanie Joly’s office is (225 Chabanel O., Montreal). Red paint was poured, and the list of the names of the Palestinians killed by Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza (produced by Palestine’s Health ministry) was left in front of the door of the building.
It is said by some that Gaza is the biggest prison in the world. We fully agree with such a description, although it is obviously now a euphemism, since Gaza has become an extermination camp. Blocking water, food, medicine, electricity, fuel and internet to a population wholly dependent on imports and international aid, while carpet bombing them, can only produce one outcome. You can avoid the word as much as you please, but the reality is this : the Israeli government is committing a genocide, in full view and with your full support, Mélanie Joly, Justin Trudeau and the rest of the parasitic invertebrates that supposedly represent our will and our interests.
By the time this statement is released the latest phase of the genocide will have killed more than 10,000 Palestinians. This number includes entire families, teachers, doctors, journalists, students, drivers, nurses, street vendors, artists and so on. The colonial Israeli state tests the world’s threshold on crimes against humanity with every passing day. Canada might not be the one who is dropping a thousand bombs daily in Gaza, or handing out assault rifles to settlers bent on annexation and shooting families. However, Israel wouldn’t be able to do so without the unrelenting support of the imperialist states of the “global north”. Israel wouldn’t even exist today if it wasn’t continually armed, financed, and legitimized by the imperialist powers of Europe, some of their former colonies like Canada and Australia, and the hegemonic empire of the US.
Bound together militarily by NATO, and economically through trade agreements and forums like the G7, this imperial coalition fosters its alliance with the fascist state of Israel as a way to keep a military fortress in this historically strategic region. This alliance is crucial to the destabilization strategy put forward by the US, which seeks to prevent the peoples and the states of the region that are hostile to US hegemony from uniting themselves in an anti-imperialist struggle. Israel is vital to the US empire, which is essential to Canadian power. Mainstream medias, held by capitalist conglomerates or states, work hand in hand with this coalition to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by disseminating the dehumanizing fascist discourse of the Israeli government.
We salute those who have marched through the streets, blocked governmental offices and weapons manufacturers, and expressed their solidarity on the walls and windows of this sad, sad, sad fucken city built on stolen lands. However, we are convinced that we are not the only ones who are disappointed and frustrated with the passivity and tardiness of our fellow comrades of the far left in taking transformative actions against the ongoing genocide. We also deplore the statements that were issued by leftist organizations like [redacted] that equalized the violence of the colonized with that of the colonizers like.
While we understand the threat of violence that activists face by the strong international Zionist forces, we draw our courage from our comrades in Palestine who are at the front line of this genocidal and colonial violence. They are calling for us to be in solidarity. Now is the time to respond to their calls for action without hesitation. Solidarity is not a slogan nor a hashtag. Solidarity materializes itself through action. To abstain from answering swiftly and with force to the calls to strike, to protest, to sabotage and to boycott coming from Palestine is to give a free pass to “our” governments in their unconditional support to Israel.
Peace is not the absence of conflict; peace is the presence of justice. Justice in Palestine, just as in Canada, means decolonization. This material process implies that the colonized get their lands back, that they can enjoy the right to return and that they obtain reparations, all of which, sadly for our self-appointed liberal allies, mean that violence will inevitably be part of the process. Of course, gunning down Israeli “non-combatants” can be criticized from a humanistic and a strategic perspective. Nonetheless, we have to keep in mind that Israel is a settler colonial state in which every citizen has to go through military training and service. The “civilians” of Israel are literally born to serve an ethnic cleansing enterprise. A population subjected daily to humiliation, state and settler repression, manufactured poverty, apartheid and dispossession of land, cannot be held to a higher moral standard than that of the Israeli fascist state. A ceasefire, while immediately needed, is not in itself any kind of long-term solution for the people of Gaza or Palestine.
As citizens of the settler colonial state of Canada, our immediate task is not to deliberate on the legitimacy of the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, but rather to help the Palestinian struggle for self-determination by striking Israel’s international network of complicity. It implies overturning our own imperialist states, attacking our governments and blocking the capitalist production and exportation of goods to Israel. Weapons manufacturers supplying Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people must be blocked, trashed and shamed. You can find the ones closest to you on Worldbeyondwar.org (see their “Canada: Stop Arming Israel” campaign).
Calling for the enforcement of international or humanitarian law is an hopeless endeavor. As long as the US and it’s lackeys like “Canada” remain the dominant powers of an international order based on capitalism and imperialism, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians will go on, no matter how many millions decry it. This is not an opinion but simply a description of the actual situation. Only a popular and international uprising, employing militant means and defiant methods, has the potential to overturn the international network of complicity. That is our solidarity.
Solidarity forever, intifada everywhere.
From Collectif Mashk Assi
Enough is enough!
The forests, animals and ancestral sovereignty of the Innu people are under attack from the forestry industry, which is abusively operating on Nitassinan (Innu territory) without the consent of the territory’s guardian families.
On May 29, the Mashk Assi collective, an independent group of territory guardians, delivered an eviction letter to seven foresters advising them that their logging operations are illegal. No trees may be cut for profit on unceded land without the consent of the landowning families.
On May 30, the Mashk Assi put the foresters’ eviction notice into effect by setting up a blockade at kilometer 216 of Route 175, with the support of numerous native and non-native allies.
The collective needs financial support to continue its struggle. We call on the solidarity and generosity of our Quebec allies, environmental groups, associations for the preservation of flora and fauna, unions and militant groups who oppose the destruction of forests and the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples.
The collective also opposes the Petapan Treaty, which seeks to extinguish the ancestral rights of the Innu to their territory.
The funds raised will be used for our daily needs on the ground, such as food, fuel and the equipment needed to maintain the blockade. They will also be used to support our political and legal efforts to stop the logging and the extinguishment of our rights.
Help us to continue defending Nitassinan against abusive and unconsented logging!
Tshinishkumitinau, thank you!
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Creeker Vol 4 has been released!
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.
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.
It is also possible to donate funds for equipment, food, and travel here: https://gofund.me/5820583c
Anonymous submission to BC Counter-Info
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.
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.
From Indigenous Action
Autonomous Winter Support Mobilization
A.S.W.M Street Patrol Basic Guide v. 1.0, Winter 2022
@nticopyrite | Send any notes/edits to: IAinfo@protonmail.com
Printable PDF (imposed – 12.1 MB) DOWNLOAD HERE
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.
* 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).
For squats and camps:
* Crow bar & large bolt cutters.
* Tents, sleeping bags, tarps.
* Cars can be squats too, check for abandoned cars and bring
Check out the zine It’s Vacant, Take It! available here: www.sproutdistro.com/catalog/zines/direct-action/its-vacant-take-it
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
* Hand warmers
* Cough lozenges
* “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).
* 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.
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”).
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
* 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).
Check out these other zines:
*DIY Emergency Tyvek Shelter
*DIY Emergency Handwashing Station
*How to start an Indigenous Mutual Aid COVID Relief Project
Compiled by Indigenous Action and Kinlani Mutual Aid
Winter 2022 – v. 1.0