Another big protest for climate, what’s the point?
Of course it’ll be nice to have as many people as there was in 2019, but in the end, even Greta couldn’t make our governments change their policies. Well, ok, it falls a few days after the federal election, and we can hope that it can put some pressure on the newly elected officials… But we know it won’t: whoever is in power after the elections, nothing significant will be done, nothing significant has ever been done for climate in so-called Canada. Since the beginning of colonization, the State steals, exploits and destroys the land on which we live and which, ironically, ensure our survival. It is however important to note that many political parties have clearly played their card: these political parties will continue to invest in pipelines and other ecocidal projects, until death do us part. And these parties, who are happily walking toward our collective deaths, should obtain most, even almost all of our votes. In Québec, as the writing of this call, more than 80% of the votes are going to political parties with an horrific ecological policy history.
We can complain about the useless bickering going on at the parliament, but we can see that the problem goes beyond that. Most of the population does not want to change, and want to perpetuate their unsustainable lifestyle as long as possible.
And why should we blame them? Capitalism keeps selling this lifestyle, through shitty publicity pushing us to buy useless crap, through repetitive movies glorifying the rich and powerful, through a mercantilist education system which sells diplomas based on an expected salary… And the State follows suit, promising young families the possibility to buy a house. We are however very aware that the young generation will never be able to buy a house! And frankly, everyone getting a house would be a urban sprawl nightmare and a perpetuation of a toxic car culture…
But this is the lifestyle that the system hammers constantly into our daily lives, the so-called “american dream” they try to push down our throats. But this lifestyle sold by the Capital spells death for Earth, and therefore death for us all. And so, if the Capital wants to keep bugging us with this unsustainable lifestyle, well too bad, we will go without the Capital!
And so what if we are but a tiny minority who still worries about its future. So what if most of the world still dreams of big fucking cars, big fucking houses, and big fucking all-paid vacations in the south. We won’t stay on our asses while the world burns! We won’t stay arms crossed while capitalism sells the last few remnants of the world!
THE CAPITAL DESTROY THE EARTH? DESTROY CAPITAL!
We’ll see you in the anticapitalist contingent!
Friday, September 24th, 1PM, in front of the George-Étienne-Cartie statue
Quebec is instituting a system of vaccine passports in the coming days, and Ontario is likely to follow suit. The passport is a document confirming your identity and your vaccination status that will have to be shown in order to access many spaces. Not a day goes by here without a barrage of open letters and social media posts asking to be required to show a passport to move around the city, for every worker to be given a policing function.
I got fully vaccinated as soon as it was available to me, and so did all my close people. However, I think the vaccine passport is despicable and that those who are advocating for it are making a serious mistake.
My crew’s choice to get vaccinated was just one product of ongoing discussions about how to relate to collective health during the pandemic. We did not obey the lockdowns or the rules about gatherings – we established our own guidelines based on our own ethical, political and practical considerations. We asked a different question. Sometimes this resulted in us being more cautious than the law allowed, sometimes it resulted in breaking the rules. We were far from alone in this, and I know my circle benefited from other people’s discussions.
The pandemic has been unique in our lifetimes, but its ethical challenges are not: controlling the behaviour of others is a pretty central element of democratic politics. The government looks at us as a mass of people to be managed towards various goals, notably profit and social peace. They look at the world from above, through a lens of domination and control – this is as much the case for the pandemic as for climate change and poverty. Different politicians and parties will have different priorities, and our agency is reduced to advocating for how we want to be managed – or how we want those other people to be managed.
We come to internalize the logic of domination and put the needs of order and the economy above our own. We start to view the world from above too, far from our own experiences, desires, ideas, values, and relationships. “The social war is this: a struggle against the structures of power that colonize us and train us to view the world from the perspective of the needs of power itself, through the metaphysical lens of domination.”
In the context of the pandemic, to view the world from above means understanding the situation through corporate media (whether social or traditional), through colour-coded maps, through the designation of hot zones, through policy debates, through rules laid out by experts (I want their knowledge, not their authority). It means to think about our own decisions in terms of what everyone should do, to act ourselves the way we think everyone should act. Our own priorities vanish, and the agency of others is perceived as a threat.
As a state-led covid measure, the vaccine passport is like the curfews and the stay at home orders, the expanded fines and the coercive powers given to bylaw. It is a public order measure. All these restrictions are meant to prevent the kinds of conversations that had people in the streets in recent months to carry out encampment defense, tear down statues, and honour residential school victims.
I want to oppose domination, but also its false critics. Some anarchists have thought they developed a critique of authoritarian responses to the pandemic, but they only succeed in being reactionaries. They are still seeing the world from above, where the only conceivable collective action is that of the state. They fall back on the discourse of individual rights, but there is nothing anarchist about a freedom carved into bite-sized pieces and spoon-fed back to us. Their analysis becomes totally unprincipled when they start defending the rights of religious conservatives to continue holding their services. They are involved in the anti-masking movement, which is not about individual ethical choice, but rather covid denialism,. They end up in bed with those who see any common good as an attack on their privilege.
To me, freedom also means responsibility. It is an individual imperative to make your own choices, but also to understand yourself as embedded in a web of relationships. It is about voluntary association, but also understanding that we are also embedded in webs of relationships with all people (not to mention all living things, the land and water). We have responsibilities to those webs as well. When our choices in the pandemic start from ourselves and builds outwards, to our chosen people and onward to the societies we exist in, we are no longer seeing the world from above, but on a human scale.
This is called autonomy, and it is itself a threat to the powerful. It means organizing our lives on a radically different basis, one that comes into conflict with the attempts of the powerful to maintain order and obedience.
A vaccine passport system is a way of cracking down on autonomy. I don’t give a shit about going to a restaurant or a concert, and my crew is continuing to avoid indoor crowds even though the state says we don’t have to. Let’s organize ourselves to avoid the repression and continue to act on our own priorities. See you in the streets.
The state has blood on its hands. Anarchists know this. Police killings are normalised – it takes riots to be noticed. Mass death beyond fortress Europe is all too usual, even as it intensifies. But it is unusual for the West to dispose of its own citizenry on such a large scale, and to do so with such a steady manner. In the UK, the pandemics’ mass of dead bodies is the greatest since the second world war. And yet, at this very moment, we hear comrades slip into apologetics. They excuse the state and its economy of death. They wash the blood from its hands and blame “nature” in its place. Yes, we attack the curfews, the policing, the evolving surveillance and disciplinary techniques. We wouldn’t expect anything less. But some anarchists enter new topics; in the same breath, they shout for the freedom of business, of pubs and retail, the return to schools, the reopening of Churches. Their rallying cry: “Anti-lockdown”! The existential threat faced by the disabled and the elderly is simply an inconvenient footnote to liberal rights.
In our critique, “Anarchy, Lockdown and Crypto-Eugenics”, we didn’t begin with abstract notions of “consent”, but from this reality of an existential threat. From there we located targets for attack and provided some speculative points of unity. We welcome the space given to our piece and the wider discussion. We agree with our recent critic that such discussions often “devolve into name-calling”; indeed, we found it amusing to be compared with Italian futurists, Soviet and Trumpian propaganda and (unexpectedly!) the Spanish Inquisition. (On top of all this they described us as British!) We won’t bother refuting these labels in this piece, but will focus on their other claims; (1) that our critique, particularly our use of crypto-eugenics, was in “bad faith”, (2) that we refuse to critique the pharmaceutical industry and (3) that we are “pro-lockdown”.
A very short genealogy of “crypto-eugenics”
In our original piece we located eugenics (and its father, Malthusianism) as a logic of capitalism and the state. The notions of degenerate bodies in need of improvement, efficiency and elimination, and of surplus, disposable bodies, burdensome and unnatural, have a long and deadly history – one which is intimately tied with the modern state and colonialism in particular. As our critic notes, eugenics is the most statist of the concepts – but this does not necessarily make it obvious. The term “crypto-eugenics” was first used in a 1957 memorandum of Dr. C. P. Blacker, Honorary Secretary of the (British) Eugenics Society, to describe a policy of “pursuing eugenic ends by less obvious means” – the obvious being unfashionable in light of Nazism’s recent horrors. (Policy (b) was “to campaign for the control of immigration, and for a reduction in the total population of Great Britain”). Confusingly, the term has more recently been appropriated by anti-Semitic conspiracists (claiming a worldwide Jewish plot of secret eugenics) and the Christian evangelical right (who see a grand eugenic plan in reproductive rights and gay parenthood). Decolonial and disabled critics on the other hand have long pointed to the continuity between classical eugenics and post-war state policies, particularly with regards healthcare, welfare and immigration. We used the term in our piece in a double sense: to refer to an ideology, either covert (as in Blacker’s proposal) or unconscious and “accidental”, and to a eugenics which is increasingly technological, encrypted in a proprietary care algorithm. We then used it in a third sense, proposing that “capitalism itself could accurately be described as an algorithm of crypto-eugenics”.
Our discussion of crypto-eugenics certainly proved to be provocative, but we assure our critics that it was done in good faith. We do not believe our friends are secretly engaged in an eugenic plot, but we do argue that eugenics is a creeping logic, a logic which has crept to certain corners of anarchist thought. Our words were chosen with careful forethought. Claiming that Covid isn’t a risk, because it is only deadly for specific minorities, is crypto-eugenics. Claiming these deaths are simply “natural”, that death from Covid is nature’s plan for certain bodies, is crypto-eugenics. Masking the risk for specific minorities with statistical averages (the “normal” body) is crypto-eugenics. Perhaps tellingly, our friend did not engage with this part of our critique. Instead, they simply quote further statistical averages (from an article which in fact emphasises our very point – that Covid-19’s lethality is highly differentiated across population groups). They limit any notion of “eugenics” to reproduction in its narrowest sense (procreation) and claim that we are not only in bad faith, but off-topic! We would point out that it’s difficult to procreate once dead, and that eugenics concerns not only procreation, but the altered reproduction of populations as a whole and the non-reproduction of specific minorities. They protest that we make an accusation which is impossible to refute: that our accusation of crypto-eugenics is an unfalsifiable claim in the style of “the Spanish Inquisition”. We counter that our claim is clear. Rather than engage with it or refute it they have chosen simply to repeat their friend’s initial argument.
Beyond “big pharma”: biopower
According to our critic, our analysis of eugenics is simply a distraction, a smokescreen to avoid critiquing the pharmaceutical industry. We would argue that it is only through an analysis of eugenics that we can properly critique the pharmaceutical industry. Rather than limit ourselves to “big pharma”, we argued in our last piece that the entire field of public health is based on eugenic logics. The problem isn’t just drugs – but healthcare in general, as a process of ranking, disciplining, saving and disposing of bodies. Our friends’ problem is really that our critiques are not quite the same.
Medicine under capitalism is of course based on exploitation and domination, rather than free desire. The animal liberation movement has done much to critique and attack the specific violence of the technical-production of medicines. And we agree with our friends, that capitalism in turn complicates questions of dependence in relation to medicines as commodities. In the context of Covid-19 this is clear – in the name of the economy it spreads everywhere, and now (unless we are to celebrate mass death) we are dependent on vaccines. Vaccines are powerful – not because Bill Gates will control your mind, but because they can prevent death in a world of death. The urgent question now is not their composition, but their availability: their artificial scarcity. Vaccine capitalists have reaped super-profits through monopolisation, patents (including process patents) and subsidies, on an incredible scale even for pharma corporations. These patents are written in the blood of postcolonial populations. Just as death was displaced on to racialised and migrant bodies within the UK, intensified death-worlds are being created in the “Global South”. We saw world leaders discussing these intensities in the G7 spectacle – how many vaccines to distribute, whether “too much” contagion and death might or might not undermine global racial capitalism. Many anarchists pay lip-service to Foucault’s notion of biopower, but few remember that this is the power to “make live and let die”. The biopolitical state is indeed “letting the bodies pile high”. Our critic’s original piece described anarchism as a set of liberal rights, as a subject’s freedom from “external” coercion. As a result it fails to understand the full power of the modern state, and ends up apologising for its violence.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Now partially vaccinated, the UK government is once again actively pursuing contagion as state policy, with “only” 60 average daily deaths at the time of writing. The eugenic violence remains, particularly for the 500,000 immuno-compromised, a group for whom Covid-19 is a far higher risk and for whom vaccines are suspected to be ineffective. This group faces peak rates of infection in the wider community, forced to try and survive in the midst of England’s maskless “Freedom Day” celebrations. They face a situation worse than even the Barrington Declaration’s proposals, which at least suggested some support for those forced to isolate to survive. Many hundreds of thousands more will suffer from long Covid, many it would seem from long term organ damage. Meanwhile, the UK, already a mass exporter of the Delta variant, is feared to be a “variant factory”, producing the existing virus and new variants on a mass scale to infect the unvaccinated world.
Anti-Lockdown or Anti-State
For recognising the state’s violence for what it is, we are accused of being “pro-lockdown” and, consequently, statist non-anarchists. In our original piece we discussed how “lockdown” in fact refers to a nebulous set of measures – from curfews and policing to closing retail premises and schools. We argue that anarchists should locate our targets, and not allow ourselves to be reduced to one side in the latest culture war. Let’s take schools for example. Anarchists, since Godwin, have critiqued education. We recognise that schools lie on the same continuum as factories and prisons. Hierarchical institutions, which in turn judge and rank pupils, made to produce docile, disciplined bodies, future productive workers, housewives, bureaucrats and prison guards. Why would anarchists support a return to these schools? Of course, a virtual-classroom computer stuck in the walls of the nuclear family household is just a different problem. An anarchist approach must reject both these worlds. In the strikes against unsafe schools, the pupils who faked infection tests to get a day off (or the students burning the union jack at Pimlico) – it’s here we begin to see the possibilities of anarchy.
The “anti-lockdown” narrative offers us nothing. In the UK the organised anti-lockdown demos have clearly shown their colours. Anti-Semite David Icke has regularly topped the bill of speakers amongst other similar reactionaries. They decry the “Covid conspiracy”, masks and vaccines and celebrate the deaths of the disabled. This is not some diffuse gilets jaunes movement of oppositional tendencies and diverse, separated riots. Unless you hate masks and vaccines and are happy to walk under union jacks with known fascist groupings, you cannot join in good faith.
But these are weird times. Simply for affirming violence to achieve disabled liberation, our critic associates us with Italian Futurists and proto-fascists. (They might remember that anti-fascist anarchists, such as Renzo Novatore, were also part of the Futurist movement.) Our critic is half-right however: we should all heed the cautionary tale of those “anarchists” involved with early Italian fascism. The far-right have had a field day, and with little anti-fascist opposition to the London conspiracy demos the anarchist scene has opened itself to entryism. We have heard concerns of crypto-fascists gaining affinities with anarchists and squatters in London, and others sharing videos with and allowing a far-right youtuber to accompany and film the black block at kill the bill demonstrations. Without a critique of eugenic state violence, creeping fascism remains a threat to the anarchist scene.
Away from the anti-lockdown demonstrations we can see real antagonisms against the state. Renewed protests against police murders in South Wales, the kill the bill riot at Bristol police station and even a resurgence in political squats (despite tremendous repression). But with regards the mass of Covid death, anarchists in the UK have been outmaneuvered. There have been mutual aid groups and some syndicalist attempts, but little critique and even less attack. The black flag was at one time a flag of mourning: we call on comrades to remember, and to avenge the dead.
 Total UK civilian deaths in the second world war numbered around 67,000. As of 23rd of July, total deaths within 28 days of a positive test number over 129,000; total deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate over 153,000. This makes it the highest death toll from a disaster or war since the total casualties of the second world war. https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths The third measure used, excess deaths, numbered over 90,000 for the UK in 2020, again the highest on record since the second world war. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/12/2020-was-deadliest-year-in-a-century-in-england-and-wales-says-ons
 As the article cited by our critic states: “COVID-19 death risk shows tremendous risk stratification with over 1000-fold variability between children and elderly nursing home residents … Divergence may be larger in some low-income countries, for example, India … Within several countries, disadvantaged minorities have a greater toll … UK has almost 5-fold higher COVID-19 death rate in blacks and Bangladeshi/Pakistani than in whites … Regardless, COVID-19 is a disease of inequality and it also creates even more inequality … Substantial increases in death risk (1.5- to 5-fold) are conferred by organ transplantation, severe obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, severe chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, liver failure, kidney failure, haematological malignancy and recent cancer.” Notably, the article’s speculation that “the proportion of people who need to be infected to reach herd immunity [i.e. without vaccination] may be much lower than originally estimated”, with specific reference to estimated seroprevelance in India (!), has since proven catastrophically incorrect. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/eci.13423 The other journal article cited by our critic regarding the effectiveness of lockdowns has been marked controversial by its own publisher.
 ResistanceGB is a classic case of calculated fascist entryism. British symbolism is frequent but ideology generally covert. In this video however they can be seen carefully encouraging viewers to get on the “alternative” social network Gab (a neo-Nazi, alt-right and Q Anon fork) and 4chan following Trump’s ban from twitter and Parler’s demise, and complaining about “communists”: https://youtube.com/watch?v=A27zmatEEGY In another live-stream they complain that the filmed “communist” demonstration (one of many following Sarah Everard’s murder by police) is left alone by police. Within moments of the live-stream starting, known fascists can be seen commenting in the chat: https://youtube.com/watch?v=WTSHoUoIbi8 In addition to a Gab account they also maintain a Bitchute channel (far-right youtube alternative).
 As others have pointed out, our critic also cites the “anarchist voices” of “Winter Oak, and the Acorn” (in reality one website) as having informed the original piece – a UK blog which has turned to full blown “Great Reset” and anti-mask conspiracies. Winter Oak was already fond of conspiracies, having previously deduced that those who confronted the TERFs at the London Bookfair must be undercover police (!). They have also taken a whole host of other bizarre and damaging positions as detailed here: https://nothingiseverlost.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/in-defence-of-anarchism-and-antifascism-a-reply-to-the-winter-oak/
“In the Dark Nights there is always the warmth of the fire!”
‘Dark Nights’ because we found each other during these dark times, we do not fear them, instead we as anarchists see the moment between sunset and dawn as the moment to attack, to strike the powerful in their hearts, to make fear change sides.
We are an anarchic counter-info project of incendiary critique and direct action. Against the State, capitalism and the techno-industrial system that is rearing its head more powerful than before. Our network holds onto the principles of DIY, that we don’t expect anyone to fight the social war for us. Neither do we form any sense of a traditional hierarchical or even any organisation to adhere to or issue membership for anything, we met and act together, beginning an informal network, that goes beyond a circle of friends or contacts. Our outlet is a destructive alternative to the spectacle and disinformation that is the mainstream media that are the weapons of the state and capitalist system we oppose. We publish direct action reports from revolutionary/insurrectional/anarchist groups, not in the interest of reproducing endless streams of empty words and theory but to support said groups and to spread the ‘propaganda by the deed’, to avoid the blatant attempts by the system to eliminate them and any memory of anarchist and revolutionary struggle.
Solidarity for us is not based on ideological dogma, what matters more to us is the direct attack upon what we perceive as the enemy. We DO NOT support the cops, they are not our friends, neither our protectors, they are our enemy as much as anyone who snitches, provides information on comrades, allies or co-defendants.
We support but are NOT connected to any direct action group that you see a report of from this project. We laugh at the label of ‘terrorists’, a word that is used to often denounce individuals and groups who attack capitalism, the state, for the earth, animal and human liberation. If anything is terrorism it is the death, destruction, torture and genocide that the state, capitalist, industrial-technological system inflicts, along with other fascist elements, upon the whole earth and its inhabitants for centuries. Dark Nights supports the polymorphous revolutionary struggle, against all forms of exploitation and authority.
Dark Nights DOES NOT follow the dictum of guilt or innocence, or the concept of ‘crime’ in terms of their support for prisoners. The only exception is when a prisoner clearly assumes responsibility for an action or attack. We support prisoners based more upon being charged and/or accused of anarchist, revolutionary, earth or animal liberation action, rather than false or true and accused of being part of some underground movement or activity.
We encourage any communication from like-minded individuals and groups who are similarly for direct action, insurrection, revolution and building an international informal network for counter-information. More than ever it is important to spread coordination on an international level against the accelerating advance of the technological-industrial-military complex, that is inflicting repression not only against those who fight but also those who support such actions. In the past, the state and the capitalists attacked papers, journals and publications produced by anarchists and revolutionaries. Just as then, as now in the present, they will fail, history has shown this.
A critical junction is before us, with the rise of smarter-than-human intelligence which will govern society and the state. From Artificial Intelligence to Facial Recognition, 3D Printing to Cashless Society, Biotechnology to Nanotechnology, Drones to Automated Vehicles, 4th to the 5th Industrial Revolution, Artificial Reproduction to Trans humanism, 5G to Internet of Things, Smart Phones to Smart Cities, Augmented Reality to Artificial Reality, even the Technological Singularity where we as humans are even threatened, along with the dying planet. By the time it is widely accepted that technology has entered every cell and atom, it will already be too late to resist.
Unless, we act now, map out the new and old elites, as the shift begins even off-world. The Black Flag of Anarchy must return and strike fear into the elites once again.
Send us information about prisoners, direct action communiques, solidarity events, new occupations, publications, proposals from around the world. use Tor Browser (IP Shielding) &; GPG (Encrypted email). Also, check out this guide to computer security and this text. Our public pgp key is here if you wish to contact us with encrypted email.
For the struggle against all forms of domination and the Technological Prison Society! For a new Black International!
International zine of social war continuing the conflict against the rising techno-prison world. Now expanded to 24 pages after the recent repression against our project by the Counter-Terrorist cops. One more blow in the face of their blatant attempt to silence us. Articles expanding on the critique against technology and Covid-19 repression, as well as Alfredo Cospito’s recent contribution about the “Proposal For a New Anarchist Manifesto” and an Introduction from Gustavo Rodriquez’s ‘Covid-19: Anarchy in the times of the pandemic.” Print it out, for your local squat, social centre, mate’s house or give it out at a demo, even leave it in a random place. Lets ignite the next wave of the Black International!
Bristol: Burn Baby Burn!
Communique from 325 Collective on the Repressive Attack upon International Counter-Information
Greece: Attacks in Response to Dimitris Koufontinas’ Hunger Strike & Covid Repression
Neurocapitalism: ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Comes One Step Closer
Chile: Second Public Communiqué on the 32nd day of the Hunger Strike
COVID-19: Anarchy in Times of Pandemic – Gustavo Rodriguez
A Contribution About the “Proposal For a New Anarchist Manifesto” – Alfredo Cospito
A letter from Danilo, accused of setting fire to a police van in Barcelona
An Incomplete Chronology of Direct Actions from around Planet Earth
After Lockdown, Let’s Look At The Situation We’re Finding Around Us
The same thing has also happened in Indonesia, the silencing and repressiveness of the counter-information media has been increasingly encouraged by the Indonesian Police, with initiatives such as the creation of a “cyber police” or social media police, with one of their aims being to isolate the spread of information not only from anarchist networks but also from other political dissidents and those who have the courage to criticize the state.
The Indonesian Police from 2014 to 2019 have disbursed funds of ± 900 billion rupiah, which are used as funds for buzzers to curb the spread and growth of counter-information media. In 2018 the Indonesian Police began to re-focus on the anarchist movement in Indonesia. Also, national police recently made a statement about banning media from covering police violence. However, we are sure that both individuals and groups who are focusing on counter-information and grassroots reports will continue to exist and grow. Given the severity of this situation in which all the tools of the State and Capitalism try to carry out silencing and repressiveness either online or physically, this is not the time to be silent and surrender ourselves to fear.
Amid the continuing increase in Covid-19 cases on an international scale, governments in various countries are using it to make policies that not only choke our economic capacity, but also our most basic freedoms.
We believe nothing is completely safe and free from risks, especially when running counter-information sites online. And this is actually the fundamental reason why we must respond to this increasingly suffocating situation.
We are calling for international solidarity (by whatever means possible) for nostate, 325, Anarchist Black Cross Berlin, Montreal Counter-Info, Northshore Counter-Info, Act For Freedom Now! and other counter info sites. Solidarity for every anarchist prisoner in all corners of the world (Toby Shone, Monica, Fransico etc), the anti-eviction movements in Bara-Baraya, Pancoran, Pakel, and all forms of struggle for liberation and independence.
Comments Off on Leaving the SPVM Behind to Attack a High-Tech Hub: A Promising Anti-Capitalist May Day
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
This May Day, Montreal’s annual anti-capitalist demonstration organized by the CLAC gathered in Jarry Park under the theme “No old normal, no new normal”. It was a sunny late afternoon, and the energy was high amid the banners and black flags as the demo began to snake through the residential streets of Villeray.
Heading west on De Castelnau, fireworks were set off, and construction cones were used to block the road behind us. The cops seemed confused about the route we were taking, which meant that there were less of them in our near vicinity. Dropping south onto Jean-Talon, the demo continued west through the viaduct beneath the St-Jérôme commuter rail line.
Leaving the Police Behind
Turning south on Parc Avenue from Jean-Talon, the demo excitedly entered a second viaduct under the same rail line. This time, a surprise was in store for the police vans and bike cops waiting for the crowd to pass to the other side before continuing to trail the demo: smoke bombs were set off in the viaduct, and crow’s feet were deployed on the road to puncture the tires of any cop vans that might brave the smoke-filled passageway. These actions effectively blocked the viaduct, a chokepoint in the area, to all traffic.
With the majority of the cops stuck on the north side of the train tracks, the demo took a hard left toward rue Saint-Zotique immediately upon exiting the viaduct. Garbage and terrasse furniture were pulled into the street to further protect the demo, and our pace quickened.
We don’t have to accept the police surrounding our demos, flanking, filming, and harrassing us, or tailing us with a dozen riot vans ready to tear-gas us at a moment’s notice. Some situations may call for direct confrontation, but on this day our best bet was evasion. With a little inventiveness, foresight, and collective intelligence, we can leave the police behind.
Paying a Visit to the Artificial Intelligence Headquarters
About two minutes later heading east on Saint-Zotique, the demo took a right on Saint-Urbain. An assortment of bike cops were observing the demo from about a block away, but their riot cop backup was nowhere in sight, and the bike cops kept a safe distance.
On our right stood the “O Mile-Ex” building, which functions as the headquarters of Montreal’s artificial intelligence sector, as politicians and academics have strained over the past five years to position the city as a global AI hub. The inter-connected buildings at 6650 and 6666 Saint-Urbain house MILA (a research institute affiliated with Université de Montréal that collaborates with Google and Facebook), Thales (a French defense and security contractor), Borealis (the AI lab of the Royal Bank of Canada), Quantum Black (the AI lab of notorious global consulting firm McKinsey), SCALE AI (a “supply chain supercluster” controlled by the Desmarais family), and a couple dozen other labs and startups.
While they talk a lot about “ethics” to distract the public, these companies develop technologies that strengthen the hold of capitalism and authority over our lives. Whether they lead to more efficient supply chains for large corporations, automated video surveillance and facial recognition to protect the government and the property of the rich, or workplace monitoring algorithms that impose dehumanizing conditions on workers, we know who stands to gain from these tools, and it is not the exploited, excluded and oppressed of society. As anarchists wrote recently, “what is at stake is our capacity to have secrets, to resist, to agitate, to attack what destroys everything we love and protects everything we hate.”
In addition, the O Mile-Ex facility with its hordes of tech yuppies is a massive driver of displacement in the surrounding area. Together with the new Mil campus of Université de Montréal, its effects spill over into Parc-Extension, a working-class, mostly immigrant neighborhood under increasing threat of gentrification.
Technology companies have exploited our isolation during COVID-19 confinement measures to increase their profit margins and expand their presence with little resistance, and as the crisis of the pandemic gives way to the next phase of the crisis of capitalism, they seek to shape a “new normal” that cements their power.
For all these reasons, it was a beautiful sight to see multiple crews within the crowd target these buildings. As MILA’s windows were broken one after another by hammers, rocks and other projectiles, any illusion that these businesses and researchers enjoy the benefit of a social consensus shattered as well. Smoke bombs were tossed into the building through the holes in the windows, hopefully setting off the sprinklers and causing water damage.
After the attack on O Mile-Ex, some cops that appeared toward the south on Saint-Urbain received volleys of rocks and fireworks. The demo headed east on Saint-Zotique, continuing to evade major police deployments, turning south on Clark then cutting through Parc de la Petite-Italie to then turn north on Saint-Laurent. The park and the many intersecting streets on Saint-Laurent provided respectable opportunities for de-blocking and departure. The dispersal was accelerated by riot cops that began charging up Saint-Laurent behind the demo, firing tear gas. Some police were even spotted on the roof of a residential building, dropping tear gas canisters on the crowd: an unexpected maneuver. A civilian driver who was aggressively trying to push through protesters was confronted and had his car windows smashed out. The cops that swarmed the area where people were dispersing detained a few people, arresting two, but no serious charges have been laid. Blocking streets more consistently with garbage and other obstacles in these contexts could have been helpful.
It is a precious experience to take risks together in the streets with hundreds of comrades and anonymous accomplices, who dream of a world after capitalism, of burning police stations and border posts, of looted supermarkets, of forests, mountains, and rivers protected from all forms of industrial degradation and returned to the nurturance of indigenous peoples’ territorial autonomy. Although the accomplishments of one May Day demo may be minor as regards the whole landscape of our aspirations, we believe the relationships we develop through these moments should not be underestimated.
The Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC) denounces the violent repression of its demonstration again this year. Indeed, the SPVM proceeded, as usual, to unjustified and brutal arrests. The police used truncheons and tear gas to silence the people who are tired of being exploited every day to enrich the nauseating bourgeoisie and their companies that profit from COVID-19. Several people were injured and the police even destroyed the cell phone of one participant.
More than 750 people gathered to denounce the exacerbation of social injustice and precariousness during the current pandemic. Capitalism and neo-liberalism have laid the foundations for this disaster and it is certainly not through this economic system that we will get out of the crisis. The organizers would like to thank the participants of the demonstration who took to the streets this year, despite the health crisis, with masks and distancing measures.
As part of the International Workers’ Day, CLAC organized today the annual May Day anti-capitalist demonstration, which started at 4PM in Jarry Park. Last year, due to the health situation, there was no rally, but we did call for a day of visibility actions, which was a great success.
This year, we went to protest in the Mile-Ex to denounce the artificial intelligence companies that are shamelessly taking advantage of the crisis, converting public subsidies into tools for the private sector. The companies located there are a major force in the gentrification and displacement of the residents of Parc-Extension in addition of participating in the technological surveillance proliferation.
Stacy Langlois, a protester, said: “As always, it is the workers, the poor, the migrants, the people in predominantly female jobs, who are killing themselves – literally – to support the rich. We’re the ones who cook and deliver their food so they don’t have to go line up at the grocery store like the rest of us.” She continues: “Their recovery plan is to keep us in misery.”
In addition, the tightening of borders and the abuse of immigration authorities are on a mission to preserve these inequalities. Migrants who were “lucky” enough to come here are dying in our hospitals and warehouses. The streets of the poorest neighborhoods are empty, as the police are always looking for their next victims. The First Peoples are being humiliated, assaulted and killed by the governmental bodies driven by the extractivist companies. And in all this chaos, we are forced to obey, to remain silent, to be blind to everything that is happening around us. It is absurd and revolting!
In a fiery opening speech, Steven Lafortune-Sansregret cried out: “What we must revive is not the economy, but the struggles for the end of capitalist exploitation! “Together, ready to fight, we are much stronger and much more numerous than those who oppress us with impunity. Let’s refuse this “uberized” future and build a world of mutual aid and equity. To achieve this, we will use all necessary means.
We don’t want the world they are trying to sell us! No old normal, no new normal ! Let’s abolish capitalism!
that, today, as has always been the case, May 1 is an opportunity for the workers of all nations to celebrate their historic victories and to put forth demands for further improvements to their working conditions and their health and safety conditions in general;
that protecting the health and safety of health care workers is of primordial importance;
that the health care system and all of its workers, nurses, doctors, councillors, managers, office workers, and support staff are currently under enormous pressure and deserve our unconditional support;
We, the popular groups, unions, and community groups that organize and participate in the May 1 public events, call on those who will be joining our events:
to express their solidarity with health care workers, as well as with all “essential” workers, regardless of their citizenship status;
to wear a mask at all of our events;
to respect, insofar as possible, a safe two-meter distance from others at all of our events;
to avoid all unnecessary contact during our events.
We call on all groups and organizations that are planning events for May 1, 2021, to adhere to and respect this pact. Otherwise, we demand that they not hold an event on that day and, instead, stay home and not pose an additional threat to heath care workers and our health care system.
–> Si votre groupe ou votre organisation endosse ce PACTE pour un 1er mai solidaire, veuillez écrire à email@example.com pour être ajouté à la liste des signataires/participants.
–> Si vous adhérez à l’esprit de ce pacte en tant qu’individu, nous vous invitons à “participer” à l’événement Facebook qui se trouve à cette adresse, et à le relayer dans vos réseaux.
Across the world, May 1 is known as International Workers’ Day.
For 135 years, the working class has taken to the streets, organized, and demonstrated on this day, in a show of force to assert its interests and its opposition to the capitalist class and the politicians who play its games. The May 1 tradition was born in the blood of revolutionary trade unionists in the US, in 1886, thereafter spreading through the Americas and from there to Europe and the rest of the world, carried forward by the trade union movement, revolutionaries, anti-capitalists, and internationalists. Historic compromises have since led to its institutionalization in a number of countries, but anti-capitalist movements and milieus have, nonetheless, preserved its revolutionary expression in numerous initiatives in diverse contexts
This tradition is very much alive in Montréal and throughout Québec, where numerous events mark May 1 every year, including union rallies, an anti-capitalist demonstration, and a variety of community gatherings and social events meant to advance a range of demands and to, in different ways, mount a visible opposition to the privileged classes.
There are a number of events taking place in Montréal this year:
It seems that some of the leaders of the “conspiracy theory” anti-masking, anti-distancing, and anti-vaccination movement are behind a march organized for May 1 to “manifester [leur] désaccord face aux mesures sanitaires au Québec” [express (their) discontent with the public health measures in Québec]. (A number of citizens’ intiatives, including Montréal Antifasciste and Xavier Camus, have documented the influential roles of a number of individuals with ties to the far-right in the movement against Québec’s public health measures.)
This particular action in opposition to these measures will be held outside of the main vaccination center in Montréal, the Olympic Stadium, clearly without masks and with no intention to practice safe distancing.
At a point when the third wave is beginning to peek throughout Québec, when the health system
risks being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 variants, with the vaccination campaign not unfolding as quickly as would be optimal to offset these variants, and at a point when heath care and social service workers are at the end of their rope after thirteen months of intense efforts to counter the pandemic, we find it breathtakingly unacceptable that the conspiracy theory movement and the COVID deniers will take to the street on May 1 and put those workers’ lives, as well as the lives of all other workers deemed essential, at risk with their irresponsible behaviour.
The health and safety of workers have always been a key preoccupation of the movements advancing the interests and demands of the working class and the organizers mobilizing for May 1.
It’s about time the majority of workers make perfectly clear their growing fatigue with the recklessness of the conspiracy theorists behind the movement against the public health measures, who, it must be stressed, have submerged themselves in the far right’s pseudo-ideology.
The pandemic we are mired in precarize everyone and highlights serious injustices. The stimulus wished by the leaders is an economic stimulus which is not addressed to us. It is not addressed to the artists and other people who don’t make enough profit to merit the right to exist. It does not concern sex workers, whose existence itself is still criminalized. This stimulus ignores handicapped people, the marginalized, those with mental health issues. The stimulus they talk about, it is for the oil companies, the Bombardier corporations, the party friends like Guzzo, but it is not for us. To let the governments save us from the crisis they created themselves through the constant cuts to healthcare and through their “snowbird” lives, would be to accept death. What we need to stimulate is not the economy, but the struggles for our rights and the end of capitalist exploitation.
The economic rebuilding project bets on a technological world stained with inequalities and based on dirty capitalist exploitation. The strenghtening of national borders and the abuses of immigration instances, which are illegitimate in this so-called Canada, aim to preserve these inequalities. And while in the North we vaccinate, we forget those who clothes us in the Gildan factories of Haïti. We forget that each zoom conference depends on the work in African and South American mines. Those same countries who might not see the vaccine before the next pandemic. Words of thanks and empty promises won’t bring back to life the Haitian “petrochallengers” killed by police forces trained by Canada, nor give back the eyes lost by Chilean protesters blinded by Canadian weapons. It will take much more to give back life to Raphaël « Napa » André, to Joyce Echaquan, and to all the native people killed here and elsewhere.
We saw worldwide injustices explodes in this last dreadful year. Migrants people who had the “chance” to come here now die in our hospitals and our warehouses. The streets of our poorest neighborhood are empty, the police being constantly on the hunt for their next prey. The First Nations are humiliated, attacked and killed by government instances, guided by extractivist companies. And in all this chaos we are imposed obedience, silence and self-deception in front of all that goes on around us.
We cannot let this be! Let’s refuse to police ourselves and our actions, because we recognize that to live in a world constrained by racist, colonialist and LGBTQIA2S+phobic laws is a challenge in itself. It is those same laws which feed genre inequalities which gives more reason to the most fortunate and to the rich heir·esse·s: do not legitimate them by accepting those laws for ourselves! We are angry when we see the disappearance of monetary assistance, of our jobs, and the precarization of those left, or from the imposition of a curfew with no scientific basis. We see it only as an excuse to legitimate State repression. The sanitary discourse makes no sense when we see that it is not applied equitably. The Legault government again shows its true face when it tries to safeguard the economy while throwing our lives away. We refuse this future dreamed of by billionaires, which drags our attention away through fear while they profit from the exploitation of the most vulnerable.
These billionaires, it is them who are the first polluters but the last to feel its consequences. It is those largest corporations who continue to exploit the work of migrant workers and to practice extractivism in First Nations’ territories, under the guise of economic growth and of the hypocrisy of the “green” or “sustainable” economy. While the whole world knows that the climate crisis is a major issue and will affect first marginalized people. For them, it’s business as usual as long as possible, until death do us part.
To make matters worse, the waiting lists in healthcare are even worse than what they were before the pandemic. Media took the opportunity to sell more anxiety-inducing news about the virus, casting a shadow on current struggles, especially those for the defense of the land. These struggles are alive, and we will remind them of that fact.
We are perceived as nothing but a mass of workers, empty and replaceable, but not is all lost. Together, we are ready to fight, and we are much stronger and numerous. Let’s refuse this “uberized” future and oppose to it a world of sharing and equality. And to get there, we will fight through all our might, which will take place by taking back the streets.
We will see you this May 1st, at 4PM, at Jarry park (corner of Gary-Carter and St-Laurent)!