Another Ending is Entirely Speculative: Reflections on the Eviction of the Notre-Dame Encampment

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Dec 122020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

On Monday, December 7th at 7am over 50 people attempted to gather outside the Notre-Dame tent encampment in support of residents facing eviction by the cops that morning. This camp was established earlier in the summer of this year by those living without safe and secure shelter. The SPVM had already set up a perimeter, and they defended it to prevent supporters from approaching the camp. As a result, the police were able to easily remove the camp’s residents, as planned.       

While it was inspiring to see so many people come out to demonstrate, the morning’s solidarity demo ended similarly to many of the anti-fascist actions at the Lacolle border – the cops immobilize the crowd, and then they are prevented from achieving their goals. By this point, the only thing left to do was to shout profanities. It was disempowering and ineffective considering that the objective of that morning’s action was to stop the evictions.       

How might this have looked different? How might the people showing up have related in a manner that deterred the cops from forcefully removing people from their homes and community they had established? This reflection recalls another possible ending, one that is entirely speculative.        

I want to begin by acknowledging a few important points to situate how I relate to Monday’s morning call for solidarity: a) while some residents from the camp expressed a willingness to be relocated by the SPVM and social services, several residents expressed an ardent commitment to remaining there despite the threat of eviction. This reflection is an attempt to imagine how supporters could have facilitated conditions so that these residents might have been able to stay; b) there are no certainties in any strategic (re)imagining, so I offer this as a way to consider future responses; c) there were several people present that morning who had already been collaborating with the residents of notre-dame’s encampment and they shared critical information that permitted the solidarity action to materialize. These existing relationships are crucial to any solidarity response; d) I do not have existing relationships with any of the residents or organizers of this tent city.

With the above in mind, I would like to reimagine Monday morning’s action through the lens of deterrence. So, permit me to speculate…

Back in early November, when the weather was changing, the nights becoming colder and the days shorter, many people in the constellation of Montreal’s radical left, anarchist and autonomous organizing community came together to discuss what to do when the residents of the Notre-Dame encampment would face an eviction. They expected this scenario not only because of past experiences, but also because they had prior relationships with people at the camp, and the police had already done similar evictions in other parts of the city as well as in other large cities, like Toronto. They knew to expect a police perimeter restricting access to the camp beginning early the morning of the eviction.

Through conversation and collaboration, organizers of this rapid response coalition arrived at a proposal to bring to the residents of the tent-city: when police came with their eviction threat, supporters would discreetly move into the camp the night before, pitch their tents and be ready in the morning to respond when the cops, firefighters, and social services arrived.

The response by residents to this proposal was mixed. Some were willing to relocate with the support of social services and expressed concerns that such an action would prevent them from being relocated with the limited support they knew the city could offer. Other residents expressed some hesitation, but were generally down with the overall idea of remaining in place and keeping their autonomous community intact. This was super important to many given the fact that for the last 4-5 months many of them had been building relationships of support within this camp. After much discussion, the decision was made that this proposal would go ahead with the understanding that no resident would be blocked from receiving the support the city was offering, even if they knew the support being offered was limited and superficial at best. Everyone walked away from that meeting with a clear understanding of what would happen when the threat of eviction arose.

One month later…

Sometime around 6am, on the morning of December 7th, the first cruiser pulled up. The cops thought they had the upper hand given that the solidarity actions had been posted on Facebook and Twitter for later that morning. However, the organizers of the overnight action made sure to spread the word via secure communication tools and word-of-mouth only. Forty people showed up the night before with tents, and they were all ready to respond. As the cops approached the camp, supporters poured out of their tents and formed a perimeter around the camp’s core area. In the meantime, they were able to get word out to people outside the encampment who were on stand-by. Once these people got the word, they could tell more people to show up so as to reinforce the lines around the eastern and western edges of the camp.

The cops were taken aback by the outpouring of support as well as the willingness of supporters to hold the line. By 730am, the cops were surrounded by an outer and inner line of supporters and people were still showing up by 8am. The police assessed the situation and concluded immediate action could not be taken. While the eviction was avoided that day, the threat was still present. The morning’s action emboldened many residents who began discussing the ways they could try and reinforce their position. The outcome remains unknown, but both residents at the camp and their supporters felt empowered by this initial success.

And while this is just a speculative outcome, I hope it offers something for further reflection about the ways we can shift from a reactionary stance of solidarity towards a stance that carries within it the possibility to truly deter the cops from fuckin’ with the neighbourhood.

Vers une vie sans flic.

Montreal Rent Strike – Beginning April 1, 2020

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Mar 202020
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

11″ x 17″ Poster

8.5″ x 11″ b&w Poster / Bilingual Flyer

See also: Grevedesloyers.info

Poor, unemployed, laid-off, precarious, undocumented, contract and other workers — all of us who live month-to-month — will not be able to pay rent this April 1st. Many of us were struggling to pay rent before this crisis hit, and are likely already behind. In a perspective of direct action and social solidarity, ALL tenants can refuse to pay rent on April 1st.

Even if you are able to pay your rent, please consider joining the strike to support those who aren’t. If we all go on rent strike together, we’ll make it impossible for the authorities to target everyone who does not pay.

Together, we can:

  • Stop paying rent;
  • Block evictions and renovictions;
  • Open up vacant housing — including Airbnb, empty condos, and hotels — to house homeless people or those who lack safe housing.

The urgency of the moment demands decisive and collective action. Let’s protect and care for ourselves and our communities. Now more than ever, we must refuse debt and refuse to be exploited. We will not shoulder this burden for the capitalists. Tenants must not be made to pay the price for a collective health crisis.

  • The Régie du logement has suspended eviction hearings. For the immediate future, your landlord cannot take you to the Régie to evict you for not paying rent.*
  • If you nevertheless experience harrassment or intimidation from your landlord, talk with your neighbors about a collective response.

* If the Régie restarts regular operations and you are called to an eviction hearing, you can, as a last resort, avoid an eviction order by paying all outstanding rent on the spot in cash plus fees, as long as you haven’t paid late frequently. But if we’re enough to go on rent strike, we can support each other and make it impossible for evictions to proceed as normal. Further legal information will follow. [See Legal Considerations]

rent_strike_mtl@riseup.net

? FOR A WORLD WITHOUT BOSSES, LANDLORDS, OR COPS — THE WORST EPIDEMICS ?

11″ x 17″ Poster

8.5″ x 11″ b&w Poster / Bilingual Flyer

See also: Grevedesloyers.info

Invitation to the Winter Games of Urban Revolt

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Dec 192019
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Print: 11 x 17″

Poster text:

INVITATION TO THE WINTER GAMES OF URBAN REVOLT
December 20, 2019 – March 15, 2020
Challenge your friends, your neighbors, and other crews.
Sabotage social control, de-gentrify our neighborhoods!

 

Three fields of play await the athletes.

no 1 Camover Returns

Destroy surveillance cameras

  • dummy camera = 2 points
  • functional camera = 6 points
  • smart doorbell with camera (Amazon Ring / Google Nest) = 6 points

no 2 Nobody Pays

  • each metro turnstile disabled = 3 points
    • all the turnstiles of a station = bonus +4
  • each fare distribution machine disabled = 6 points
    • all the distribution machines of a station = bonus +2

no 3 A Long Winter for Condo Promoters

  • glue the locks of a condo sales office (all doors) = 6 points
  • redecorate exterior (paint bombs, graffiti, or extinguisher) = 4 points
  • redecorate interior (with an extinguisher) = 10 points

Bonus

  • claim one’s action with a meme = 2 points
  • burn a christmas tree displayed in public = 4 points
  • disable a cop car during a snow storm = 10 points

*This is not an encouragement to brag about one’s actions or otherwise endanger one’s security or that of friends.

Disclaimer: this poster is produced solely for informational purposes and does not incite anyone to break any law.

Don’t Call the Cops!

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Jun 222019
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

In the early morning of Monday June 10th, the Montreal police shot a man. A neighbour was having a crisis. Instead of doing anything helpful, they harassed him for hours. They had guns pointed at his head. They finally shot him in the leg through hs own apartment door early monday morning. On Sunday June 17th anarchists in the St-Henri neighbourhood of Montreal put up posters reminding our neighbours to think twice before calling the cops.

St-Henri is famously undergoing a rapid and brutal gentrification process. Gentrification is fueled by social cleansing. This means arresting and relocating people with mental health issues, the poor, drug users, sex workers, and all of us trying to get by in a cruel world. One way to resist the over-policing and gentrification of our neighbourhoods is to stop calling the goddamn cops. We made posters that name all the unarmed people who have been killed by the SPVM in the last few years, because this is fucking serious. Cops will always escalate the situation, we can’t trust them. Instead let’s build relationships of trust between neighbours — Let’s make police obsolete! Please download and share these posters — let your neighbours know that COPS KILL, and share some alternatives to calling the police, so no one else has to have their neighbours blood on their hands.

COPS KILL (to print, 11 x 17″)

12 Things You Can Do Instead of Calling the Cops (11 x 17″)

Attacks against OSHA Condo Advertising Billboards

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Jan 262019
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Last night and the one before, different crews bombarded the colonial-themed advertising billboards for the new condo project OSHA with paint.

The OSHA Condo project is simple: the destruction of Hochelaga. How? With the arrival of more than 200 condo units (selling for between $200 000 for a 2 and a half and more than $500 000 for a 4 and a half). Meaning 300 to 500 more yuppies in our neighborhood, and in a particularly sensitive location home to many of those tossed aside in recent decades by different real estate developments. The arrival of opulence, where misery reigns. Raising the number of cops and patrols, of expensive eco-ethico-responsible-biodegradable stores, of chic restaurants daring to name themselves “Les AffamÉes” (“the starving”) in one of the largest food deserts in Montreal. A social cleansing in every respect.

Adding insult to injury, the owners decided to use an indigenous theme. The billboards’ use of an image of the encounter between peoples reinforces the idea of a peaceful and consensual exchange between colonizers and first peoples. We shatter this image. The Americas were built in violence. Montreal is a city made possible by a genocide. Its modernization rests since its foundation on the exploitation of stolen land. The OSHA condo project is only the latest, most pathetic example.

And you thought we would let you do as you like? The plurality of groups currently organizing against the construction of these condos testifies to the feeling of anger, widely shared in the neighborhood, against this latest offensive of gentrification. In the months to come, the forms of contestation and sabotage will multiply. Despite the advances of gentrifying projects in Hochelaga, an expertise of struggle against them has developed, and there is no doubt we will put it to use.

These attacks are just a first warning
We are many and we are determined
These condos don’t stand a chance

Discover Westmount: An Up-and-Coming Hub of Anarchist Activity

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Oct 282018
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

When you hear the word “Westmount”, temporary autonomous zones, dumpster barricades, and flaming effigies of Trudeau aren’t exactly what pops to mind. People often think of this drab neighborhood looming over St. Henri as purgatory where the absurdly wealthy listlessly drift between a loveless marriage, resentful children, and a soul-crushing job… But not anymore!

Westmount is undergoing revitalization!

Anarchists are transforming it into a mixed-attack neighborhood that offers many opportunities for comrades of every tendency. In desolate Westmount, there’s an activity for anarchists of any stripe—regardless if your flag flies black, half-red, or purple glitterbomb.

Read Buzzfeed’s list of Five Cool Facts You Didn’t Know About Westmount (or, as we like to call it: Nouvelle-Exarchia)

1) Every other home is empty.

While most of those South of Maisonneuve can’t afford their rising rent–let alone buy a home—the tyrannical trillionaires of Westmount can own 2, 3, and sometimes 4 properties! They may be property owners, but not necessarily residents. Perfectly good houses are just sitting there, with empty bedrooms—and stocked fridges! It’s the cheapest Air BnB in the city-breakfast included! Think about it: Second home or…Squatted Social Centre?

2) Westmount pigs are literally the same as Montreal Pigs.

The Scumbag Protectors of the Very Moneyed (S.P.V.M) aren’t good enough for the affluent assholes of Westmount – these burdensome billionaires have –get this– brought in their very own smarmy army.

The only difference is that they aren’t in full-body armour—their soft, supple skin is vulnerable to the many elements (and projectiles). The way we see it: Two Birds; One Molotov.

3) It’s full of artisinale barricade material.

Have you ever been in a rowdy street party and the police just aren’t taking the many “hints” that their invitation wasn’t simply “lost in the mail”? You run to grab a newspaper box, only to realize it’s been bolted to the ground! You look around, but you are bereft of barricade material! This would never happen in Revolutionary Westmount!™ Here, the streets are peppered with grade-A barricade material, and all of it free for the taking. Newspaper Boxes, Dumpsters, and Patio Furniture—Oh my!

4) The walls are a primed canvas.

Did you know that these wealthy whiners haven’t yet heard of public art? It’s true! The many beautiful, blank walls in this tax-shelter territory present a desirable development opportunity. In this beige borough, you’ll never run into the problem of spending the night hanging out with your “squad”, getting ready to “throw up” an “ACAB” only to find another “tagger” has already “1312”-ed your “sick spot”. The walls are waiting for you to “Bank”-sy it up!

5) Last but not least: Banks, and lots of them!

‘Nuf said. (We already made a good bank joke in #4.)

Jokes aside, on the beautiful fall evening, we slashed the tires of two cars parked in the driveway of 3140 rue Jean-Girard, in Westmount. This is the address of Brandon Shiller. Brandon Shiller is a prominent slumlord who buys up properties in low-income areas with the sole purpose of evicting tenants and hiking up the rent. His daddy’s real-estate firm is Shiller Lavy, which is also heavily-involved in gentrifying many neighborhoods in Montreal.

We encourage anyone else concerned with the rising rents and attacks on the poor to let these scumbags, who hide in the wealthiest neighbourhood in Montreal, know how you feel.

Public Advisory in Saint-Henri: Risk of Luxury Car Arson

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Sep 182018
 

From Corporate media, détournement not required

A flier claiming to be from the Sud-Ouest borough is being refuted by city officials as a fake, and a fear-mongering tactic by opponents of gentrification.

The flier was left on some high-end cars – including an Audi and an Acura – urging owners to move out of St. Henri or face the possibility of their cars being set on fire.

The fliers were mostly recovered from Lea Roback St., where several cars were torched in summer 2017.

The flier says there’s a “risk of luxury car arson” in the area, and that police have not been able to arrest anyone in the arson cases from last year.

It advises residents to not leave flammable materials in the cars, and finally, to move out of the neighbourhood to Westmount or Beaconsfield.

Before the Sud-Ouest’s borough council meeting, City Councillor Craig Sauve said the fliers aren’t just fake, but they may end up scaring residents.

“it’s immature, it’s reckless, it’s dangerous – it doesn’t represent our neighbourhood whatsoever,” Sauve said. “It scares the very people we’re trying to help, so we shouldn’t do these kinds of things. We should try to look out for one another, and try to fight for more affordable housing, and that’s how we succeed as a neighbourhood.”

The car fires were captured on cell phone video last year, and yielded little information about a suspect.

At around 3:45 a.m. on Friday July 14, 2017, two cars were set on fire on Lea Roback Street. Two other nearby cars also caught fire.

A man was seen near the cars shortly before both fires were set, but police did not get a description.

The SPVM admitted that with no description of the suspect, and no security footage, the flier is correct – no arrests were made for the arsons from last year.

“It happened during the night – we had not much detail, no witness, nothing,” Sylvain Parent, Commander of Montreal Police Station 15.

“So of course for us to start an investigation based on the thing that we found on the scene was very difficult,” he added. “That’s why they say that nothing has been done – something has been done, but unfortunately we were unable to relate it to any kind of suspect whatsoever.”

Sauve said the borough and the city are finding ways to increase affordable housing and support community measures that help low income residents.

As he sees it, residents coming together to help each other is the real spirit of St. Henri, not somebody making veiled threats in a pamphlet.

 

Source: “City councillor says arson leaflets in St. Henri are fear-mongering fakes”, CTV Montreal, 11 September 2018

Parc-Extension Residents and Housing Activists Brave Violence at the Hands of BSR Group to Fight Gentrification

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Aug 102018
 

From Parc-Ex Contre la Gentrification (Facebook page)

Over 60 people gathered in front of Parc metro station yesterday afternoon to protest property speculation and gentrification. The action aimed to bring together members of Parc-Ex Against Gentrification, POPIR, Comité B.A.I.L.S, the Parc Extension Action Committee, the Comité Logement de Rosemont, and the Comité Logement du Plateau Mont-Royal to maintain pressure on property developers and send a clear message that condo and luxury apartment developments are not welcome in our neighborhoods.

We then went to the offices of the BSR Group- the property development company carrying out the evictions of Plaza Hutchison tenants- to deliver a letter and disrupt their day-to-day operations. For the past half century, the Plaza Hutchison has served as a meeting place for Parc-Extension, housing community groups, cultural associations, language schools, religious spaces and small local businesses. Since the BSR Group purchased the building, they have relentlessly intimidated, threatened and evicted those tenants without notice, one by one. We went today to the Place Décarie to make Ron Basal and his colleagues aware of our demands- namely that tenants should be allowed to return and the building be given back to the community.

Upon entering the office, we were repeatedly kicked and punched in the face by Ron Basal himself, and by BSR Group employees. Some of us were choked, while several others had their glasses ripped off their faces and broken. Employees uttered death threats, and numerous people were subjected to sexual harassment when one high ranking BSR Group member threatened to expose himself in front of them. When community members quickly decided to leave the building, BSR Group employees physically stopped the elevators, blocked the stairwells, forcibly confined people, and attempted to throw one person down the emergency exit stairwell. It was fucking intense. Many of us, neighbors and activists alike, have visited property development offices before in order to bring forward housing rights demands and to protest gentrification. No one could recall having been met with such violence in recent memory.

We also want to address some claims that have surfaced in media coverage of the action, notably TVA’s reprinting of the BSR Group’s staged photos of « grabuges » and Radio Canada’s assertion that we “forced the door” . It is worth mentioning that Radio Canada journalist Benoît Chapdelaine entered the office with us through its’ unlocked door, tried to dodge the punches, and witnessed the extreme violence of the BSR Group, but made no mention of it. Also, while three people were briefly detained, they were released on-site and there were no arrests.

Although we are disgusted by the actions of these gentrifiers, we remain unwavering in our resolve to disrupt business as usual, to put our bodies on the line and to fight the destruction of Parc Ex. We refuse to remain silent and allow the displacement of working class people of colour from our neighbourhood for the benefit of a new wave of richer and whiter inhabitants.

Expect to hear from us, we won’t back down.

Beyond Support: Update on Locke St Defendants and a Proposal for Beginning to Organize Solidarity

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Jun 052018
 

From North Shore Counter-Info

Before giving updates on the Locke St defendants, it’s worth taking a moment to put things in their context and to remember that these seven people are accused of participating in a struggle against gentrification in the city. This struggle has taken countless different forms over the years, from mass meetings, to stickers and posters, to broad-based organizing, to counter-demonstrations and pressure campaigns. The reason so many people have chosen to dedicate their energy to this issue for so long is that it’s one of vital importance — people are losing their homes at an ever–increasing rate as housing is treated more as a commodity or investment than as a basic need that everyone deserves to have met.

The broad, vague charges brought against these defendants are a way of silencing the increasingly urgent voices speaking and acting out against this attack on our ability to live in this city with dignity. The message of the police and legal system here is that there is no circumstance in which our deteriorating living conditions would ever justify any threat to property. And yet for over a decade developers, speculators, and their boosters have been easily able to ignore all opposition behind a wall of feel-good platitudes about renewal and culture. To now approach the struggle against gentrification as simply a matter of crime is an attempt to strip it of its content, concealing the larger struggle between the class that profits from rising housing prices and those who are displaced.

When dealing with the hugely disproportionate violence of the state, it can be easy for us to lose track of these larger issues. Yes, we’re opposed to all forms of political repression, and we also don’t see that repression as separate from all the ways the police and government protect those who benefit from gentrification (business owners, landlords, investors) at the expense of those who don’t. Yes, we will support these defendants in beating their charges and getting through the incarceration and bail conditions they will have to endure in the meantime, but we will also keep finding ways to act against the dominant interests in this city. We can’t let ourselves be so swallowed by the support work that we give the rich a break.

In terms of support though, the three people who were wanted by police turned themselves in last night (Sunday, June 3), and were released on bail today. The person who fought her conditions and stayed in over the weekend has also been released without the particular conditions she had refused. The person from Montreal will be up for his hearing tomorrow morning, and we are hopeful he will be released on consent and allowed to return to Montreal. More updates on his situation tomorrow. So far, all the recent arrestees are able to remain in their homes without having to deal with house arrest.

Although personal and financial support for the defendants remains important (https://fundraising.the-tower.ca for the Hamilton Community Defence Fund), a case of this importance requires solidarity that goes further than that. In the next week or so, we would like to encourage you to bring people together in your town to talk about issues of repression and gentrification, to talk about the details of this case and how it’s relevant to you elsewhere in the territory controlled by the Canadian state, and to clarify your basis of support for those accused. This might be a useful step in preparing to act in solidarity over the long term as this case drags on.

To help get discussions going, we’ve compiled a hastily laid-out zine of various texts that have circulated about the Locke St actions and these charges to far that can be downloaded here: https://north-shore.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/discussion-zine.pdf And if you do decide to organize an event, if it’s public, consider posting on North Shore Counter Info’s events listing so others can find out about it: https://north-shore.info/submit-event/

Regardless of innocence or guilt, solidarity with the Locke St defendants and let’s keep pushing back against the power of capitalists.