Solidarity with Portland Youth

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Jul 272020

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

In response to the call for a day of action in solidarity with the ongoing resistance in Portland from the PNW Youth Liberation Front on July 25th, we put up some posters made for the occasion in Montreal. Small simple solidarity with those fighting every day for a world without police and the white supremacy they uphold.

– Anarchists

A Prison Administrator’s Car Burns

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Jul 252020

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

The night of July 11th, the Volvo belonging to Vince Parente was burned in front of his home in Ste-Thérèse. Vince Parente was just recently named interim associate deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Safety. Besides this nomination, he is the assistant director-general for the Montreal region at the Bureau of Correctional Services. In clearer terms, he is the boss of the prison wardens at Bordeaux and Rivière-des-Prairies in Montreal.

Before rising through the ranks, he began his career as a probation officer and in the transport of prisoners to their appearances, then became assistant warden at Bordeaux prison, then assistant warden at Leclerc prison in Laval, then warden of the St-Jérôme prison.

This bastard has benefited since the start of his career from the confinement and degradation of thousands of people.

This blaze is a statement of solidarity with all prisoners and their families. Prison conditions were terrible to begin with, and they have worsened since the start of the pandemic. Not only do guards spread the virus to inmates, but the latter are locked up 24/7, with almost no visits and no phone privileges.

By the fault of Vince Parente among others, Robert Langevin died of negligence and lack of care inside the walls of Bordeaux prison in May. Vince Parente is a murderous, disconnected administrator like many others, and he is undoubtedly working from home these days. Maybe this fire brought him back to reality.

Arson of 7 Police Cars at SPVM Service Garage

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Jul 222020

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

Cops are murderers. We burned their cars. You can too.

We used three incendiary devices: square plastic bottles filled about 3/4 of the way with a mixture of gasoline and motor oil. We used super glue to attach two individually packaged fire cubes (which you can find in camping, hardware, and grocery stores) to the side of each bottle.

At each car, we placed a bottle on its side (cubes facing up), pushed it under the tire of the car, and lit the cube.

We chose devices that would fully ignite about one minute after we placed them under the cars. We wanted to increase our chances of getting away and decrease the chances that the devices would be extinguished preemptively.

For a world without the police and the white supremacist order they defend. Solidarity with Black insurgents and everyone else who fights back.

– Anarchists

Letter to Comrades Inside

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Jun 252020

From Anti-carceral Group

Some people in so-called Montreal have written this letter to comrades who are currently incarcerated. It can be printed, or edited and printed, and sent to friends inside. The letter describes #Uprisings across Turtle Island, and also includes a transcription of an article written by El Jones and incarcerated people out east. It can be hard to get information on the inside.

.pdf LINK

.docx LINK


June 20, 2020


I wanted to share some news and analysis with you because I’m not sure how much information is making it behind the bars. I want to make sure you have access to different perspectives and information than what appears on TV. So I’m taking a try at writing down some things and sending them to you. I hope it can spark conversations as much as you are able.

First, what you already know: there has been an uprising sweeping across the united states since the police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. In the same week, cops killed Tony McDade (a trans Black man who lived in Florida), Breonna Taylor (a Black woman who lived in Kentucky), and Regis Korchinski-Paquet (a Black Indigenous woman who lived in Toronto and who fell from a 24 story balcony and whose family says she was pushed by the cops). In the first days of the uprising, residents of Minneapolis expressed their feelings about George Floyd’s death and about 500 years of anti-Black racism and violence by setting fires, liberating goods, and eventually, burning down a police precinct that the cops had abandoned because apparently they ran out of tear gas.

The emotions quickly spread across the country and by June 3, there had been demonstrations held in over 430 cities in the us. Many cities saw daily demonstrations, often spontaneous marches that met in obvious gathering places in cities across the country. Over 20 states called in the National Guard and many cities enacted curfews. Thousands and thousands of people have been arrested. People have lost eyes from being shot in the face with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. People have been killed – like David McAtee, a Black restaurant owner who was killed by the National Guard while at a demonstration in Kentucky and Sean Monterrosa, a 22 year old Latino man who was shot by police while at a demonstration in California and Sarah Grossman, a 22 year old white woman who died after being tear gassed by police at a demonstration in Ohio.

This uprising has mainstreamed demands to defund the police. Some people are even calling for the abolition of the police. There was an op-ed published in the NY Times in mid June by a prominent prison abolitionist named Mariame Kaba who broke down what police abolition really means; not just defunding, full abolition. Cities all across the country are currently facing scrutiny about their police budgets and Minneapolis city councilpersons have pledged to dismantle their police department. Although it is still unclear what exactly that will mean.

In so-called Canada, the police have killed nine Indigenous people since early April: Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Kevin Andrews, Everett Patrick, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Abraham Natanine, Chantel Moore, and Rodney Levi. As the uprising has spread over the colonial border, people have been making lots of connections between colonialism and anti-Blackness.

People have circulated petitions and talked to the media about defunding the police in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton and other cities across the country. Demonstrations have also happened in small and large cities and towns. I haven’t seen a full count of how many cities in canada have seen demonstrations, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were at least a dozen.

The situation is so widespread and fast-moving that giving a comprehensive overview is tricky. I’ll end it there and include this article from the Halifax Examiner that was written by a group of federally incarcerated Black prisoners and shared with the poet, professor, and activist El Jones.

some friends on the outside


Black Lives Matter in prison, too
El Jones
Halifax Examiner, June 14, 2020

We have been watching the Black Lives Matters protests and the conversations about police violence. We have been taking part in our own conversations with prisoners of all races. We would like to share some of our conversations and conclusions with people outside prison.
The movement against police brutality is important, but it is also larger than that. We must also address injustice in the criminal justice system, in prisons, and at parole. At every stage of this system, Black people and Indigenous people are discriminated against. We have come to realize that all these systems are connected.

Just two days ago, on Friday, Rodney Levi was shot and killed by police a few kilometres from Miramichi, New Brunswick. Atlantic Institution, the maximum security prison for the Atlantic region, is located in Renous, close to Miramichi. In sending our condolences to Rodney Levi’s family and friends, we also reflect on how many Indigenous men and women are held in federal prisons across this country.

Prisons are built in small rural towns. Recently, in a conversation with one of the workers, she told us she was in favour of the prison being built because it would offer jobs. When she was told about the conditions and that we do not have programs or any rehabilitation, she was shocked.
We want to send a message to people who believe that building a prison in their community will stimulate the economy. Prisons are not a retirement plan or social security. Putting money into prisons is not a solution to poverty or to any social problems. We ask people living in these communities to reject spending money to put more people, especially Black and Indigenous people, into prisons.

We have also learned that crime is at some of the lowest levels since 1969, and that crime is steadily dropping. How can crime be down, but we continue to incarcerate more and more people? We know that there is no connection between crime and funding prisons. Why are we building more prisons when reserves in this country don’t even have clean water?

We have seen many videos in the last few weeks of police brutality. In these times where all the police are under the threat of being caught on video, there is no one to catch what happens to us on camera. The violence and abuse against us in prisons is still hidden. We have had guards use racial slurs. We have had guards use racial slurs to white prisoners thinking they would agree. We are pepper sprayed and restrained. We have seen and heard people beaten and even die.
When we are charged in the institution, we don’t even have the right to a lawyer. We can be put into solitary confinement, transferred across the country away from our families and communities, and denied parole. There is no justice because no one can see, and no-one is there to defend us.

But even in the courts, where we had lawyers, we have experienced how racist the criminal justice system is. We are judged in front of all-white juries, the same people that may see videos of police shootings and defend the police. There is no prosecutorial oversight, and nobody to stop racist prosecutions. Even if we are in open court, nobody holds the prosecutors accountable for their behaviour. Many more of us simply take deals because we are threatened by higher sentences. It still feels like the 1920s in the courtroom.

All of this is supposed to happen so we can be rehabilitated. But has the public ever asked what prisoners are doing on a day-to-day basis? You might think that we are getting job training, or learning to deal with addictions or mental health problems. We are not. There is nothing to do in prison, and there are hardly any programs to help people. You might ask yourself then why we are spending so much money to keep people behind bars but doing nothing to fix any of the problems.

For Black people, parole is like a unicorn. We end up serving even longer sentences because we are judged by the colour of our skin. We are accused of being gang members. We are punished for talking together. Our visitors are accused of bringing in contraband, so we tell our mothers not to come and see us. Guards antagonize us and then discipline us when we respond. There are no programs made for us. And when we go in front of an all-white parole board, they will not let us out.

Every day, we are seeing people in the streets protesting for Black and Indigenous lives. We want to thank everyone for being where we can not be, and fighting what we cannot fight for. We also know that after the protests, Black lives will still not matter in prison.

We join the calls to defund the police, and we also say it is time to defund the prison. Canadians should ask themselves why so many Black and Indigenous people are incarcerated. You should ask yourselves why your money is going to a system that doesn’t work to solve crime. You should ask why a prison is being built in your community and whether it will actually make your life better.

We hope some of the experiences we have shared have made you think about some of the assumptions you might have about us, or about the idea that people get help in prison. We hope our words show you what you cannot see on video. We have heard people say until all Black lives matter, no one’s life can matter. Until Black prisoner lives matter, can anyone be free?

On the Insurrection in the U.S.A: An Interview with Anarchists/Abolitionists

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Jun 242020

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

The following is an interview intended for an international and revolutionary audience. It includes questions from the Greek anarchist radio project RadioFragmata regarding the insurrection against white supremacy happening in the USA. The interview is with members of RAM (Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement) and anonymous anarchists from the USA. It is intended to help explain the circumstances and events happening in the USA.

“Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad.” – Malcolm X

What is happening in the USA right now, and how is it different from other recent uprisings that have happened in response to police violence such as Ferguson, MO in 2014? Is there a different feeling in the streets?

This uprising in the US is mainly different in its fury and its magnitude. Other moments, like Ferguson or the LA riots in 1992 were significant and laid the groundwork for this moment, but today we are seeing a movement that is radically different in a lot of ways.

The youth in the streets are very knowledgeable about abolitionist politics. The youth have dismissed patience and hope for reform, focusing only on immediate and direct action. A lot more people also seem to realize that reformism is a dead end this time around. The level of intensity is extraordinarily significant. The fact that people burned down a police precinct in Minneapolis, chased the police out running for their lives, and continued as the military was called in, is unprecedented. The other fact that the majority of the country supported burning down a police station and the plague of pacifism has lost its foothold on protest, has really reshaped the type of dialogue we are used to in the states. Support of insurrection and riot from unexpected groups and individuals is shocking at times to the say the least. Predatory fence riders are essentially being forced to come down and pick a side. Are you a racist, or are you an anti-racist?

The intensity of revolt that began this time in Minneapolis, has since spread across the country like a wild fire. The wide-spread level of generalized revolt, the intensity of the resistance, and a complete loss of faith in reform and patience in the system is unlike anything I have ever seen in my lifetime.

How are anarchists and/or anti-fascists in the states showing solidarity during this insurrection? And what suggestions do you have for anarchists and/or anti-fascists around the world to show solidarity from afar?

Anarchists and antifascists have participated from the beginning of these rebellions. The movement has explicitly focused on policing, prisons and its appendages for quite some time now. So this moment of rebellion is very special for us.

But we should be clear; this wasn’t an uprising sparked by anarchists. The rebellion is driven by black youth who are tired of being dehumanized and murdered. Anti-black violence and white supremacy is the cornerstone of US political, economic and social life. It is so entrenched that reform is impossible. We as anarchists have long held this position and have fought and organized to destroy this situation, but we are just one of many political tendencies that have been taking part in this insurrection.

Around the world the most important thing for anarchists to do is to intensify political and economic pressure on the US and contribute to local tensions and resistance against police. Target anything and everything that makes the United States function and powerful, while further generalizing and empowering the discontent that inspired the uprising to begin with; targeting local racism, the police, and other appendages of domination and exploitation. The US is incredibly weak now and the weaker it gets the better it is for us here and for people around the world in general. Additionally, any act of solidarity gives strength to those of us in the streets. Solidarity is strongest in a shared attack that knows no borders!

How is it that some people claim to support the rebellion in the USA but backtrack due to so-called “violence”?

In the US, the concept of “non-violence” as practiced by Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader in the 1960’s, is held up and celebrated, in hindsight, as the perfect expression of activism. By extension, protest is seen as an expression of activism. Thus, all legitimate and supposedly “effective” protest should bare a lot of resemblance to these principles of non-violent protest which are reported in history for single-handedly achieving civil rights in America. In reality, the situation was much more complicated and frequent insurrections in major cities also played a very big role in the state passing new laws that abolished formal/legal segregation in the southern US (Jim Crow; only to eventually readapt methods of oppression). Nevertheless, the official narrative gives non-violence all the credit. Furthermore, the narrative is that every protest must be to advance a legal cause, not a revolutionary movement. Sometimes even revolutionary sounding rhetoric (Such as Killer Mike of Run the Jewels, known democrat and son of a police officer using deceptive language to denounce protesters following attacks on CNN headquarters and the police) is used when talking about changing laws or achieving other basic reforms. Any American action in the streets that is truly revolutionary or is violent is generally considered illegitimate, because of the aforementioned beliefs about what legitimate struggle looks like that is culturally very powerful. This is another reason why the events that have happened are so inspiring because they totally reject this logic and this narrative. The degree to which the uprising spread to such a diverse array of cities shows how widespread the dissatisfaction with this narrative has become. A partial explanation is that the people acted before any formal leaders had a chance to try to assert themselves as representatives of the movement. The truly organic nature of the movement has been its strength from the beginning and what has allowed it to break free from what otherwise would have been protests carefully orchestrated by professional activists and politicians.

People are conditioned from a young age to seek faith in the theater of democratic politics. Violence is the negation of such a faith. Violence is a demonstration of self-determination, it demonstrates a desire to seek a world beyond the present.

We are taught that we have rights, but rights are choices that can be taken away, as they are set by a social contract that is maintained by authority. Rights are nonsense, deceptive options that are used to instill the fear that lies at the basis of today’s social peace. You have your rights, your freedom(S), and if you behave according to the laws of the box that contain these choices, you will not go to prison. Rights are imaginary, and typically only assumed to have validity by the included and beneficiaries of a stratified society. This is a very important thing to remember when judging the voice of a proclaimed ally contesting political violence or self-defense.

Violence and physical revolt recognizes a rigged playing field. It demonstrates a will to go further, a desire that can not be controlled by a system that can at any moment take away such rights. The voices that take an issue with violence are speaking a language of faith in the justice and politics of a system responsible for inspiring revolutionary violence to begin with. These voices will encourage you to plea, to wait, and to hope.

Activists, liberals, and so-called allies supporting from the bench are quick to denounce violence because they have faith in the options the current theater of politics present for change. They want to re-appropriate the existing powers, as oppose to demolish them. In some cases they are also afraid, and instead of humbly recognizing their fear of being punished for courageous risk and resistance, they huddle like cowards behind various critiques of violence.

On the other hand you can wonder why we grow up learning about Martin Luther King and Ghandi, rather then such historical figures of the same time and place such as Malcolm X or Bhagat Singh. The right, the powerful, or the systematic and calculated methods of self-preservation by capitalist society will always denounce revolutionary violence and insurrection. This is simply because this type of resistance is what they fear, this type of resistance threatens their status, and the system that maintains it.

Violence is a neutral subject. Two people can be holding a gun, and it be a totally different situation. One person (Patrick Crusius) can hold a gun in order to murder immigrants and people of color at random in El Paso, Texas, while another person (Chrystul Kizer) can hold a gun to kill a man who raped and trafficked them.

One may say we are only discussing George Floyd because he was fortunate enough to have had his lynching caught on tape. However this is not why we are still discussing George Floyd. People are tortured and murdered across the United States every single day. And in many cases it is caught on video. But the real reason we are still talking about George Floyd after his death, is because this particular incident sparked a generalized revolt of what I would consider a positive type of violence that the police could not control.

Has the coronavirus played a role in the current insurrection?

The coronavirus definitely played a role in the rebellion. There are several main factors here. The economic fallout has left millions of people helpless. There are millions without work in the US. Having a job in the US also does not mean escaping poverty. The unemployment rate does not truly reflect the percentage of people struggling to survive; those working jobs that do not cover their day to day expenses are considered to be employed. The level of precariousness is enormous. Then you have an entire country stuck inside and restless, particularly the youth.

Black people in the US have died of the coronavirus at at a rate three times higher than white americans due to a consistent lack of access to quality healthcare. There was a huge lack of testing in poor communities, but this is intentional. People have little access to healthcare in general, and quality medical assistance is reserved for more affluent communities. People in working class communities continued working and taking public transportation during the pandemic in order to survive. This made the virus spread in more extreme ways, but particularly to marginalized communities.

Quarantine also highlighted divisions and privileges in society. The rich were able to escape dense cities and isolate in luxury. People who lost their jobs and were offered scraps by the government as huge companies and the rich received unprecedented bailouts. The richest few had their wealth increase by over half a trillion dollars, while everyone else was home wondering about the next week, the next bill, or the next meal.

Poor people, Black and brown people, native people, and the excluded demographics of the United States took a massive hit from the virus. There was no pretending anymore about whose life matters and whose didn’t as the state contained oppressed peoples inside petri-dish like virus-filled prisons and immigrant detention centers — acceptable death zones populated by capitalism’s expendables. Furthermore, the workers who were deemed essential during the pandemic to keep society functioning were among the least rewarded and most exploited in society prior (Nurses, agricultural workers, grocery store workers, and so on). This allowed people to realize the absurd logic of capitalism and begin asking questions that many Americans have never even considered. Instead of raises and protection, these workers were only greeted with patronizing praise from the rich and powerful as “heroes”, while such petty appreciation is obviously insulting when someone is risking death and the spread of the virus to their loved ones. People’s eyes were open to a point that no deception offered by the supposed american dream could distract people from the nightmare that is most american’s everyday life.

When the Trump administration also began noticing that non-white and lower class demographics were being affected by the coronavirus at much higher rates then his almost exclusively white fan base, he and his media apparatus began a blatantly racist push to re-open the economy and as Trump put it: “let the virus wash through”.

So due to these systemic, structural reasons the Black community was by far one of the most affected by the coronavirus in the country. On top of all that, when the state demanded people begin social distancing the police immediately began terrorizing Black communities for not following orders. Even as the country was in lockdown, police found a way to keep the numbers of people murdered by them as high as they were in recent years. And with people being home, many had all day to view videos of police murder and torture in the streets as they happened.

The coronavirus became a formula that helped to turn the country into a powder keg.

Is race the only issue driving this uprising?

The insurrection is predominantly about white supremacy, policing, and the prison system (13th is a quality film on this subject). Heinous murder of Black youth is the norm in the United States, and people finally had enough.

Class also plays a fundamental role in the uprising, as it does in all capitalist societies. However, this uprising was totally driven by the Black working class which has a very different character than the activist movement in the US which is often from bourgeois backgrounds and approaches politics as a hobby as opposed to indispensable struggle. Due to this reality the character of the original uprising was pretty open to whoever wanted to participate, and acted without fear of judgment by the racist morality of the status quo.

It should also come as no surprise that while the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to levels not seen since the great depression, people are now fighting back against the system. If the movement can retain this working class ferocity and fluidity the potential for revolutionary change is greater than it’s been in a lifetime.

What are some of the origins of white supremacy in the USA?

The origins of white supremacy in the US are the origins of the country itself. The US was founded as a white supremacist project explicitly. Built on the backs of the enslaved African population and the genocide of the indigenous, the US established itself as the model nation for white power. In its early laws they claimed Black people were only three fifths of a human and were viewed as property until 1865. After that the government did everything in its power to ensure the foundations of slavery remained, transferring the process from plantations to the prison industrial complex.

But this process started with early European expansion around the world. The US, in actuality, is a project built from European thought and politics. Both continents are historically entangled with extreme racial regimes and mass slaughter and genocide. Additionally, the status of economic and political power maintained on both continents come at the expense of historical colonialism that has come to define the global mapping of the 1st and 3rd worlds today.

What does it mean to be against white supremacy? Are there elements of reverse racism in this struggle?

First off, reverse-racism is not a thing. It is an oxymoron.

Racism isn’t simple prejudice but a system of oppression and because there is no racialized system of oppression that whites are subject to, they cannot be victims of racism.

“White” in American society is an established demographic that has some pre-existing advantages on its own. For example, while many white people in America suffer due to poverty, there are still inherent advantages to being white. One great example is the ability to go jogging at night without being seen as fleeing a crime.

The ruling class has determined throughout history that there is to be a calculated delegation of suffering. The notion of the savage, the inferior non-gentile /dark skinned populations of the world established by European conquest is a critical origin as to the demographics chosen to suffer in the world today. Approaches and language used by oppressing/ruling populations have been modernized and adapted, but the foundation remains the same. White means to be included, to have a better seat in the stadium without condition.

While overall Black people in the United States have a 250% higher chance of being murdered by police (that’s according to official numbers, the real number is likely higher overall, and varies by region and level of diversity), many of those murdered are also poor white people. The ruling class does not spare the excluded white population, and having a critique of white supremacy does not forfeit a recognition of white people suffering under capitalism. But it is essential that we recognize that a contempt for being white is a frustration with the race that has been chosen by this system as included and defended. White people are included and defended, at the expense of, and from, so-called inferior non-white demographics. While the oblivious or racist make claims of reverse-racism, others have recognized the same gestures of frustration against white supremacy as logical contempt.

There are some Black separatist groups* that exist, but their calls for separation stem from a desperation to escape the relentless infliction of misery that comes not from a diverse society, but a diverse society that has been stratified based on race and ethnicity. Such a desperate call for Black power through segregation comes from the experience of knowing a diverse society that has one race delegated to reign supreme.

Across the United States, as diverse as it is, and regardless of its deceptive civil rights acts, people remain brutally segregated. Whether by class or race, the United States presents some of the most intense close-proximity segregation in the world. Look at New York City for example, where you have some of the poorest parts of the country and wealthiest neighborhoods in the world existing side-by-side, separated by the beast of the police and their judicial system. Many non-white communities do not even interact with white people in daily life unless it is white police invading their neighborhoods and maintaining their poverty. In no way at all am I ignoring the plight of white working class communities, but there are volatile disparities that scream back at those claiming “all lives matter” with an acid that will seal their racist lips. Two and a half million people are in prison in the United States, many innocent, many white, and many poor. In no way do we dismiss the poor white people, but in a country roughly 13% Black, and a prison population almost 40% percent Black, the gaslighting efforts behind claims of reverse-racism or “all lives mattering” are mathematically invalid.

What is falsely deemed “reverse-racism” is actually an understandable frustration with a demographic that has power due to the suffering of another demographic. You can be white and despise what it means to be white in the world today.

There have been instances in past riots, such as the 1992 Los Angeles riots, of whites being randomly attacked for simply being white. While this was in the minority of overall inspiring events that happened, they were one unfortunate result of an explosive situation. This is not something that has been present in the current uprising. The current uprising has been remarkably diverse right from the beginning in all its expressions and despite the participation of millions, there has been no real serious examples of inter-racial violence occurring. On the contrary, at least prior to the involvement of false leaders, there has been a remarkable sense of unity, even in spite of individual disagreements on strategy and tactics and people coming from different political backgrounds. Serious objections to violence, looting, etc. have almost exclusively come from outsiders who have not been on the streets and from some of the peaceful protesters now filling the streets, following a narrative the media has handed them about what “legitimate” protest looks like. Many of those peaceful protestors are now being subject to widespread police violence, which will hopefully radicalize many of them. In this way, the system is helping make our points for us to these newer more peaceful demonstrators.

* Many Europeans appear at times to fetishize any semblance of the original Black Panther Party, especially in the form of using images of the New Black Panther Party posing with weapons to proclaim solidarity with black struggle. It is important to note that the New Black Panther Party is not the same as the old Black Panther Party or the Black Liberation Army. It has been rejected by almost all surviving members of the original Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, including those still serving time in prison for their actions. The New Black Panther Party is a viciously authoritarian, antisemitic, pro-segregation, and anti-gay organization. The guns they carry are all legally owned firearms in the USA.

How do anarchists in the states find solidarity with people who are not formally anarchist?

We do not have the numbers to function with blinders on. Additionally the sincerity of rage and passion for freedom that come from experience can outweigh the alleged enlightenment of any theoretical understanding. We also live in an intensely diverse society, and have to challenge ourselves to break out of the insular thinking of classical anarchist organizing.

In the states we must adapt to the circumstances we face, and challenge ourselves to focus on deeper elements of tension and discontent, that transcend the superficiality of political identity.

We find our solidarity standing horizontally with a discontent of experience. When the streets escalates resistance we look to board ship . Anarchists in the states seek a solidarity of shared enemy and shared frustration. Maybe those we seek to fight alongside do not have recite the same rhetoric or proclaim the same ideology, but our priority is to seek the hand of those that share our rage with this system and act accordingly.

Is looting something perceived as revolutionary? Do you support the looting politically? Do you take issue with the judgments of liberals regarding the ethics of looting?

No I don’t take issue with looting. Nor do I show any respect to the morality that lies at the foundation of capitalist society. To take issue with looting implies a non-issue with the status quo needed in order to “appropriately” purchase products.

Let me put it this way: the wealthy of New York City looted stores across the city in order to be prepared for lockdown and quarantine as the Coronavirus Pandemic loomed. Generally speaking, it was only in some small stores in very poor neighborhoods that some home essentials for quarantine could be sparsely found. Many poor people are unable to purchase in bulk, as most work paycheck to paycheck and the notion of investment of any kind, even an investment into the coming days of a quarantine, is not an option.

Stores across NYC were emptied of toilet paper, disinfectants, personal protective equipment, food, and whatever the rich could get their hands on. The rich “legally” looted the stores, and hoarded safety. They did this on their terms; the same terms that define purchasing power within capitalism. The terms that calculate and delegate suffering.

Looting is an act of defying these terms. It is an act that exposes the fragility of these terms that the police and justice system exist to maintain and enforce.

No product accounted for by global capitalism can be measured against an everyday life of suffering with origins in formal slavery. To denounce looting in the context of a social insurrection gives praise to the notion of purchasing in accordance with the terms defined by the ruling class’s putrid morality.

Looting in the context of a social uprising, in most cases threatens the reification of the ‘sacred’ purchase; essentially breaking the barriers we are conditioned to accept that exist between poverty and life. However, looting and the social violence of an insurrection is not always perfect. There have been some small businesses burned in Minneapolis for example that certainly didn’t deserve compared to other available targets. As Alfredo Bonanno has said, insurrection “is a blow of the tiger’s claws that rips and does not distinguish. Of course, an organized minority is not the insurgent people. So it distinguishes. It has to distinguish.”

As far as I’m concerned, to take issue with looting (especially if it targets big businesses and exclusive commodities) is to advocate for purchasing. It resembles a voice that comes from a position of privilege; the privilege to not feel desperate. It also stems from a position that is concerned with the judgment of the included and benefited in this society.

Looting can be beautiful and sad at the same time. I understand also the concerns regarding the materialistic elements of some types of looting, but I don’t think this outweighs the broader revolutionary implications. I am sad to see a small business owned by a struggling family be scooped up by the vacuum of rage that is a riot, but on the other hand I smile seeing poor people sporting fashion symbols of the rich and shopping at Wal-Mart without a wallet.

As an anarchist, with a limited voice in the world of politics, I refuse to even for a second, consider denouncing an uprising due to looting.

There are plenty of voices on the right and in power that believe in the sanctity of the purchase, and use such a belief to demonize, divide, and degrade an insurrection. These are well funded voices that are preserved by this society in order to support the genocidal normalcy that inspired an insurrection in the first place. If you use your voice to degrade or demean gestures of self-determination and rebellion you can not sincerely claim to be an accomplice to an uprising. Those in power protecting the status quo will use their well-funded media apparatus to demonize and divide the insurrection; the so called participants/supporters should not.

If you take moral issue with looting it may be important to look within your own claim to support an uprising against white supremacy, capitalism, and the state. Because you are asserting a logic that rewards institutional looting, domination, and exploitation, and looks to punish or be cautious of any grassroots efforts of revenge and/or self-preservation.

A very eloquent defense of looting in the context of a Black uprising was put forth by the situationists as early as 1965 and is as relevant as ever:

“The looting of the Watts district was the most direct realization of the distorted principle: ‘To each according to their false needs’ — needs determined and produced by the economic system which the very act of looting rejects. But once the vaunted abundance is taken at face value and directly seized, instead of being eternally pursued in the rat-race of alienated labor and increasing unmet social needs, real desires begin to be expressed in festive celebration, in playful self-assertion, in the potlatch of destruction.
Looting is a natural response to the unnatural and inhuman society of commodity abundance. It instantly undermines the commodity as such, and it also exposes what the commodity ultimately implies: the army, the police and the other specialized detachments of the state’s monopoly of armed violence. What is a policeman? He is the active servant of the commodity, the man in complete submission to the commodity, whose job it is to ensure that a given product of human labor remains a commodity, with the magical property of having to be paid for, instead of becoming a mere refrigerator or rifle — a passive, inanimate object, subject to anyone who comes along to make use of it. In rejecting the humiliation of being subject to police, the blacks are at the same time rejecting the humiliation of being subject to commodities.”

– Situationist International, “The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy”, 1965

Why are there so many accusations of conspiracy theories behind the protests, and also this claim of outside agitators?

The US is an odd country. The prevalence of conspiracy theories is shocking. People who are often for the status quo often believe really outlandish theories here. In many ways this is indicative of the rapid decline of the US as a power. Its population is now so tremendously misinformed they often don’t know very basic facts. For instance, there’s a growing, and sizable group of people that believe climate change is fake, antifa is funded by George Soros, and the world is flat.

Furthermore, people are so detached and so fixated on their devices they have a hard time believing anything is ever real. So whenever anything happens many people think it’s fake. However the state also understands how to leverage this. Over 150 cities/towns had protest activity. The government claims outside agitators have launched the rebellion even though it makes literally no sense. Historically the government has always said this about Black liberation movements. Part of it is racist. The state believes, or wants people to believe, that Black people are incapable of doing anything without a white hand. And on the other side, if it is “outsiders” then the state can argue the movement is illegitimate.

Following the first and second world wars, a relentless terror campaign by the FBI to eradicate the left, anarchists, and anyone challenging the status quo went into full effect. This lead to future generations of apolitical people knowing nothing more then democrat versus republican. Periods of political resurgence appear throughout history since this period (Anti-war movement in the 60s, armed struggle groups in the 70s, anti-globalization movement in the 90s, and so on), however most people in America are not taught to be political the way most are in rest of the world. Generally we are taught to be culturally liberal or conservative, and embrace political variations of the right wing. Most jump into prescribed political narratives that don’t challenge much of anything. So the appealing shock and awe of conspiracy theories is fairly understandable, and sadly these help keep people divided and distracted, fixated on trees as opposed to the forest.

In europe these kind of extended riots go hand in hand with big strikes. Are there big strong unions (maybe leftist some of them) during this period that could start a big strike?

The U.S. unions have generally been coopted by a right wing mentality and barely resemble their radical roots. Of course wildcat strikes of transportation could considerably damage the powers that be, but the country was already at a sort of surreal standstill due to the quarantine, with very few working at all, and only “essential” U.S. infrastructure being used.

Some gestures of solidarity were made by bus workers refusing to drive demonstrators to prison for example, but generally unions and wildcat strikes are very rare and equally unlikely in the USA. In a consumer economy with most industry automated, the few manual jobs are usually done by the most exploited of immigrants, and if they were done by union labor, such jobs typically end up being exported to a country where labor is cheaper. However, what did happen leading up to this was massive coordinated rent strikes due to massive unemployment, and huge networks of mutual aid being built across the country. Whether coincidence like the virus itself, or a precursor of organizing towards general revolt, any wild cat strike in the complicated economy of the USA is typically done on an organic social level as opposed to throughcoordinated union effort.

Will Trump’s declaration to recognize anarchists and anti-fascists as a terrorist organization lead to increased repression? What type of support can you anticipate being needed in the near future, or now?

Trump’s threat to label anarchists and antifa as terrorists will almost certainly increase repression here. In many ways it is a sign of political weakness and desperation. Trump, Barr and the rest of the clowns in office know perfectly well anarchists are not solely responsible for these uprisings. But they can’t say “we have been killing and destroying Black people for decades so they rightfully rose up in rebellion.” They need a scapegoat.

The state and media are desperate to recuperate and restructure the response and narrative of the demonstrations. However recuperating an insurrection that is de-centralized, spontaneous, and organic is quite hard without an imaginary boogeyman to place all the blame on. We are not surprised by this response, nor is it the first time anarchists have been considered public enemy #1 in the united states.

So the likelihood the movement will come under attack is very high. But none of us are afraid. None of us are surprised. Everyone has realized that the US is weak and can only rule by terror. Once people are no longer afraid the regime’s power substantially weakens. The greatest support we can ask for is to continuously attack the U.S. Keep attacking until this wretched empire is a thing of the past.

Over ten thousand people have been arrested that we know of. We also know that in the streets you not only have local police forces, but you have ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the FBI, and various other agencies tracking, surveilling, and in terrogating arrested demonstrators. Already you have people facing long-term prison sentences for throwing malfunctioned molotovs under the charge of attempted murder. Even prior to all this we have a long term anarchist prisoner serving 10 plus years for throwing a non-functioning molotov cocktail at a federal building.

Trump and his “law and order” response is a call for a counter-revolutionary and state repression campaign that is as unprecedented as the insurrection that has been sweeping the streets of america.

Sadly liberal activists and media have been part of the attempt to cast out anarchists and anti-fascists. Blaming violence on so-called white provocateurs, posting information online about suspected rioters and evenliberal activists tackling demonstrators who commit property damage and turning them over to the police are among the disgusting things happening as reformist groups begin to co-opt the dialogue.

Instead of recognizing the solidarity in the actions of anarchists and anti-fascists participating horizontally in the riots, many of the middle and upper class politically-correct world, as well as liberal Black leaders pandering to the white mainstream, degrade the courageous violence against the police by dismissing it as “political opportunism by white agitators.” Regardless of this absurd claim that falls in line with other liberal conspiracy theories, we all know that anarchists and anti-fascists play a much less significant role in the severity of resistance then informally political Black, brown, and working class people simply fed up with the misery of everyday american life. As anarchists we do however dismiss the accusations of coopting Black struggles, and will forever take a stance as accomplices to an insurrection against white supremacy, as opposed to allies supporting from the safety of computers and ballot boxes.

So much is happening, so much is expected to continue happening, and information at the moment is overwhelming. However we are including with this text a list below of bail funds, anti-repression groups, and frequently updated websites regarding the on-going uprising.

Bail Funds – Huge compilation of bail funds and support groups created during and used for the current uprising.

Abolition Media Worldwide

Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM)

NYC Anarchist Black Cross

Who Arms The Police? A Short List of “Canadian” Companies

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Jun 222020

From North Shore Counter-Info

People in the so-called US have been rising up against white supremacy and the police, and for Black liberation. People in so-called Canada have been in the streets too – naming genocide against Black and Indigenous people, calling out police murders here, and making their opposition known. Many of these demonstrations, occupations, and riots have been met with more police violence. The police in the “US” and “Canada” regularly use tear gas, rubber bullets, tasers, batons, and sound weapons to suppress our presence in the streets and to harass marginalized communities on the daily.

There are many ways to participate in this uprising! A lot of people have been contributing to bail funds, calling people in power and demanding the police be defunded, starting up their own conflict mediation and deescalation collectives with the goal of abolishing the police entirely, and showing up in the streets night after night after night. And that’s just a short list! We wanted to share the information below in an effort to expand our collective imagination with the concrete goal of trying to stop the police from having the weapons they need to control this uprising. We have been inspired by this work happening in the “US” including this map (Google Maps link) – and if anyone wants to make a map version of this list, please do!.

What follows is a list of companies that make tear gas and other supposedly “less lethal” weapons and supply them to “US” cops and their “Canadian” counterparts, plus information about those companies, including what they manufacture, who they have contracts with, and where they are located. We chose to research “less lethal” and “riot control” weapons manufacturers because those weapons have become a focus in this moment.

Movements need all the help they can get so be creative about how you use this information. It would be amazing if “US” and “Canadian” cops didn’t have access to the supplies they need to suppress the protests and harass marginalized communities. Let’s figure out how to make that happen!

This research is dedicated to all the people who have died at the hands of police using those “less lethal” weapons and to everyone who has been killed by the police.

1. Defense Technology/Safariland LLC is a “US” based company that has a “Canadian” version called Pacific Safety Products Inc.

-Safariland is a giant sprawling company that manufactures all kind of things for police forces. They own Atlantic Tactical, which, according to Wikipedia is “the largest law enforcement equipment distributor in the northeastern US”. They are perhaps best known for manufacturing tear gas that has been heavily used against migrants on the US-Mexico border in 2019, against protesters in Puerto Rico in that same year and against protesters on the streets in the US today.

-Two of the major Safariland subsidiaries that you’ll hear about are Atlantic Tactical and Defense Technology. As we said earlier, they exist in “Canada” as Pacific Safety Products Inc.

-In “Canada”, they mostly produce and sell body armour to the RCMP. Although we have seen evidence that they also sell tear gas to police forces like the SPVM in Montreal.

-Their main manufacturing site in “Canada” is located in Arnprior, Ontario at 124 Fourth Avenue. They also have an office in Vancouver in Suite 2600, Three Bentall Centre, 595 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, V7X 1L3. Their director is named Rob Reynolds, who lives in Ottawa at 2400 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa ON K1G 6C4.

-Their website is

-For some reason, Pacific Safety Products in particular also claims to have a manufacturing facility in the “US”. It is located at 1 Sentry Drive, Dover, Tennessee. The company that runs this manufacturing site is called GH Armour Systems and their website is

2. Distributors of Safariland products in “Canada” deserve their own section. These distributors all have contracts with Correctional Services Canada (aka the federal prison system), the RCMP (aka the federal police force), and/or the Canadian Border Services Agency (aka the border cops).

a) Summit Canada Distributors sells “less lethal” weapons to CSC and the RCMP. They are based in Cornwall, Ontario at 700 Campbell Street, Unit 1, Cornwall, K6H 6C9. Their website seems to be dead, but you can find it on the Internet Archive here.

b) Rampart International Corp sells pepper spray to the CBSA. Their offices are located in Ottawa at 2574 Sheffield Road, K1B 3V7. You can find out more about their company here.

c) Distribution Elite Canada sells weapons and body armour to CSC. They are located at 74, Goodfb) Rampart International Corpellow, #110, Delson (Quebec) J5B 1V4.

3. Lamperd Less Lethal (Stock Symbol LLLI) – is a “Canadian” based company.

-Lamperd sells “less-lethal” tools (like tear gas supplies, rubber bullets etc) and provides police training. They have been authorized to export to the “US” since November 2018 and b) Rampart International Corpare likely exporting products to “US” cops to this day. They tweeted about their riot control products on June 2nd, 2020. Timely, right? You can find them online at and their President and CEO Barry Lamperd has a twitter account @lamperd_llli.

-They are located at 1200 Michener Road in Sarnia, Ontario, N7S 4B1. Their phone number is 519-344-4445

-In the “US”, they are distributed by LTL Global LLC, Security PRO USA, American Reserve Munitions. In “Canada”, they are distributed by Distribution Elite Canada and Canadian Armour.

-If you’re curious about their financial situation, you can check out their filings here. It includes names of shareholders, directors, consultants, lenders, etc.

4. MD CHARLTON is a “Canadian” based company that is the exclusive distributor of a few of the top “less-lethal” weapons manufacturers based in the “US”.

-You can find them online at They have contracts with the Department of Defense (weapons, body armour) and the RCMP (weapons, uniforms).

-They are the exclusive distributors of Combined Systems / CTS and Axon/TASER – both are “US” companies who are selling “crowd control” materials to “US” cops.

-Their head office is located at E-2200 Keating Cross Rd, Victoria, BC, V8M 2A6

-They have two distribution and sales locations. One is located at Unit 4, 4100-B Sladeview Cres, Mississauga, ON, L5L 5Z3. The other is located at 20253 Fraser Highway, Langley, BC, V3A 4E7

-They also have retail stores. You can find those in Langley, BC at 20253 Fraser Highway, V3A 4E7, Phone: (604) 534-1588. They also have a retail store in Mississauga, Ontario at Unit 4, 4100B Sladeview Cres, L5L 5Z3, Phone:(905) 625-9846 and in Victoria, BC at Unit E – 2200 Keating Cross Rd, V8M 2A6, Phone:(250) 652-5266. They also have stores located near Ottawa at 66 Iber Road, Building A, Unit 103, Stittsville, Ontario, K2S 1E8, Phone: (613) 599-3950 and in Darthmouth, Nova Scotia at 5 Macrae Av.

5. Rheinmetall Canada Inc. is the “Canadian” version of a company called Rheinmetall Defence. Though Rheinmetall is mostly based in Europe, they also have distribution and manufacturing arms in the “US” and “Canada”.

-Rheinmetall manufactures and sells armoured vehicles (aka tanks) mostly to militaries around the world, but also to police forces. They are a huge company that also manufactures munitions and “less-than-lethal riot control” products. They have contracts with the Department of Defense in “Canada”.

-You can find more information about their “Canadian” division here. In “Canada”, “75% of the company’s business is for the Canadian Department of National Defence”.

-They are located at 225, boulevard du Seminaire Sud in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. Their phone number is 450-358-2000 and their fax number is 450-358-1744. They also have an office located in Ottawa, Ontario at 99 Metcalfe Street.

-There are four directors of Rheinmetall Canada, only 2 are based in “Canada” (2019 filing): Stéphane OEHRLI: 2195 Rue Maryse-Bastié, Montréal QC H4R 3H4 and Robert MONTCALM; 721, rue des Noisetiers, Boucherville QC J4B 0E5.

6. Axon International (formerly TASER) (also called Axon Enterprise, Inc) is a “US” based company with a “Canadian” subsidiary called Axon Public Safety Canada Inc or Axon Canada.

-Axon is best known for making tasers. However, they also produce Axon Aware which provides livestream functionality for body cameras worn by law enforcement officers in the field and also makes Axon Citizen, which is described as a “public evidence submission tool.” These technological surveillance tools are used to criminalize and repress people in the streets and are used in court to put people in prison. This article explains how Axon has expanded its reach into “Canada”.

-Axon’s “Canadian” headquarters are in Toronto: HQ 222 Bay Street Suite 3000, Toronto ON M5K 1E7. Their only “Canadian” director (other 3 are based in Scottsdale, AZ) is Vishal Dhir who lives at 8454 12th Avenue, Burnaby, BC V3N 2L6.

7. Sage International Ltd also known as Sage Control Ordnance Inc. is a “US” based company.

-They manufacture different kinds of “less-lethal ammunition” and hand-thrown munitions. You can find them online at They have one distributor in “Canada”, which is located in Alberta. It is called Bashaw Sports Centre and is located at 5013-50th St Box 126 in Bashaw AB, T0B0H0. Their phone number is 780-372-4440. Their website seems to be down, but used to be here:

8. Valley Associates Global Security Corporation aka Bastedo Defense Inc. is a “Canadian” based company.

-They sell “less lethal grenade launchers” and are a distributor for “US” companies like Genasys and Less Lethal Technologies. They have contracts with the Department of National Defence.

-They are located in Ottawa at 2108 Old Montreal Rd. Their other contact information is here: Phone: +613 830 1880, Fax: +613 803 3008, Email: The owner of the company is named Alec Rossa.

There is always more research to do! There is no way these are all the companies supplying weapons to the police. We encourage others to do their own research and share it widely so that our movements can have the information they need to succeed. #ACAB #BlackLivesMatter #DefundThePolice #AbolitionNow

Montrealers call for defunding the police, decarcerating prisons

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Jun 152020

From the Anti-Carceral Group

June 13, 2020 — Montreal – At 12pm today, one hundred Montrealers gathered in front of the Bordeaux prison to call for defunding the police and decarcerating prisons. Black activists told the crowd about the violence inflicted upon their communities by prisons and the police. The crowd held banners with slogans such as “Prisons Kill,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Defund the Police,” and made noise to show solidarity with prisoners inside Bordeaux.

The uprising sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has brought new attention to police violence south of the colonial border (in the United States). But US activists have also called attention to the killing of Black people in prisons, including Jamel Floyd, a 35 year-old Black man who died after being pepper sprayed in his cell in a federal prison in Brooklyn.

In Canada, mass protests in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, and other cities have brought these issues closer to home, highlighting a long history of violent and racist policing. This local history was a key theme of the Bordeaux protest. Amanda Thompson, a Black co-organizer of the protest, explained: “There a long history of anti-Black policing in Montreal, including a long series of police killings of Black people, as well as everyday surveillance, harassment, and abuse in our communities.”

The Montreal police have been criticized for racial profiling and violence for decades. A string of police killings between 1987 and 1993 brought widespread calls for police accountability, but little change in the operation of police. In the fall of 2019, a report showed that Black and Indigenous Montrealers are four times more likely to be stopped by police than white people. Between 2014 and 2018, moreover, the police killed five Black men: Alain Magloire, René Gallant, Bony Jean-Pierre, Pierre Coriolan, and Nicholas Gibbs.

Police racism is part of the reason for the disproportionate incarceration of Black people in Canada. While Black people represent just 3.5% of the Canadian population, they represent 7.5% of federal prisoners. In Quebec, data on the racial background of provincial prisoners is kept secret, but prisoners at Bordeaux estimate that 20% of prisoners are Black.

The same violence that Black people experience on Montreal streets, moreover, is mirrored behind prison walls. Kiyha Schrouder, a co-organizer of the event, explained: “There are no rules inside prison. Guards can abuse prisoners, throw them in solitary for weeks, and there are no consequences, especially when it comes to Black prisoners. This violence has grave and long-term effects on people’s mental health. This has got to stop today.”

As the global uprising against the police continues, a variety of police reforms have been discussed, such as better police training and police body cams. The message of today’s protest, however, is that prisons and police are fundamentally racist and violence and no piecemeal reform will change that. As Amanda Thompson explained: “When the police kill a Black person, that’s not a mistake; that’s the system working as it was designed. We don’t want small changes to a racist institution, we’re calling for the defunding of the police, the decarceration of prisons, and a reinvestment of that money in communities.”

The noise made by protesters was clearly heard by prisoners inside Bordeaux. At one point in the event, protesters and prisoners chanted slogans back and forth, and both groups made any noise they could. Respecting public health protocols, all protesters wore facemasks, with the event organizers provided masks, food, and water to anyone who needed them.

Photos from the event are available at

Black and Racialized Anarchists on the May 31st Demonstration: 9 Recommendations for Moving Forward

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Jun 072020

From Contrepoints

1. Nothing justifies police violence; whether we’re on a morning jog, using a counterfeit $20 bill, or breaking a jewelry store window. What the colonial state determines as crimes are often attempts at escaping poverty and systemic violence, or the result of these two things. We advocate for a restorative justice centered on the needs and experiences of victims, not a punitive justice centered on the needs of commerce and state control. Those who partake in protests while reproducing the discourse of the dominant class and playing police are doing the oppressors’ work.

2. We advocate for the removal of police forces, because even when they aren’t murdering Black and Indigenous people in broad daylight, they still maintain a social order modeled on capitalism and white supremacy. It’s cops who prevent homeless people from sleeping in empty condos, who kick poor families out onto the street when they can’t afford rent, and who beat up hungry migrants looking for a free meal in a billionaire-owned chain grocery store.

3. It’s up to us and our communities to develop autonomous mutual aid mechanisms that render police obsolete. This starts with having conversations with our neighbours, offering help when needed, or by learning how to support eachother during mental health crises.

4. Political vandalism is to be understood and violence against material property is a legitimate response to the violence committed by people in power. Every storefront window represents a barrier between us and a world inaccessible to us. They represent an urban landscape constructed to uphold an economic system that prevents us from sufficiently housing and feeding ourselves without spending most of our waking hours working. Graffiti and burning luxury cars mark a needed break in the daily, invisible, normalized state violence.

5. To those saying Black and racialized people are paying the price of violent revolt, we reply that we’re paying the price of daily life without violent revolt. A historical analysis of liberation movements can only highlight the necessity of a reversal of the balance of power, embodied by the threat of permanent insurrection. If pleading and begging for mercy was enough to make our oppressors consider our well-being, we would have stopped feeling the pressure of their knee on our necks a while ago.

6. To selectively read and amplify the discourse of moderate, depoliticized, and bourgeois Black people is an insidious form of racism that allows non-Black people to comfortably perform their allyship without jeopardizing their privileges. White people who truly care for our lives should read texts by Black revolutionaries and get educated on decolonial and anarchist ideologies.

7. The mainstream media and police discourse around last Sunday’s vandalism being an adventure separate from the otherwise docile protest isn’t based in an understanding of our motives. It’s simply a strategic discourse meant to weaken our movements. Their deepest fear is that we realize how insurrection isn’t the domain of a few specialized groups but rather the materialization of popular anger — and in turn realize that we can recreate May 31st anywhere, anytime, and with anyone.

8. The idea that only “white anarchists” participated in Sunday’s revolt is insulting to Black, Indigenous, and other racialized protesters who risked it all. Whoever said that must not have stuck around for very long. After the second and third waves of tear gassing, the majority of white marchers had gone home, leaving behind crowds of mostly Black protesters east and west of Saint-Urbain. In any case, all accomplices fighting alongside us are appreciated, more so than those of us reproducing police behavior or who are only concerned with keeping up with the Joneses of the white world — a world that suffocates us. Their success is a testimony of individual perseverance but never of a collective victory. We fight for an entirely different world.

9. Finally, when we chant “no justice, no peace”, we literally mean it. We want to bother those who can usually afford to live their lives oblivious to our pain. Last Sunday, as we were running to the rhythmic clanking of construction signs bouncing off the pavement and to the sound of glass shattering, it felt for a moment like those satisfied with the prevailing order wouldn’t be able to ignore us. No justice? Then no peace.

Piles of Bricks and Other Things That Are Beside the Point: 11 Arguments Against Protest Conspiracies

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Jun 052020

From North Shore Counter-Info

(There is also a PDF of this text available for printing)

We’ve seen a lot of people on social media spreading rumours and sharing conspiracy theories about the uprising currently going on South of the border. These might be rumours about potential white supremacist attacks and interventions or conspiracies about police agents being responsible for violence carried out by protestors. This kind of online behaviour is harmful and undermines the movements you’re probably trying to support, and we thought we’d take a minute to break down why we should collectively push back against this trend.

1) Riots, that includes activities such as throwing bricks and other things that could be classified as violent, are and have been historically part of inciting social change. For better or for worse, there is a long history of rioting in America (and elsewhere), some of the more popular U.S. examples include the Watts Riots, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot and then Stonewall, the Rodney King Riots, and more recently events like the Ferguson Uprising. Riots happen for a lot of different reasons and under a variety of circumstances, but it is usually (at least in part) the result of nothing else working, of being ignored, unheard, and push to a breaking point. Sometimes they’re both unavoidable and necessary, and have an important role to play in struggle.

2) Rioting, brick throwing, and other violence does not and should not de-legitimize a movement. Often such events are the only thing that make those who are less impacted pay attention – police kill black people and others, all of the time and it doesn’t get the attention in deserves. Police in America have killed several black people since the COVID crisis broke out, for example Breonna Taylor amongst others, and business as usual continued. So many people are paying attention right now because of how people have responded to the death of George Floyd and how that response has spread. The fact that people are now paying attention is proof of the efficacy of these tactics.

3) Related to the first two points, violent protest can actually help and work in tandem with non-violent protest rather than detract from it. Many of the most common examples of pacifist resistance and its successes weren’t accomplished alone and in a vacuum. Rather, non-violent movements were taking place alongside other more militant movements working towards similar goals but pursuing different strategies and tactics. For example, you can’t look at the Civil Rights Movements in the U.S. and figures like Martin Luther King, without also considering the Black Panthers and other armed groups. It is common that the existence of more militant groups/events create a context in which those in power are forced to engage with other groups that appear more moderate in comparison. This isn’t necessarily desirable and cooptation is real, but this is part of understanding struggle and how society changes over time.

4) Many conspiracy theories are focused on bricks being left near protest sites, as if that is the only thing causing violence. But people having been using a range of tactics since the beginning, including many a lot more violent than throwing bricks. People have guns and are shooting police, people are committing arson and burning buildings to the ground, along with doing vandalism, looting, and more. And violence is certainly not only coming from anti-racist protestors, on the contrary the vast majority of violence is coming from elsewhere. White supremacy prevails – racist cops kill with impunity, white supremacists hold political office, and millions of black folks are locked behind bars, to say nothing about the intense socio-economic inequality. In the face of this reality, any way that those under attack decide to respond is both fair and legitimate, and it’s important to support rather than critique it.

5) The argument that violent and/or confrontational protest brings down state violence and repression is problematic on several fronts. First and foremost, it is simply untrue. There are many different factors that go into what the state’s response to protest will look like, and this isn’t just tied to whether it is peaceful or not. It also include things like the identities/social locations of those involved, perceived level of threat to the status quo, potential to spread etc. There are lots of examples of the state responding violently to completely peaceful protests and this is not something within the control of those fighting back. The ability of the state to use violence is a political reality – this movement has had broad support, and that has done more to restrain the police than the tactics chosen by demonstrators. Supporting people on the streets, rather than delegitimizing resistance does more to keep people safe.

6) Furthermore, the argument that conflictual demonstrations bring down state violence shifts the blame from those responsible and who should be accountable (i.e. those acting to violently suppress a movement) to those, who in this case, are fighting for survival in the face of intense, every day structural violence. To put it differently, if a woman was in a physically abusive relationship, decided one day to fight back, and was severely beaten or killed by her partner, the issue here and where the blame should fall would not be on the women, but the partner. The same applies here, the issue and where blame should be placed is on the state and white supremacy, and not those defending themselves.

7) Agent provocateurs, undercovers, and other state agents, absolutely exist, but that is beside the point. Emphasizing this fact shifts focus from other more important things, and creates several different issues. It helps to prop up and promote conspiracy theories that strip away black peoples’ agency, erases their experiences and actions, and gives way too much space and credit to police. Sure, state agents might agitate violence and maybe leave out and/or pick up some projectiles, cops do sketchy shit and try to entrap people all the time. That doesn’t really matter though, because the huge majority of people throwing bricks and engaging in other confrontational activities aren’t police. Police don’t start riots and they certainly don’t maintain/continue them, people do and for good reasons.

8) Building on the above point, not only is it untrue to attribute such activities exclusively to state agents, but it also damaging and potentially dangerous. It can make people think that only cops would do confrontational or violent things, so those who do that for their own reasons come to be seen as doing the work of the state or as harming the cause. This helps to perpetuate the good protestor vs. bad protestor narrative in which some people’s activities are viewed as inherently legitimate and other’s activities as inherently illegitimate. Instead of allowing space for a diversity of tactics and approaches, and creating opportunities for coalition building, solidaristic actions, and complimentary work, it sows seeds of distrust, creates divisions, and facilitates conflict. This is what the state wants, and is one of the central strategies (COINTELPRO is just one well-known example) through which it tries to disrupt, discredit, and otherwise hinder resistance. The state doesn’t want people rioting, it wants people infighting.

9) Beyond being damaging, attributing violence exclusively to state functionaries is actually dangerous and jeopardizes people’s safety in at least two different ways. In the first case, it can create a situation in which protestors attack other protestors on the basis that they think/assume (wrongly) that others are either police or working for police. So, if the rumour spreads and gains traction that police are instigating violence and throwing bricks, those who are not police and not working for police but choose to do such things, can be targeted and attacked in the heat of the moment by a crowd who thinks they’re cops. Bad-jacketing/snitch-jacketing without confirmation/concrete proof can get people seriously hurt.

10) In the second case, if it is believed that anyone who engages in certain activities (whether or not they’re state agents) is detracting from or harming a movement, overzealous folks may take on the role of trying to manage (i.e. like a work manager) a protest or even police other protestors. In such instances, “peace police” may actively try to stop somebody’s actions (usually through physical restraint) or in the worst cases, try to do a “citizen’s arrest” of a fellow protestor and turn them into the police (where they will likely face violence). A particular awful video was recently circulating in which a protestor was breaking up pieces of concrete from the road presumably to throw, when another group of protestors surrounded them, tackled them to the ground, and dragged them over to a line of riot cops.

11) Fighting for change is messy, complicated, contradictory, and yes, sometimes violent. This is true throughout the history of social movements and remains true today. Violence can be empowering, it can engender change, and sometimes people have no other choice – sometimes the world needs to burn so that something new can be built in its place, and it is so important to respect the autonomy of black people resisting. Struggle takes all kinds, looks many different ways, and entails a huge diversity of activities. Right now, instead of speculating or spreading rumours, we should be focusing on how can we engage with, take risks for, and support what is happening, in real, material ways and not just on social media (which causes much more harm than good).

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