Spring Is Coming: Take to the Streets against the War

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Mar 052022
 

From CrimethInc.

The following call to action originally appeared in Russian on avtonom.org, the platform that emerged from the Russia-wide anarchist network Autonomous Action.

Our Russian colleagues report that, under a new law introduced this week, those who are found guilty of spreading misinformation about the invasion of Ukraine can be sentenced to years in prison. This apparently includes those who simply refer to the invasion as a “war,” rather than a “special operation,” as Putin’s government has insisted on doing. In this context, demonstrators show tremendous courage taking to the streets.

The next mass day of protest is scheduled for this Sunday, March 6. We hope their efforts will be echoed by demonstrators around the world, placing pressure from all directions on the Russian government, the global capitalist class, military profiteers, and all the other forces that are abetting the invasion.

To support political prisoners in Russia, donate to the Anarchist Black Cross in Moscow here. To support anarchists in Ukraine, donate here or here. There is also a solidarity structure to support refugees fleeing from Ukraine.

The chief supporters of the prevailing order in Russia today.
Anti-war demonstrators in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Spring Is Coming: Take to the Streets against the War

The Russian army has invaded Ukraine. Putin has lost his senses and his army is bombing cities, shooting civilians, and killing children. More than one million people have fled the country in order to escape from Putin’s “liberators.”

We refuse to submit to Russian military censorship. We say openly and clearly: this is war. This is a war of conquest and the Russian army is running it. With weapons in their hands, Ukrainians are successfully defending themselves from the invaders, but we, who are inside Russia, cannot stand aside from these events. We must show each other and the world that we are against this war, that only Putin and his gang need it. To be against the war is genuine anti-fascism right now.

March 6, this coming Sunday, is the general day of anti-war actions in Russia. Take the central square of your city! One of the meeting points in Moscow is the Square of the train stations at 15:00. There are also meetings at 19:00 and other times. Decide and organize for yourselves, team up with your friends. The main thing is to get out on the streets.

The Russian authorities are panicking now. They have realized that they are losing this war. That is why they hysterically threaten anti-war protesters—with expulsion, or with dismissal, or with immediate conscription into the army, or with jail. Don’t be afraid of them. Ukrainians in their cities go out into the streets with bare hands to protest against the invaders. They are standing against solders with riffles, against tanks. How can one be afraid of the rusty machinery of the Russian police?

We demand an immediate end to the war. We demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. This is the main condition for any further action: the aggression of the Russian Federation must stop. We must stop the slaughter of people. Yes, Putin didn’t ask us when he planned the invasion—but we didn’t stop him in time. So it is important to do it at least now.

Of course, our main goal now is to stop the war in Ukraine. But we have to fight for the future of Russia, as well. There isn’t much time left for this deranged dictator. His small victorious war didn’t go according to the plan and now his removal is only a matter of time and concrete means. But what happens next, after Putin?

The lands of the “Russian Federation” are now at a historical crossroads. The collapse of Putin’s regime may trigger the process of liberation. Sure, they won’t lead to anarchist ideals immediately—but at least Russia will no longer be at war with the rest of the world and with its own population. In this wave of changes, there will be opportunities for serious changes in the political system towards greater decentralization—for example, the complete abolition of the presidency and the transition to a parliamentary republic, which we have been talking about for a long time.

However, there’s another possibility for “what comes next” after Putin: the regime transforming into a pupal stage, into an even more authoritarian regime—the complete closure of all borders and the cessation of international contacts. Blocking half of the Internet in Russia tonight is only the first sign. There will no longer be any forces left for aggressive wars, but this will not make it easier for the inhabitants: they will find themselves in a state reminiscent of North Korea. And there is absolutely no anarchist movement in North Korea. None.

The face of the future of Russia as well as the present? It remains to be seen.

Now, in the coming days and weeks, we all have a unique window of opportunity. Putin’s authoritarian regime has made a fatal mistake and is reeling. If the psychopath in the Kremlin does not press the nuclear button, he will not live long. And now everything depends on us, the inhabitants of Russia. If we remain silent, then the agenda will quickly be hijacked by isolationists and conservatives, who are in the majority in the upper levels of power. But if we are active, we will win. A rusted leviathan needs only to be pushed and it will crumble into dust.

Take the streets on March 6. If you can’t go out on March 6, go out on other days. If you can’t go out at all, protest against the war in other ways: distribute leaflets and posters, stick up stickers, write “no war” on medical masks, hang posters from balconies. Finally, talk to people. This is now more important than studies, more important than work, more important than anything else in the world. Now the fate of not only Ukraine, but also Russia is being decided. Our future is being determined—and only we will be responsible for what it will be.

Winter is ending. Spring is coming.

Autonomous Action

A sticker reading “No War” in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A sticker reading “No War” on an urban map in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A sign affixed to a backpack via charming pins, belonging to a Russian anti-war protester.

Open Letter: “We don’t want to be saved! We want rights!”

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Mar 042022
 

From the Sex Work Autonomous Committee (SWAC)

Sex Workers Demand Full Decriminalization of their Work

Sex workers cannot be ignored anymore. In unceded territories that we call Canada, like elsewhere around the world, they continue to be targeted by harmful policies that criminalize sex work and sex workers, under the guise of saving them from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Far from reaching their goals of eradicating the sex industry, these policies instead marginalize and isolate sex workers from social and legal services, and increase their vulnerability to violence. In response to this repression, sex workers organize to demand better working conditions and equally, worker status with the rights and social protections that comes with that. We argue that it isn’t the nature of the work itself (the exchange of sexual services for money) that exposes sex workers to violence, but rather the repressive laws that govern it. 

The implementation of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) in 2014 made sex work illegal for the first time in Canada. The PCEPA prohibits communicating for the sale of sex in a public space; prohibits advertising the sexual services of another person; prohibits profiting materially from sex work; and criminalizes the purchase of sexual services in any and all contexts. This legislative regime, advocated by many anti-prostitution feminist groups, claims to eliminate demand by criminalizing clients and third parties in order to abolish the sex industry. In fact, since its passage, this law has made sex workers more precarious and vulnerable to violence. By representing sex workers as victims, these laws normalize rather than combat violence against them.

Indeed, these laws create unsafe and exploitative work environments and maintain substandard working conditions. These conditions are the source of sex workers’ daily worries, ranging from difficulties in getting paid to the impossibility of denouncing violence by clients, employers and law enforcement through legal procedures. For those who work independently, criminalization remains an issue, as clients are less likely to provide important security information such as their real identity. This makes it difficult for sex workers to create and maintain important safety mechanism at work, and has led to the murder of several sex workers. For those who work on the street, the prohibition on communicating for the sale of sexual services in public spaces (near parks, schools and daycares) means that they end up working in secluded, poorly lit areas – out of reach of being witnessed – putting them at greater risk of violence. Immigration laws in addition to criminal provisions around sex work encourage more surveillance of migrant sex workers in the industry, and as a result, they may face loss of status, detention, and deportation if their work is discovered – even if they work in legal sectors of the industry such as licensed massage parlors and strip clubs. 

Decriminalization was implemented in New Zealand 20 years ago, and as a result, sex workers are able to put safety mechanisms into place for their work and seek recourse when they experience violence on the job. This government has just started to initiate its mandated task of studying the impacts of PCEPA, even though it should’ve been done five years after its implementation. Time is running out, as sex workers continue to suffer the impacts of criminalization!

Sign the open letter here.

We need to repeal the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act and decriminalization of sex work now! 

This letter was signed by 68 individuals and 50 organizations, all over the unceded indigenous territories that we call Canada, in different sectors: unions, academic, arts, harm reduction, STI prevention, women, migrant, indigenous and trans rights.

Organizations:

  1. Tables des organismes montréalais de lutte contre le sida (TOMS)
  2. Stella, l’amie de Maimie
  3. Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC)
  4. Sex Workers of Winnipeg Action Coalition (SWWAC)
  5. Answer Society
  6. HIV Legal Network
  7. Peers Victoria Resources Society
  8. Projet LUNE
  9. Solidarité Sans Frontière 
  10. Après l’Asphalte
  11. Tout.e ou pantoute podcast
  12. Closet space Winnipeg
  13. Defund the police
  14. Plein Milieu
  15. Centre Associatif Polyvalent d’Aide hépatite C (CAPAHC)
  16. Chapitre Montréalais des Socialiste Démocratiques du Canada 
  17. Projet Intervention Prostitution Québec (PIPQ)
  18. Fondation Filles d’Action
  19. AlterHéros
  20. 2fxflematin
  21. Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs en intervention communautaire (STTIC-CSN)
  22. Aide aux trans du Québec (ATQ)
  23. No Borders Media
  24. Queer McGill
  25. Midnight Kitchen
  26. Collectif Un Salaire Pour Toustes les Stagiaires (SPTS)
  27. Collectif Opposé à la Brutalité Policière (COBP)
  28. REZO -santé et mieux-être des hommes gais et bisexuels, cis et trans
  29. BRUE
  30. PIAMP
  31. Pivot Legal Society
  32. Réseau d’aide aux personnes seules et itinérantes de Montréal (RAPSIM)
  33. Sphère – Santé sexuelle globale
  34. Dopamine
  35. AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM)
  36. Defund Network 604
  37. Projet de Travailleurs de Soutien aux Autochtones (PTSA)/Indigenous Support Workers Project (ISWP)
  38. Indigenous Sex Work and Art Collective (ISWAC) 
  39. Game Workers Unite Montréal
  40. Rue Action prévention (RAP Jeunesse)
  41. Sex Worker Aotearoa Network
  42. Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
  43. PIECE Edmonton
  44. Moms stop the harm
  45. Collectif NU.E.S
  46. Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity
  47. AGIR: Action LGBTQ+ avec les immigrant.es et les réfugié.es
  48. Comité d’intervention infirmière anti-oppressive (UdeS)
  49.  Les 3 sex*
  50. Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) Condordia
  51. Association des travailleuses et travailleurs de rue du Québec (ATTRueQ)

Individuals:

  1. Maria Nengeh Mensah – Professor
  2. Dr Gary Kinsman
  3. Kamala Kempadoo – Professor
  4. Dr Mary Sherman – Co-coordinator of the Indigenous Support Worker Project
  5. Mollie Bannerman – Director of Women & HIV/AIDS Initiative
  6. Louise Toupin – Ally
  7. Marlihan Lopez – Coordinator of  Simone de Beauvoir Institute et vice-president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ)
  8. Ted Rutland – Professor et writer
  9. Kiki Lafond – Coordinator of the sex work programm at RÉZO
  10. Robert Paris – Director of Pact de Rue
  11. Audrey Monette – Criminologist
  12. Mary-Anne Poutanen
  13. Christine Wingate – Director of Moms Stop The Harm
  14. Petra Schulz – Cofounder of Moms Stop The Harm
  15. Fadwa Bahman – Communications coordinator for Queer McGill
  16. Dr. Jess Rowan Marcotte – Community organizer and artist
  17. Émilie Roberge – Community organizer on overdose prevention at TOMS and student in social work
  18. Alexandre Lamontagne – Student in social work
  19. Chacha Enriquez- College professor
  20. Marie LaRochelle – NPO consultant and podcaster
  21. Laurence Bouchard – Special educator
  22. Seeley Quest – Activist
  23. Ana Vujosevic – Coordinator of the Women and HIV/AIDS Initiative (WHAI) Coordinator at Moyo Health and Community Services
  24. Jean-Philippe Bergeron – Outreach worker at Dopamine
  25. Donny Basilisk – Sex woker
  26. Zakiyyah Boucaud – Student and sex worker
  27. Dawn-Marie – Community helper
  28. Megane Christensen – Outreach worker
  29. Amélie Ouimet – Sexologist
  30. Anaïs Gerentes – Candidate à la maîtrise en travail social
  31. Tonye Aganaba – Musician and community worker
  32. Britany Thiessen – Union officer
  33. Rosalie Vaillancourt – Comedian
  34. Mallory Lowe – Visual Artist
  35. Léo Mary- Communication coordinator at TOMS
  36. Anne Archet- Writer
  37. Sandrine Blais – Counselor
  38. Josée Leclerc – Counselor
  39. Melina May – Sex worker and activist at SWAC
  40. Adore Goldman – Sex worker and activist at SWAC
  41. Samantha Knoxx – Sex worker
  42. Pandora Black – Sex worker and activist
  43. Kristen Wiltshire – Activist
  44. Jelena Vermilion
  45. Francis Sheridan Paré
  46. Maxime Holliday
  47. Sam Funari
  48. Magdalene Klassen
  49. Jesse Dekel
  50. Lana Amator
  51. Rida Hamdani
  52. Gaëlle Anctil-Richer
  53. Ellie Ade Kur
  54. Valérie Comeau
  55. Mason Windels
  56. Lysandre M.G.
  57. Éliane Bonin
  58. Nadia Duguay
  59. Moriah Scott
  60. Virginia Potkins
  61. Chanelle Deville
  62. Sophie Hallée
  63. Ivy Sinclair
  64. Catherine Desjardins-Béland
  65. Jonathan McPhedran Waitzer
  66. Rev David Driedger
  67. Roxane Barnabé
  68. Raphaëlle Auger
  69. Mallory Bateman
  70. Juliette Pottier-Plaziat
  71. Charlie Fraser
  72. Geneviève Smith-Courtois
  73. Heather Day

Як зробити коктейль Молотова

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Feb 272022
 

Анонімне надходження в MTL Counter-info

Note to readers: MTL Counter-info now accepts translations of how-to articles in additional languages. If you would like to translate an article from our how-to section, please get in touch or make an anonymous submission.

Дисклеймер: це відео призначене виключно для інформаційних цілей і жодним чином не заохочує й не виправдовує жодну незаконну діяльність.

Ми вважаємо, що важливо поширювати тактичні знання зі спротиву для майбутніх штормів повстання. Тактика спротиву може убезпечити нас, тому що поліція починає боятися. Нам потрібно бути обережними, граючи з вогнем, але з правильним підходом молотови можуть значно посилити нас на вулицях.

Інгредієнти:

Порожні пивні пляшки 500 мл
Рукавички
Бензин
Моторне масло
Лійка
Марля або смужки футболки
Скотч

Ніколи не торкайтеся матеріалів без рукавичок, щоб не залишити відбитки пальців.

Спочатку наполовину наповніть пивну пляшку сумішшю з 2/3 бензину і 1/3 моторного масла. Моторне масло продовжить і поширить горіння. Залиште вільний простір у пляшці, щоб вона заповнилась газом і коктейль вийшов більш вибухонебезпечним.

Для гніту (смужки тканини або марлі) зав’яжіть вузол, який пройде у шийку пляшки на 1 дюйм (2,54 см) від верху. Гніт повинен сягати бензину. Вузол повинен триматися, якщо перевернути пляшку догори дном. Використовуйте скотч, щоб зробити отвір більш герметичним, оскільки бензин випаровується.

Для більших молотових використовуйте пляшки з-під вина з кришкою, яку можна закрутити назад. Також підходять скляні пляшки з-під води з кришкою, яка закручується.

Молотови з пивних пляшок можна транспортувати в упаковці. Зав’яжіть їх у пакети для сміття, щоб зменшити запах бензину та не залишати відбитки пальців.

Перші 30 секунд після запалення найбезпечніші, для того щоб кидати молотов.

Для більших молотових можна використовувати пляшки з-під вина з кришкою, яка закручується назад. Пляшка з-під води також підходить.

Молотови з пивних пляшок можна транспортувати в упаковці. Зав’яжіть їх у пакети для сміття, щоб менше пахло бензином та щоб не залишати відбитків пальців.

Найбезпечніше кидати молотов не більше ніж через 30 секунд, після запалення.

Будьте в безпеці! Будьте злі!

Gridlocked: The Freedom Convoy and the New Canadian Populism

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Feb 202022
 

From subMedia

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, a popular movement demanding an immediate end to vaccine mandates and other restrictions on daily life has shaken the Canadian state to its core. Its calls have deeply resonated with members of settler-colonial society in which public health measures and other forms of collective solidarity are seen by some as an affront to individual freedom and an undue hindrance on capitalist enterprise. While the movement is now facing the brunt of a massive wave of state repression, from which it is unlikely to recover, the contradictions it has exposed are only set to get worse.

Ill Winds from Ottawa

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Feb 162022
 

From CrimethInc.

Thinking Through the Threats and Opportunities as a Far-Right Initiative Gains Momentum

Opponents of vaccine mandates have established protest encampments in Ottawa and elsewhere around Canada, blockading several routes crossing the United States border. Far-right organizers and former police officers have prominent positions in this movement, and police have taken a relatively hands-off approach thus far; it appears likely that the model currently being tested in Canada will appear elsewhere around the world shortly. In the following extensive report, our correspondent in Montréal explores the sequence of events that led up to these developments, reviews the agendas of the various forces vying for control, and reflects on what we can do in a situation in which the far right has gained the initiative.

To preface this report, it is necessary to deal briefly with the question of whether the anti-mandate protests in Ottawa represent a movement for “freedom,” as the participants insist.

On October 25, 2021, officers of the New York City Police Department participated in shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge—where they famously kettled and arrested Occupy protesters almost precisely ten years earlier—to protest against a vaccine mandate for municipal employees. While we passionately believe that people must be free make their own medical decisions and determine their own risk tolerance, the police were effectively demanding the right to expose those they arrest to even greater medical risk. This is a particularly clear-cut case showing that the movement against vaccine mandates is not necessarily a movement against state control or in favor of medical autonomy.

An authentic movement for freedom and medical autonomy would oppose all the forces that compel workers to expose themselves to COVID-19 against their wishes—in other words, it would be explicitly anti-capitalist. Likewise, such a movement would support striking students intent on determining for themselves which risks they wish to take.

When anti-mandate protesters maintain that borders should be tightly controlled by passport checks, yet decry vaccine passports as “fascism”—when they complain about police checking for vaccine cards, but support police in arresting and imprisoning people by the million—when they object to the government placing limits on economic activity, but not to the vast economic disparities that force workers to face potentially lethal risks simply in order to pay rent—they are not taking a stand in favor of freedom so much as they are willfully changing the subject from the encroachments of state power as a whole to a few details of state policy. This is part of the process through which a spurious right-wing opposition functions to redirect rebellious impulses into ersatz movements that ultimately strengthen state institutions.

It is possible that a consistent movement opposing state control in favor of medical autonomy could serve as a space in which those who oppose vaccine passports could go through a process of political development. But for this to be possible, these movements would have to foster a systemic analysis of power, whereas in fact, they are dominated by right-wing elements intent on limiting their political horizons. Therefore, at the minimum, it is necessary to oppose and outflank the right-wing elements in these movements—which is the subject of the following text.

The paranoid fears concerning vaccination and the conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19 concern entirely the issue of the loss of autonomy. They allegorically (and distortedly) project real economic and social experience onto the body. In this manner, they both express and repress the experience, just as dreams, and more generally, the language of the unconscious, do: it’s not, allegedly, that the small store owner or the small businessman has been crushed by large states’ economies of scale, but rather that there is a plan to control his/her brain, or his/her body, his or her reproductive capacities.

Because the anti-vaccine unconscious is, like every form of mass irrationalism, the exact opposite of what it believes it is—because, in other words, it is a deeply conformist way of thinking—it is also a particularly fertile ground for the development of forms of racism, among which the anti-semitic and the Sinophobic elements are predominant.

-“The Anti-Vaccine Unconscious

Without further ado—the report.

Continue reading on Crimethinc.

An Anarchist Rejection of the Covid Culture War

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Feb 142022
 

From IGD Worldwide

At the beginning of the pandemic the state claimed masks were futile, but this was due to shortage and the government’s refusal to regulate the free market to ease the pain of the pandemic. Once companies managed to catch up with demand, the narrative changed. Many people likely died unnecessarily as a result of this.

Wearing masks can help save lives, but it is not a political statement in and of itself as some seem to think. Wearing your mask is not meaningfully countering the death-cult voices on the openly right-wing side of this culture war, it is simply common decency. On a larger level, it serves the state’s agenda to be louder about wearing masks than about the failing medical infrastructure around the world, or how the global medical establishment only serves the rich. I cringe when I see a liberal wearing a mask as if it is a symbolic virtue signal for BLM and organic farming. Supporting masks, encouraging vaccines, and not wanting vulnerable demographics of people to die is something we may have in common with someone on the liberal side of this culture war– a culture war that has been fabricated by state media and the worst of the internet– but it does not mean we can align ourselves with the liberals.

As Omicron predictably swept the earth in light of a vaccine rollout hobbled by the interests of capitalists, the pandemic that has plagued our lives is showing signs that it may be here to stay. Denmark has already acknowledged this: taking into account its privileged vaccine status, the country has already dropped all covid restrictions. Hong Kong, a country with some of the toughest restrictions in the world, is struggling with the futility of their own covid mandates in light of Omicron and may wave the white flag soon. Still many are dying across the world, as many also die from cancer, heart disease, famine, and war– although capitalism seems to consider these the cost of doing business. So much has happened since March 2020 when this boring apocalypse began.

I am not excited to be writing another piece on covid, but it is a truly unprecedented event. Even beyond the scale of death it has caused, its ripple effects and political implications are essential to discuss, no matter if we’re all tired of it. The pandemic continues to dominate our lives despite a looming and ongoing climate catastrophe, a global refugee crisis, the hyper-resurgence of fascism, and an increasingly stratified world. The world will never be the same. As anarchists, however, we must also evaluate our own behavior to grow and strengthen our communities of resistance in light of the world to come.

You can read my last article regarding the anti-vax and anti-lockdown right-wing movements that seized on the fear of those overwhelmed by this unprecedented event. I do not subscribe to this rubbish thinking. I am vaccinated; the first time to help others, the second time to be able to travel and enter a damn bar. I find the narrative of much of the anti-vax and anti-lockdown movements to still be dominated by double standards, inconsistencies, and the heinous influences of right-wing and anti-Semitic opportunism, but governments pretending the pandemic is the fault of the unvaccinated doesn’t work on me, because I know who is to blame. Omicron is a direct result of vaccine companies blocking patent sharing and the capitalistic practices of the “first world.”

I am uninterested in playing into the games of the governments of the world, governments that have proven they exist solely to preserve the comforts of the wealthy and maintain the existing social order of misery for most of us. Covid has made this even more obvious. After the arguments of state-defenders that murders and rapists are inherent to humanity (rather than a result of poverty and a patriarchal society), plagues and unprecedented global events are probably the next things to be used to defend and rationalize the horrors of government. Covid has shown, however, that the government really serves no purpose apart from its own interests, and will cravenly blame those it rules over if it can not manage what it supposedly exists to manage.

I am pro-vaccine the same way I am pro-chemotherapy. Both are a method of dealing with a horrible thing produced by the same horrible society responsible for the problem’s creation. I am cautious and concerned about who I come in contact with because I realize that the excluded and exploited are more likely to be affected by this pandemic, but I also believe many are suffering through this pandemic beyond the medical element of covid itself. If you don’t see this, you probably have a comfortable job or secure existence, because for myself at least, I wonder if the stress from this plague is going to kill me before the plague does.

I encourage people to be vaccinated as well as take precautions to ‘stop the spread’; but the implications of mandatory vaccinations concern me. I am concerned consistently with every opportunity the state may see in the fear caused by the pandemic or generally confusing times; this new precedent of mandatory vaccination worries me as does every crazy-ass thing governments do when people are afraid. It is ok to say this because it is an anarchist position.

Being an anarchist means rejecting the theater of politics. I am part of a movement that in its most sincere form cannot be trapped by the culture wars fabricated to divide us, because such wars are fought on faith that the systems in play will determine who wins. I can never welcome the decisions of the state without questioning them. However, some of us, whether through fear of a never-before-experienced pandemic, or more sadly, the fear of judgment by the liberal establishment, have made these kinds of compromises in position and rhetoric.

In my last article I mostly attacked the right’s use of the pandemic to distract from broader issues such as the hyper-profiteering of the rich during the pandemic, state opportunism in repression and authoritarianism made possible during the pandemic, and rampant inconsistencies exposed by the pandemic when it comes to government regulation. At the same time, as we have learned from governments around the world, lockdowns cannot be a cut-and-dry debate, and the authoritarian opportunism the pandemic has allowed governments around the world is something we should have seen and challenged in the process of breaking away from right-wing counter-revolutionary analysis. We cannot fear the judgment of the liberal and left-wing establishments around the world that have blindly accepted government decisions and who attempt to smear anyone who challenges the government’s decisions as being in league with white supremacists and Christian fundamentalists.

We are anarchists, not a political party looking to appease those whose analysis and ideas only exist within the framework of the existing power structures. We are anarchists meaning we are anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-so on, and so on, because our defining characteristic is being opposed to all facets of domination and exploitation.


Blind support of lockdowns is inherently classist, and not consistent with an anti-authoritarian position. I don’t like to use the term classist, because the mainstream use of this word tends to focus on incidents of class bigotry rather than class society as a whole, and is directed towards achieving “class peace,” rather than pushing for the elimination of class society. With that said, and in order to confront a specific tendency, realizing it or not, there were some fairly offensive classist approaches and tendencies coming from those fetishizing the state’s pandemic procedures.

Take for example people staying at home and posting TikTok videos of fusion meals (prepared magically), pompously letting everyone know they were staying in to help others without acknowledging that this is only possible on the backs of cooks, delivery workers etc. unable to do the same. It’s almost in line with the disrespect shown to workers by the bosses and fascists who wish to challenge the existence of the pandemic sheerly to preserve their sacred free market.

It assumes that others can get through even a week of not working without financial aid, while millions of migrant workers across the world, documented and undocumented, have not been eligible for the emergency pandemic financial resolutions or stimulus packages made by nation-stations and banks.

It ignores the labor and suffering that is necessary for such a meal to be made during these times– the “heroic essential worker” praise at the beginning of the pandemic was temporary and conditional. It reflects the worst of the liberal establishment, both in the USA and copy-cat centrist movements around the world.

Even the liberal establishment’s distasteful promotion of the vaccine as a moral choice, despite the majority of the world still waiting for any access to it, continues this classism. From early on, Americans and eventually Europeans were flaunting their vaccine status as the rest of the world was beseeching the WTO to make generic versions because they couldn’t afford Big Pharma’s price tag. You saw many declaring that the pandemic will soon be over because “we did it,” despite “we” not including much of humanity!

Now, as the western world begins to acknowledge that its approach to the crisis failed, recognition of the possibilities of “a permanent pandemic” only takes into account the conditions faced in the West, not the increases in deaths and looming variants that will continue to spread in the so-called third world, most of which is still waiting on the first world to share patents or non-expired vaccine surpluses.

The inconsistencies and mismanagement of the pandemic shine a light on the inherent flaws of the state. Unfortunately, giving too much consideration to the coercive talking points of the liberal establishment prevents us from countering the fascists who have dominated the narrative around covid. That is why we must find a balance, never allowing ourselves to place faith in the mandates of the state or expect the state to share the interests of anarchists with regards to managing the pandemic.

Drawing lines takes courage, especially on sensitive subjects, but as anarchists we are familiar with controversial approaches. Many who claimed to be interested in saving lives in the USA are now silent as Biden sends people back to work, obeying the demands of the bosses and capitalism. It’s a decision followed by countries around the world due to the pressures covid mandates have put on air travel, the transfer of goods, etc. Saving lives will always come second to saving capitalism on both the left and right side of the power games, no matter if one side minces their words or is willing to budge a bit.


Many who couldn’t “hunker down” and had their livelihoods sacrificed by state mandates are now turning to the right. As I write, truckers are blocking borders and cities in Canada and the USA over vaccine mandates. Blocked borders and occupied cities are typically something I would be excited about, but police and state forces haven’t obliterated these truckers the way they have indigenous land blockades and occupations against pipelines in Canada. The trucker protest crowds are generally of the included, not the excluded. They don’t challenge the broader system of capitalism, and are a generally confusing phenomenon for the status quo since they resemble its base. The convoys in Canada and the USA are quite troubling in light of the political associations and motivations of their founders. Solidarity blockades are also catching on in France, New Zealand, and more countries around the world. We are in conflict with the broader conspiracy theories and fascistic narratives that have helped to form these blockades, but we must counter them on our terms without resembling the voices of the liberal establishment. An excerpt from a recent on-the-ground review of the convoy in Ottawa and some of the liberal counter-protesters complaining against it helps paint a real-life example of why we need to challenge ourselves to counter these fascist events from an anarchist position that has no consideration for liberal approaches:

In the afternoon we check out a counter-demonstration organized primarily, it seems, by residents of downtown Ottawa who are sick of the noise, traffic, and acts of hateful speech, harassment and bullying on the part of some of the protestors. Countering the trucker protest before it becomes a full-blown neo-fascist revolutionary movement is so, so important but I honestly felt zero affinity with this counter-protest in particular. Most of the signs were either calling for more police, complaining about inconveniences like sound and traffic, or making fun of the demonstrators for being unvaccinated and/or stupid. “Honk if you failed civics,” “Self-driving trucks can’t spread covid,” “Ottawa police act now,” “Make Ottawa boring again.” A lady with a wordy sign about how vaccine mandates save lives mistakes me for a member of convoy protest and chastises me for apparently being illiterate, “Did it take you a few minutes to read that one, honey?” I have a graduate degree and no business being this personally offended but I feel a surge of rage at downtown liberal elites who think the problem is that these people just didn’t go to school long enough. We leave before it’s over, just as some of the protestors are engaged in a verbal standoff – antis chanting “Go home dipshits” while convoy protestors chant back “We still love you! Love! Love!” and the police form a stronger line between the two crowds.

-Critical Notes From On the Ground in Ottawa (Regarding the so-called “Freedom Convoy in Canada”).

The emphasis on appropriate and educated semantics and aesthetics that has invaded anarchist movements for years tends to come out of privileged university circles where issues are discussed instead of systems. As a result, we are discovering people on the fringes of our movements who feel connected not by experience and discontent but rather by a shallow connection of superficial identity. While fascists of all backgrounds deserve not a millimeter of space, we should admit allowing liberal mindsets “within” anarchy is a potential reason so many continue to get recruited by the right without even knowing it. Out of fear of resembling the right, we are allowing ourselves to be censored by the liberal establishment.

There are increasing riots worldwide related to lockdown restrictions. In the Netherlands for example, (https://itsgoingdown.org/reflections-and-report-on-the-nov-19-riots-in-rotterdam-nl/) on two occasions since the pandemic began there was some of the most intense rioting the Netherlands has seen in its modern history, mostly by unemployed and marginalized youth struggling in the most unequal country in the European Union. Many liberals, leftists, and even some anarchists dismissed these riots solely due to the ugly spark that may have helped trigger them.

On the days these riots happened, there were disgusting protests. The worst of the worst coming together: new agers, religious fundamentalists, right-wing politicians and neo-nazi/fascists protesting peacefully in their grossly white parades against the vaccines and lockdown mandates. Maybe some of the hooligans stuck around for the riots that followed, but those attending the pre-riot protests events are generally of the included, white, and privileged in the Netherlands, and could be seen denouncing the “hooligans” and “thugs” who came out when the sun set.

Lockdowns were the last straw for huge demographics of youth in the Netherlands who face constant racist violence by police and a second-class livelihood. Many pissed off, unemployed, and disenfranchised youth saw these events as an opportunity to manifest their rage. However, the liberal bourgeoisie and academic folks who dismissed these riots grouped fascists and politicians with unemployed youth of a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds simply because of the timing. How could some of us succumb to such a superficial and elitist approach to understanding a manifestations of social war that should be of interest to anarchists? It is a blurry time for humanity, myself included, but we have got to keep our analysis honed.

Anarchists consider looting the destruction of the sacred commodity, as well as reflecting poverty the looter faces. End of story, this is an anarchist response. However, those who tend to dismiss from the ivory towers of the academic and privileged world may not have the intellect or sincere desire for revolt to even appreciate such a thing. One may not manifest rage in the precisely opportune time or among the prettiest of circumstances, but it is our responsibility as anarchists to see these moments where such ruptures and tensions manifest and, regardless of the judgments of the liberal establishment, demonstrate our solidarity and support.

As anarchists we have to continue to assert our position unconditionally, heightening our voices and communicating our position clearly in order to make it clear to both sides of this culture war that we are not falling for the distractions. We want social war towards liberation.

We have learned a lot since March 2020. Just because we militantly reject the right’s death cult doesn’t mean as anarchists we should give in to the moderate right, centrist, or leftist establishments either. Whether civil wars in history, or Black Lives Matter, Occupy, the anti-globalization movement, or the pandemic of today, we hope the anarchist movement will always remember that “On the one hand there is the path that leads to the institutions, on the other, the way to the streets. These paths cannot co-exist.”

Suggested Reading:

The Whole Orchard Season 2

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Feb 102022
 

From the Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC)

The second season of “The Whole Orchard” podcast will soon be available!

This year we’ll talk about anticarceral feminism, police forces on indigenous territories & transformative justice, amongst other subjects. Until then, you can listen to the five episodes of the 1st season by searching “Le verger au Complet” on your favorite podcast platform or by going to the web site.

Love & Rage,
The CLAC.


Borders Kill, CBSA Negligence Kills: Statement of Rage and Collective Mourning of the Death at the Laval Immigration Detention Center

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Feb 062022
 

From Solidarity Across Borders

Last Sunday, January 30th, we were enraged and deeply saddened to learn of yet another death at the Laval immigration detention center.

We do not have any information about the person who lost their life while in custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency. All we know is that they were a migrant detained for administrative purposes: ie. for not having papers. This person should never have been detained in the first place, and now they are gone. No one should ever be detained.

It’s a shocking death that comes on the heels of another tragedy at the border: last week, a family froze to death while attempting to cross in Manitoba. Borders kill. CBSA negligence kills.

This most recent death is not the first to occur in the detention centers managed by CBSA and their affiliate companies (The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, GardaWorld) contracted to provide private “security.” Over the past twenty years, more than fifteen people have had their lives stolen in CBSA custody, some by suicide and others by physical restraint and atrocious neglect. CBSA lets those in its custody die by refusing to provide attention, medical or otherwise. These deaths are entirely preventable. This most recent loss adds to the growing list of those who have lost their lives to CBSA over the past twenty years:

Bolante Idowu Alo
Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan
Fransisco Javier Roméro Astorga
Melkioro Gahung
Jan Szamko
Lucia Vega Jimenez
Joseph Fernandes
Kevon O’Brien Phillip
Unidentified man
Shawn Dwight Cole
Unidentified man
Joseph Dunn
Unidentified person
Sheik Kudrath
Prince Maxamillion Akamai

It is only in the past few years that CBSA has been required to publicly announce each death that occurs in its custody. The circumstances of these deaths remain opaque as CBSA invokes the “right to privacy” to avoid disclosing its abusive practices. As usual, a police force will head the investigation because there is no independent entity that monitors CBSA. As usual, police will investigate the work of other police and meanwhile, the detention center remains impenetrable, hidden from the public who already know so little about the neglect, abuse and lack of care taking place inside. The courageousness of the detainees who held hunger strikes in 2020 and 2021 has shed light on the worsening conditions in Laval since the start of the pandemic.

The construction of a new prison in Laval in 2018 and the rise in funding to allegedly “humanize” the immigration detention system changes nothing. The fact that there are trees in the visitor parking lot, a basketball court and a playground in the fenced yard (concealed from view) change absolutely nothing: these places are prisons for migrants, for families and children. Detention is not an exceptional measure, but rather a fundamental part of the repressive matrix that is the Canadian immigration system. It serves to facilitate deportation, and to punish migrants for leaving situations of poverty, violence and exploitation, which Canada is often involved in creating.

The consequences of these repressive immigration policies are numerous and lethal. No one should be forced to live on the margins, isolated and in fear of arrest and imprisonment. The practice of detention promotes nothing but exploitation by confining the most vulnerable people to an underground economy characterized by abusive and unsafe working conditions.

Enough is enough! The violence must end! Not one more death!

We call for open borders and the free movement of people seeking justice and dignity, meaning freedom to move, freedom to return, and the freedom to stay.

Stop the detentions, stop the deportations! We need a comprehensive, ongoing regularization program! No to prisons, status for all!!

Against the Second Curfew Too

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Jan 172022
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

What You May Have Missed

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Québec has imposed two curfews on its population. The first was announced on January 6, 2021, and came into effect on January 9; it lasted, with various modifications and relaxations, until May 28, 2021. The second curfew was announced on December 30, 2021, and came into effect the very next day, New Year’s Eve. A little over a week later, on January 7, 2022, an anonymous submission titled “Unanimous Support for the Curfew?” appeared on this website, the entirety of which appears below:

Since December 31, 2021, a curfew between 10 pm and 5 am is imposed in the province of Quebec.

I firmly disagree with this oppressive measure and I am sure many of you do. However, there has not been any posts criticizing the curfew since it has been re-instated. I wish more of us would stand against this measure.

We have witnessed a significant increase in authoritarian measures in the province. Public health has been used as an excuse to increase the state’s power. Let’s unite and fight the police state!

Since this call, there has been no other post on MTL Counter-Info about this second curfew nor any visible, organized anarchist resistance to it. Such “resistance” as there has been has been in Montréal – meaning dozens of people defying the curfew and gathering in front of Legault’s Montréal offices on the evening of January 1, as well as a much larger daytime demonstration on January 8 – has fallen outside of MTL Counter-Info‘s remit. These events (the organizers, the people who showed up, the signage, etc.) were neither anarchist nor anti-authoritarian. Rather, they seem to be of a piece with the dominant political tendencies in opposition not just to the curfew in Québec, but to pandemic-mitigating measures of any kind in all provinces of Canada and other parts of the world (especially the United States, Australia, and China). In blunt terms, I mean that the people showing have been by and large anti-vaxxers, flag-wavers, and kooks. More on this later.

On Thursday, January 13, 2022, the government announced in yet another press conference that the curfew would end on Monday, January 17. I know for a fact that there were some initiatives brewing oppose the curfew in a properly anarchist fashion, but they obviously won’t be executed now. It seems that this second curfew will come and go without any (publicized) anarchist intervention of any kind. This is in contrast to the period of the first curfew in early 2021, when there were at least three demonstrations in Montréal – on January 16, April 18, and April 22, 2021 – organized on a theme of opposing “solutions policières au crise sanitaire” (police-based solutions to the health crisis). Additionally, at least some anarchists participated in the amorphous demonstration, which turned into a classic Montréal riot, on the evening of April 11, 2021, the date that the curfew in designated “red zones” (which had been relaxed on March 17) was re-intensified. Apart from this, there were a few articles against the curfew published on MTL Counter-Info, including the straightforward essay “Against the Curfew” from January 10, 2021.

The Second Curfew

I tend to think that one of the reasons “there has not been any posts criticizing the curfew since it has been re-instated” is that there is nothing new to say.

There is the fact that the curfew is two hours less obnoxious than last January’s. This detail has its uses for the defenders of the government, but not for us.

Another fact is that we didn’t have much warning that a curfew was coming – less warning than last year, in fact.

In “Barcelona Anarchists at Low Tide” (After the Crest pt. #3), the author writes that

both leftism and the rationalist worldview it stems from train us to view the world in an unrealistic way. This generates false expectations and false criteria with which to evaluate our struggles. The crux of the matter is that we are not the abstract value both Capital and the Left see in us: we are living beings with our own autonomous rhythms that constantly fly in the face of managerial strategies and social mechanics.

[…]

“the leftist obligation to produce motion deprives us of winter. All people in struggle need a time to confront their despair, lick their wounds, and to fall back on the comforting bonds of friendship. Not realizing this animal necessity, many anarchists exhaust themselves by trying to maintain a constant rhythm, or they mistake a slowdown for a loss of strength, and they allow their gains to be washed away. But winter can be an important time to hunker down, to carry forward the projects that sustain us (and realize which those are), to test the strength of new relationships, and to sound the depth of one’s community of struggle.

I bring these passages up because it cannot be emphasized enough that it is currently January in Montréal, i.e. winter is not just a metaphor. More importantly, however, the implicit critique of the initial post on MTL Counter-Info strikes me as indicative of this same “leftist obligation to produce motion” regardless of its utility or larger circumstances. Obviously, to some degree, the curfew has diminished our capacity to fall back on our friends or to test new relationships because it diminishes our ability to see each other, but a curfew, really, is a minor part of the larger complex of restrictions on gatherings and normal sociality.

The curfew has also been proven relatively easy to defy, for those who care to try. I personally know lots of people who regularly defied curfew last year, and who have done so a bit this time too, whether driving across the entire city or meandering through the alleys of their own neighbourhoods, usually to come or go from friends’ houses or various outdoor hangout spots – because, of course, there’s not really anywhere else to go. This sort of activity is hardly the exclusive domain of anarchists, and we are altogether less likely to be stopped by the police when going from point A to point B after curfew than, say, teenagers in Montréal-Nord or Orthodox Jews in Outremont.

A larger collective defiance might be interesting, though of course, as with April 11, 2021, or the anti-vaxxers’ demo near the Olympic Stadium on May 1, that would mean associating with people whose view on ethics and basic reality lies far outside what most North American anarchists would think is acceptable. Perhaps, had the government not done the predictable thing and canceled the curfew relatively quickly, we would get to that place again, where there would be things to say about sharing space with such people. But realistically, that would only happen in the spring, just as it did last year. It is unlikely to happen now – although anything is certainly possible, and it’s clear that the government will (probably) keep throwing curfews at whichever new waves of covid crop up.

Can’t Satisfy Everyone

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a current of anarchists who have comprehensively rejected all measures aimed at mitigating the spread of Covid – not just measures that involve empowering the police, but everything, including vaccines. The Nevermore project is the most prominent example of this current in the Canadian context. Personally, I am okay with vaccines and a lot other measures that make sense to me, and I don’t see much effective difference between these anarchists (who, in many cases, are people who have been involved in our scenes for years) and the mainstream of the anti-vaxxer right. I personally helped to organize an anti-curfew demonstration on April 18, 2021, because I felt it was necessary, in that moment, to create a new pole around which a non-anti-vaxx resistance to the curfew could coalesce. I don’t think the effort was spectacularly successful, but I don’t regret trying.

The other day, I was treated to an inside look at a Signal groupchat, populated by 30+ anarchists and other radicals, where some of the events of spring 2021 were discussed, including the events of April 11 and the demo on April 18. One person claimed that

young anarchists and leftists organized a second anti-curfew demonstration, differentiating theirs from the one several nights earlier, which they recognized belatedly as the usual rightist free-enterprise tripe, and presumably as having little to do with ‘Black youth.’ So now we had a ‘real’ anarchist demonstration against the curfew. Within a few days [in fact, more than a month later] the government cancelled the curfew anyways and the anarchists and other leftists went back to sleep, back to ‘their’ lives.

This comment (which I’ve cleaned up a bit, for the sake of readability) didn’t see any pushback from other participants.

Maybe this is uncalled for, but I feel the need to set the record straight a bit. Personally, I like a good old-fashioned Montréal riot – barely politically coherent, and drawing participation from a wide swathe of society – as much as anyone else. I also hate Rebel News, who were present on the evening of April 11, 2021, and who had been rabble-rousing a bit in Montréal in the days leading up to the event, too. Both things can be true at the same time. It is possible to have appreciated (or participated in) the riot on April 11 while criticizing its limitations and its aimlessness. It is unnecessary to follow in the footsteps of journalists and politicians who, for the sake of their own agendas, have misrepresented that event as a solely anti-vaxx and kookster affair.

We were planning our demo on April 18 before April 11 happened, it just so happens. But even if that weren’t the case, I think it would have been legitimate, and very much within the scope of anarchists’ efforts over the years to keep a culture of street fighting alive and kicking in this city, to organize a collective opportunity for confronting the police and/or maybe defying the curfew (if it lasted that long) that was consistent with our ideas and our ways of doing things. In other words, no Rebel News, no national flags, no Christian preachers, and no multiply stupid denunciations of masks and vaccines. Fighting the police, on the other hand? That would be fine, thank you.

I see a lot of worth in a critique of local anarchists for failing to build a more holistic response to the pandemic, including a deeper practice of mutual aid – though I wonder where that critique is supposed to go and how it is supposed to be useful. The real issue is that our movements are simply not as powerful as we would like them to be, and we have failed, throughout the pandemic, to develop strategies or practices that might help us build the kind of power we need in order to realize any short-term or long-term goals we might have. To a large degree, this has been a failure to overcome isolation. Basic understandings of the facts, be they about vaccines or the demographics of rioters, evidently vary from one online information silo to another. All of this is bad, probably.

I’d like us to do better, because chances are that the pandemic, and the state of exception it has proffered, isn’t over yet.