In 1851, Victor Hugo wrote what would become the well-known slogan: “Police everywhere, justice nowhere”. We have to admit that he was right, and that his words are still relevant today. The function of the police is not and has never been to serve and protect; nor is that of the prison to help the offenders to repair the harm (when there is harm!) and to reintegrate society. The police and prison apparatus are part of the repressive machine of the state, which has the primary function of maintaining the established order and allowing capital to profit, and only secondarily of preventing violence and abuse. No wonder it is so inefficient.
As every year for more than a quarter of a century, the journal “Police State” is a platform used to denounce how the current social order is relying on such state violence to maintain itself. We therefore call for your contribution in the form of texts, drawings, comics, photos, poems or any other ideas for the newspaper of this 27th edition of the IDAPB.
This year’s thematic will be : “In the streets or in jails, police brutality prevails”. You can also send us your already published texts, or existing links.
Contributions to the journal should be no more than 2 pages long and can be written in French, English or Spanish. Authors who wish to have their texts translated must let us know in a reasonable time frame so that we can find translators. We also invite you to attach images to accompany your text, if you wish. The images will not be counted in the two pages.
The final deadline for the content of the paper journal is February 8, 2023.
On October 9th 2021, as part of the Week of Action in solidarity with the Gidimt’en, some folks in Montreal shutdown trains and took the streets for a demo. This action forshadows that if Canada and the RCMP continue their aggression, they will likely be met once again with coordinated, nation-wide actions to #ShutDownCanada.
Since 2018, Montréal Antifasciste has been documenting the activities of the neo-fascist group Atalante, a group that for the most part operates in Québec City. Since its Facebook page has been closed in August of 2021, it has lost much of its visibility and now seems to be in decline, regrouped around its core militants. Nonetheless, its members and sympathizers remain present and active in our communities, and the possibility that they could recruit new people pushes us to call for vigilance and to continue to keep the pressure on them. That is why we still think it is necessary to continue to expose Atalante members, particularly those who we know have been involved in acts of violence.
This article will focus on Yannick “Sailor” Vézina, one of the founding members of Atalante Québec who is still active to this day and whose involvement has not previously been examined in any depth.
Yannick Vézina took part in Atalante’s latest action n Québec City, during the weekend of 25-26 September, 2021. Photo extracted form Atalante Québec’s Telegram channel.
Yannick Vézina and the Québec Stomper Crew
Yannick Vézina has been part of the scene around the Québec Stomper Crew (the street gang that gave rise to Atalante Québec) for quite a while. Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau, a schoolmate from the Institut Maritime de Rimouski in the early 2010s introduced him to the Stompers entourage. Montréal Antifasciste has already exposed Antoine as the ideological leader of Atalante and the author of Saisir la Foudre [Ride the Lightening], the group’s manifesto. We know that after he met Mailhot-Bruneau, Vézina rapidly radicalized and joined in numerous escapades to win a place in the crew. Specifically, we know that he became a member in good standing following an attack on an anti-fascist militant.
Yannick Vézina (right) with Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau, leader of Atalante Québec.
Légitime Violence and the entourage of US-based band Offensive Weapon.
Vézina seems to have a pronounced penchant for violence, in any case. A few years ago, he saw a young man tearing down Atalante posters in broad daylight and chased him down, baseball bat in hand. He also openly uses hashtags like #quebecfascistcrew on his personal Instagram account. All of which gives you a good idea of what this guy is about…
Vézina and Atalante
As well as being a part of the Québec Stomper Crew, Yannick Vézina is also a key active member of Atalante. Among other things, he joined the “pilgrimage” to Italy and has been present at Atalante actions from the get-go, including having participated in the invasion of the Vice Québec office in 2018 to intimidate it’s employees.
It’s easy to recognize the wristwatch and the tattoo on the forearm.
He can also be seen in numerous photos of the sandwich distribution exercises and the banner collages. Furthermore, the revelations of the mole Quentin Pallavicini suggest that Vézina is Atalante’s treasurer.
Yannick Vézina (front row, right) with Atalante Québec’s core members.
Atalante Québec’s members, in January 2019, on the rooftop of CasaPound’s HQ, in Rome.
With other members of Atalante Québec, in Rome, January 2019. We recognize Sébastien Magnificat, CasaPound’s international affairs minister.
Yannick Vézina speaks to Atalante Québec’s militants, on May 1st, 2016.
Left, Yannick Vézina proudly holds Atalante Québec’s flag, during a torch-lit march organized soon after the organization’s creation, in 2016.
Yannick Vézina has been part of countless actions since the creation of Atalante, including this flyering blitz in Québec, in 2019.
Yannick « Sailor » Vézina
Yannick Vézina chose the nickname “Sailor” and seems very attached to his marine profession. Oddly enough, the Atalante logo seems to draw upon an illustration from an Institut Maritime du Québec study manual that to some degree resembles the fascist “flash and circle” symbol adopted a decade earlier by the Blocco Studentesco, the student wing of CasaPound, the Italian neo-fascist organization that was the inspiration behind the formation of Atalante.
Atalante Québec’s logo…
…was clearly plagiarized from this training manual used at the Institut Maritime du Québec.
The “flash and circle” motif, used by several fascist organizations, is the logo of the Blocco Studentesco, the youth wing of Italian neo-fascist organization CasaPound.
Yannick Vézina is currently employed by the shipping company Desgagnés and sails regularly on the Zélada, a ship that resupplies communities in Northern Québec and Northern Canada.
Yannick Vézina is employed aboard the Zélada, which is part of Groupe Desgagné’s float.
It will be interesting to see how this company reacts to the fact that it is employing a charter member of a neo-fascist organization, a member who has been involved in a number of violent attacks motivated by a detestable ideology, particularly as we have good reason to believe that he carries Atalante stickers to put up during his stopovers in Rimouski.
We encourage you to contact the company and ask them about this:
For some time now, it appears that things have been going pretty well in Vézina’s personal life. He recently bought a house in Charlesbourg/Lac-Beauport, a Québec city suburb, with his partner, whom he recently proposed to. It seems like a good time to remind him that violent acts and the hateful ideas he adheres to have their consequences.
We must highlight the extra note of romanticism that the bowl of kibbles confers to the scene.
Given that the Atalante neo-fascists have lost both their Facebook page and their website, it might seem reasonable to consider them no longer a serious threat. We think that would be a mistake, and that we should redouble the pressure on these militant fascists so that they finally wrap their head around the fact that their detestable ideas are not welcome in Québec.
Whether on land or on sea, we will continue to track these neo-fascists everywhere they go for as long as necessary.
In different parts of the colonized territories, there’s been tearing down, demolishing or destruction of statues of slavers, rapists, colonizers and genociders. Why let go of these symbols? What do they represent? And what values keeps them standing?
This episode features an interview with Skyler Williams of 1492 Land Back Lane, a land reclamation on the edge of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve near Caledonia, Ontario. This week marks the one year anniversary of the camp which was reclaimed last July in response to plans to develop a subdivision on Six Nations Territory. Skyler speaks about a year spent at the camp, the recent announcement that the McKenzie Meadows subdivision has been cancelled by the developer because of Six Nations resistance, and what’s next for folks at Land Back Lane.
Music in this show is all from artists who have performed at Land Back Lane: Six Nations singer-songwriters Derek Miller and Logan Staats, as well as Ottawa-based “powwow-step” group The Halluci Nation, formerly known as A Tribe Called Red.
Warning: the following article contains extreme racist and transphobic content.
Almost exactly one year ago, Montreal Antifasciste released an article on the Front canadien-francais, a reactionary nationalist group. In that article, we included a quicklist of about 10 meme pages from the FCF’s entourage that gravitated around hardcore reactionary themes – anti-immigrant, anti-feminist and LGBTQ2+, with accents of white nationalism and a strong ultra-Catholic leaning. With names like “Mèmes evangéliste Duplessiste” and ”Mèmes clérico-nationalistes du Canada français”, such pages provide a convenient way for far-right sympathizers to spread a wide range of reactionary and often racist notions like that of the notorious “great replacement” conspiracy theory (and a whole host of other dehumanizing ideas) to their followers and beyond.
Started in January 2020, the Quebec.wingism page on Instagram (originally called Rightwingism.quebec) is similar in politics and aesthetics to many of the meme pages mentioned above. Although memes are, by definition, meant to be spread, there is also a tendency for whole meme pages to multiply and be copied in style and politics as well. This is particularly the case for Quebec.wingism, which is modeled after other “wingism” pages – twoarticles have already been written about the beginnings of the wingism pages, reporting that the first Wingism page was started in Canada by a University of Calgary student.
The format is the following: in general there are multiple administrators identified by the first letter of their name, and although the pages purport to provide a platform for a variety of ideas, the range is generally firmly in the far-right spectrum: from eco-nationalism to fascism, often with some neo-nazi imagery thrown in for good measure. Many of the pages seem to coalesce around an obsession with the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, fascism, and a hatred of people of colour, LGBTQ2+ people (most especially trans and gender nonconforming people), and feminists, amongst others. It seems the format was easily scalable, as people from different countries all over the world slightly tweaked the politics and format (memes with fashwave filters and alt-right iconography) to their specific white nationalist context. As such, these pages contribute to the dissemination and development of an international far-right online cultural milieu.
Although Instagram has occasionally purged certain rightwingism pages, many accounts simply rename themselves ever-so-slightly and reopen (it is not uncommon to see “v2” or “v3” next to a name, signifying the second or third rebirth of the page since being banned).
Quebec.wingism is a meme page cast in that mould – fashwave filters on historical reactionary figures and fascists, Islamophobia, white nationalism, overt racism, anti-feminism and hatred of transgender people, mixed with bog-standard Quebec nationalism. Wingism pages specialize in taking tired and repugnant reactionary ideas and spicing them up with “cool” filters or “funny” cartoon characters, all with the plausible deniability of a good dose of confusionism and “irony”. If it sounds like this is building on the cultural accomplishments of the alt-right movement from the USA, we most definitely agree. Wingism pages use the same tired Pepe memes and “based” Photoshop effects that reek of 2015-2019-style online American racism.
On Sunday April 11th, in response to Legault’s re-instatement of the 8pm curfew, people took to the streets in Montreal to enjoy the spring weather and express joyous rage at this shit world that continues to steal our lives away from us. Without any stated political intenton, a callout was made on social media to gather in the Old Port to party and defy the curfew. A number of anarchists joined what turned out to be a mixed crowd of people, mostly younger, whose main commonality was anger that their few freedoms were being further curtailed by the government. The atmosphere prior to 8pm was excited and raucous, with ‘fuck Legault’ being the most frequent and loud chant. Motorcycles revved their engines, people danced, drank, and laughed with their friends to celebrate spring in defiance of this bullshit world.
The first SPVM cruiser to drive by was met with boos and middle fingers, the second with eggs, bottles and rocks. Revolt was in the air, and we were delighted to be in the midst of such a rowdy display, especially after such a long, bleak winter. As the curfew approached, we noticed riot cops gathering to the East on Rue de la Commune and Rue St. Paul. There were only a few cruisers West on de la Commune. At that time they kept their distance, monitoring the demonstration.
Around the same time, ‘reporters’ arrived from ‘Rebel Media’, a far-right, Toronto-based news outlet. Rebel Media is famous for employing reporters with ties to Stormfront, a prolific neo-nazi website, and working with other racist, transphobic, alt-right personalities, as well as peddling anti-immigrant, COVID-denying conspiracy theories. Despite Rebel Media’s desperate attention-seeking behaviour, they are pretty obscure failures, even as youtube provocateurs (note: as of April 14 they were suspended from YouTube). It was clear that the vast majority of attendees did not know who they were, so unfortunately many young people excitedly and positively interacted with them.
The vultures from Rebel Media produced a laughable and pathetic report that blamed ‘antifa’ for the property destruction and looting that happened that night, rather than showing how a real cross section of Montrealers respond with legitimate rage and a desire to be heard in a world that marginalizes their voices.
We felt we lacked the numbers to deal with Rebel Media, and it seemed likely if we did attack, the crowd may have taken their side, because no one knows who Rebel Media is, let alone that they were being used to create far-right propoaganda. It was a frustrating situation.
At the same time, fires were being lit by small groups within the demo, but were extinguished by what appeared to be a small but organized group of white men wearing tactical gear and patches associated with far-right types attatched to their jackets, one of who had a go-pro camera on his head. They were seen at times having a group discussion before moving in and around the demonstration to monitor the crowd. Despite some unrelated fights and confusion here and there, the vibe was still extremely positive, people partied and chanted, and celebrated being in the streets together.
Later, larger groups began starting even bigger fires in the square, and this time the LARP-ing paci-flics didn’t intervene. There was some resistance as riot cops began tear-gassing and trying to disperse the crowd, but most people began running and scattering away as the cops entered the square. West of St. Laurant was seemingly free of cops, and multiple groups of people autonomously began setting fires, looting and destroying shops and other property as they left. Even though we wish it lasted longer, in that short time it was heartening to see people work together to take a little bit of their lives back by looting from the bougie shops in the Old Port, as well as generally fucking shit up. A city bus being used to transport riot cops was also liberated and covered in graffiti while others partied in and around it, celebrating a small victory if even for a brief minute.
In a media comment, Mayor Plante called the revellers ‘stupid’, and cried about the damage done to small businesses, asserting ‘we must remain united and stick together’. This is just the usual shitty liberal narrative: suddenly ‘we are all in this together’, all equal as ‘citizens’ when it’s time to maintian social order. They gloss over the very real divisions within society, held together through oppressive structures by which the wealthy, predominantely white property owning classes exploit working class, poor and predominantly POC folks.
At the same time, leftist identity politicians on social media condemn the riots, claiming they are responsible for causing further harm to those already most at risk. Others fall for the narrative of elusive ‘outside agitators’, white anarchists, who infiltrate peaceful crowds to cause violence. While we acknowledge the very real dangers that marginalized people in particular face from COVID19, we’d point it it was mostly people of color who showed up, and acted on their own initiative during this riot.
It is not revolt and militant solidarity in the streets that causes harm, but the institutions and laws which govern capitalist civilization. These are what keep us chained to shitty jobs where we are the most at risk of catching COVID19,that harass and murder us, and protect an economic system based on the theft of indigenous lands. We accuse these IDPOL clout-chasers of taking power away from the marginalized people who showed up and threw down. We accuse them of doing the work of the police and the politicians by trying to pacify, alienate and delegitimize the rioter’s rage.
Demonstrations continue to be called on the nights following April 11th. So far, the second and third demos were quite a bit smaller than the first, and were heavily repressed by the police. Nevertheless, with no real end in sight to the curfew, we think it is imperative to keep up the struggle. In this sense we are ‘all in this together’- we have militant solidarity with the youth (and others) whose futures are also increasingly bleak.
There are a number of tactical considerations we would like to consider in light of the events on the 11th. While the paci-flics were able to intervene when smaller groups were starting smaller fires, when bigger fires were being lit they were not able to. And as soon as the crowd was dispersed, they were not ready to deal with looting or vandalism. Clearly they are relatively weak, and small in number. While there weren’t enough of us to feel confident in confronting them at the time, we believe if anarchists and anti-authoritarians showed up in larger numbers, acting together, its possible we could shut them down and even force them out of the crowd if they attempted to pacify folks. Our numbers will lend us a greater legitimacy to others present, and likely allow us to have critical conversations with them about who these people are and why we defend certain actions.
In regards to the police, they didn’t engage with the crowd until large fires were lit. We feel it may be possible to strike at the police first, before they intervene, but it didn’t seem viable at this time. Rage is growing against the police, and it is possible that at later times we may be able to take action first, but this would also require us having sufficient numbers, and reading the vibe of the crowd. In any case, in order to allow us to hold the streets in these situations, we must also be able to defend against dispersal techniques. Specifically this means dealing with tear gas, which has been effective at quickly breaking up crowds. Coming prepared with projectiles, or having the means to break up paving stones etc in order to provide them for those present would be advantageous as well. We also need to have the numbers to be able to act as a distinct group, to deal with tear gas, and to calmly resist the riot cops. We believe that this would build confidence within the crowd, facilitate a more combative engagement with riot cops, and show that we don’t need to simply retreat.
We must continue to counter liberal narratives intent on pacifying revolt, taking us off the streets, and giving our power back to the politicians and self-appointed experts. We can do this during demos when pacifists try to speak and act out against violence against police and property, and after the fact by responding to IDPOL types and media reports with our own analysis. As anarchists and anti-authoritarians, we must be present for these defiant events. This is where we build complicity and affinity with rebels outside our circles, and when possible, have critical conversations with those present about tactics and targets. Equally, we need to be able to push out far-right grifters and reactionaries who are there to exploit our revolt.
This summer is gonna be hot, let’s throw gas on the fire and burn this fucking prison world down!
Solidarity with the rioters and revellers! Fuck the curfew!
PDF of posters. Like millions of other people in Ontario, I woke up this morning in a world where the police had been given the authority to stop you at any time, question you, demand information without any reason, and make orders which have to be followed. In practice, a lot of this stuff already happens, but formalizing what is usually an abuse of power is a huge blow.
The government claims this is to try to stop the spread of covid. They are banning us all from sitting outside in the park with friends at a distance while factories and prisons are still operating full steam, prioritizing profits over relationships. Giving the police enhanced power to enforce these kinds of rules is just unbelievably fucked.
I was pretty upset so I made a bunch of posters and put them up around my neighbourhood in East Hamilton. Would they have been better if I’d taken more time? For sure. Should I have put “Covid is real” or something on them so it’s more clear I’m not an anti-masker or denialist? Probably. But I would say it’s more important to act, to make visible some opposition to these authoritarian measures, so that we don’t all feel scared and alone.
As an anarchist, I believe in informing myself, discussing with people close to me, and coming up with our own set of practices for dealing with covid that reflect our own values and priorities. Just like with any other law, even when the things we decide are appropriate are illegal, it just means we have to put a bit more effort into finding the means to do them. I oppose the ability of the state to dictate practices and priorities onto us, and especially their ability to enforce them with repression, even if I might choose to adopt practices that a similar to the ones they suggest.
Some anarchists have been circulating texts that mimic the discourse of the far-right, worrying about the free speech of dissident conservative politicians, or about the right of religious reactionaries to gather, or minimizing covid. Others have become indistinguishable from liberals and try to shut down criticism from their comrades by claiming we are trying to kill their grandparents or something. We can do better.
Things are scary right now, it’s true. The social pressure to just go along with whatever authoritarian crap is super heavy, but putting these posters up alone in the middle of the day on the weekend was a good experiment in talking with my neighbours about it. We are never as alone as we think we are.
(I’m including a pdf of my posters in case you suck at graphic design more than I do. But it’s easy to make your own with free software like Gimp and LibreOffice Draw. Wheat paste is three or four parts warm water to one part flour; add the water to the flour slowly, stirring lots, then dump in a whole bunch of sugar.)
Solidarity to the people in Montreal who have been fighting against the curfew there!
Keep your collectives and affinity groups tight, and always maintain a good social distance from the state!
Comments Off on #FreeThemAll: Email campaign to release Federal prisoners
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
SUPPORT ALL PRISONERS NOW! NO ONE SHOULD SPEND A PANDEMIC IN PRISON!
The situation facing prisoners during the COVID19 pandemic is terrifying. It is widely understood that prisoners are in a dangerous position during this pandemic due to the close living quarters, lack of health care, and lack of access to sanitary supplies. Correctional Services Canada has done little to address the risks inside, aside from cancelling all visits, temporary work releases, and trailer visits. Predictably, COVID19 has already started to spread in the federal prison system with prisoners and staff testing positive in more and more institutions.
Calls for the release of prisoners have come from many different people and groups around the world and many mainstream news publications in Canada have published articles detailing the reasoning behind releasing prisoners now. We would like to add our thoughts to this conversation.
At the federal level, there are many tools that Correctional Services Canada and the Parole Board of Canada can use to release prisoners. These include: the extension of unaccompanied temporary absences, the use of Section 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), expedited hearings for suspension and revocation cases, and using section 121)1.b) of the CCRA, which states that ‘parole may be granted at any time to an offender […] whose physical or mental health is likely to suffer serious damage if the offender continues to be held in confinement.’
The use of existing provisions to release prisoners to protect their health is not unprecedented. Indeed, as Jane Philpott and Kim Pate explain in an article in Policy Options, “sections 29, 81, 84, 116, and 121 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act were specifically created to move people out of prisons to address health issues, for other personal development, for compassionate reasons or for work. Sections 81 and 84 provide for the transfer of Indigenous prisoners to Indigenous communities but could be applied to others as well” (emphasis added).
In this context, we demand immediate action to protect the health and safety of federal prisoners. Specifically, we demand the following:
1. IMMEDIATELY RELEASE ALL VULNERABLE PRISONERS: Anyone who is over 50 years old, immunocompromised, pregnant, sick, or who has a preexisting condition that makes them at high risk of dying from COVID-19.
2. RELEASE ALL OTHER PRISONERS, STARTING WITH THOSE IN MINIMUM SECURITY PRISONS AND HALFWAY HOUSES: According to Correctional Service Canada’s own logic, those in minimum security prisons and halfway houses are considered the lowest risk to public safety, so start there. Let those with homes go home, provide safe physical distancing in halfway houses where people choose to remain, widen access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit funding to include people getting out of prison, and open up vacant housing for those with no homes.
3. TAKE IMMEDIATE SANITARY AND PREVENTATIVE ACTION TO PROTECT THOSE WHO REMAIN IMPRISONED: Provide soap, hand sanitizer with proper alcohol content as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), water, bleach, cleaning supplies, and self assessment tools (like thermometers) to every prisoner at no cost, and transfer prisoners in maximum and medium security into the empty minimums to allow for proper physical distancing.
4. NO MORE PUNISHMENT. PRIORITIZE CONTINUED ACCESS TO COMMUNITY AND FAMILY FOR THOSE WHO REMAIN IMPRISONED: Provide free phone calls and video visitation, allow phone calls and video visitation for volunteers and non-family supports, access to cell phones to limit use of communal phones and so that access to the outside continues if medical isolation happens, and stop using lockdowns to inhibit access to community and family supports. The World Health Organizing, stressing the importance of communication with the outside, has said that “decisions to limit or restrict visits need to consider the particular impact on the mental well-being of prisoners … The psychological impact of these measures needs to be considered and mitigated as much as possible and basic emotional and practical support for affected people in prison should be available.”
5. MEDICAL SERVICES FOR ALL: Ensure medical services are fully funded, accessible 24/7, and extra health care practitioners are hired. Provide training, PPE, and regular testing. Waive the need for guards to accompany prisoners to the hospital. No sending prisoners to special military hospitals.
Who should you contact?
At this point you could call or email:
1. Anne Kelly – Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada: email@example.com, 613-995-5781
2. Angela Connidis – Deputy Commissioner for Women, Correctional Service Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-991-2952
3. Jennifer Oades – Parole Board of Canada, Chairperson: email@example.com, 613-954-1154
4. Bill Blair – Minister of Public Safety: Bill.Blair@parl.gc.ca
5. Kim Pate – Senator pushing for decarceration: Kim.Pate@sen.parl.gc.ca
6. Marilou McPhedran – Senator pushing for decarceration: Marilou.McPhedran@sen.parl.gc.ca
7. Jack Harris – NDP Public Safety Critic: firstname.lastname@example.org, 709-772-7171
You can use the graphics at this link (demandprisonschange.wordpress.com) on social media! Tweet at @csc_scc_en AND @csc_scc_fr with the hashtags #FreeThemAll AND #FreeThemNow.