Video: October 9 Train Blockade in Solidarity with Gidimt’en

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Oct 142021
 

From SubMedia

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.

#AllOutForWedzinKwa

Yannick Vézina: A Leader of Neo-Fascist Organization Atalante Working at Desgagnés

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Oct 062021
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

[Special collaboration between Montréal Antifasciste et Québec Antifasciste]

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.

 

Québec Stomper Crew and entourage.

 

Some of the Québec Stompers.

 

Yannick Vézina during a show by Légitime Violence. By his side, we recognize Steve Lavallée, a member of the entourage of the  Québec Stomper Crew who was charged in the late 90’s following a series of assaults with weapon in Montréal..

 

Yannick Vézina, fully patched.

 

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.

 

Québec Stomper Crew and Légitime Violence, with some buddies from the US, gather around Steven Bissuel, ex-leader of Bastion Social and Groupement Union Défense – Lyon (GUD). Yannick Vézina is in the middle, to the left of Bissuel.

  

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:

telephone: (418) 692-1000

e-mail: info@desgagnes.com; info@transarctik.desgagnes.com

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.

 Conclusion

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.

If you have information you’d like to share with us about Yannick Vézina or Atalante and its sympathizers, don’t hesitate to write to us at alerta-mtl@riseup.net or qcantifasciste@riseup.net.

Burning Churches, Taking Down Statues

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Aug 092021
 

From Antimídia

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?

[The video has English subtitles.]

From Embers: A Year At 1492 Land Back Lane

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Jul 272021
 

From From Embers

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.

Quebec.wingism and their Hangers-on

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Jul 122021
 

From Montréal Antifasciste

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 – two articles 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).

Who are the moderators and entourage of Quebec.wingism? (go directly to the photo gallery)

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.

… Continue reading on montreal-antifasciste.info

Rioting Against the Curfew!

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Apr 242021
 

Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info

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!

Hamilton: Fuck the Covid Cops!

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Apr 212021
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-Info

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!

#FreeThemAll: Email campaign to release Federal prisoners

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Apr 122020
 

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: anne.kelly@csc-scc.gc.ca, 613-995-5781
2. Angela Connidis – Deputy Commissioner for Women, Correctional Service Canada: angela.connidis@csc-scc.gc.ca, 613-991-2952
3. Jennifer Oades – Parole Board of Canada, Chairperson: jennifer.oades@pbc-clcc.gc.ca, 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: jack.harris@parl.gc.ca, 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.

in solidarity,
the Termite Collective

#HungerStrikeLaval

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Apr 012020
 

From Zola

Let them all go

#hungerstrikelaval

To Settlers, by Settlers: A Callout for Rail Disruptions in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

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Jan 142020
 

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-Info

It’s important to know that settlers have written this. We don’t have the lived experience of any Indigenous person, including the Wet’suwet’en. We do write from a place of heart and affinity within this struggle – personal, political, and/or relational. In that we feel responsibility to act against the systems and corporations that harm the people and land within it. We acknowledge our settler responsibility and complicity in this, and look for opportunities and strategies that align politically as a way to enact solidarity. This does not mean we speak for them, or should be closed to critiques.

First, let’s address that for various reasons there has sometimes been a lack of clarity around what is being asked for by folks out west.

We want to gently remind friends reading this that some individuals have been restricted in providing any kind of direction or encouragement – or even speaking against the project. The gag is set by court orders which wield the threat of financial ruin and the loss of a ten year land-based healing project for an entire community. We remind ourselves that the people we may put into “leadership” positions may not want to be experiencing the pedestalization and fetishization of expectant settlers wanting firm answers – at great risk – on behalf of many.

Within and outside of this struggle, settlers are consistently directed to take responsibility for their fellow settlers and the ongoing processes and harms of colonization. As settlers hearing that, we are compelled to act in defiance of – and take an offensive position against – the state and industries that are willing to kill for profit, and pretend to be doing so in our interests.

We also want to acknowledge the lingering hopeless feeling that some of us felt when, after a decade of affirming a hard line, chiefs allowed for the Unist’ot’en gate to be opened. We know you know that compliance under threat of violence is not consent, but consideration exists even beyond that, like the RCMP delivering veiled and not-so-veiled threats to Chiefs at their homes in the middle of the nights.  We encourage curiosity about whether hopelessness and disappointment went both ways here; to what extent did the low numbers of supporters who couldn’t or wouldn’t make it out after a decade of promise have impacts on positional outcome and aftermath? The writers of this personally take action when we feel at our strongest – rested, fed, grounded, encouraged, and supported. So what is our complicity – as settlers or allies or supporters who weren’t there or weren’t taking action from afar – in that gate opening?

Despite all of this the Wet’suwet’en never stopped asking for support and solidarity actions, and never stopped occupying their territories.  And earlier today, the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters have again taken a physical stand to protect the Yintah, their way of life, and living for generations to come. They defend their very existence against the imperialist violence and colonialism of the Canadian state on behalf of private entities, and reject Canada and CGL’s authority and jurisdiction over their unceded lands.

We stand with them and are prepared to enact solidarity.

Further, we aim to inspire you to act friends & comrades!

Anarchists, comrades, radicals and likeminded folks in so-called Ontario have a longstanding history of solidarity actions with, for, and inspired by indigenous blockades and land projects.  The enactments of support have been beautiful and courageous moments that have built lasting networks and relationships.

Dream big and help make it happen again!

The last year  on the territory has seen large swaths of trees clear cut, wildlife displaced, a man camp established, artefacts and trap lines  moved and destroyed, and the installment of an RCMP staffed “industry protection office” on unceded lands. The year also unveiled to all that the RCMP is prepared to kill Indigenous peoples to carry out the will of corporations.

Further, in a move that deliberately continues a legacy of genocide against all Indigenous peoples, justice Marguerite Church recently approved an interlocutory injunction against the Wet’suwet’en making it illegal for them under colonial law to defend their own lands against industry or Canada, as an invading Nation. Her decision states that “Indigenous law has no effectual place in Canadian law.” The injunction will allow for the destruction of Gidimt’en camp, cabins throughout the territory, and presents risk to the healing lodge.

Unsurprising and absolute imperialist bullshit.

Do you need more reasons? We didn’t think so.

Which leaves us with what we do.

As geographically distant allies the logical conclusion is that we will likely never get explicit, widespread permission or an “official” thumbs up (and we should certainly strive to understand our inclination to ask or want for those things), but with a few considerations we can get a fair sense of what’s needed, and wanted.

1) The intensity of the current situation. Today, Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership have gathered to take a final stand and remove industry from their territory as a way to prevent further destruction of the land and water, ensuring their safety and livelihoods. Legal challenges have failed, and this is perhaps “it” – the final possibility of protecting their Yintah.

2) With this development will come new, increased and incensed calls for solidarity actions.

3) Actions that have received support or excitement previously include large militant disruptions such as highway and port blockades, occupations and attempted shutdowns of pipeline facilities, and the closure of a Shell terminal. No actions have yet been denounced.

4) Previous requests have included guidance to respect the agreements and responsibilities of the territory you are on, to respect the land, water, and life of it, and to honour and centre Indigenous messaging.

There is no shortage of existing opportunities, but thinking back to what we’ve seen work in this area, what is relevant, and what is strategic and what can embrace many tones and tactics, we think of rail disruptions.

Rail traffic creates excellent opportunity for state and economic disruption; infrastructure is so sprawling it’s relatively indefensible – particularly outside of cities. Geographical features create thousands of natural bottlenecks across Turtle Island which lend themselves as targets for maximum effectiveness using a broad range of methods. Historically even short disruptions – by actions or rail strikes – have had large economic impacts. After just two days of a recent rail strike the Federal government started drafting emergency legislation out of concern for the economy. In 2012, a 9 day disruption dropped the local GDP by 6.8%.

Imagine allies disrupting and damaging rail infrastructure and bottlenecks in Northern BC between Kitimat-Chetwynd-Houston-Stewart; it would orphan pipe stockpiles in ports, preventing their delivery to construction areas.

There is no need to chase the frontline; we can fight where we stand.

Rail sabotage works as both a tactic and a strategy, and so we’re calling for ongoing rail disruptions in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who are currently defending their unceded territory from industry and police invasion.

Our suggestions include using copper wire to trip signal blocks, and the destruction of signal boxes and rail tracks – but even large public NVCD groups stopping essential rail lines is better than no action at all. Read on for details, safety tips, and links.

As always, we encourage folks to think about your heart, as well as the longevity of these actions and overall struggle; a gentle reminder that you are being careful with yourselves, fingerprints and DNA – for everyone’s safety – and that repression often follows action.

Prints

Fingerprints can be removed from hard surfaces with isopropyl alcohol. Wipe each item thoroughly in case something gets accidentally left behind or discovered. Store in a brand new, clean bag and only remove if wearing gloves.

DNA

DNA can be transferred in a number of ways. Ensure you’re being diligent; don’t touch your face and cough you’re your hands while wearing gloves. Keep your hair brushed (to remove loose hair) and tied back. Don’t smoke or spit anywhere near your target area. Don’t leave anything behind. Be careful not to injure yourself. Properly dispose of masks, hats, gear, or clothing (bleach, heat, or burn). Rainy days can be messy but good; they can help wash away, displace and contaminate fibre and DNA evidence. Bleach can destroy DNA by keeping it from being replicated in a lab for analysis. Heat and fire also destroy DNA well.

If you’re not sure, be sure.

Copper Wire Method
– DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON SUBWAY TRANSIT LINES; they carry electricity.
– You can use this method when engaging in group NVCD to immediately send a signal to stop all train traffic.

The steel rails of tracks act as part of a track circuit for something called “automatic block signalling” (ABS). A very low voltage is sent through the rails to track sensors to create a loop in sets of geographic blocks. When a train moves along them, the train axle disrupts or shortens the circuit and sensors pick that up to indicate the block is occupied, automatically closing traffic in that area to other trains.

By using a high gage (thick!) copper wire and wrapping it around and then across the rails one can replicate the tripping of the circuit sensors. Note: you don’t need to locate and connect the actual block sensors.

TIPS: the copper needs to be touching areas on both rails that are NOT rusty/oxidized and still conducting. HIGH gage copper wire is necessary. Have a lookout for trains and security patrols. Have a plan before you start wrapping. You may need a small tool to clear some crushed rock under the rail before wrapping the wire.  Find a good spot, dig out both rails, and wrap one rail first. Remember as soon as you trip the circuit by connecting the wire to both rails the ABS will be tripped indicating something is up. Get out as soon as you can. Burying the cable with crushed rock, snow or dirt will make it harder to find/spot within the block.

Destroying Signal Boxes

Signal boxes are part of rail circuits. If you walk railways, you’ve probably seen them as large grey shed like structures, or small grey boxes affixed to poles. These boxes are the receptors and interpreters of ABS circuit signals. The casings are metal and typically secured closed somehow, and the small boxes on posts have cables that emerge, trail to the ground and run to the tracks. Since these wires have electrical components we would advise against simply cutting them unless you have a fair handle on electricity. Another method to damage wires and electrical circuits is hot fire. This means more than just dousing the cords in a fuel and walking away – it means building and ensuring a hotter, longer lasting fire.  On good way to extend the burn of fibre tinder (cotton fabric or cotton balls are favourites with us) is to add petroleum jelly and work it in. You’ll be able to just light that, which acts as a wick. To increase the heat of a fire you can add rubber from bicycle inner tubes or tires. Getting a small established fire like this going either in the circuit box/house or where the cord enters the ground should take care of the circuits and do a fine job delaying rail traffic by activating the ABS system in a longer-lasting way.

Notes: Practise building this kind of fire to see what’s possible. Burning rubber creates toxic fumes. This is arson – which authorities will investigate more seriously than the copper wire method. Be careful: find a good spot, have lookouts and an entry/exit plan that doesn’t expose you to people, ensure you’re being careful with fingerprints & DNA, properly dispose of any equipment used, have EXCELLENT security culture & practises with your crew.

Destroying Steel Rails

How do you destroy steel rails that hold a lot of tonnage every day? The same way they put them together: thermite.

Thermite is a fuel/oxidizer ratio that can be adjusted to burn hot enough to destroy car engine blocks. It’s not particularly dangerous to mix BUT it does burn very hot, and very brightly so take precautions. This method requires very little on-site time: just place, light and walk away. It also provided maximum physical property damage as the rail or signal box will need complete replacement.

The simplest fuel to use is aluminum powder. This can be collected from older etch-a-sketches or manufactured with (real) aluminum foil in a coffee grinder.  The finer the flakes/powder the faster the burn.

The simplest oxidizer to use with aluminum powder is iron oxide – red iron rust. Again, you can collect this and turn it into a fine powder, or easily manufacture it by soaking ‘0000 grain’ steel wool in bleach. Let it sit for a day to create a paste, which can then be dried and used.

You will also need an ignition wick. It takes a hot burn to ignite metal fuel so a lighter won’t work, and a firework fuse likely won’t either. Use either a common fireworks sparkler, or a homemade wick of match heads rolled into aluminum foil. Sparklers may present some risk of early ignition if the sparks coming off them hit the thermite before anticipated.

Thermite Powder

Mix a ratio of 3 parts iron oxide to 2 parts aluminum powder. Cut or puncture a small wick hole on the side of a container (i.e. tin can). Insert your wick a couple inches so that there will be contact with the mixture in the can, and then fill the container with powder. Place and light where needed.

TIPS: unless the powder mix is fine and compacted, the burn will be less efficient and produce less heat!

Hard/Cake Thermite

3 parts iron oxide, 2 parts aluminum powder, 2 parts plaster of paris. Mix the powders together, mix with plaster of paris. Pour into mold (can, etc.), insert wick into cake a couple inches on an angle. Let dry and remove from mould.

Mouldable Thermite

8 parts aluminum powder, 3 parts iron oxide, 4 parts clay. Mix the powders well then add to clay. Insert wick a couple inches. Place where needed and light.

Notes:  Because this method damages the rail itself it presents a risk of derailment. To avoid this risk you may want to trip the ABS circuit by applying copper wire across the rails as well (method one). Again, this is a method police are likely to investigate thoroughly. Make sure all items you’re leaving behind are free of fingerprints and DNA. Have lookouts and careful off-camera approaches.  Dispose of or destroy clothing and boots. Thermite burns hot and bright – do not stare after ignition. Very fine aluminum powder is reactive to oxygen and can ignite easily. If water (rain, snow, puddles) is added to burning thermite it will cause an explosion that sends molten iron flying outwards. DO NOT try to extinguish burning thermite with water.