Why do you insist on organizing within or in parallel of larger demos, or given symbolic dates? Moments when not only do you know the attacks from police will come because the whole repressive apparatus will be organized, coordinated, deployed and empowered by their laws and technology, but where you will also be reminded to watch your backs for the hostile masses in the street (have you not seen yet, the masses ready to trample you under their fear?), the whole amalgam of leftists who want to maintain and manage domination alternatively, the snitches, and the paciflics* as we call them in Montreal, already setting yourself up in a kettle between cops and citizens, more so than on a normal day.
And isn’t it exactly this you seek when you speak of confrontation? Would it not be to confront and break with normality, the normality of wake, work, shit, sleep, crossed with a few fetichized days of protest? Would it not be to transcend the regularizing militant calendar of our expected moments of action? Comrades, the element of surprise is still a fierce ally.
Or is it more of a group therapy you search? To be with others, to comfort yourselves as you are not alone, and “to focus more on care, support, emotional openness”. If so then you can revel in the demo as it is nothing more than that, a group therapy within this mass alienation we call society.
We hope that you care and support each other everyday. We hope that everyday you become stronger in your embrace with loved ones, those whose hands you grasp, trusting them with your life. The demo is as much a place to find people who will care for you as is a nightclub.
Comrades, we would like to think that you too have the blazing desire, not to take the streets back, but to make them unusable. The streets are not ours, they never were and never will be, and we do not want them to be, they are part of this world of concrete and cement which keeps us locked up, keeps us from having our feet in the earth, and to see beyond. Any day, anywhere there are streets, a few loved ones suffice to find the cracks in the street from where to pull out pieces to throw back to those it belongs to.
Comrades, we wish to embrace, our fists grasping the streets burning with desire, any rotten day of misery that domination forces upon us.
*“paci” for pacifist and “flics” for cops. Used to name those hostile to, who attack, and/or try to arrest others that use confrontational tactics.
Dear comrades in the streets
We organized an autonomous contingent for the Montreal COBP demo on March 15th this year. More than 40 of us met up nearby to the main demo, and had our own small demo that went for around half an hour. The police were not expecting us, and we were neither attacked nor kettled before we decided to disperse ourselves. We wrote a flyer explaining why we had organized the contingent, and encouraging others to do the same for the upcoming May 1st anti-capitalist demo. We planned to hand out this flyer to people who had gathered for the main demo, but the kettles began before we arrived. We hope things can go differently next time. No justice, no peace, see you in the streets!
Dear comrades in the streets,
This year for March 15th we have self-organized into an autonomous contingent within the larger demo. We would like to explain why we have done this, and encourage you to do the same for future demos, especially May 1st.
We initiated this contingent because we want to experiment with methods of more collective, organized participation in demos. We want to communicate more with each other before the demo, while it is going on, and afterwards. We want to have more capacity to take care of one another and to protect ourselves from the attacks by the police that we know will come.
If we want to engage with confrontational demos, we must organize ourselves and relate to one another in ways that allow us to work through the trauma and fear that grow out of our encounters with the police. We must figure out what it looks like in practice to focus more on care, support, emotional openness and reflexivity in our mobilization and organizing for confrontational demos. We think contingents might be a way to do this.
By forming into contingents outside of the main meetup location for the demo, such as in our neighborhoods, we decentralize the demo formation process and make it harder for the police to disrupt us before we have even started. By decentralizing some of the decision-making capacities of the demo into autonomously organized contingents, we make it harder to disperse the demo.
Finally, and most importantly, by organizing to support one another, we hope to provide a basis for more people to feel able to participate in confrontational demos, and more confidence for all of us to be combative in all the ways that we know are necessary.
We started this contingent by calling up our friends who we thought might want to go to this demo with us. We met up a few times and talked a whole lot. Think that sounds fun? We encourage everyone to find their friends and neighbors and organize contingents for May 1st!