From Anarchist News
For several years, the St. Henri neighbourhood has been undergoing many changes: a walk along any part of rue Notre Dame will bring you face to face with the new foodie restaurants, high-end boutiques, art galleries, and ”drinkeries” catering to the residents of all the canal-side condos, replacing the dollar stores and flea markets.
Although gentrification of a neighbourhood is more than just new businesses and nice-looking storefronts, we decided to render some of our disgust with gentrification by vandalizing two such examples with fire extinguishers filled with paint. One is Notorious, a high-end barbershop with owners proud to wear Versace outfits, offering services such as a $1000 golden shave, and Campanelli, a coffee shop and fashion boutique which also sports a mural of Louis Cyr, former cop and lauded ‘heroic’ figure in the history of St. Henri. Famous as a Strongman, he was enlisted by the Montreal Police force to bring to heel the untameable Village des tanneries, where today we find Campanelli. Cyr was unable to bring law and order, and was beaten up and kicked out by the locals early on in his career. It is indicative that Campanelli has chosen to highlight this particular figure, and a classic example of the ways in which local histories become distorted to erase resistance and to valorize boot-kissers. We hope Campanelli faces a similar fate to that of Cyr: failure.
These businesses play an active role in the ”revitalisation” of the neighbourhood, and contribute to pushing out the poor in favour of young yuppies with considerable income and who are always in search of the new trend – whether in terms of food, beer, fashion, or even neighborhood. Unable to afford the new price of living and facing greater police harassement, a method of social cleansing that pushes undesirables further and further from downtown and central areas, precarious workers, the unemployed, and all other marginalized of society are always on the losing end of this ”revitalisation”.
We see this action as part of a struggle against colonialism and as a gesture of solidarity with indigenous self-determination and soverignty. While we recognize that our struggle in Montreal, occupied indigenous territory, isn’t at all comparable to indigenous struggles in form or content, we engaged in this action in solidarity with those in struggle against exploitative projects, including pipeline construction and other resource extraction schemes.
We think that one of the best ways to act in solidarity is to struggle in our own context against common enemies: the forces of repression and displacement, including capital and the police. In this sense, inspired in part by the struggles against threats to the territory and water on lands already stolen from indigenous peoples, the threats that participate in this ongoing process of colonisation and genocide of indigenous peoples in Canada, we attacked the forces that further alienate us from our surroundings and push us out of the spaces we inhabit.