In the first few hours of February 1st, individuals in Hamilton, Ontario answered the call to be ungovernable in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline and the secretive Grand Jury deliberating on the fate of Water Protectors south of us. It is imperative that we continue to show solidarity inside and outside of the legal system as the State’s strategy will always be divide and conquer. As those who seek to poison the Earth and profit from her exploitation attempt to secure their place in power, those of us with capacity to resist must seize the opportunity. We need not (& must not) choose one avenue for action, but pursue all of them in all ways. Today, we resist the Dakota Access Pipeline and ALL pipelines by hitting the banks who fund them – specifically TD Canada Trust – where it hurts. Which we interpreted to mean literally hitting their ATMs with hammers… and jamming up the card slot with spray foam. Tomorrow, we make our voices heard that Muslim refugees are welcome here. Friday, we go Nazi punching.
Fuck Assad, Fuck his Western Lackeys: An anarchist statement on Eva Bartlett’s Hamilton presentations
This week Hamilton had the unfortunate distinction of being the only city on Eva Bartlett’s Canadian tour to host not one, but two presentations by the self-described independent journalist. In the days since, some of us have been asked by people in the Hamilton activist scene our thoughts on the events and, given that anarchists were publicly named as opponents of the event, “authoritarian” ones at that (the irony is not lost on us), we would like to clarify some thoughts.
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian blogger who has focused her writing on the middle-east: specifically Palestine and Syria. She recently shot to sectarian-internet fame when she managed to get filmed taking questions in front of a UN backdrop. According to her backers, Bartlett, unlike the Main Stream Media, is one of few sharing the “truth” about Syria. Unlike these outlets, she can lay claim to being “on the ground”, and not under the influence of the NATO-backed western media.
While we appreciate the skepticism towards the mainstream media, as well as a general disdain for western imperialism, the so-called anti-imperialists who back Bartlett want us to believe that the near-consensus global and small press reports of the atrocities carried out by Assad regime simply didn’t happen. Or, to paraphrase Bartlett, it’s possible that a few mistakes have been made by Assad’s army, but she hadn’t heard of anything in particular. Sound conspiracy theory-ish yet? There’s more.
Bartlett’s conspiratorial claims, many of which have been debunked online (by sources which, by virtue of contesting Bartlett’s claims, are considered unreliable), have found a welcome home on such websites as GlobalResearch.ca, a site that sounds very professional and…well…researched when she’s citing it in front of a crowd. When you check the site out though, you’ll find that it devotes an entire section of it’s content to 9/11 truth articles, hosts articles by Alex Jones/Infowars, alt-right figure Paul Joseph Watson, and describes itself as “a major news source on the New World Order”.
For the eighth consecutive year, anarchists in Southern Ontario gathered to ring in the new year with a series of noise demos outside prisons in the area. We do this to demonstrate our opposition to the prison system and the world that maintains it, and to remind those on the inside that they are not forgotten.
We started our night off at the Niagara Detention Centre – an institution known for extreme overcrowding, inmate suicide, and hunger striking migrants. In the pouring rain, a crowd of 35 people gathered and marched along the perimeter of the prison. A full marching band in balaclavas played, while others set off fireworks and chanted. A handful of screws tried rushing us off the property but were met with insults and disregard as we finished our loop and left without incident.
From there we headed to Hamilton’s downtown Barton Jail, where our numbers doubled. Infamous for particularly egregious conditions, the prison was recently in the news for losing its heat for weeks in the middle of a cold spell. Stories circulated of temperatures dropping so low that water was freezing in the cells and inmates were forced to wear socks on their arms in attempts to stay warm.
An annual stop for our noise demo tradition, this year we wanted to make more of an effort to communicate with those on the inside. We produced a short video and using a handheld projector played it on loop on the side of a building visible from inside the jail. Prisoners were seen cupping their eyes, looking out their windows to read the messages on the wall.
Balaclavas, fireworks, and paint bombs were distributed before we started, and year after year people have come to expect this and join in on the fun. The prison and prisoner transport vans were covered in paint, people chanted and held banner that said “Turn up the Heat” and after a ton of fire works were lit, we left on our own terms.
Against prisons and its world,
Video also available on Its Going Down
This text was written and posted quickly, but has since been edited slightly and had problems with the endnotes corrected
After four years of autonomy, East Aleppo, the rebellious city, has fallen. As I write this, buses full of evacuated people are arriving in areas controlled by non-Assadist armed groups in the Idlib area, to the south-west, and some ambulances carrying seriously injured people are crossing the border into Turkey. In the past few days, over a hundred thousand people had their homes, already destroyed by months of intensive bombardment, captured by the the Syrian military or (more likely) allied armed groups, such as Hezbollah (1). Some of these people have been killed in the streets, others divided up by sex and sent to internment camps or conscripted into the military to serve as canon fodder. The others wait, watching as more soldiers arrive and their neighbours are sorted, wondering what’s next.
What has been lost in these past few days, for those of us not directly touched by the violence? As I hide in the bathroom at work and flip through images of people burning their cars and furniture so that the army can’t loot it, what does it mean to me that Eastern Aleppo has been captured? These are some thoughts and reflections I have, as I watch the Aleppo revolutionaries be crushed, about the importance of this moment and what we, as anarchists based in Western countries, might learn from it. (2)
From It’s Going Down
(Video in the above link is very worth watching)
On October 18th, 2016, the National Energy Board (NEB) held a hearing in Hamilton over Enbridge’s Line 10 pipeline expansion plan. The NEB is a sham organization that exists only to lend legitimacy to destructive industrial projects. Even the federal government has trouble justifying this group of corrupt bozos, who have proven themselves willing to approve any project regardless of environmental or human risks. In this instance it’s the scumbags at Enbridge who need a rubber stamp from the NEB to increase the capacity of their Line 10 pipeline, running from Hamilton to New York State. Like everything Enbridge does, this project is a terrible idea that will only contribute to global warming, environmental destruction, and the expansion of the Alberta tar sands. And as usual, Enbridge has ignored the sovereignty of impacted Indigenous communities, preferring instead to pay them off when possible or ignore them when they stand in the way.
A Love Letter to Sacred Stone Camp
For weeks, your numbers and our hearts have swelled in unison.
The world is watching as you spark the revolution.
We all wish that we could join you but realize we have ways to help from here.
We have work to do right here.
And so we offer up a small act of resistance. Of defiance.
A rejection of their narrative.
Enbridge is funding the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as Line 9 here.
As of one week ago, a merger made them the largest energy delivery company on Turtle Island.
But the era of oil snakes is over.
Gone are the days where companies can profit off death and destruction unopposed.
Enbridge has blood on their hands.
We have made this clear by using our hands to cover their Hamilton office in red prints.
A message was left on the windows to have it known we stand in solidarity.
There are those that will conflate this with an act of violence.
Yet stay silent as corporations use the mouths of hounds as weapons against women and children.
These are people who value property above people.
Things over beings.
Some of us have blood responsibilities to protect the land and water.
The rest have the responsibility to support those protectors.
We fight for the water and land. For life.
And for a world where we dont have to.
We are with you. We are watching.
We stand with Standing Rock.
Yesterday, a group of scumbags affiliated with local real estate companies organized a tour of Hamilton for a group of investors, with the goal of drawing in capital from outside the city. This project is called Try Hamilton and they describe their goals as a chance for entrepreneurs and developers to envision ‘city-changing’ possibilities. Shamelessly pro-gentrification, they talk about our neighbourhoods as blank slates, gloat about the money to be made if an area can be successfully ‘converted’ to a different kind of resident. Of course, for most of us, their financial wet dreams appear in our lives as violence, hunger, or eviction – and so of course we have to fight back against them.
When the group of investors emerged from the Ti-Cats stadium, fresh off the inspiring words of the city’s mayor, and tried to board buses, they were met by a crowd of forty angry people who encouraged them to, rather than try Hamilton, try fucking themselves. With signs reading, “Gentrification is disgusting, you rich fucks are disgusting”, “who gets off on evicting families?” and “Fuck you for trying”, we met them with a wall of rage that showed them what the class war their investments drive can mean.
“The most important thing,” my friend said on our way home, “is to destroy the state. The Syrian revolution went very far and a big reason for this is that we were able to completely destroy the state in many areas. Even if we can’t prevent the counter revolution, destroying the state makes whatever comes after much weaker.”
My friend was an active participant in the first few years of the Syrian revolution, and we had just spent the evening at Leila al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab’s speaking tour for their book Burning Country: Stories of Syrians in Revolution and War. These two authors, based in the UK, spoke passionately about the various revolutionary projects that unfolded in Syria between 2011 and 2013 and that continue struggling to survive today, under the bombs and indifference of the world. A few days earlier, we’d also attended a talk by Paul Z Simons describing his experiences travelling to Rojava, the majority-Kurdish areas in what used to be northern Syria. Paul compared his motivations for travelling to Rojava to those of anarchists around the world who travelled to Spain in the 30s – describing Rojava1 as the most significant anarchist revolution since that time, he has been travelling North America trying to inspire direct support among western radicals.
These two tours both offered anarchist perspectives on Syria and yet their narratives were surprisingly different – on our walk to the bus station, we dug into those differences and tried to understand them. In spite of their scale and commitment, the anarchic practices carried out by the Syrian revolution (not in Rojava) have been largely ignored by anarchists in the west, while Rojava has been widely, and often uncritically, celebrated. In light of rapidly changing events on the ground, as grassroots groups risk being decisively overshadowed by the maneuvers of states, it’s important to look more carefully at Rojava and the Syrian revolution to see where our solidarity should lie. This will help us support revolutionaries there in the years to come and also make sure that, in the present, anarchist support isn’t fuelling forces that divide and undermine revolutionary energy.
200 copies of this text were distributed as a beautiful zine during the May Day 2016 celebrations in Hamilton’s Beasley Park. PDF now available for download.
A Steal City…
Far and wide, Hamilton is known as the steel city. Historically, the largest producer of steel in the country, our solidly working-class city has been built around the steel industry. For better or worse, steel has been integral to what it means to be a Hamiltonian. Against this backdrop, we want to make a slightly different proposition – we propose that in practice Hamilton is a stolen city. Hamilton is a city built on the widespread theft of indigenous lands. Hamilton is a city where everyday bosses steal the profits made by their workers and landlords steal hard earned money from tenants. Hamilton is a city where politicians embezzle funds, as police rob us of our freedom and in some cases our lives. The only appropriate response to these realities is to take our city back. As part of this year’s annual May Day celebrations, the intentions of this modest publication are twofold – to call into question some of the taken-for-granted institutions and values that shape our city, and perhaps more importantly, to encourage action. Written by a handful of people inspired by anarchist ideas, the pages that follow discuss issues related to policing and immigration, the environment and colonization, violence, democracy, and private property. Against these systems of domination, we propose autonomy, solidarity, internationalism, and direct action as ways to build our collective power in this city.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Police have a long history of creating and using fake social media accounts to track people, pages and events. The kicker? You don’t have to be masking up at demos or occupying oil facilities to earn their attentions. Just as much as they’ll lay charges if the opportunity presents itself, police exist on social media to glean more subtle information from political dissidents of all stripes and their pals – things like our personal networks, politics, current gossip, and moods.
With this information, police can more easily work out who’s organizing, who their friends and families are, and possibly even things like who to approach as an informant or where to place or start undercovers – on top of a slew of other things.
In other words: police are on there to capture the very essence of facebook, and their presence puts all of us at risk. No exceptions.