August Barton Jail Hunger Strike: Post Updated for Day 2

Starting this morning, August 5th, prisoners on range 4B in the Barton Jail initiated a hunger strike, their third in the past two months. Their most recent strike in late July ended quickly when the administration agreed to meet their core demands: Access to books from outside and more items available from the canteen. (The full list of demands is below). However it seems that these were empty words, as more than a week later there has been no follow through.

Hunger strikes are a dangerous tactic and the 4B prisoners are prepared to go further with it this time, since it is clear that the administration will make empty promises to undermine collective action. They need outside solidarity to both help them meet their goals and to protect them from reprisals. Prison is set up to be free of scrutiny, but by paying attention to the voices of prisoners and showing them that they will never struggle alone, we can take a powerful step in breaking down the walls. Read More …

Collective Action For The Win! Hunger Strike in Barton Quickly Forces Concessions from the Admin

Today at noon, we learned that four ranges on the Barton Jail’s fourth floor had resumed a hunger strike, with at least 60 prisoners confirmed to be participating . One prisoner presented the action like this: “We have to starve ourselves to get out a message that is barely heard. We have a voice and aren’t just faceless inmates. Our concerns, our families’ concerns, are valid. We face violence for speaking out in here, but we are doing it for the ones that come after us.” Then, before we even had time to publish the demands, we got called back just before 5 with the news that the administration was moving to meet the strikers’ demands. This is amazing news and shows the power of collective action in materially improving the conditions inside. Read More …

Resisting: A New Guide to the Canadian Legal System

RESISTING is a brand new legal resource for those fighting for collective liberation, and against systemic injustice and oppression while being subjected to Canadian colonial law. It is a thorough, plain-language resource that will walk you through your legal rights (or, realistically lack thereof) and then on to more information than any dissident could ask for. Read More …

Colonial statues defaced in downtown Toronto

Last night, for the second time in a week, the statues of John A MacDonald and Eggerton Ryerson were doused with paint.

In case you missed it, last week, activists with Black Lives Matter – Toronto dumped paint and spray painted messages around 3 statues in downtown Toronto; an attack against the symbols of Canada’s violent and ongoing, racist, colonial legacy. That day also resulted in one of the fiery-est, most love and rage-filled anti-cop rallies we’ve experienced in a long time and one of the greatest displays of jail support we’ve seen in this city.

We set out to double down on their message – Ryerson was cleaned up a bit too quickly for our liking and we wanted to amplify the message that the time is long past-due for these statues to come down. Read More …

Baden: Interview on the Campaign to Remove Sir John A Statue

This is a short interview with Cheyanne Thorpe, an Indigenous woman and resident of Waterloo Region, who has been organising protests and public pressure against the placement of the Sir John A MacDonald statue in a public park in Baden Ontario.  The statue, part of the “prime ministers walk” project was located in Baden with little support, after residents in Kitchener and Waterloo rejected the idea that the project be built in their cities. Read More …

Female Keep Separate: Prisons, Gender, and the Violence of Inclusion

When finally the cell door closes, when the jangling keys recede, you’ve arrived as far as you’re going that day. Then you can exhale alone with your mattress and be in your own body again, your body no longer a problem to be solved or a question to be answered. Just your own familiar weight under the blanket, where you can just shake and shake and try to sleep and get ready for whatever happens next.

I’ve done time in both men and women’s prisons, and from this I’ve learned a lot of things about the world we live in. About gender and how the state perceives it, about how gender is a form of control. Here in the territory called Canada, the state changed its rules about how its institutions engage with gender a few years ago by listing “gender identity” as a charter-protected category, like race or sex, in Bill C-16i. This meant that all the arms of the state have been required to figure out what it means to respect self-identification around gender. Read More …

There Was a Time Before Police, There Will Be a Time After: Reportback on (anti) Canada Day Demo in Guelph

On July 1st, 2020, the day called “Canada Day”, several hundred people gathered in Lions’ Park in Guelph for a march called Black and Indigenous Solidarity Against Police Brutality. Led by Black and Indigenous youth, this march was very exciting and represents a shift in what demos in the city can be. This reportback is the perspective of just one individual who participated in the demo, to share what happened in Guelph with those elsewhere in the region responding to similar issues of racism and policing. Read More …

Kingston: Update from Belle Park

The following is an update from Mutual Aid Katarokwi’s Facebook Page about a recent meeting between houseless residents of the Belle Park camp and the City of Kingston officials. For several weeks, ~40 people have been camped out in the parking lot of Belle Park following shelter closures amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The City opened a new shelter outside of the downtown area but many are refusing to live under the restrictive conditions in place, and feel safer together. Also see the recent Radio Pandemic episode about the evolving situation. Read More …

Ford Escalates Threat of Mass Evictions

On July 2, the Ontario government voted to amend Bill 184, the Eviction Bill, in a step towards ensuring mass evictions for Ontario tenants who have been unable to pay rent in full during the COVID-19 crisis. All tenants who have been unable to pay full rent, whether they have signed repayment plans or not, will be affected by this predatory bill. Now heading into its third reading, the amended Bill could be passed into law as early as next week. Read More …

Hamilton: Statement from a Striking Prisoner and Solidarity Demo Reportback

Below is an audio statement from a prisoner on his sixth day of hunger strike from June 28 2020. He ended it today, on his seventh day, following threats from the guards to move him to solitary confinement. We also include our notes from that day about concessions the institution has made in response to the coordinated prisoner protests.

Also included is a short reportback on the emergency prisoner solidarity demo held this week to show striking prisoner they are not alone. Read More …