Anonymous submission to North Shore
In response to the call for decentralized May Day actions, some Toronto anarchists went for a delightful ride on a clear night in late April to let banks know that we are watching and that we are ready and willing to act. Despite most branches being closed due to Covid-19, we managed to find a few branches that were continuing to open for customers. We visited several banks, gluing the locks, and spray painting messages on the concrete or exterior facade as appropriate. Our messages centred around their abysmal failure to show even a modicum of compassion amid widespread income loss among its clients.
For-profit banking is a parasitic institution that produces and profits off our poverty. They pit their workers against each other to boost personal metrics that can only be gained by screwing over customers. Workers at all levels and in all customer-facing positions are bombarded with their rankings and are threatened with poor performance reviews if their numbers go down. All to generate profits the workers never see. The news [link is to CBC] occasionally has stories about more obviously exploitative practices, but the most mundane things you do with your account are rigged to steal as much from you as they can. Workers’ fears translate into routine bad advice that leads to charges, like the automatic payments they suggested leading to non-sufficient funds charges leading to stop payment charges, all to fix the problem the teller created by offering you “convenience.”
The first thing you have to do when hired by a bank is do a series of trainings about banking ethics. As soon as you have learned about how helping your customers comes first, you learn how to screw your customers over. So of course when the pandemic hit, the banks’ first thoughts were “how can we use this to fuck our customers over more?” The answer as always was to offer loans! Interest is such a time-honoured method of exploitation that it has a special place in Abrahamic religions. Jesus kicked the money lenders out of the temple, and in Islam it is haraam We have known the evils of this for two centuries longer than our current capitalist system has existed, and yet we just keep leaning into our own exploitation. So they get those sweet interest rates on top of all the added charges that poverty brings to bank accounts, that not one single bank made a move to forgive!
And what do they do with all that profit they get from our poverty? They invest it in fossil fuels. Now since we can’t shut down canada we left a special message for RBC: Invest in People, not Pipelines! All of the for-profit banks are complicit in this, but no one invests as much as RBC in Coastal Gaslink’s invasion of sovereign Indigenous territory.
As an unplanned bonus, we realized we were riding past the cannabis shop former super-racist police chief Julian Fantino is opening up in Kensington market (a neighbourhood that has delightfully resisted corporate incursions in the past) and decided to give it the same treatment as the banks.
We echo the call for a disruptive May, and look forward to reading your submissions throughout the month to come. The unfortunate upside to living in this hellscape is that there are so many juicy targets to choose between! We can attack the agents of capitalism (like we did with the banks), surveillance capitalism, extractive industries and those complicit in them, property managers, etc. Whatever you are pissed off at today, attack! If you are up for it, do your comrades (known and unknown) a solid and smash some cameras so all our actions are safer. We are hoping that Fantino’s hypocrite emporium is sabotaged out of existence. With locksmith services only costing roughly a hundred bucks, it will take a lot to bankrupt that fucker, but together we can be the biting black flies that make him run for cover.
A word on logistics for folks new to sabotage: gluing locks is easy. You will want to carry toothpicks and super glue with a pointy nozzle, which MOST super glues have. The approach that I like is to jam the toothpick in, snap it off and use the nozzle of the glue to push it in deeper while filling the lock with glue. It takes two seconds, and is a remarkably un-sketchy looking activity.
Two requests for folks old hat at different types of sabotage: the first is specific to our action as we unfortunately discovered that banks are really quick to clean graffiti. If you have suggestions for how to help the message last they would be appreciated! The second and more general request is to post in the comments tips for what you find works best for different types of independent actions folks might want to do with their comrades this May so that we might grow the pool of folks fighting back in this manner, and inspire folks to try new activities!
Love to all of you out there!