Where do you stand? Pride action in the class war of Toronto gay village

This pride week, residents of Toronto’s Queer Village woke up to a question they can no longer avoid answering: WHERE DO YOU STAND?

On June 26 2020, an ad hoc affinity group of queer and trans Village dwellers peppered the historically queer Church and Wellesley neighbourhood and the blocks surrounding — our turf — with circular floor decals, a now familiar feature of the pandemic urban landscape.

But unlike the banal directives to “mind your social distance”, these dots challenge village dwellers to take a stand on critical issues affecting the village: police and citizen policing, the housing crisis, racism and transphobia, autonomy in public spaces, and the indefensible harassment of people in our community who are underused, psychiatric consumers, sex workers and drug users. Read More …

10 years ago ~ reflections on the state’s utilization of shame: #MyG20Story

10 years ago today I was just waking up in Toronto, after a day of the largest mobilization I have ever been a part of to this day. What power it felt to be out in those streets. There were SO MANY COPS and also SO MANY OF US. And now on this morning, 10 years ago, so many of us were in jail. Yet the streets continued to be alive with resistance, and we had another demo that afternoon. Somehow until that moment I had evaded arrest. That later demo, (which was going to be a prison demo) did not end up happening, the area was streaming with cops. Me and some pals were stopped, searched, and arrested, like so many. Read More …

The time we spent talking about violence: #MyG20Story

Back in the leadup to the 2010 G20 summit, the debate around violence-nonviolence felt so important – both externally to other group or the public, and within ourselves as individuals. You couldn’t open your mouth in 2010 without talking about violence, but now that debate doesn’t feel at all relevant to my life. It doesn’t at all feel like a sticking point. The issue still comes up, but the illusory divide around it doesn’t seem real now. Maybe watching the endless series of bodies killed by police, watching all the victims as capitalism has conquered the world has made the debate seem trivial. Read More …

Ambitious Times: On Decentralized regional organizing for the 2010 G20 summit

I’m based in Hamilton was involved in Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance, SOAR, in the leadup to the 2010 G20 summit. In the years since, a lot of our conversations about that organizing experience since focus on repression – the undercovers, the mass arrests, the prison time – but lately what stands out to me most about it is how ambitious the whole mobilization was. 

The crowds that came out to the G20 demos were qualitatively different than crowds that come out to large demos in this area at other times, because of the scale and depth of the organizing that went into it. Usually, a big crowd is because a social media post gets a lot of attention due to circumstances that are ultimately ephemeral, or because an established group calls for it, and the rest of us are just left to decide whether or not to participate on the terms they set.  Read More …

#MyG20Story: Sharing reflections ten years after the summit

Ten years ago, Toronto was facing off the G20 Summit. I can imagine that in the next few days, many of us will reflect on what happened. Mainstream media and some organizations might share their own version of what’s true. But history is rarely singular – each of us holds a piece.

If you are thinking about sharing, or would consider sharing, please do. With hindsight, criticism, and clarity come easier. And it is much needed. So much has changed – particularly in this moment of rebellion and lockdown. But there are lessons, always. Maybe it’s something you’ve said many times, or perhaps it’s something you’ve been holding back on. Well, now is the moment. Read More …

Who Arms The Police? A Short List of “Canadian” Companies

People in the so-called US have been rising up against white supremacy and the police, and for Black liberation. People in so-called Canada have been in the streets too – naming genocide against Black and Indigenous people, calling out police murders here, and making their opposition known. Many of these demonstrations, occupations, and riots have been met with more police violence. The police in the “US” and “Canada” regularly use tear gas, rubber bullets, tasers, batons, and sound weapons to suppress our presence in the streets and to harass marginalized communities on the daily. Read More …

Hamilton: A Second Range Starts a Hunger Strike! Call-in Campaign on Monday the 22nd

Yesterday we announced a hunger strike on 4B with a list of demands. Later that day we stood outside the jail with a banner reading “Hunger Strike on 4B”, since it’s very difficult for prisoners to communicate between different section. Our phone line immediately lit with calls from people inside wanting to know more and to vent their own frustration. Today, we got a call from a prisoner on 3B letting us know that a whole range there is on hunger strike now as well — all 20 prisoners refused breakfast this morning. Read More …

Hamilton: Hunger Strike in the Barton Jail

At about 4:30pm on June 19th, 2020, all prisoners of the 4B range, in the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Center (aka Barton Jail), sent back their trays and announced a hunger strike. Since COVID-19 measures hit jails some months back, the quality of food has greatly declined. Prisoners have been getting the same meals back-to-back, are being served meals still frozen, and have recieved sandwiches with soaking wet bread. Healthy food is a necessity for those inside at any time, let alone during a pandemic. Today they decided that until they are given a diverse range of healthy food, they will collectively refuse to eat. Read More …

Hamilton: (Un)staking Their Claim: disrupting enbridge’s newest pipeline

As the deep yellow moon rose we moved deeper into the swamp, past the sweet smells of lilacs and greens and rich earth. Lulled by the moonlight and our headlamps reflecting on the pale survey stakes against the surrounding darkness that marked out Enbridge’s proposed new gas pipeline in Flamborough. One by one we pulled nearly 10 kilometres of stakes, tossing them to the side to be reclaimed by the bush.

Shoulder high ferns, giant beetles, yipping coyotes & singing frogs were just some of the other beauty the swamp had to offer us that evening.

Splitting into small teams and armed with headlamps and hiking boots we traversed nearly the entire length of the proposed gas pipeline, aiming to cost Enbridge time, money, and send a message: We will resist this pipeline. It will not be built. Read More …

Response from The Tower to the “Pride in Hamilton” Report: We Want a World Without Cops, Not Another Investigation

The independent report into policing around the Pride Hamilton 2019 festival was released Monday. Entitled “Pride in Hamilton” and carried out by lawyer Scott Bergman, it comes almost a year after the far-right attack on Pride and in the middle of a wave of demonstrations against police across the continent. It’s common following situations of particularly awful police behaviour for there to be a push for an independent review, and this report is a great example of why any hopes placed in them are so often in vain. Its primary goal is to have the Hamilton police get better at community policing, meaning controlling from within, and counterinsurgency, meaning pacifying social movements. They don’t come right out and say this though, so our hope here is to tease out those threads. Read More …