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 …

Solidarity is relationship (& Detroit’s RAD UnConference is now online)

Now more than ever, this is the time to question what our relationships would look like if we really lived our values.

This is a time when many people can no longer ignore the alienation they live, from their communities, from each other, and even from themselves.

In the COVID-19 climate, people are increasingly participating in building networks of care and mutual aid. These networks are a circulatory system throughout the body of society, interconnecting us for our individual and collective survival. Survival in the context of a new disease. Read More …

Hamilton: Keep your CERB, keep your rent! No bailout for landlords

In the last week, tens of thousands of Hamiltonians have applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the government’s COVID-19 income support package which provides payments of $2,000/month for up to four months. In this post we look into the nuts and bolts of the CERB rollout and consider what the government hopes to accomplish by ladling out all this cash.

For working-class people in Hamilton, $2,000/month is a lot of money. And it comes at a time when people that did not pay rent on April 1st are feeling the pressure to find the money somewhere for their landlords. Recent surveys estimate that 30% of renter households across Canada and 25% of renter households in the Greater Toronto Area did not pay April rent. Sources in post. Read More …

Prisoner Solidarity Car Caravan in Kingston

On Sunday afternoon a caravan of about a dozen vehicles drove to Collins Bay Institution, a federal prison in Kingston, ON to hold a noisy demonstration in solidarity with prisoners demanding to be released in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This demo was organized in response to a call from Solidarity Across Borders for caravan actions against imprisonment and for status for all.

We stayed in our cars for the duration of the event and took care to maintain physical distancing among ourselves, as we felt it was important to avoid contributing to the spread of this deadly virus. This spirit of care is the same reason it felt important to take action to help free those imprisoned by the state in prisons, jails and migrant detention centres, where COVID-19 is a disaster waiting to happen. Read More …

Hamilton: Update message from Barton Prisoners

The prisoners of Barton Jail continue to feel that they are forgotten. Telling us that ‘No one stands up for prisoners, we don’t have a voice’ and that its a relief to have a number to call to tell the outside about what happening inside.

Lock downs seem to happen intermittently on different ranges at different times for different reasons but all stem from the guards unwillingness to deal with any situation. We have reports that folks are slowly being let out but in an excruciatingly slow and dragged out process. And still, even with the state of the country during this covid crisis new people are being brought into the jail. Many feel as if the guards will just ‘sit back and watch us die’ when the virus makes its way in to the jail.

Audio file in post Read More …

Two Demos for Barton Prisoners: What’s possible in the streets during Covid?

Last Friday, April 10, the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project (BAPSOP) published a report that some prisoners had been attacked by guards after refusing a lockdown, and today two actions occurred to support the prisoners and call for their immediate release. During the day, there was a public call for a car demo, then at night, an invite-only action to go set off lights and fireworks.

This kind of solidarity mobilizing happens not infrequently around here, but this time felt a bit different because of the virus and the repressive social context around it. As an anarchist who participated in both actions, I wanted to share a few reflections on this campaign and on doing demos in the covid era, as a letter to others who are also asking what’s possible in these strange times. Read More …

Lambs to the Slaughter: An Ontario prisoner on COVID-19 behind bars

For the past two weeks, we have heard from dozens of prisoners locked up behind the walls of the Hamilton-Wentworth detention centre. People are feeling scared about catching the virus, concerned for their families, and angry about the myths that are being reported about the conditions that they’re living in.

Some prisoners, despite fear of reprisals from guards, have decided that it’s worth risking their own safety to get their stories out. As one put it, “this is bigger than me”.

Click through for the recording Read More …

From Embers: New Episodes in March 2020

From Embers is a regular anarchist podcast produced in Kingston, Ontario. We produce a few episodes each month about actions and projects going on in so-called Canada that inspire us, or about topics that we think will be relevant to anarchists living north of the border. We are part of the Channel Zero Anarchist Podcast Network. Read More …

COVID-19: Preliminary Thoughts on the Current Situation

What follows are preliminary thoughts; things are changing quickly and in unpredictable ways, and while we don’t claim to have anything particularly original to say, we feel it’s important to communicate some thoughts and connect some dots from an anti-racist, anti-fascist perspective, as the exercise might be useful, and to start thinking now about how we will move forward from this. Read More …

Hamilton: Coronavirus Phone Line for Prisoners at the Barton Jail

On March 20 and 21, we stood outside the Barton Jail with a banner reading: “Jail Sucks! Tell us about it #coronavirus2020” with a phone number on it. The phones in provincial jails only work to make collect calls to Bell land lines (because they are scumbag profiteers), so we had to set up a service in order to be able to receive these calls. This tactic is easy to replicate in different places and only requires a small group, so we share our experience in order to encourage others to open direct lines of communication with prisoners during this time. Read More …