Into the Second Wave: Barton Prisoners on past rounds of struggle and the challenges ahead

It’s been two months now since the last hunger strike at the Barton Jail. To end it, the administration made a slew of promises, but have they been kept? This past week, we had long conversations with several prisoners who participated in the strike and in negotiations with the admin, and they expressed deep disappointment at the Barton Jail’s failure to follow through on even basic promises. As well, there has been a steep increase in lockdowns in recent weeks, rolling back a gain from a previous round of struggle that saw an end to rotating lockdowns. And finally, as the second wave of covid hits, we talked with prisoners about masks, soap, and healthcare. Read More …

Hamilton & St Catharines: Liberal MP Offices Redecorated to Demand Status for All

On September 20, migrant workers and supporters covered liberal MPs offices with STATUS FOR ALL messages in Hamilton and St. Catharines as part of the Migrant Rights Network’s national day of action.

We demand a single-tier immigration system, where everyone in the country has the same rights. All migrants, refugees and undocumented people in the country must be regularized and given full immigration status now without exception. All migrants arriving in the future must do so with full and permanent immigration status. Read More …

1492 Landback Lane Solidarity Demo in Hamilton!

Last Sunday (on August 23rd), I showed up at a public demo in support of the 1492 Landback Lane reclamation site on Six Nations of the Grand River territory. I saw the event page on Facebook and was really glad for an opportunity to support the land defenders out there. It is absolutely disgusting that the OPP decided to raid the camp and kick Haudenosaunee people off of their own land, and to use such force to boot. Read More …

Hamilton: If the OPP Come Knocking: Info about Police Harassment

This morning, August 13, 2020, an individual in Hamilton was approached by plain clothes OPP officers in a park while they were out walking their dog. The officers knew not only the person’s name, but also that of their dog and family members, and they seemed to know the person’s routine well enough to be waiting for them. They made vague threats to the person about them being “a good person” and wanting them “to be safe” in case “anything bad happens” and asked to talk with them further. They were likely being approached in order to inform on others. Read More …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …