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 …

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 …

Piles of Bricks and Other Things That Are Beside the Point: 11 Arguments Against Protest Conspiracies

We’ve seen a lot of people on social media spreading rumours and sharing conspiracy theories about the uprising currently going on South of the border. These might be rumours about potential white supremacist attacks and interventions or conspiracies about police agents being responsible for violence carried out by protestors. This kind of online behaviour is harmful and undermines the movements you’re probably trying to support, and we thought we’d take a minute to break down why we should collectively push back against this trend. Read More …

Justice for Regis: Some critical reflections on the May 30 demo

On May 30, a few days after Regis Korchinski-Paquet was killed by Toronto police, a demo brought thousands of people together in Christie Pitts to challenge police violence and anti-black racism. Over the same period in the US, combative demos occurred every night in many cities in response to a police killing in Minneapolis, pushing back the police and burning their stuff, as well as attacking businesses, part of the capitalist system that has brutalized and exploited black people since its beginnings. Read More …