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 …

Hamilton: Recent Updates from the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project

There have been a number of updates from the Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project about conditions in the facility over the past month, and we compile them here.

Covid in the Courts is a Guilty Plea Machine

May 15, 2020: “They say they’re letting people out, but they’re not. They’re just doing it like in Mission”, a Barton prisoner told us yesterday, referring to the federal prison in Mission, BC where a prisoner died from coronavirus this week and at least seven have been hospitalised. The prison there has been on lockdown to deal with the outbreak and people in Barton see the similarities with the lockdown they are facing here. It claims to be a health measure, but for many, the consequences are mostly legal. Read More …

Hamilton: Rail Sabotage in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en struggle

Using the jumper-cable and wires method described elsewhere the track signalling system on a CN mainline in Hamilton was sabotaged last week. This was done in continuing solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and land protectors. Work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline continues without the consent of the chiefs and despite the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the chiefs with BC and Kanada. the colonial governments and capitalist industry do not indicate that they will respect the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en. Read More …

Keep Your Rent Hamilton – Reflections on May Day and Organizing in a Pandemic

The first of May is celebrated in most countries around the world—and by North American leftists—as May Day, or International Workers Day. For most working-class people in Hamilton, however, this year it had a more urgent significance. For the second time since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, rent was due.

Rent day can be a source of stress at the best of times. And these are far from the best of times. Over the past two months, millions of workers across Canada have been laid off or had their hours cut. Nearly one in five Canadians are now receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a temporary federal income support that offers two thousand dollars a month in taxable income to those who have lost work as a result of the pandemic. For people in Ontario earning $48,535 or less per year, the payment works out to $1590 per month after taxes. It’s already been pointed out that this isn’t sufficient to cover the current market rent of a one-bedroom apartment in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. In Hamilton, the CERB will cover rent… barely. But beyond that, there’s not much room left over for luxuries such as food, medicine or other basic necessities. Shockingly, this hasn’t stopped landlords from staking their claim to their tenants’ cheques anyway. 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 …

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 …

Keep Your Rent Hamilton Banner Drop

“Words can’t communicate realities like the ones we’re currently experiencing. There can be no words to describe a condition which never existed before, which changes from one moment to the next and which has no known stages or outcomes.” – Yarostan Vochek

The only way Covid-19 is going to be a “great equalizer” is if we use this moment to conjure something entirely new. Alongside beautiful movements of prisoner solidarity and neighborhood mutual aid we are also seeing rent strikes pop up all over the world. And it warms our hearts! We are all so sick of landlords hoarding property while we scramble to find shelter. These smug goons really believe they’re making an “honest living” by sitting a rung above us on the pyramid scheme of capitalism. They genuinely seem to believe they deserve half our paychecks! 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 …