Always Against Prison — From Hamilton to Minneapolis

This evening, we dropped a banner over highway 403 going towards Toronto in solidarity with the five people in Minneapolis facing serious felony charges in connection to a New Year’s eve noise demo in that city. Although we’re glad all five are out on bail, the arrests and charges mark a significant escalation of repression against an international anarchist tradition.

In our region, New Year’s noise demos started in 2009 in response to a hunger strike campaign by anarchist prisoners, and we have kept doing them every year since. These demos let us a share a moment of celebration with prisoners, breaking the alienation through direct action. As an international tradition, they are also a thread that connects us to anarchists elsewhere, allowing us to exchange ideas and tactics with people whose contexts are quite different than ours. Read More …

Hamilton New Years Noise Demo

For the 12th* year in row, folks in Hamilton rung in the new year with a noise demo outside the Barton jail. COVID has changed a lot of our organizing context this year, and made a lot of traditions harder to keep, but was too important to miss. 

If anything, COVID has exacerbated many of the existing horrors of prison. Barton prisoners saw the loss of visits for big chunks of this year, only winning them back for a period of time through a series of courageous hunger strikes. There is the constant threat of the pandemic spreading through the jail, as we’ve seen at countless other institutions. The administration’s response to the pandemic has been to further erode prisoner’s basic “rights”.  Read More …

Hamilton: Outbreak Coverup at the Barton Jail

As of November 28th, we’ve received reports from multiple sources that the administration is trying to cover up at least 2 new cases of COVID-19 among staff at the Barton Jail. Management is outright denying to both prisoners and staff that there are new positive cases, while at the same time introducing new policies in response to the outbreak. Read More …

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 …

From Embers: Anarchists Ann Hansen and trans activist Naphtali discuss prison (in)justice

On From Embers, part of the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair Ann Hansen is former member of the anarchist organization Direct Action and served over 7 years in prison for her involvement with that collective. She is now living on a self-sufficient farm and works on prison-related issues as a member of the Prison for Women (P4W) Memorial Collective. Naphtali is a white non-binary trans Jew who is into prison abolition, anti-zionism, Read More …

Migrant Worker Rally at Niagara Detention Centre

On a hot Sunday on August 23rd, 2020 a modest group of anti-prison, migrant worker and labor activists gathered for a noise demo at the Niagara Detention Centre in Thorold, Ontario on a National day of Action organized by the Migrant Rights Network. This site was chosen because the Niagara Detention Centre is used to cage community members who are undocumented and seeking asylum. Read More …

August Barton Jail Hunger Strike: Post Updated for Day 2

Update from Day 2 of the Hunger Strike

Today around 11am a small but enthusiastic group of hunger strike supporters gathered at the Barton Jail to show the folks inside some solidarity by holding banners and signs. We visited both sides of the jail east and west and heard banging and tapping from inside.
We also heard a report of fireworks being lit off on both sides of the jail in a beautiful show of solidarity with the hunger strikers last night. 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 …

Female Keep Separate: Prisons, Gender, and the Violence of Inclusion

When finally the cell door closes, when the jangling keys recede, you’ve arrived as far as you’re going that day. Then you can exhale alone with your mattress and be in your own body again, your body no longer a problem to be solved or a question to be answered. Just your own familiar weight under the blanket, where you can just shake and shake and try to sleep and get ready for whatever happens next. Read More …