Archive | September, 2016

This Past Monday Tent City Raised Its Demands To City Hall Despite Police Harrasment

28 Sep

On Monday myself and comrades from Tent City went to present to City Hall our concerns and demands that we came up with at our public meeting September 18th. These demands is that the city finish housing everyone at tent city, that their be an end to anti poor people discrimination by security at city hall and the bus terminal and that the region and the city set up community clinics where they go to the community and help people access services like housing, welfare and such and be proactive in making sure that the people who need help accessing these services do so.

As soon as i arrived I was greeted by police who feel that they have a right to intimidate me and others from participating in my democratic right to address address council. Also their was a strange sign that stated that people are not allowed to have protest signs in the council chambers.

Seeing these extra precautions taken by security and police due to the fact that I was presenting as a sort of criminalization of my politics I stated clearly that I would not allow police to interfere with my rights to address council and that if i was in anyway unlawfully interfered with by police and state agents there would be serious political repercussion.

We then went and presented our three points and had a 60 year old organizer from tent city talk about the harassment he had to endure at the hands of security and bylaw due to the fact that he is homeless. He also talked about his experience at tent city and the fact that despite the fact that the majority of people who signed up he is still sleeping on the streets.

Our presentation ended with us pointing out how these issues are political issues and should be addressed as such and not be addressed as law and order issues. I pointed out the and thanked the region for the way the issue of tent city was dealt with by the region as opposed to the way the police has handled and is continuing to handle this issue.

This presentation was followed by questions and two points that were raised was our position on the drug problem and how we police ourselves, particularly the issue of the use of force. I responded by stating that we believe that our rights our inalienable and in the absence of a police service that rules on behalf of the rich problems need to be sorted by the community.
I gave the example of when Gloria from Bylaw came to visit us and a nazi on meth attacked us and asked how do you deal with these issues without resorting to force and self defense. These issues were answered but honestly they need to be better elaborated and I hope over the next few days to write something up for discussion.

The presentation was well received and in terms of the first and third demand we are already working with regional workers on this and are setting up a housing and social services clinic on October 24th at 1pm at the Mill Courtland Community Centre. We will work with the region to make sure the second is also dealt with.

Actions Across Canada on Saturday Demanding Justice For the Craigavon Two

28 Sep

14448847_10157499895570611_6386134726980989114_n1On Saturday September 24th people in Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, Toronto, Edmonton, and Fredericton took to the streets demanding Justice for the Craigavon Two. Vancouver will be hosting a discussion as part of this day of action on Oct. 5th and Montreal will be hosting an action on Friday.

In Kitchener people handed out flyers with a statement in support of the Craigavon Two which was followed by a banner drop inside the farmers market proper, which thousands of shoppers saw until we were removed by security.

In Toronto Police, RCMP, Consulate security and others went quite overboard harassing and intimidating myself and another comrade who was on the College Street entrance of the consulate. Their hatred of myself and my comrade was quite useful as they focused all their wrath on us that they ignored the other comrades many undocumented at the bay street entrance handing out flyers. When we started to leave to join them we were followed so we started handing out flyers at Younge and College only to have idiot security that works at the consulate blocking our sighn and trying to tell us that handing out literature on the side walk was illegal. They called the cops which was fine as we only spoke to them ten minutes ago and they were told to call 911. We continued to hand out flyers and they called 911 and such and we didnt really care. This day of action showed our capacity to plan actions around issues facing Irish Republicans from coast to coast as well as our ability to trick security and do what we need to do in the face of state repression

Tent City report back and organizing meeting a success

23 Sep

On September 18th comrades from Tent City as well as friends and supporters gathered to discuss the successes and failures of tent city as well as ways to move forward. Out of this discussion it became quite clear that despite the victory of the action the contradictions that gave rise to tent city are not yet resolved.

To further move things to their logical conclusion the people at this meeting came forward with a three point program that will create a more egalitarian Kitchener 1. Those individuals who signed up for housing whom have not been housed must be housed immediately. 2. Stop the war on the poor and end social cleansing 3. Send social and welfare workers into the community to provide services to those in need

This Monday the conclusions of this meeting and the three demands will be presented to city council at 7pm in the council chambers.14423742_10157414220855632_1273949988_o

Last weeks commemoration for Florica Batu Ichim, 6 years later we still miss you mom!!!!

20 Sep

Last week people from the downtown community and friends got together to remember Florica Batu Ichim at Mount Hope Cemetery. Six years after her death her loss is still raw, and the loss of Florica Batu Ichim still deeply impacts the community. People who came together to commemorate and remember her told stories of how she helped them and amazing things that she did.

Despite the fact that she did not identify as a socialist, she did more for the rights of the people in the downtown east end then 1000 Marxists/anarcho blabbermouths. The fact that she did this because of her sense of right and wrong as opposed to an ideology made her stands more just because she wasn’t fighting to win a final victory but rather she fought because injustice existed and in her frame work the fact that injustice may not ever be abolished is not a reason to not fight injustice, because to her its simple existence necessitated that some one take a stand.

At the end of the event and when all the story telling was done it was quite clear to all why we remember her and why six years later her death is still a great loss.

Report on commemoration in Toronto for Alan Ryan

14 Sep

This past Saturday people gathered in Ireland Park to commemorate the death of IRA volunteer Alan Ryan. The event started with a speech read from the 32CSM. This was followed by a speech from a member of the Hugo Chavez Peoples Defense Front honoring Alan and all those who died fighting for 32 County Socialist Republic. This was followed by a speech from a member of Anti Colonial Working Group that stated the following points.

WE affirm our commitment to the 32CSM, its leadership goals and objectives. We honor the legacy of Alan Ryan and all that he stood for.

The speech then went over the work that we did over the last year and put it in context of our broader work goals aims and objectives and affirmed that our present line is correct, and we discussed our victory’s our short comings and what we could do better.

WE agree with the statement of Francis Mackey that its not enough to simply commemorate our dead or spew random quotes from Marx but rather our politics must be understood and upheld by the people in the community’s that we organize and the rhetoric is not enough. In terms of dealing with eviction and enmployment we used the examples of the victory at tent city, our stopping demolition of low income housing, our victorys in our social and political programs and the ability to unify our community against a common class enemy to get results and create a climate of combativeness where we teach the people that resistance is fertile and only by struggle we advance.

In terms of the drug problem, a problem close to Alans heart we have adopted a three prong approach that is quite sensible community programs to keep youth off of drugs harm reduction and programs to quit drug as well as a political program that gives people hope and gives people an alternative to their misguided anger and direct it at the state. In terms of the community’s we work in we affirm our right to defend ourselves and our community from anti social elements that seek to attack and control those whom we organize. This does not mean that we will go looking for fights or trouble but rather that we affirm our community’s right to exist from all exploitation legal and illegal

We affirm our commitment to Alans Legacy and seek to hold high his example not just in words but in deeds.

Thoughts on my recent trip to Vancouver

13 Sep

During the first week of August I rode a bus to Vancouver to attend a conference on peoples health care as well as to meet various people. On my ride to Vancouver my and those on my bis were stopped and searched various times in several of the provinces. These stop and searches were quite invasive and ironically ineffective if the purpose of these searches were to stop people from smuggling contraband or if the purposes of the searches were to provide a safe environment. The practical thing that these searches did was inconvenience people and create a climate of fear and paranoia. On my way back in Sudbury we were greeted by the police who was waiting for my fictitious friend to meet me so they could arrest us.

This police presence based on stuff I said to someone quite loudly helped me to identify the pig that was driving with us who was actually a professor in Saskatoon who volunteered to ride from BC and give info to the police. He confessed and was unmasked and this demonstrated the fact that cops have nothing better to do with there time then send random people to ride buses for three days.

Regardless arriving in Vancouver I was quite shocked at the similarity’s and diffrences between Vancouver and Kitchener. Vancouver, like Kitchener is a gentrified city where the gap between the rich and the poor are quite high. Like Kitchener The Methadone clinics are used like liquid handcuffs to keep addicts in the area where they are suppose to be and by having daily piss tests etc. have the addicts under their thumbs not allowing them the mobility that they deserve. These tactics of social segregation are further enforced by ambassadors people who patrol the streets and keep people where they are suppose to be. If one walks through Hastings up and down the streets one knows the area that the poor people are suppose to be at and where they are not suppose to go. Like queen street in Kitchener acts like a dividing line between the areas that are gentrified and those that are not, Vancouver is also divided by such a street and on one side you see poverty addiction and unemployment while on the other side you see oyster bars little muffins store and other such things that the bougies like.

The main difference between Vancouver and Kitchener I would say in terms of class is density. The Hastings area is quite huge and as a result of numbers of how many poor people are there poor people are able to establish some sort of cultural hegemony. For example the selling of random things that people find in dumpsters and shit like shirts video games etc. is something that poor people do both in Kitchener and Vancouver yet in Vancouver due to the mass number of poor people they can set up on the street from block to block and just hawk there goods.

The other main difference is the quality of drugs particularly Heroine, In Kitchener we are also victims of the Fentanyl poisoning in Heroine with a huge segment of the population overdosing and dieing from the fact that heroine is laced with such poison, yet in Vancouver this problem is quite more severe. After interviewing and chatting with a number of people it became quite clear that on average a hit of heroine is only 10 percent heroine and the rest fentanyl. If you are lucky you can score a hit with 30 percent heroine and the rest Fentanyl. This is important because Fentanyl is 100 times stronger then morphine and if you think you are smashing a hit of heroine but instead you are smashing Fentanyl then you most likely will overdose since you are smashing alot more then you are hoping to smash and may die. This decision to replace heroine with Fentanyl is a decision that was made at the highest levels of dealer scum, those working in the pharmaceutical industry, police and customs to replace heroine with something cheaper to produce and easier to smuggle. The deaths of those whose bodies litter the floor to pay for this change is seen to these merchants of death as a small price to pay for them to fill up their pockets,

People are further encouraged to use drugs by the shitty methadone substitute that they are given called methadose which does not fulfill the needs of the addict making them revert to drug use to avoid the nasty withdrawal of Methadone which this substance is suppose to replace sending more addicts to the dealers who don’t give a shit about what they sell as long as they make money.

Furthermore in terms of affordable housing and such there is no such thing in the traditional sense that someone in Ontario is use to hearing about. In Vancouver affordable housing is considered what is cheapest on the lower specturm of market housing so 1000 dollars for a one bedroom by this definition is in Vancouver considered affordable housing.

Prices for staples like bread salami and pepsi is twice the cost of what one would get in Kitchener yet wages and welfare are quite the same.

In this environment several movements have emerged and in my time in Vancouver I had a chance to speak to quite a few of them and observe them in their environment organizing around the issues that effect them and their community.

The first group I had a chance to observe is VANDU or Vancouver Area Network of drug users. This group organizes one of the most dispossessed groups in Vancouver, poor addicts in the downtown east side. VANDU has alot of potential as a agent to spread proletariat hegemony as the numbers of the group that they are organizing is numerically huge and any sort of revolutionary change in this group will have a ripple effect across society as the potential of this group to stop business as usual is quite huge and any unrest created by this group can be felt by all stratas of society.This group currently organizes on a harm reduction basis to meet the needs of the addicts and allow them to receive the necessary programs to survive. They position themselves in direct conflict with those forces of the state that seek to destroy this group through gentrification, over policing, policies of criminalization that directly leads to the death of addicts. Their most recent action, a tent city in the Downtown Eastside, lead to the creation of affordable housing and many of their battles for simply the right to exist places them in conflict with those who seek to turn the downtown eastside in a playground for the rich. I had a chance to visit this tent city and talk to people. There seems to be little to no trust among the inhabitants of the downtown eastside for authority and this is quite true at the tent city, as people talk about the problems that the city has been causing them from cutting off their electricity to refusing them a porta potty, the stories one hears at this tent city make it quite clear that the establishment does not care about them until you make them care. Presenting to a meeting of VANDU folx it is quite clear that they have no liberal illusions about the political system and that they understand that the only way forward is by struggle, one they plan to intensify.

Another group whose members I met and I was quite impressed with is Grassroots Woman, a revolutionary organization that seeks to moblize woman on the basis of their exploitation to unify and resist. Their current campaign over policed and under protected hits the nail on the head. From CAS to social workers to welfare workers to cops womans bodies in Vancouver particularly low income woman are over policed in every aspect of their life, yet at the same time thousands of Indigenous woman are disappeared, woman are sold into the sex trade, murder and such and these deaths are a direct result of the fact that they are woman and the state does not give a fuck if they die hence the underprotected part. By raising this specific issue and making it a rallying cry this group unifies hyperexploited woman under a banner that puts them in direct conflict with the state that seeks to control all aspects of a womans body particularly the reproductive aspects yet does nothing to ensure their safety.

The Chinatown Working Group is an organization that fights to stop the gentrification of Chinatown which is not just an attack on the residents of Chinatown but also an attack on history since Chinatown was a flashpoint of racist attacks on Chinese works whose labour created this country as well as Chinese resistance to these attacks. By destroying this historical area they aim not only to destroy the building but rather the history and memory’s of the racist attacks by the state on Chinese workers thereby being able to replace this history with some bullshit that says that the creation of this state was like all flowers and roses and shit.In discussions with this group I got the sense that not only were they fighting against the gentrification but also that they were involved in quite a few different efforts aimed at resisting the white hegemony imposed on them.

Finally I met with Red Sparks Union, an international solidarity organization that engages in political support for groups fighting imperialism and colonialism as well as fights for the rights of people here to take political stands in defense of those engaged in resistance to imperialism. Their latest campaign to scrap the t list is prime example. This campaign examines the political origins of the terror list, how it is totally bias against mass movements with popular support fighting against occupation while ignoring the right wing paramilitaries that target civilians. Their campaign has quite a bit of traction and acts as a lightning rod to mobalize all those engaged in third world solidarity.

In conclusion Vancouver is rife with the possibility of political change and the material conditions gave birth to these mass movements. I hope to see Vancouver again soon to be able to give a much better assessment.