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Archive for June, 2010

Here is a video of Naomi Klein speaking at a rally at the police headquarters in Toronto following the G20 summit. She is an important voice! Please watch this and tell others to truly question what happened this past weekend…

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If you are in the Montreal area, you should come down and give support to the demonstrators that were victims of the largest arrest in Canadian history. This is from the CLAC  (Convergence des Luttes Anti Capitalists) website with all the info that you will need to come and take part in this demonstration! Sorry to the English readers, but I seem to only be able to find it in French. Important info to remember is July 1st, noon, Phillips Square in Montreal…

Du jamais vu dans l’histoire du Canada
Manifestation contre la répression et en solidarité avec les arrêtéEs du G20
Jeudi le 1 juillet – 12h au Carré Phillips à Montréal

Face à la violence policière, aux attaques contre notre résistance et aux arrestations sans précédant des manifestantEs anti-G20, la Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes – CLAC 2010 – appelle l’ensemble des mouvements sociaux à se mobiliser en solidarité avec les victimes de l’appareil répressif tombéEs aux mains de l’armée policière.

Plus de 900 arrestations ont eu lieu durant la fin de semaine à Toronto par kidnapping, profilage politique, raids dans des résidances privées et lieux d’hébergement, violence, brutalité, inditimidation et harcèlement. C’est le plus grand nombre d’arrestation dans l’histoire du Canada, et elles furent effectuées envers des manifestantEs qui n’ont fait qu’exprimer leur désaccord avec des politiques capitalistes, sécuritaires, sexistes, colonialistes et antisociales du G20 et des grands financiers de ce monde.

MANIFESTATION JEUDI 1er JUILLET À MONTRÉAL

CLAC 2010 dénonce la répression policière d’une ampleur sans précédent au Canada intervenue à Toronto lors du Sommet du G20. À la violence policière s’ajoute l’annonce d’une série de mesures d’austérité économique (réduction de déficits, hausses de taxes, coupes dans les services sociaux), qui constituent autant de violences économiques dirigées contre les populations. Les travailleuses et les travailleurs sont appelés à payer la note pour la dernière crise financière, alors que les banques et le secteur financier, qui en sont les responsables et qui ont bénéficié de 20 000 milliards $ en plans de relance, ne se voient imposer aucune nouvelle régulation.

Les 900 arrestations arbitraires et politiques à Toronto sont du jamais vu dans l’histoire du Canada, soit près de trois fois plus qu’en octobre 1970. Les policiers ont violé les droits fondamentaux, détenu des gens durant des heures sans accusations formelles, sans recours à un avocat, sans nourriture et sans eau. Les policiers se sont montrés coupables d’entrée par effraction sans mandat, de profilage, d’intimidation et de harcèlement, de kidnapping, d’usage démesuré de la force sur des manifestantes, des manifestants ainsi que des journalistes. Nous voyons bien qu’État policier et violence économique vont de pair.

Chaque jour, partout dans le monde, des gens meurent des conséquences directes des politiques sociales et économiques mises de l’avant par les élites regroupées dans cette instance illégitime qu’est le G20. Les réductions de déficit fièrement annoncées ne feront qu’empirer les conditions de vie de millions de personnes. Stephen Harper a d’ailleurs rappelé que l’objectif visé était de contenter et de rassurer les marchés financiers. Rien sur l’environnement, des miettes pour la santé des femmes, rien sur les conséquences sociales de la crise économique, dont les personnes migrantes sont les premières victimes. Tout pour consolider le capitalisme, un système économique qui privilégie une infime minorité au détriment de l’immense majorité

Ce dont nous avons été témoins à Toronto visait à faire taire la dissidence et à criminaliser les mouvements sociaux. Ce sont des tactiques bien connues pour diviser les populations, briser la résistance et imposer des politiques régressives. Nous avons franchi une nouvelle étape dans l’intensification de la répression policière et dans les concessions exigées des populations.

La CLAC 2010 tiendra une manifestation le jeudi 1er juillet 2010 à midi au Carré Phillips, à l’angle des rues Sainte-Catherine et Union, à Montréal. Nous invitons tous les mouvements sociaux progressistes, les familles et leurs enfants à cette grande manifestation qui sera clôturée par un « baby block ».

La Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes de Montréal 2010 (CLAC 2010) est un réseau de groupes et d’individus qui se sont réunis pour consolider leurs luttes respectives à l’échelle locale et mobiliser leurs communautés en vue des sommets du G8 et du G20.

Partagez l’événement sur facebook :
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=129158520458163

COMPILATION DE VIDÉOS DE LA RÉSISTANCE AU SOMMET DU G20

Témoignage d’une arrêtée – Menaces sexuelles et fouille à nue par des policiers hommes sur des femmes
http://vimeo.com/12925239

Témoignage d’un québécois fouillé et questionné arbitrairement
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1384764056790&ref=mf

Enlèvement arbitraire dans la rue par des forces du G20 habillés en soldats
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZcDc9LgYc8&feature=related

Enlèvement arbitraire dans la rue par des officiers en civil
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNHQsjWWTs8

Petit compte-rendu de la manif “Get off the fence”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsnGpIRQzkU&feature=player_embedded

Journaliste attaqué dans la rue
Carlton, près du QG des flics, vendredi en milieu d’après-midi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7OA920pbv8&feature=player_embedded

Charge policière dans la zone de “libre expression” désigné par les autorités
Queen’s park, Samedi fin d’après-midi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVDY8pE_twY
http://vimeo.com/12883752

Manifestation spontanée se fait réprimmer au coin Queen et Spadina
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Heb9BXjYcII&feature=player_embedded

Les policiers bloquent l’accès au centre de convergence (QG des manifestants)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSKmp7E3hjE

Manifestation d’appui aux arrêté-e-s se fait réprimer : Dimanche après-midi près de la prison temporaire
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiLt40d_AbU&feature=player_embedded
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1512684781074#comments

TÉMOIGNAGES ET RÉCITS DE LA RÉPRESSION

Raid arbitraires de la police en pleine nuit chez des citoyens
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/26/police-booth-raid426.h…

Intimidation et détention arbitraire sans mandat par des officiers en civil
http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/community-organizers-thrown-unmarked-polic…

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I was in Toronto this weekend for the G20 summit, an event that I strongly believe must be demonstrated against. My posts leading up to the summit showed you different reasons to care and be against this organization of powerful governments. What I saw was unfortunately exactly what I was expecting: police intimidation, civil rights being denied left and right, an attempt to silence the voices of thousands of demonstrators, etc. I arrived in the gta late on Friday night and there was an uneasy silence throughout the city as I got to my friend’s house, a preview of what would be to come. When I woke up on Saturday morning I got word that four houses had been raided in what they called a “pre-dawn” strike on the homes of four indy media journalists, an early attempt to make sure that it would be only the corporate media that would be able to inform the public on the events that would follow.

The people’s march, which was mainly organized by labour and other affinity groups, was truly inspiring. There are different numbers that have been released on the amount of people who participated, it ranges from 5 000 to 20 000. The mood was truly inspiring and it was such a sight to see people taking to the streets as far as the eye could see in both directions. I took a street car from my friend’s house to get to Queens park where the demonstration was to start and then head down University to Queen st and then back up to Spadina to the designated Green zone (Queen’s park). As I was going down Queen the street car came to a sudden stop with the driver telling us that he had gotten orders to stop the car and wait until further directions for when he would be allowed to continue driving, me and my friend got out of the car and headed towards Spadina. (We would later learn that public transit would be shut down for the day) When we got close to the intersection of Queen and Spadina we passed one of the police lines set up there to contain the march in its designated route. We were greeted by thousands of demonstrators and the mood was high and positive, this was democracy in action, dissent was alive and well in the streets of Toronto. All kinds of groups were out, the traditional labour groups were there in large numbers as always, some Vietnamese group, a Tibet group, First Nation groups, the Animal Liberation Front, No One is Illegal, many environmental groups, etc. These summits bring many different causes together seeing as how they are all affected by the policies that are decided behind closed doors by these heads of state. Many chants were heard all around, but the strongest and most popular was definitely “Whose streets? Our Streets!”, a message to the police that these are our streets and we would not be silent. The march got to a stand still at this intersection where some of the demonstrators broke off and headed towards King street down Spadina to get to the fence that had become the image related to this summit. Of course, we were met by police in riot gear and then a line of mounted police behind them. The demonstrators remained peaceful while chanting to let them through! Tensions were higher at this intersection but everything was still remaining peaceful, I must admit that I was truly surprised and relieved that everything was going so smoothly, the police were acknowledging our right to dissent and no violence had happened yet.

The police presence was still very much felt, every alley way had a platoon of riot police and most intersections were blocked by police with bikes not letting people cross or get too near to them. As I was talking with a really great demonstrator dressed up like a clown in armour with the word “Clown-archy” written on her, the police that were blocking Queen all of a sudden bolted through the crowd to get to University and King. As they passed through the crowd everyone started yelling “Shame!!” at them. We got word that the Black Bloc was down there smashing store front windows and that a police car had been set on fire, this tactic is what the media had been waiting for “finally the anarchists had arrived”. What is truly odd about all of this is that the police did nothing as store windows of major corporations were being smashed, they just stood there and watched and even let their own cruiser be set ablaze. I heard from many different people (even some corporate media outlets mentioned this) that the police cruisers were abandoned on purpose on the street as decoys to give a reason to attack the group of demonstrators if anything were to happen. Of course this is what got the most media attention once the afternoon was over, “anarchists become violent” etc, I would like to note that property damage is different from violence, yes, it might have a violent image, but it is not violence. The violence that occurred was started by the police when they decided to contain the chaos that they let built up to this point.

As police were cracking down on demonstrators on Queen and all over the downtown core, they were also doing the same in Queen’s park (the designated protest area), arresting people left and right. The police swept the park will grabbing people randomly and bringing them behind the riot police line to cuff them and bring them to the temporary jail set up for the summit, which is now being called “Torontanamo”. In the downtown core tear gas and rubber bullets were released into the crowd to try to break up the people and gain control of the streets. Some media outlets were claiming that this was the first time in Toronto’s history that gas had been used during a demonstration, which is false (in 1990 tear gas was used in an anti-poverty demonstration). After many hours the downtown area was now again under police control.

During the evening hours demonstrators headed down to Torontanamo to show solidarity to the people who had been arrested to let them know that they were not alone in the struggle and that they would wait until they were freed. Police made a rash of arrests in the evening hours of people who were peacefully protesting in front of the makeshift jail, by the end of Saturday 500 arrests were made (the biggest in Canada’s history). In the early morning hours a raid was done of the University of Toronto’s gymnasium where members of CLAC (Convergence des Luttes Anti-Capitalistes) were staying, their reason or cause was that they were an anarchist group from Montreal that had come down to demonstrate, around 70 people were woken up and cuffed and brought to the jail. Toronto police were on the hunt for anyone that would be considered to be an anarchist, I would like to mention that the Black Bloc does not represent all anarchists, but the media and police do not care to make this difference. The media kept stating that a few people were getting all the media attention and unfortunately the peaceful demonstrations would not get the attention that they deserved, I ask myself, then why did they focus only of the property damage and not the issues that were trying to be heard at the summit? Then I remembered the old saying “It leads if it bleeds”.

On Saturday night I went to see my friends play a punk rock show, I was dressed all in black (not the smartest thing I must admit, but anyone that knows me knows that I pretty much only wear that colour) and felt that the police were keeping an eye on me (following me for several blocks while I got to the venue). The colour not to wear in Toronto was definitely black! Sunday morning was filled with stories of different arrests that had occurred in the night and many accounts from peaceful protests being attacked and beaten by police and being denied their civil rights. On Friday a deaf demonstrator was arrested during a peaceful protest and was denied an interpreter during his arrest. Civil rights were raped by the police and intimidation tactics were being used to try to intimidate people to not speak up in the city of Toronto. While I was getting on my bus to return to Montreal there was a swarm of undercover cops taking photos of us from the park and surrounding rooftops. One of the people on my bus got out to see one of these undercovers to ask what he was doing and that he did not approve of pictures being taken of him, someone else went to get him to avoid a confrontation, when he arrived the police officer told him to tell his friend “to shut the fuck up, because I have an army just waiting to arrest all of you”, while the person was being peaceful and trying to dismantle the situation, the officer kept being belligerent towards both of them. This weekend was yet another proof of police repression and intimidation.

The Black Bloc are known for coming to demonstrations and causing property damage, which in the end gets all the media attention. I had an interesting conversation with someone on the bus back about what action would actually be best for this kind of summit. We need to talk to the Black Bloc and find a better way to create change, I understand their frustration at the system and the need for direct action, but we need to be more affective. This is why the true power may lie in the Labour movement, imagine if all unions had gone on strike this weekend. No airport for the world leaders to land in, no hotels to greet and houses these leaders, transportation halting to a stop, etc. I think that it is time that all groups get together to create a big action that could paralyse a city and make it inhospitable to the world leaders, the power rests in the hands of the workers of the world. This is something to contemplate before the next summit, the people must be united if we are to overthrow this system that it clearly not working and killing us.

Make sure to also look at independent media while following these stories, the corporate owned media will only show you windows breaking and police cruisers burning, but this might actually change, I have heard that even reporters from CTV, CBC, were attacked and beaten by police while covering the stories that unfolded this weekend. Always be critical of the information that you get and make sure to look at many different sources before you make your mind up and the events that occurred.  Here are a couple of indy media takes on this weekend.

Keep an eye out in the days that follow, actions will be planned in Montreal to denounce the police repression that occurred in Toronto this weekend. There are also many people that are calling for an independent probe into the police actions that occurred this weekend, lets hope that this commission will see the light of day. Lets not let this go away! This must be examined and the responsible must be made accountable!!

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Protests have already been going on in Toronto leading up to the G20 summit, many causes are getting together to have their messages heard. You might be asking yourself why exactly should people by attending and participating in these protests? There are many reasons and causes that one can get behind, The Peak actually has a great article showing the three majors reasons why someone should attend the protests that will be happening.

1- The G8/G20 proliferates war : It is said that the G2o could be called an international arms dealers summit. The Canada Peace Alliance states that G20 countries are responsible for more than 85 percent of global military spending and 95 percent of global arms production. Five G20 countries (the USA, Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea) spent nearly $1 trillion in 2008 on the military, for a tenth of this they could create more genuine security by eliminating global starvation and malnutrition, educating every child on earth, making clean water and sanitation accessible for all, and reversing the global spread of AIDS and malaria. Harper has committed Canada to spending $490 billion on the military in the next 20 years. This is something that we should all remember  when we will be told that there is not enough money to fund our parents’ and grandparents’ pensions. The consequences of these investments and actions is death, the New America Foundation has noted that 871 Pakistanis were killed by Americans in Barack Obama’s first sixteen months as president; and in June 2009 NATO bombed civilian houses in Afghanistan killing more than 100 people. It is interesting how if this would happen in Western societies we would call this terrorism.

2- The G8/G20 deepens poverty : The G8/G20 decides policies of the IMF and the World Bank. This is all masked as debt relief, where these institutions provide loans to the Global South with many conditions attached in collaboration with local elites, which forces these states to limit spending on health and education, to weaken labour and environmental laws, to produce cheap export good for the Global North, and to flood their markets with goods from the Global North which discourage local production; this in the end allows international corporations privileged access to national wealth. This is done with the notion that it produces economic growth in the developing world. There are great repercussions from these loans from the WB and IMF: Ivory Coast (urban poverty doubled in two years), Nigeria ( extreme poverty went from 28 percent in 1980 to 66 percent in 1996), Mexico, the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty rose from 16 percent in 1992 to 28 percent in 1999. The UN’s Human Development Report noted that in some of these countries development slide backwards. In 46 countries people are poorer today than in 1990. In 25 countries more people are hungry today than a decade ago. Why would this system be running if these are the results? Because the world’s poorest countries are subsidizing the richest. Between 1980-2007 $4.6 trillion was transferred from the Global South to the Global North.

3- The G8/G20 is undemocratic : The summit’s webpage notes that “Although participation in the meetings is reserved for members, the public is informed about what was discussed and agreed immediately after the meeting of ministers and governors has ended.” The meetings are held in secret and once they have decided what is best for us they will tell us what they think we ought to know. The G20 governance over the Global North is undemocratic, its rule over the Global South is downright neo-colonial. It is true that the G20 includes a few less developed countries, unlike the G8, it functions mostly as a sounding board and does little to alter the elite nature of the G8.

Of course there are many other reasons, like environmental degradation, First Nations sovereignty and global gender inequality. If you are around Toronto this weekend come and lend your voice to these causes, we have a world to win. Also, if not for anything, come show Harper that you are not afraid to speak up when you don’t agree with him and his clubhouse, no matter how much security and fences that he builds to discourage you to have your presence felt! This is what they want! Dissent is what makes our country so great! If we don’t keep fighting for our right to speak up, we will end up losing it! Fight for your right to assemble, disagree, and express yourself! The police state will not scare us! I will be attending the summit this weekend and will put up a post of what I witnessed, protests always inspire and depress me at the same time, but it is my duty to let the heads of state know that what they are doing I find wrong and must stop if we are to truly save this planet of ours!

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As I am sure all of you know, the G20 will be descending in downtown Toronto to partake in their annual photo-op and maybe make some decisions along the way. I am sure you have seen the walls that have been erected to keep protestors or any voice of dissent out, also installing security cameras around the downtown core, and making sure that every police officers will be on duty and even borrowing some of our other cities finest. It is estimated that all of these extra security measures have cost us taxpayers around 1 billion dollars. These meetings are politicians desperate attempt to fix a system that has failed, instead of trying to find a solution by creating a new system, they try to find ‘band-aid’ solutions by giving out hand outs to the banks. Some people may say that these meeting are necessary and crucial to helping out the world economy, so why would so many people be against this meeting of world leaders? There are many reasons why we should care about the G20 and this summit.

5 reasons why we should care about the G20, these points come from a great article on the This Magazine website by Jesse Mintz.

1- Gender Justice: The Canadian government has pledged 1 billion dollars over the next five years for maternal health initiatives. (This amount stands in stark contrast with the billion that was spent on security for the upcoming summit) The sad part of this is that Harper has refused to advocate the same rights for the women of the global south, more specifically the right to a safe abortion.

2- Creating a just global economy: The road that the current G8/G20 leaders in conjuncture with the IMF and World Bank are taking us down will simply repeat the economic mistakes of the past. The current economic crisis should impel leaders to implement a more sustainable development model worldwide. This meeting should be an opportunity to push for fair economic trade regulations to help those in the global south.

3- Indigenous rights: The policies of the G8 has consistently marginalized indigenous populations around the world facilitating the transfer of wealth and power from the global south to the political elite. Domestically indigenous communities are dealing with the effects of globalization and neo-liberal economic policies that have devastated their land and exploited their communities. Some indigenous communities in Canada do not even have access to clean water.

4- Environmental Justice: This summit is the first opportunity, since Copenhagen, for leaders to meet and re-evaluate their commitments to reducing carbon emissions and helping poorer countries to adapt to climate change. Canada did receive the Fossil Fuel Award in Copenhagen for being the nation that has done the most to impede global action on climate change. This summit is a perfect opportunity to remind the Harper government that their environmental policy will not stand.

5- Imperialism: The G8 countries are responsible for roughly two thirds of the world’s military spending. They are engaged in a self-serving global war on terror that is militarizing the world. Harper has increased our defense budget while he has made massive cuts to public services, like feminists-minded NGOs and art programs.

There are of course many other valid reasons to be concerned with what will be happening in Toronto next weekend. This is also our time and chance to be able to express our concern for our planet with dissent, our right as citizens in a democratic society. I must admit that it does not feel very democratic that major decisions take place behind closed doors, and that they make sure to block off the population from being anywhere near from this meetings by erecting massive fences and camera systems. It is our right and we must have our voices heard! If you are near Toronto next weekend, why not let the world know how you feel on issues like the ones mentioned above? The power of the people is one that will never be stopped! More posts will follow on the G20, and I will share my experience of being there in the week that will follow…

“To engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points.”- Howard Zinn


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Just when I thought that it could not get worse in Arizona I was sad to see in the news that the government will now target the children of migrants, anchor babies as they are so affectionately called. Public opinion has buoyed the Republicans that they are on the right track with immigration, they will pass a law this fall that would deny birth certificates to those born from illegal immigrants. The SB1070 require that of-age migrants have the proper citizenship papers, but this “anchor babies” bill would block the next generation of ever being able to obtain it. The idea is that citizenship would be so difficult that migrants would “pull up the anchor and leave”.

The big question that comes from this new bill is if it would violate the 14th amendment of the American Constitution:

All persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.

This was written in 1868 however, Russell Pearce, says that this amendment has been “hijacked” by illegal immigrants, they use it as a wedge by arriving here having children and then taking advantage of the great welfare state that they have created. Pearce is aware of the constitution and how it could be seen as illegal to introduce such a bill, he reassures his supporters that it will be written well so it does not impeach on the amendment. This bill would then guarantee that any child that is born in the US whose parents are not American citizens would be denied a birth certificate. 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen think that children born from illegal immigrants should not receive citizenship.
People who oppose the bill say that it will lead to more discrimination and divide the community, Susan Vie ( who moved to the US 30 years ago from Argentina, became a naturalized citizen and now works as a client-relations representative for a vaccine company), says:
I see a lot of hate and racism behind it, consequently, I believe it will create — and it’s creating it now — a separation in our society. When people look at me, they will think, ‘Is she legal or illegal?’ I can already feel it right now.

This is why she is trying to create a citizen group that is behind an opposition ballot initiative. This initiative would prohibit SB1070 from taking effect and place a 3 year moratorium on all related laws, including this anchor baby bill, and then buy more time for federal immigration reform. It is believed, by both sides, that the bill will pass in front of the Supreme Court before it is enacted, it is believed that it would be struck down as unconstitutional. It is had to believe that a federal judge would let this pass. It is also believed that the original anti-immigrant bill, SB1070, will pas in federal court along with this new anchor baby bill. SB 1070 is set to take effect on July 29th, but it is said that there are 5 courtroom challenges that have been filed against it. Pearce guarantees that he will win them all.

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