Occupy Montréal - a brief report

Anonyme, Jeudi, Octobre 20, 2011 - 16:22

The recent CrimethInc. text written to the occupying movement was distributed in Montréal by the hundreds in both English and French, depending on the language of the recipient. We translated the text ourselves, and it's good. Otherwise, there was a very small visible anarchist presence, mostly in the form of backpatches, a few black flags or black-and-red flags, and a few banners. This must be contrasted to the Maoists of the Parti communiste révolutionnaire, the Zeitgeist Movement, the Lyndon Larouche cult, various ragtag bands of Québécois sovereigntists, and other marginals who managed to be visible. There are more anarchists than any of these groups, except maybe the sovereigntists, but the majority of anarchists chose either not to engage or they chose to engage in a way that didn't mention the A-word.

One such way was the Décolonisons Montréal contingent (Decolonize Montréal or Descolonicemos Montreal, in English and Spanish), which consistently pushed the line that a strictly pacifistic protests is foolish and that the police are not the friends of the occupiers. They also pushed an anti-capitalist analysis early in the day, which might've helped to influence the character of the march later, and they helped to distribute some of the CrimethInc. texts, as well as promoting a demo against Canadian imperialism and the G20 summit in France on November 3 and a march organized by the family of people killed by police on October 22, both of which are cool.

The entire wooded section of the Square du Peuple (previously Square Victoria) is now covered in tents and tarps that are hung up between trees, as well as a few tarps and other things. It is a pretty interesting transformation of space, and it now feels like something that could be described by the word "glen". Bourgeois municipal law decrees that parks must close at 23:00, but Square Victoria is not a park, but a town square, and therefore open to citizens twenty-four hours a day. We can expect that there will be an attempted eviction at some point, but maybe the authorities will leave this job to Général L'Hiver. When things get too cold, perhaps we'll all just leave.

There was an unpermitted march of about a thousand people, or at least more than five hundred, through downtown Montréal today. Unpermitted marches aren't particularly special in this city, but the direction was. We walked west along rue Sainte-Catherine, against traffic, from Square Phillips to Concordia, which is pretty crazy. After that, we turned around and walked the other way to Place des Arts, cut through the Chinese Quarter to Old Montréal, hung out in front of the Bank of Montréal's headquarters, and walked back to the Square. There were no moments like Rome, but there could have been, and while there were lots of pacifists, there were also lots of people who were militant and joined in militant chants.

- "Pour un monde sans patrons, ni flics, ni prisons." For a world without bosses, cops, or prisons.

- "La police [sont] en service de riches et de fascistes!" The police [are] in service of the rich and the fascists. It didn't catch on too much, unfortunately.

- "A - ANTI - ANTICAPITALISTE." Very similar to the Spanish phrase, except it's like an "euh" sound at the end instead of an "ah" sound. Hugely popular, actually.

- "Le Capital nous fait la guerre. Guerre au Capital!" Roughly: Capital wages war on us. Therefore, WAR ON CAPITAL! It was also hugely popular. In Montréal, the crowd is pretty okay with the idea that capitalism sucks, even if we are having difficulty pushing an anti-police analysis. Perhaps that will change when the attacks begin. It is worth noting that none of the people we sometimes see at the anti-police demos were present, as far as we could see. Maybe they knew that their time was gonna be wasted.

The general assembly was useless. Two committees were formed, one which is planning "individual actions" and one which is planning "collective actions". We weren't there and so we can't speak to it very much.

It is worth noting three other things. First, large numbers of people STUCK IN TRAFFIC due to our blatantly illegal march honked their horns and gave the marchers the thumb's up, so that's cool. Second, when we walked past the fire hall in Palais des congrès, they blared their sirens and made a lot of noise, and that was kind of nice. Third, as of writing, the statue of Queen Victoria is wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, wearing a giant sign for the Zeitgest Movement as a necklace ("Aller à l'Avant - ZEITGEIST - Moving Forward"), and wielding the Patriot's Flag, which is a symbol for Québécois sovereignty dating to the pre-Confederation rebellion in the Canadas. So it's better than it was before, but the problem is that the statue still exists.

May all your occupations become decolonizations, synonymous with insurrections.

a Montréal anarchist or two

No permission needed
alexandre popovic
Sam, 2011-10-22 16:16

Please take note that permits to demonstrate do not exist in Montreal, so it doesn’t make sense to talk about an “unpermitted march” since no permission need to be asked.

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Michael Lessard...
Sam, 2011-10-22 23:05

J'ajouterais que c'est une erreur de base de faire référence à demander une permission pour manifester. Ce concept antidémocratique provient de policier.ières qui n'ont pas compris le droit.

Bref, ce n'est pas seulement à Montréal. Seul un régime autoritaire ou de non-droit exige un permis pour manifester.

D'après ce qui m'a été expliqué des lois routières du Québec, il est demandé d'aviser les autorités si on prévoit bloquer une route importante, pour qu'elles puissent prévoir comment ajuster la circulation pour des raisons de sécurité. Sauf que, à moins d'un danger grave, la manifestation peut se faire néanmoins.

Michaël Lessard [me contacter]

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