Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Graffiti, Indigenous, Quebec, The State
On Friday, June 16, an installation in Montreal promoting Canada’s 150th year of killing people and taking their land (among other shit), was defaced by some anarchists. A large “Canada150” billboard above a Parks Canada information booth was covered with black paint, while anti-colonial posters were wheat pasted on an adjacent placard memorializing Sir Wilfred Laurier.
The location is alongside the Lachine Canal, and across the street from Atwater Market, both major tourist destinations. The action was timed so that summer weekend crowds wouldn’t miss our redecoration. As of Saturday afternoon, the black paint had not been removed.
Inspiring calls to disrupt Canada150, a celebration of Indigenous genocide, have circulated widely in recent months. As people living in Canadian cities who want to sabotage the economic, political, and symbolic machinery of the colonial state, we encourage a multi-pronged attack in engaging with Canada150.
Highly visible subversive engagement with Canada150 installations, as well as with the usual colonial statues and monuments, can disrupt the official narrative of a diverse yet united country with a history meriting celebration. Here in Montreal, where the 375th anniversary of the city is being celebrated in tandem with Canada150, we can look for opportunities to hit two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Targets are everywhere. Colonization enlists every facet of Canadian capital and state power. On Friday, for instance, the property of Parks Canada, a federal agency that may seem innocuous at first glance, was damaged. Most parks in Canada are on traditional indigenous territories. The conversion of this land into federal and provincial parks is an important part of Canada’s genocidal history and present project. These areas were transformed from homes, hunting, and harvesting territories, where people could sustain themselves and their communities, into very specifically state-managed parks. It is no coincidence that the first National parks were established during the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway, and at the tail-end of the Métis Rebellion.
Direct action targeting hard-to-defend infrastructure (even in and around urban areas) like highways, railways and pipelines can directly impact the revenue streams of government and corporate colonial profiteers. Doing so breaks with the social control on which colonial governance depends. These attacks build the skills, confidence, and collective capacity that are invaluable in periods of intensified collective action.
Through action, we build effective networks for material solidarity with Indigenous frontline struggles. Those of us in cities often have access to substantial funding and other material resources that can cover vital supplies, transportation, and legal costs for Indigenous people defending their land. And we can organize to show up when invited to Indigenous land defense actions, in helpful numbers and with relevant contributions. When engaging in such efforts, settlers need to move beyond an allyship framework and understand our own reasons for participating in anticolonial, anticapitalist projects, recognizing that an anticolonial struggle is inseparable from our own.
We are dedicated to projects that will continue into 2018, strengthening resistance to Canada beyond these twelve embarrassing months of heightened colonial smug self-promotion.
Fuck the 150th, fuck Canada!
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