With The Tower about to reopen at its new location, it seems like a good moment to take stock of our situation. The weight of repression in Hamilton has not gotten any lighter, but we have gotten more used to and maybe even more skilled at carrying it. That said, it's too soon to say the storm has passed and we face challenging times ahead. As we navigate these next days, weeks, and months, there are a couple of things worth keeping in mind to help us all stay safe.
Before giving updates on the Locke St defendants, it's worth taking a moment to put things in their context and to remember that these seven people are accused of participating in a struggle against gentrification in the city. This struggle has taken countless different forms over the years, from mass meetings, to stickers and posters, to broad-based organizing, to counter-demonstrations and pressure campaigns. The reason so many people have chosen to dedicate their energy to this issue for so long is that it's one of vital importance -- people are losing their homes at an ever-increasing rate as housing is treated more as a commodity or investment than as a basic need that everyone deserves to have met.
We write this just to give a quick update on the rapidly changing situation in Hamilton. since yesterday, May 31 2018, three more people have been arrested in connection to the so-called Locke St riot: one was picked up by the SPVM in Montreal and was flown to Hamilton, where they are in custody awaiting a bail hearing, and the other two were arrested in Hamilton. One of these people is already out on bail and another will appear again on Monday. Further, the police released an additional three names of people against whom they have laid charges and are seeking to arrest. Charges against all six include mischief against property, unlawful assembly while masked, and variations of conspiracy and counseling to commit those things.
First of all, thanks so much for all the gestures of support and solidarity. Dealing with charges and incarceration is hard, but it makes a huge difference to know that people have your back and understand these attacks by the state in the context of larger struggles for freedom and autonomy. As anarchists, we have a long history of facing repression bravely, and when I feel sad or scared, I think of the toothless grin of Bakunin in Siberia, or the defiant tilt of Louise Michel’s chin as she confronted her judges, or the countless others since those days who have refused to let the violence of the state force them to abandon their ideas and integrity.
Over the course of the last few months The Tower has faced a fair number of challenges, to say the least! Today however, we are excited to announce that we are moving. We will be moving to a new larger location in order to continue to grow and expand our project of supporting organizing efforts in Hamilton and spreading anarchy.
Why are we leaving the space on Cannon St. that has served us so well? In the wake of a successful and well-attended Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair – that featured a full lineup of workshops, literature, discussion, art, movies, a community dinner, and kid’s activities (many things took place that weekend aside from the so-called Locke St. Riot) – we have had to deal with ongoing targeting by the far right, state repression, community backlash, sensationalist media coverage, and a flood.
After a tense week-long standoff between city bureaucrats, local journalists, and police, it seems anarchism has finally been cleared of being a hate crime in the city of Hamilton. On Thursday, Mayor Fred Eisenberger issued a statement indicating that he had been misinformed after equivocating anarchists and the circle-a symbol with white supremacists and the swastika - this coming two months after he referred to a group of anarchists as "terrorists" for their part in a Locke Street anti-gentrification demonstration.Well, it seems this isn't the first time the city's wealthy and their defenders have been a bit confused about the whole hate crime thing. As the drama unfolded over the past week, I couldn't help but be reminded of a little piece of Hamilton history that never really got the press it deserved.
But yes; anarchism and the way it plays out in my life is beautiful. It's not what media says it is; it's not all black masks, smashing windows and \"f\" the police. Of course it is some \"FTP\" because we do hate hierarchical, dominant and abusive systems of control — but also it's about supporting and building friendship and community. It's about love — for each other and for what this world could be instead of what it is now, and fighting for that better thing.
Fundraising for legal defence in Hamilton in the wake of conspiracy charges.
To Donate via e-transfer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In the early morning hours of Friday, April 6th, police raided a home associated with some of those involved with organizing The Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair and The Tower. The door was kicked in, a flash grenade was thrown into the house, and a full SWAT team entered with assault rifles drawn. Three people were detained, and one person was arrested.