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(en) Canada, Montreal, BLOCK THE EMPIRE*- A short activity report (August-December 2006)

Date Fri, 12 Jan 2007 09:17:38 +0200


In this email: -- 1. Activity Report -- 2. Upcoming plans for 2007 -- 3. Contact info, getting involved and staying in touch -- Dear Friends and allies --
As most of you know, Block the Empire-Montreal re-formed this past August, a direct result of meetings and discussions (formal and informal) by local anti-imperialist organizers and activists. We got together several times over the summer, frustrated by much of the mainstream anti-war organizing in the Montreal-area. At the height of the Israeli assault on Lebanon, we decided to re-form Block the Empire, in the hopes of adding our efforts to ongoing anti-war mobilizations in Montreal, and also to reinforce anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and anti authoritarian politics into organizing against war and occupation.

Here is how we describe ourselves: "Block the Empire-Montreal is an
anti-authoritarian, direct-action collective opposed to war and
militarization, and their roots and manifestations: colonialism,
imperialism and capitalism. We seek to expose the links between
capitalist globalization and patriarchy, racism and all forms of
oppression, both here and abroad. Our work locally aims to disrupt
and directly impact the interests of those who are actively complicit
in these systems, from companies who fuel and profit from war and
occupation, to the supporters and outposts of US Empire and the
Canadian state. We endorse the People's Global Action (PGA) hallmarks,
and we act in direct solidarity with all those on the frontlines of
resistance and struggle against occupation and exploitation - from
those resisting the racist "War on Terror" in the Middle East, Latin
America, Africa and Asia, to the struggle for indigenous sovereignty
here on Turtle Island (occupied North America)."


1. ACTIVITY REPORT

Here's a short re-cap of some of our activities from the fall of 2006:

::: August 15, 2006: Demonstration at the Montreal Gazette :::

On August 15, at the height of the Israeli attack on Lebanon, a
conference was held in Montreal called "Building a Stronger Israel", a
fundraiser for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which is a cornerstone
of Israeli apartheid. The keynote speaker was none other than the
former US Secretary of State and war criminal Colin Powell. Not
surprisingly, the main corporate sponsor of this conference was the
Montreal Gazette newspaper, which is owned by the pro-Israel
CanWestGlobal chain. The morning of the conference, Block the Empire
organized a delegation of about 30 people who took over the front
lobby of the Gazette offices and staged a die-in to denounce the
newspaper's war propaganda.

To view photos from that action, visit:
http://gallery.cmaq.net/Gazzette-Demo


::: September 23, 2006 : Hamid Karzai Out of Montreal! :::

On September 23, Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM) on "Afghanistan and Canadian Development Cooperation". Karzai was introduced by Conservative Minister of International Cooperation Josée Verner. The CORIM event was co-sponsored by SNC-Lavalin, and the government-funded "NGO" Rights and Democracy. Other CORIM sponsors included infamous war profiteering companies like Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney and Bell Helicopter. Block the Empire-Montreal organized a picket to raise awareness about Canada's role in Afghanistan. We also picketed to demand true solidarity, not charity, and to denounce the role of the Canadian military, corporations and so-called "development" agencies in the destructive occupation of Afghanistan. One member of Block the Empire was arrested and charged as he jumped the police line at the hotel to try to confront Conservative cabinet minister Michel Fortier, Stephen Harper's right-hand man in Quebec.

To view photos from this action, visit:
http://gallery.cmaq.net/out-of-afghanistan

The text of the flyer from the action is available at:
http://blocktheempire.blogspot.com/2007/01/canada-out-of-afghanistan.html


::: October 28, 2006: Canada out of Afghanistan! Anti-imperialist Bloc :::

As part of a pan-Canadian day of protest against the presence of
Canadian troops in Afghanistan, at least 500 people joined the BLOCK
THE EMPIRE Anti-Imperialist Contingent in Montreal, despite the heavy
pouring rain throughout the march.

To view photos from this demonstration, visit:
http://gallery.cmaq.net/anti-imperialistcontingent

To view the text of the flyer from the anti-imperialist contingent
contingent, visit:
http://blocktheempire.blogspot.com/2007/01/occupation-anywhere-resistance.html



::: November 2006 : Anarchism, Feminism, and War Workshop Series :::

At the end of November, Block the Empire members held a series of
workshops at Concordia and UQAM called "Anarchism, Feminism, and War:
Emma Goldman's Lessons for Today's Anti-War Movement". The workshops
were co-sponsored by QPIRG McGill, QPIRG-Concordia, the Women's
Studies Students Association of Concordia, l'Association d'EtudiantEs
Cycles Supérieures en Philosophie de l'UQAM, the Institute for
Anarchist Studies, and the Student Community Anarchist Network.

To download the audio from this workshop in English, visit:
http://www.rabble.ca/rpn/files/nni/nni-2006-11-29.mp3

To download the audio from this workshop in French, visit:
http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=20947

To listen to an interview with Louise-Caroline of BLEM about this
workshop, visit:
http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=20661


::: November 24, 2006: Stephen Harper out of Montreal! :::

On November 24th, Stephen Harper made a short visit Montreal. As his
government continues to slash money from social services and pave the
way for private health care, Harper had the audacity to hold a press
conference at the Montreal General Hospital to announce the investment
of a few million dollars in the fight against cancer, while his
government is spending upwards of $3 billion dollars in their military
occupation of Afghanistan. Several members of Block the Empire showed
up to the press conference, hoping to publicly confront Harper on
Canada's occupation of Afghanistan, amongst other concerns. A Block
the Empire member was identified and arrested before the press
conference had even begun, and other members of the group were
violently shoved around and sexually harassed by the police.
Nonetheless, we managed to get our points across to the media, and we
staged a boisterous demo outside the press conference.

To view photos from this action, visit:
http://gallery.cmaq.net/harper-mtl

The text of the flyer distributed during the disruption is linked at:
http://blocktheempire.blogspot.com/2007/01/stephen-harper-get-out-of-montreal.html



::: December 1, 2006: Recruiting Station Occupation :::

On December 1st, Block the Empire supported a demonstration organized
by the Comité des Sans-Emploi ("The Committee of the Unemployed")
against Canada's presence in Afghanistan. One-hundred people came out
in the freezing rain (we've had bad luck with weather this year) for
this spirited march, and briefly occupied the Canadian Army recruiting
station on Ste-Catherine street.

To view photos from this action, visit:
http://gallery.cmaq.net/manifaction


::: December 6, 2006: Intervention at UQAM :::

A planner of Canada's military presence in Afghanistan, Major John
Malevich of the Canadian Armed Forces, was scheduled to speak to a
classroom at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). The small
audience included two members of Block the Empire, who proceeded to
openly challenge Malevich's slick public relations. At one point, the
moderator began banging on a table to prevent the presentation from
getting side-tracked into a fundamental debate about Canada's presence
in Afghanistan (which was what ended up happening regardless). This
was one of our smaller, but still necessary, anti-war actions.


::: December 22, 2006: Solidarity with Oaxaca :::

Block the Empire has been supporting local mobilizations in solidarity
with the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, who have been engaged in a fierce
battle for self-determination in the face of brutal paramilitary and
state violence since June 2006. The Montreal demonstrations have
largely been organized by La Otra Campana in Montreal. On December 22,
we once again took to the streets in support of the APPO (Popular
Assembly of the People of Oaxaca), and to denounce the violence of the
Mexican government, as part of a day of action worldwide in solidarity
with the people of Oaxaca.


2. UPCOMING PLANS FOR 2007

The next rotation of Canadian troops in Afghanistan will deploy from
the Valcartier base near Quebec City. At least 2000 soldiers leave
this August 2007. Block the Empire is hoping to organize in opposition
to this deployment, in conjunction with our allies in Quebec City.

More generally, we're hoping to building on anti-recruitment
activities locally in Montreal, in opposition to a clear Canadian
Armed Forces' public relations offensive to gain new recruits.

This coming March 2007 marks the 4th anniversary of the US-led
invasion and occupation of Iraq. Block the Empire will be planning
another anti-imperialist contingent as part of worldwide protests, as
well as other actions.

Sometime in the spring or summer of 2007, Canada will host the
Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America, with all
three NAFTA leaders -- George Bush, Steven Harper, and Felipe Calderon
-- meeting for what is dubbed the "Three Amigos" summit. Block the
Empire would like to collaborate with like-minded groups across the
NAFTA countries to expose the SPP, and to confront the Summit, as well
as the local manifestations of capitalism and imperialism.

We will continue our popular education activities, with plans to have
the "Anarchism, Feminism, and War" workshops at other local events.

With our allies like La Otra Campana, Haiti Action Montreal, Tadamon,
Solidarity Across Borders, No One Is Illegal-Montreal, the Coalition
Against Israeli Apartheid and others, we will continue to support
other forms of anti-war and anti-imperialist social justice
organizing.

We will also continue to recognize and support indigenous
anti-colonial efforts on Turtle Island, most notably at Six Nations,
but also with building links with local communities at Kahnawake and
Kanehsatake.

For all of the above activities, we need more members and more
involvement. Get in touch if you want to help organize with Block the
Empire. More info below ...


3. CONTACT INFO, GETTING INVOLVED AND STAYING IN TOUCH

You can reach us by phone or email at:
Phone: (514) 848-7583
Email: bloquezlempiremontreal@resist.ca

Our website is at: http://bloquezlempire.resist.ca

We also have a blog where we compile news items and analysis:
http://blocktheempire.blogspot.com

For information about our activities, subscribe to our low-volume
email announcement list, visit:
https://lists.resist.ca/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/blem-nouvelles

If you agree with our basis of unity, and want to get involved, just
get in touch and attend one of our meetings. We're open to new members
who want to actively organize against war and imperialism, at home and
abroad.
---------

Block the Empire-Montreal is an anti-authoritarian, direct-action
collective opposed to war and militarization, and their roots and
manifestations: colonialism, imperialism and capitalism. We seek to
expose the links between capitalist globalization and patriarchy,
racism and all forms of oppression, both here and abroad. Our work
locally aims to disrupt and directly impact the interests of those who
are actively complicit in these systems, from companies who fuel and
profit from war and occupation, to the supporters and outposts of US
Empire and the Canadian state. We endorse the People's Global Action
(PGA) hallmarks, and we act in direct solidarity with all those on the
frontlines of resistance and struggle against occupation and
exploitation - from those resisting the racist "War on Terror" in the
Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia, to the struggle for
indigenous sovereignty here on Turtle Island (occupied North America).

INFO: bloquezlempiremontreal@resist.ca
================================
* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative
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