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(en) Canada, Toronto: Project Threadbare and OCAP pack an immigration center trying to stop two deportations.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 28 Oct 2003 19:01:52 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Immigration Canada Cowers Behind Plexi-Glass
A large delegation of members of various community organizations,
including Project Threadbare and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty,
went today to the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre (GTEC) to
demand a meeting with Chris Raymond, the Manager of Removals
directly responsible for deportations of several men swept up in this
summer's 'Project Thread' set to take place tomorrow.

Deportations of Sagit Ahmad, Mohammed Asif, and Mohammed Imran,
(the latter two are still being held in maximum security prison at
Maplehurst) are set for Tuesday, October 28th. It has also been
reported that an unknown number of released detainees have been
removed from the country and that this trend will continue.

This past August, after having apartment doors kicked in and
belongings trashed, after being asked, "Are you Pakistani? Are you
Muslim?" the men were thrown into jail. None of the men have ever
been charged. Allegations of 'terror' have since been flatly dismissed by
the RCMP and remain notably untouched by Immigration Canada. The
men were and are now being held on immigration 'violations', despite the
fact that many have student visas that are still valid or are seeking
refugee status.

The men, all of whom are South Asian and Muslim, have spent months
in a maximum security prison (at least one man in segregation), taunted
by guards and inmates, denied the right to a diet which is in accordance
with their faith, ill-informed about the reasons for their imprisonment
and shackled by extremely limited opportunity to access critical legal
and moral support.

Many of the men had valid documents issued by competent Canadian
authorities. Their visas were not only officially issued but were also
officially extended. The international scope of this spurious
investigation means the names and faces of the men detained are
widely known, and still with the smear of never substantiated
allegations of 'terrorism'. The consequences of this illegitimate publicity
for those facing deportation and their families in Pakistan are potentially
very grave.

Ominously, there are reports of Immigration Canada officials misleading
some jailed detainees about their rights to a PreRemoval Risk
Assessment, to which all people are entitled before deportation takes
place, and which is a mechanism to assess whether or not a person
faces risk upon return to their country of origin. There are reports of
detainees being pressured to sign paperwork without their legal counsel
present, the consequences of signing not properly explained, save
assurances that their signatures would mean imminent 'release'.
Immigration Canada is lining up speedy deportations as part of their
contribution to a growing trend in North America - people predominantly
of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent being rounded up on
threadbare evidence, jailed, and often deported to the very place they
have chosen to leave because of fearing for their lives, because of civil
unrest, because of extreme poverty.

Mr. Raymond, who is overseeing the speedy deportations of the three
deportees tomorrow refused to answer to the angry crowd, hiding
behind the PlexiGlass windows of Immigration Canada's hub of
detention and deportation.

As a person who is directly able to deal with the following, Mr.
Raymond is in a position ensure that to any and all remaining detainees,
as well as those released, who are and were jailed as part of the
unsubstantiated hysteria of 'Project Thread' be given fair and free
access to the Immigration channels to which they are entitled.
Specifically, anyone who has signed a voluntary departure order or a
waiver of the PreRemoval Risk Assessment under duress must be
allowed to rescind their decisions, and given due process - the right to
decide their legal strategy free of such duress.

If deportation occurs, the deportees must - at the absolute least - be
accompanied with written documentation that clears their names of the
potentially deadly allegations that have been made by the Canadian
state. Given the current climate in Pakistan, with increasing sectarian
violence and curfew imposed in the country's capital, fear is running
high amongst members of the non-status Pakistani community in
Canada who are facing deportation.

Given that the detentions and deportations of people who have not had
fair chance to apply for safe and secure landed status in Canada is
abhorrent, it is imperative that all detainees still imprisoned as a result
of 'Project Thread' be released and their deportations stayed.
Enforcement officials consistently distance themselves from any
responsibility for the danger their actions of their Ministry place people
in. They must be held accountable.

For more information, contact:

Stefanie Gude, OCAP, 416.925.6939
Project Threadbare, 416.801.2923
See also:
http://threadbare.tyo.cacan speak of and look at fighting US sponsored
How people involved with Palestinian solidarity work looks at reaching
out to other communities. The discussion also led into what exactly as
Anarchist people of color do we envision as an alternative. The two
state idea is clearly taking a pro-imperialist stance as well as just
advocating a Palestinian state goes against basic anarchist anti-statist
ideas. Another question posed was 'does a state give you self
determination?'. How do we illustrate anti-statist ideas when building
solidarity with people who have no home. Is a state a home?

We talked about influencing debate, making crucial separation between
anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic bullshit. Making this in the forefront of our
dialogue. A discussion around the tendency of anarchists to rewrite
slogans when doing support work for other communities. That we need
to come at people from where they are at, using their language and only
going so far as these communities, our communities, can go. The
dynamics existing in this country right now have left many in Arab /
Muslim / immigrant communities terrified. We need to understand this,
and using slogans like 'Death To Israel' is not going to be speaking to
the struggles people are facing here in America when doing this work.

The recognition of Israel being a police state of US funding in the
east, and recognizing that being in the belly of the beast, understanding
and connecting the struggle of Palestinians to indigenous struggles
and around the world, and working from within is our struggle.


Two persons from Critical Resistance an prison abolitionist group and
one persons from Copwatch, a community police accountability and
monitoring group spoke on how they organize and why they organize.

Abolition is believing on faith. Like Christianity its about community
building, information sharing, history and practice. We need to believe,
and talk, and communicate it in a real way. In NYC Critical Resistance
has many projects underway including the development of dialogue as
to alternatives to incarceration, corresponding with prisoners, printing a
newsletter including prisoner input, implementing a visitation program,
developing multiple strategies, and finally holding arts and cultural
workshops. The idea behind these workshops is that activism lacks a
sustainable culture to keep it fueled, so thus setting up workshops
incorporating daily experiences with art and revolutionary culture to
these fires. For example doing hip hop workshops and discussions
around the mainstream idea of prison as a right of passage for young

The workshop broke down the three strategies of prison abolition work:
-Link up with cross issues -Sustainable community building -Paying
attention to needs, which includes playing into reform with the idea of
building for the future.


"...for the longest time I used to identify as 'punk' first..."

Afro-Punk is a documentary directed by James Spooner, following the
stories of four African Americans within the punk rock subculture. The
stories of these persons is interspersed with dialogue with many other
musicians, artists, and participants within the punk community. Many
performances throughout as well. The film deals with a lot of issues
regarding cultural identity within punk, isolation and loneliness,
inter-racial dating, and cultural backlash. The room was packed during
the screening and the entire room enjoyed and in some way related to
the film. As James, who fielded questions after the film said, "try
replacing the work punk throughout the film with other white
subcultures or with society". People who knew nothing about punk
people who were once active in this community, and those of us who
still have affiliations GOT the film. This film is highly recommended
I will be trying to attain a copy to screen in Portland soon. Check out
website at http://www.afropunk.com.


The closing plenary on Saturday opened with the question "What does
People Of Color Anarchism look like in our organizing?". The response
was overwhelming as the room took the question to heart detailing the
uniqueness of being POC within the anarchist movement. We talked of
our passion based on experience, and looking at our histories and
cultures for guidance. We talked about not looking to white models or
language to define ourselves or our work; to detach ourselves from
white leadership in the movement. As throughout the entire conference,
a focus on positivity, and community development. Having patience in
our work and building a sustainable committed movement. We
discussed out internalized oppression and having a sense of constant
healing and constant growth. And in general we discussed our
recognition that too often times gets overlooked amongst the general
anarchist community-that we ARE the people and we need to come at
our organizing understanding our communities concerns.

The discussion then went onto "What is needed to build this
movement?" Which led to many different means of organizing and
communicating towards building a sustainable revolutionary struggle.

[Saturday night, just to mention, Trumbleplex theatre in Detroit hosted
an off the hook party that was out of control till four am! All POC mosh
pit included to Latino hardcore - another historic moment!]

Sunday was a shorter day and was rushed into with much enthusiasm.


This workshop dealt with a few workshops that we can use as tools in
talking about the Prison Industrial Complex in our communities. The
presenter took us through these workshops step by step, drawing on
peoples own interpretations of the individual words 'Prison' 'Industrial'
and 'Complex'. We developed our own definition of these words
collectively as whole to define it in a meaningful way from our own

We then learned a few exercises in the Theatre Of The Oppressed,
which were fun, educational, and thought provoking.


The Critical Race Theory workshop had and air of tension throughout
the workshop. Critical Race Theory is a hyper-intellectualized idea and
was presented by members of RACE from the bay area. The language
of CRT is pretty intense. The pamphlet RACE handed out was more
than half definitions. The workshop went down hill primarily because of
the language, and the presenters defensiveness. People questioned not
the ideas but the intellectualized language. But this was
miscommunicated and led to some tension. So much so that the
workshop ended before it was even half way through. The presenters
said they had a plane to catch and left the room at this point.

Then something that I have never seen happen before happened.
Everyone in the room stayed there, and talked. We talked about what
had just happened in the workshop. We analyzed the power dynamics,
the miscommunications, the ideas that were said. Something that led to
making this workshop another inspiring moment throughout the


This was the last workshop I attended. The conference was marred by
tension regarding two proposals for national APOC organizations to
form. It appeared as though most people at the conference while
recognizing a movements birth, at best felt skeptical about forming an
organization at this conference. The United Front Proposal was never
brought up as its presenters withdrew from the conference (you can
read the proposal at http://www.illegalvoices.org) and the APOC
Network proposal was instead turned into a development discussion
around what we need to do to create some sort of coherent movement
the future. The questions posed were "what can we do in our
communities now?", what do we need in terms of
support/communication/and networking with non anarchists?", and
"where do we go from here?".

The first question of how is our work as anarchists best suited within
our communities of color. Many people brought the point of whether the
label 'anarchist' is essential in helping people to understand their own
self-empowerment. Another prominent idea was that we must approach
our respective communities and cultures with respect and come at it
within their frameworks, not ours; this also illustrates the need to look
where people are at and go from there. We need to see ourselves as
part of what's out there and to see and support the anarchism that
exists already in communities. We recognize anarchism is organic, and
also that we need to show our visions in our practice. This is revolution.

Again highlighted throughout the conference the need to understand our
histories, and the histories of the communities that we work within. We
need to build off of our relationships and break the isolationism that
traps us too often.

Five basic tenets were echoed throughout regarding networking with
-find common ground and be in the community
-bring together by using each others resources together
-focus ON community
-be honest when balancing our values and other groups as a basis for
building trust
-be humble -talk about how you can support, learn from mistakes and
support community decisions.

The ending of this workshop closed with the formation of at least five
organizing groups towards as many regional APOC conferences to be
held within the next year leading to another National APOC
which was tentatively proposed to be held in NYC during the RNC next
year. There will also be many new networking and organizing tools
added to the APOC website http://www.illegalvoices.org/apoc


The first ever Anarchist People Of Color Conference was rushed in
such a short amount of time but has definitely given birth to a new
revolutionary anarchist struggle that will bear fruit in due time. The
energy level, the inspiration, the support and the foundation building of
solid relationships within our movement have taken hold and without a
doubt our struggle will build. Again like the chant says 'IT IS OUR

Thank you to all those who helped with fundraising (although for future
reference do the fundraising well ahead of the event, many people could
not come even though there was money available because the funds
were handed to us moments before the conference.) thank you to Russ
(MO), Emily (IL), Britta and the Bloomington House (MN)and the
Trumbleplex house for housing and food and good times. Also thanks to
the conference organizers for taking the time to organize this event and
give space for this seed to get its shit together and raise up a

Love and revolution-Angel Gonzalez
See also:

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