Tag Archives: injustice

No justice, no peace

29 Sep

Me in Maclean’s during the weekend of the G20 in Toronto. Yeah, they misspelled my name.

On Friday, George Horton became the only person convicted of assaulting an officer during the chaotic weekend of the G20 in Toronto.

A judge determined that he should spend 10 months in jail.

The victim? A police cruiser’s door.

While the cruiser was unable to deliver a victim impact statement, an officer who was inside of the car said he felt his life was in danger. He had been hit on the head, through Horton was not accused of that attack.

Full disclosure 1: I have, a few times, kicked the door of a car. While never a police car’s door, there have been a few instances in Toronto where a car has come close enough to taking my life that my only reaction is to scream and let my foot loose upon a car door. One time in particular I believe I used my foot to close someone’s door as I was biking past it along University Avenue. While I don’t advise people to kick other peoples’ car doors, I don’t think it’s a crime that warrants jail time.

Full disclosure 2: a police officer knocked me to the ground about two hours before Horton kicked the door of a cruiser. He raised his shield upon my arm while I was cowering in a corner of a window at Queen and John Sts. and he hit me repeatedly until I collapsed. Despite being able to say exactly where the officer was in the police line, at what intersection, at what time exactly, the OIPRD said that I didn’t have enough evidence to be able to ID him.
“What did he look like?”
“A ‘roid-raging meat head. White. Frightening.”
“No, you’ll have to be more specific. What kind of uniform did he have?”
“Well, I thought it was kind of weird to see someone wearing a vintage Princess Patricias Light Infantry Military uniform decorated with rainbows and Banksy images, but I’m pretty sure that. Or, what all the other cops wearing.”
“Sorry, we can’t help you. For all we know, the hospital records of your bruises could have been caused by your friends when they pulled you out of the crowd.”
“I don’t bruise easily”
“Yes, but we don’t know that”
*Nora walks out, kicks police station door.*

The hypocrisy is astounding.

Forget the fact that the policies promoted by the leaders of the G20 nations wreak havoc on people around the world and can be tied both directly and indirectly to the deaths of many, many people.

Forget the fact that the police that weekend beat, assaulted, harassed, intimidated, arrested, detained, starved, kettled and pissed off thousands of Torontonians and our friends who came in solidarity.

Forget the fact that no one has been held accountable for what happened that weekend.

Forget the fact that the $1 billion spent on that weekend could have quadrupled the money available for First Nations higher education through the post-secondary student support program, for example.

Forget the fact that organizers remain in jail for organizing for that weekend.

Forget the fact that police stood back while businesses had windows smashed to justify a campaign of mass arrest the day after.

Forget the fact that KICKING A CAR ISN’T AN INDICTABLE OFFENSE.

Forget all of that. Because, when the world’s most powerful and rich men come to town, logic and reason are thrown under a bus. Repression and injustice comes out in force. You will lose your rights. You will lose your freedoms and civil liberties.

I don’t know Horton. Unlike some of the others who have done/are doing jail time who I’ve had the opportunity to organize with, I’ve never met Horton.

But if the G20 taught me anything, its that state injustice radicalizes people.

A population of people radicalized through experiencing direct state injustice isn’t going to be good for the powers who seek to oppress us.

Indeed, as I’ve written previously, no justice, no peace actually means something.

I’m struggling to pull together something to say about this that isn’t totally hopeless because, I admit, this has deeply depressed me.

So, here it goes: Don’t kick cars.

Our organizing and our movements have to be more sophisticated than that if we’re going to be the force that creates change.

G20 effects linger

28 Jun

It just started to pour.

I now have a porch that’s enclosed where I can sit and look at the Internet. I’m drinking wine. I’m dry.

Two years ago, it was pouring like this but hundreds were stuck in the rain. I was in an alcove. We watched journalists led out of the Queen/Spadina intersection. We saw buses line up. We saw people, soaked, loaded onto those buses and taken away.

While in that alcove, I was with Kim Elliot. We spent the afternoon together. Two sets of parents had come up to us desperate. They asked if we knew how to get into the intersection where people were kettled. We didn’t. Their 16-year-old boys had been rounded up. Trapped by the police. Arrested. The parents tried to give their sons’ passports so that they could eventually be processed. It was their only IDs. The police told the parents to go home and wait for a phone call.

Then, we saw what I can only describe as a post-apocalyptic scene: Queen street misty and empty. Across the street, an old woman lashed out at a police officer; the four of us civilians on the street wandered into each other by accident…there was no one else around. Cell phones had been knocked out that day. One of the guys asked me if my phone was working. It was all we could talk about. Queen street was otherwise deserted. Those parents walked up to us again. Drenched, they never found their sons. They didn’t go home either.

Those images are burned into the back of my eyes. What we endured in the city that weekend was the height of injustice I had experienced. No one has been brought to account for what happened that weekend.

I applaud all attempts to call our governments and police/military forces out for what they inflicted upon us that week. From the Ontario Ombudsman who released an excellent report to the individuals who have been deeply, personally afflicted for their activism, all who speak out must be thanked.

Half of why I’m writing this is because of the anniversary. The other half is because of Alex Hundert.

Alex went to jail yesterday for more than a year. He was arrested before the G20. He joins Leah Henderson (the only other person jailed as a result of the G20 who I’ve worked with), Mandy Hiscocks (who must be commended for this: http://boredbutnotbroken.tao.ca/) and others. His arrest is proof that our system is not broken: it’s intended to break us, to intimidate us out of fighting for what’s right and just.

Alex and the others are political prisoners. But, rather than focusing on them, let’s reflect on the criminal system as a whole: one where racialized people, First Nations people and people with disabilities dominate the ranks. One where justice is rarely administered. One where politics, politicians and ideologies dominate the public discussion rendering a truly rehabilitating, service agency entirely impossible.

It’s hard to think of these things without complete rage. The trouble with rage is that it isn’t always productive.

But, sometimes it’s entirely productive.

Alex wrote this: http://boredbutnotbroken.tao.ca/alexhundertanopenletter before he was sentenced. Read it and do what you can to be involved in resistance.