Posted By Sandra Alland

It was divine to see old friends and family, but Toronto had a certain emptiness about it. Mainly because of recent major losses both personal and public (and also because of the incessant gentrification of some of Toronto's best communities):

Selected Losses:

1. Tracy Wright... I flew in two days after this friend's memorial and flew out two days before her new film, Trigger, opened -- bad timing that intensified the lack of her that keeps slapping me in the face. I wandered around Kensington Market, past the place we lived together, and just could not believe that one of the nicest souls and best actors on the planet had died. She was only 51.

2. This Ain't the Rosedale Library... One of Toronto's best and oldest bookstores was forced out of its Kensington Market home by a greedy landlord this summer. I worked at This Ain't for three glorious years, and am still reeling at its passing (after that of Pages and many other long-standing independents). This loss is compounded by the fact that independent bookstores are closing all over the world (a trend that started in the 90s but has been receiving extra nails in its coffin in the past few years, especially now that Amazon has moved into Canada and its Kindle e-books are becoming the rage everywhere). There are many losses here, like lack of choice and lack of promotion for independent and activist writers and presses (This Ain't used to hand-sell the books of many writers). Indigo only keeps most books for a maximum of six months, and This Ain't was one of the only places to keep me and other Canadian poets and small-press/avant-garde/queer/lefty/of-colour writers in stock (even though this often meant the store suffered a loss in income). Who will fill this gap, and how will the remaining small presses survive?

3. Will Munro... I didn't know Will personally but attended many of his events, and the one time I met him was struck by his sweetness. Will was my age and died of a brain tumour... Toronto lost one of its best artists and upstarts when Will checked out. On an up-note (because we definitely need one by now, dear friends), there *is* a feeling that Will's legacy is being carried on by many of his friends and peers.

4. A General Feeling of Dread Around G20 Fallout and Community Organizing in General... I attended a panel discussion at Ryerson University, called Strengthening Our Resolve, which was at times brilliantly inspiring, especially the appearances by a trio of First Nations women and Harsha Walia. Yet there was a palpable fear in the air. It was not paranoia, it was a well-founded reaction to the status quo after police brutaliy at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and this summer's G20, and other out-of-control and illegal crackdowns on communities of resistance. One of the speakers, Alex Hundert, was followed to his home that night and re-arrested on the bogus claim that he had violated the "no demonstration" part of his bail (he is charged with various counts of "conspiracy" and other such ridiculousness). The criminalization of dissent in Canada is horrifying. The next day at a small protest against The 519 Community Centre's collusion with police (including their recent decision to allow recruitment in this LGBT centre without dialogue or notification of the community) there were police everywhere, too. I applaud the amazing community organizers in Toronto and elsewhere who struggle every day to retain what rights we have left, and to gain rights for their communities.

More positivity next post...

Posted By Sandra Alland

10 July, The Real News: Parkdale Neighbourhood Defends G20 Activists (This footage includes a police officer telling a young woman she will be arrested for assault -- for blowing bubbles!)

9 July, Vancouver Media Co-op: Update on Detainees, including how to donate to help those illegally arrested and currently out on bail that includes harsh regulations like house arrest

2 July: video of illegal searches and York Police officer announcing "This isn't Canada"

It's important for us to remain vigilant and not sit by as our rights are revoked. Here are two important sites that collate proof of police abuse:

Toronto Community Mobilization Site: pictures of police abusing protesters

Toronto Mobilize's youtube channel: footage of police abusing protesters

Also: Appeal for public help in exposing police crime

See my previous entries for more links to footage and reports from the G20 in Toronto.


Posted By Sandra Alland

For those who need counselling after being abused by police at the G20, if you're on Facebook go here or email It's free.

8 July, Rabble: State of Emergency Video Calls for Public Inquiry

7 July, Toronto Star: City Council Commends Abusive Police

6 July, National Post: Abuse of Men with Disabilities by G20 Police

6 July, The Media Co-op: Jaggi Singh on his Charges of Conspiracy

5 July, Toronto Star: 16 People Still in Custody

2 July, Maple Ridege Times: Summit Ridge Woman Shot with Rubber Bullets

29 June, Racialicious: Jessica Yee on the Anniversary of Oka and State Violence

26 June, Toronto Sun (super-crap paper but they actually carried the story without going overkill on anti-protester BS): Deaf Black Man Arrested for Not Understanding Police

8 July: Blog with Further Allegations of Police Provocateurs

Posted By Sandra Alland

Posted By Sandra Alland

Footage of police illegally raiding, detaining, arresting, attacking protesters & journalists:
28 June:
Police open fire on peaceful protesters

28 June: 18-year-old describes deploring jail conditions, including gay segregation

27 June: Protesters, journalists and others barricaded and arrested

Police kidnappings

Police Fire Muzzle Blast at Protesters

National Post photographers violently arrested

26 June: Police raid house without warrants

Illegal searches near park

The passing of secret laws that were purposefully misinterpreted and abused:

29 June: Police admit lying
25 June:
Secret laws

Footage & articles about police impersonating or possibly impersonating protesters, especially anarchists:

29 June: Alleged police provacateurs, including clear evidence of one "anarchist" being allowed behind police lines

25 June: Do you know who Che Guevara is?

23 August 2007: Police admit impersonating activists

Posted By Sandra Alland

"Pretending that all violence is the same is very convenient for supposedly anti-violence privileged people who benefit from the violence of the state and have much to lose from the violence of revolution." - Peter Gelderloos, How Nonviolence Protects the State (South End Press, 2007)

So much to discuss... I've been really disheartened, not only by the extreme police/state brutality in Toronto during the G20, but also by the simplistic and depressing conversations among otherwise intelligent people about how protesters were "violent" when they allegedly burned abandoned police cars and broke windows of banks and Starbucks, and therefore somehow a) ruined the "success" of the peaceful protests (which were actually unsuccessful because they happened in a police state) and b) justified the extreme police violence, kidnappings, illegal searches, illegal arrests of 1000 people, sexual assault of women activists, segregation of queer prisoners, racial profiling, abuse of people with disabilities, abysmal conditions in illegal jails, denial of access to legal counsel, possible impersonation of anarchists by police officers, and blatant misleading of the public that occurred both before and after windows were broken.

Why would we want to isolate our allies for using different tactics from us? Why would we leave them open to further assault, when they have just marched by our side and in some cases protected us from violent and illegal behaviour by our government and police? (And when it's highly likely that the vandalism mentioned above was in fact instigated by undercover police?) Many people have been more adamant about emphasizing how peaceful *their* protest was (in comparison to activists who may have broken windows), than about condemning the horrific actions of the G20 countries and of their police force(s). This serves only to entrench media and state stereotypes about the "hooliganism" of anarchists who are in fact an important, intelligent and integral part of struggles against oppression.

There's much more to be said about all of this, and it's not a simple or easy dialogue. For now, I leave you with some links to further assess the situation for yourself...

M. NourbeSe Philip on the G20, violence & race:

Professor David McNally discusses anarchy & Black Bloc tactics on the CBC:

Amy Miller from The Alternative Media Centre on her illegal arrest and being threatened with gang-rape by police:

The Globe on misleading the public:

Police admit "weapons" seized from activists are unrelated to G20:


Posted By Sandra Alland

The Berlin Wall

Humans are awesome, no? We've got unarmed peace activists being robbed and murdered by the Israeli army in international waters, a giant oil spill that just keeps getting bigger in the Gulf of Mexico, major censorship at Toronto's Gay Pride, and massive repressive police forces about to beat the shit out of peace activists at the G20. Can this year get much better?
The Holocaust Monument, me, my cane
In happier news, if you're in Berlin you can still see Frida Kahlo. Some more of my blurry illegal pics:


Above is Frida's first ever painting. I love seeing artists' early work, it reminds me we all have to start somewhere... and often with themes we'll completely abandon later.


I don't have much else to say about Berlin, except that I'd like to go back. Also, they have a great auction of bikes forgotten on trains throughout the city. It may not be the best place to get a good bike, but it's certainly *the* location for free entertainment. The oohs and aws of the crowd were hilarious, and even though I don't understand German I nearly peed laughing when people collectively mocked the crappiest bikes. Thanks again to Number Nine for a lovely trip, to Scout for traipsing about with me & to Bex for "highjacking" all the way from Prague with cheap beer (you mentalist).





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