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

Yesterday I witnessed my first uberviolent football standoff in Edinburgh. Two groups of about 20 men were not just fighting but truly trying to kill each other with all manner of materials: their belts, pieces of wood, garbage cans, fists and feet. They were smashing the windows and doors of a pub to get at those inside (who were desperately trying to hold the doors shut). One group of five men threw another man to the ground and kicked him repeatedly in the head (while holding onto a pole for extra leverage) until finally a brave woman drove up and chased them off. The injured man couldn't stand, and fell into the road. The animal pack mentality was utterly terrifying and depressing to witness.

Naturally by the time the police arrived everyone was gone. No ambulances came and the very injured man was left/allowed to walk home. Not only was he probably brain-injured but he was also an aggressor and should perhaps have been questioned... the police were quite useless... honestly one of the most horrific things I've seen, with also no clear "bad guy"... and all for football? Or?


photo blurred for obvious reasons...

In brighter news, I visited a lovely friend in Dublin last week. It was delightful to spend time with Sir Valliard, philosopher extraordinaire. Sadly, Dublin is perhaps the most expensive city in Europe: a crap bottle of wine costs 7 euro and a glass of wine or a pint is about the same in a pub. Speaking of crap haha, Krapp's Last Tape cost 30 euros on the cheap day, so there was no Beckett for me or any other person not middle class... The new SoGo Festival was also too twee for us, and seemed to have spent more money on advertising and forming partnerships with posh restaurants than on quality events. Nonetheless we amused ourselves immensely, as we had the comfort of the wonderful Irish faces (and the stellar collection of books and music) at The Secret Book and Record Store... plus the pure joy of excellent conversation.





Posted By Sandra Alland

Well, last night's show went well... Kabarett at the Voodoo Rooms was sold out again! It was all a bit posh for me -- most of the space was pre-booked for tables of diners, so that anyone coming only to see the show had to stand at the way-too-crowded back. The dining thing also made me feel a little like I was performing on a cruise ship... but we met some wonderful musicians, and burlesque and circus folk, and the lovely T was there filming us. That made Zorras feel loved. Also, we did our new piece, Head Games, which makes me pee my pants laughing. So all in all a good time...

In other news, I just finished reading Virginie Despentes' Baise-Moi (Rape Me). I think the book is even harsher than the film in some ways. I like that there's more about the two main characters before they meet in the book; it gives more depth (or a different kind of depth). In all, it's a tour de force about how violence begets violence, and about women's capacity for violence (a subject that is certainly still taboo despite talk of "equality"). I don't recommend it for the faint of heart, but this book raises many fascinating questions, especially about how we perceive and accept violence from men, and about how we ignore brutality (until it is presented as coming from the supposedly gentler sex).

Speaking of violence, a woman was recently blinded, kidnapped and raped for 7 hours in a pre-built den in the bushes of a park I used to walk through often (the Dalry-Gorgie tunnel). The woman managed to persuade her attackers to let her go at 10pm. She was abducted at 3 in the afternoon, behind a Lidl supermarket, with many people passing by. No place is ever safe, but there is a specific horror to Edinburgh, and I'm not sure how much longer I can stand to be here. Two young men, 20 and 26 years old, planned the attack in advance and felt confident enough to carry it out in broad daylight. They have now been arrested, but of course with very little media attention... Edinburgh has a tourist repuation to uphold. And people with money don't walk anyway...

There is a Reclaim the Night march for International Women's Day on 8th March at 6:45 pm at Festival Square on Lothian Road. But in Edinburgh we also have to Reclaim the Day...


Posted By Sandra Alland

So I just emerged from my worst-ever fibro coma of pain (more on this in my next installment -- "I Don't Heart the NHS"), and read Virginie Despentes' newly-translated King Kong Theory. As soon as I finished reading, I started again, breathless with bliss. The book is a short collection of personal/political essays about women's (non-)rights. Despentes, for those of you who don't know her, is the author of the novel Baise-Moi (Rape Me), which she also co-directed for the screen (a brilliant piece about rape and its psychological impact that was of course banned because it dared to show women reacting to violence with violence, and because it was written and co-directed by sex workers). In King Kong Theory, Despentes discusses feminism, "masculinity" and "femininity", rape, sex work, pornography, how much it can suck to be a woman writer, capitalism and class. She is brilliant and uncompromising, she is the kind of feminism that changes the world. Je t'aime Virginie Despentes...


Posted By Sandra Alland

Ah, Edinburgh. City where I have now been egged twice by homophobic idiots. I don't really know what more to add to that. Eggs hurt quite a freakin lot, bruise skin even more, and ruin clothes. Yay, eggs. Yay, cowards. Yay, Scotland.

In other depressing news, that Patti Smith documentary kinda reeks. I love Patti Smith. I don't love watching her eat a hot dog on Coney Island for ten minutes. I don't know... I watch a documentary about a rock star poet, and I guess I kinda want to see... rock n' roll and poetry? Not hot dogs. Not her annoying 14 year-old son. Not endless shots of her apartment. Etc. Snore. And it must've been quite hard to make Patti Smith boring. I guess they deserve kudos for that at least...



Posted By Sandra Alland

"It got to the point where it became logical: If a woman was fiercely intelligent, outspoken and passionate, I'd look towards her arms for the scars. They were almost always there."

- Sabrina Chapadjiev, editor of Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction (Seven Stories Press)

Wow. Live Through This is an intense and wonderful new collection of personal essays, graphic stories and photos by some of the most amazing women artists in the United States. About how they survive pain and trauma, and if self-destruction is tied to their creativity.

It's star-studded. Patricia Smith writes about her father's murder and its connection to her poetry, bell hooks writes about the effects of trauma, and photographer Nan Goldin contributes some stunning and disturbing self-portraits.On the slightly lighter side of things, Eileen Myles writes about the importance of flossing, and Diane DiMassa draws the birth of her career as creator of the comic heroine Hothead Paisan:Homocidal Lesbian Terrorist (her psychiatrist annoyed her into it).

Some of the slightly less-famous artists contribute the strongest pieces in the collection - visual artist Fly writes beautifully about art-journalling and manic-depression, and poet Daphne Gottlieb eloquently describes her fear that treating her debilitating depression and suicidal tendencies will also take away her creativity.

I was also especially taken with the pieces on cutting and self-harm. Kate Bornstein describes cutting and anorexia as survival mechanisms for a gender misfit in a gender-obsessed society, and Inga Muscio tells how she cut herself with broken bottles and burned herself for a year in order to grieve her brother's death. What I love about both these pieces is that the writers refuse to pathologize self-harm. They also remove it from its inferred ties to suicide, and place it more in the context of coping, of being in control of one's own pain, of choosing to live.

"Cutting, starving yourself, drugging, drinking...these are all rituals some of us develop in order to deal with pain.Each of these solutions to pain is in itself painful, so each solution/ritual contains a very personal lesson on how to handle the experience of pain. Pain itself is nothing scary. It's the surprise of pain -- the helplessness in the face of some pain -- that can debilitate people... Am I advocating self-inflicted pain? Yeah. Yeah I am.Yes it can get out of hand...but any ritual can get out of hand."

- Kate Bornstein

"I have read a lot about cutters -- psychological assessments and whatnot -- and none of it ever resonates with my experience. When my brother died I projectile-vomited screams, but it was not acceptable for me to do that every day for a couple years.There was no space to grieve, so I found a quiet way in a very personal space...I don't really like to write about this subject because I am supposed to have the moral responsibility to offer a cautionary tale, and I can't do that.The slash n burn time of my life served me well, though it was costly."

- Inga Muscio

In other news, Edinburgh arts afficionado Michelle Kasprzak has a pretty cool blog, the September 3rd one on prison (especially women in prison) is particularly interesting.

Off to live through another day.






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