Meow everyone . Imagine .. you work for a large company or organization that has a very specific mandate . You go there day after day, year after year, expecting to fulfill this mandate . Your employer is a large city police force. You are there, as a sworn officer to serve and protect the community . I spent some time, many years ago, serving in the military. I can tell you that there is no greater level of satisfaction that serving your country / community , knowing that you are doing good. You get shot at, ridiculed, insulted, treated with contempt and disrespect , yet, you go back the following day to do this all over again. If this was just some company , like millions of other companies, one would walk away after the first day, if the employee were treated the way some of our officers are treated daily by the public. Now, what if you are that same officer, wanting to accomplish the same thing, but this time, its YOUR OWN civilian overseers who are stopping you, preventing you from doing the very job you have sworn to do ? This is the VERY REAL EVERYDAY occurrence our police officers have to deal with . Further to that , What would you say if I told you that the very civilian overseers who govern and dictate policies our officers must adhere to, are in fact sitting side by side KNOWN urban terrorists and eco terrorists ? Hmm, now I have gotten your attention didn’t I ? Well, this is not a hypothetical scenario , indeed, this is VERY REAL and has taken place.
Most people of are aware, that as in the military, in the police force , a rank structure exists, that with it, carries certain duties and responsibilities . Yes, the higher one rises through the ranks, the more political the position it can, or does become . At some point, if one rises through the ranks high enough, they may wear the police uniform , however, they do very little actually policing. rather, much of the time is spent on administrative and public relations duties and engagements.
In Toronto, while the rank structure appears as the most obvious signs of leadership with the police force, the real decision making power appears to be the Toronto Police Services Board . The Toronto Police Services Board consists of 7 members composed of:
( below information sourced from here )
- the Mayor or a Council Member as the Mayor’s designate who is appointed by City Council;
- 2 Council Members;
- 1 citizen member appointed by City Council; and
- 3 citizen members appointed by the Province of Ontario.
The Toronto Police Services Board’s mandate is legislated by the Police Services Act and can be summarized as the general management and setting of policing policy. Generally, the Board’s role in shaping the structure of policing is very broad, limited by legislation only in the realm of daily operations. So, as I stated above, its the board who creates the policies that our officers must adhere to .
Therein lays the first problem … you have board members making policies that THEY feel are the correct ones , however, these same board members are not out there on the streets to see what is really going on , they , by the boards own rules, can’s be out there .
Citizen members are ineligible for appointment to the Board if they fail to satisfy the eligibility requirements for appointment as set out in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.
Under the Police Services Act, persons are ineligible for appointment as members of the Board if they are:
- a judge
- a justice of the peace
- a police officer, and
- a person who practices criminal law as a defence counsel.
So, we have a board making rules and regulations but no actually, practical experience to actually see / know what is needed , what works , what will not work . Along with the civilian members on the board, the remaining members are politicians :
- the Mayor or a Council Member as the Mayor’s designate who is appointed by City Council;
- 2 Council Members;
Once again, politicians are NOT cops out on the street. They sit in offices of meetings all day so how can they possibly have a clue as to what cops actually with daily , yet, they some how think that they are perfectly able to dictate to officers how to do their jobs and invent regulations dictating same. However, that is only the beginning. Because politicians are tied to one political party or another, they will of course dictate policy that falls within the spectrum of their own parties ideals . Former Mayor David Miller was the perfect example of what radical left leaning politicians can to to a perfectly good organization…. he destroyed the police department with his NDP brand of politics. I have always said that While Miller was our Mayor , we had an ongoing clown act in city hall. I think Crusty the Clown from the Simpsons would have made a better Mayor than the jack ass that Miller was .
Have a look at who endorsed his mayoral candidacy : Miller’s plans to run for mayor were well-known around city hall in 2002, and there was little surprise when he formally declared his candidacy in January 2003. His earliest supporters included councillors Howard Moscoe, Sandra Bussin, Irene Jones and Anne Johnston and urban planner Jane Jacobs. He was later endorsed by councillors Olivia Chow, Joe Pantalone and Brian Ashton, public figures such as June Callwood, Judy Rebick, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Michele Landsberg, American environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association. The Toronto Star newspaper, journalist Royson James and councillors Raymond Cho and Michael Walker also endorsed Miller near the end of the campaign. Are you seeing something here yet ? Oh, Don’t worry , you will see it clearly shortly .
After assuming office, Miller became involved in the long-standing and polarizing debates over Toronto’s police budget. Does this sound familiar ? We here today know that the radicals want to decimate the police budget as well . But wait, there is more . Miller was not in office very long but was quick to become involved in a labour dispute between the Police Services Board and the Toronto Police Association. The board, led by councillor Pam McConnell. Like Miller who was a member of the radical left NDP party , , McConnell had also maintained her membership in the NDP, however, and has become more active with the party since 2003. She has been a Miller ally since the election and was rewarded by being anointed, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board from 2004 to 2005.
McConnell is the very same useless and brain dead twit who once accused an other mayor, Rob Rod of bulldozing her to the ground during a heated session at a city council .
OK, so let me go backwards here for a little bit. I had shown about how radical left wing politicians were actively supporting other radical politicians to ensure that radical agendas were front and center. One of the names I made mention of was Olivia Chow. . Chow herself was a member of the police services board but her radical actions were made clear and was forced to resign as a result of her out right support for the terrorist activities of her friends, the people SHE allies with .
Have a look at these screen shots that show how Chow supported violent groups and their actions … WHILE SITTING ON THE POLICE SERVICES BOARD :
I have stated that the NDP is a highly radical political party and that they support criminal organizations . Here are screen shots to support this :
I have maintained on numerous occasions that OCAP is, in my opinion, a domestic terrorist organization. Well, I am clearly not the only person of this mind. Indeed heads of law enforcement feel this way as well :
So, to recap , a member of the Police Services Board is supportive of terrorists who are in the process of a terrorist act and asks cops to back off … Hmmm seems to me that she was there, using her position, to disrupt the police force , not help it .
The other person whom I made mention of as endorsing David Miller as mayor , was none other than Judy Rebbick . Rebbick love to remind those stupid enough to listen to her , how much of a shit disturbing protester she was ” back in the day ” . To my utter amazement, I cant believe that there are actually people out there who listen to her , and can do this without vomiting.
Rebbick is a professor at Ryerson University ( and not a very good one ) . She loves to give voices to convicted , violent criminals , especially those who are in fact court ordered not to make speeches or appearances. In fact, the more violent the criminal, the more of a voice she gives them. Case in point. She gave one of her long winded nausiating diatribes at Ryerson University some years where her special guest was Alex Hundert, the convicted G20 organizer who spent his prison time in solitary confinement because he was so dangerous. While he was out on bail ( I don’t know what the court was thinking at that moment ) he was ordered NOT to speak to media or make speeches of any kind. Well Rebbick, being the moron that she is , and Hundert, being the scum bag that he is, openly flaunted the law anyway.
Here is Rebbick below ( you are on your own with having to supply barf bags )
Here is the illegal speech that Rebbick knowingly allowed Hundert to make at one her events :
Have a look here and see for yourselves who were the ones who destroyed our city during the G20 .
So far, I have shown some historical evidence that radical left political influences were sitting on the Police Services Board and clearly had the intention of limiting the ability of officers from doing their duties, in one case, even wanting officer NOT to act against criminals who were throwing molitov cocktails at the Ontario Legislature building with complete disregard for those inside, or even those outside . However , the undermining , of the officers of the Toronto Police Service did not end with Chow and Company .
So far, I have shown you that politicians have meddled into the day to day activities of our officers, even going so far as to want them to NOT enforce the law, especially when the law breakers and the politicians share the exact same agendas . If that is not undermining our officers, I cant imagine what is . But wait, it gets worse … MUCH worse . Imagine having a sitting police services board member , a city counsel member who , as part of her staff, employs a convicted urban terrorist, one who is unappologetic for her actions and does not even recognize the laws of Canada. NO, IM NOT KIDDING . Now that is really over the top, but wait, it get even WORSE . Now, imagine the CHAIRMAN of the Police Services Board attending a conference and CO-speaking with not one, not even two, but THREE Terrorists. ….. One urban terrorist, and two eco-terrorists. People, I don’t make this stuff up . At this point, I am asking my readers to once again read very carefully, the graphic I posted above showing exactly who the G20 rioting organizers were , then, read the extensive list of panelists for a symposium and see you can find a match in names:
*This page will be updated frequently as new panelists confirm, so please check-in to see who we have lined up!*
Shelley Charles, MandawKwe
Shelley Charles is a member of the Chippewa’s of Georgina Island First Nation. She has worked extensively in First Nation communities across Canada and the US. She works with youth, teachers and aboriginal artists with a commitment to preserving cultural knowledge and language. Shelley is the Elder Advisor on Aboriginal Relations at Humber College. Her passion is to provide Aboriginal students with the support and guidance through their educational journey in a post-secondary environment. She has her Master’s Degree in Indigenous Philosophy.
“According to the teachings of the Midewewin faith keepers, the language of the Ojibway Anishinabe people is written on the land. All of the plants and the waters have names that reflect our human relationship to creation. Before every ceremony or gathering we send out our songs that carry our prayers of thanksgiving for our first mother, the Earth”.
Vanessa Gray is a 23 year old Anishinaabe kwe from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located in Canada’s Chemical Valley. Vanessa, a former youth Green Teens community organizer, has worked with community members to bring awareness to the health issues due to the toxic surroundings. She is an organizer with ASAP, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines and continues to raise awareness about environmental racism.
Gray is an eco terrorist who has, on several occasions, engaged in acts of sabotage against a major oil pipeline, where on her last act, was criminally charged with endangering life. Is this the sort of event that a former head of a police service should be seen and sitting along side with on a panel ?
The Transformative Dimensions of Social Justice Work:
At the heart of transformative social change and transformative justice rests a deep and abiding commitment to being in relation and acting with others equally committed to a vision of society free of traditional systems of oppression. Our being together, however, can quickly become swamped in the drama that inevitably ensues when we come together to do this work. In our zeal to rid our social contexts of external forces of oppression, we often lose sight of our own inner demons. In this presentation, I will focus on the transformative learning that such work requires. As we focus our energies and lives on the work “out there”, we must also recognize and learn from the inner demons that this work can evoke. Discerning what is “out there” and “in here” represents an important focus of transformative learning in social justice work.
Sarah Scanlon is a queer feminist organizer based in Guelph, who has spent over a decade involved in gender based violence struggles within Ontario. Sarah’s involvement in the VAW (Violence Against Women) movement led her to working with the Children’s Aid Society as a Child Internet Exploitation Project Coordinator, as the Co-Coordinator for the I Know Someone Campaign, as the Community Mobilization Project Manager, and for OPIRG Guelph as the Coordinator of Organizational and Policy Development. Sarah deepened her analysis around alternative models to community healing and harm accountability in her role as the Public Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sexual Assault Center of London. Her passion for working with boys and men, and the role they play in ending gender based violence, was fostered through her work as a group facilitator for Changing Ways Men’s Group and Youth Perpetrator Project. Sarah currently manages, and will be speaking about, the Gender Bullying Project focused on engaging boys with issues of masculinity and sexual violence through trans-formative justice and bystander intervention models.
Scanlon is an eco terrorist who has, on several occasions, engaged in acts of sabotage against a major oil pipeline, where on her last act, was criminally charged with endangering life. Is this the sort of event that a former head of a police service should be seen and sitting along side with on a panel ?
Dean Barnes is the Principal of T.A. Blakelock High School in Oakville Ontario. Dean has been a school admininstrator for 14 years and is a PhD graduate of the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. His thesis was entitled: “Restorative Peacemaking Circles and other Conflict Management Efforts in Three Ontario High Schools” explored implementation approaches of pro-active and post-incident restorative circles. Dean’s leadership focuses on promoting high student achievement through healthy school-wide and classroom initiatives, such as increased physical activity and wellness, mindfulness, co-curricular activities, restorative practices, school-community partnerships, and relationship building interventions. He will speak about the impact of restorative justice circles in the classroom and the positive impact they have on the wellness of students.
Atiya Jaffar is a first generation immigrant from Pakistan who was driven to climate justice work after first hand experience seeing climate change impacts in the Global South. She is a digital organizer for 350.org and has been responsible for developing the digital strategy for 350’s operations in Canada. She was part of the team that organized the historic March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate this July. Atiya’s also a recent graduate from the University of Guelph where she completed a thesis that focused on the relationship between the Indigenous sovereignty and environmental movements. While at Guelph, she had the opportunity to work on the fossil fuel divestment campaign on campus. This December, Atiya will be raising a voice in support of climate justice as part of the Canadian Youth Delegation at the international climate negotiations in Paris.
Maria Shallard is Penelakut First Nation and European ancestry and grew up on Lil’wat territory in Pemberton, British Columbia. Currently, she is the Coordinator, Aboriginal Programs, Office of Intercultural Affairs in the Student Life Department at the University of Guelph and resides on the traditional land of the Attawanderon people. Maria holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria with a double major in Environmental Studies and Canadian history with a minor in Indigenous Studies. Recently, she has finished a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Guelph where she completed a thesis that focused on ocean governance, human well-being and Indigenous sovereignty. In past experience she has worked in First Nations communities with youth driven by a passion to provide opportunities to navigate between divergent worldviews through experiential and out of class room opportunities. While at Guelph she sits on a Truth and Reconciliation Committee and supports Indigenous advocacy and awareness through various community events. Her main focus is to ensure that there are a range of programs offered for Aboriginal students to learn, grow and experience on their academic journey. Maria believes in “nuts’a’maat shqwaluwun” (working together as one) (with one heart/mind).
Yusra Khogali Ali
Yusra is a Toronto based community organizer and activist, currently one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Toronto chapter movement. She is a daughter of the sudanese diaspora by ancestry, born in nairobi, but a toronto bred and based black feminist spoken word poet who uses her art as a form of resistance to challenge various forms of Canadian state-sanctioned anti-blackness. She is also working on completing her masters of arts degree as a student in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Yusra believes in the self determination of black peoples lives globally and all her artistic resistance and activism, education and community organizing is dedicated to die fighting for this.
Black Lives Matter is a coalition of Black community members, students, artists, organizers, activists, and everything in between. We exist for the self-determination of all black people globally. Through Black-centric organizing, community mobilizing, and art, we are working to revolutionize social services, eliminate mass policing and incarceration, and decolonize our black communities. We work to destroy/dismantle anti-black racism and encourage the creation of new models of social organization through coalition-building, solidarity work, and a black-centric network. BLMTO is here to support healing justice, the liberation of our communities, families, and the freedom to love and self-determine. BLMTO also strongly believes in supporting Indigenous people as central to the struggle for liberation while working to unify an organize our families/communities, affirm black existence, support black healing, and liberate blackness so that we can freely be.
Black lives matters is a racist group bent on creating a race war and openly advocating MURDER of white people. Is this the sort of event that a former head of a police service should be seen and sitting along side with on a panel ?
Here as seen blow, black lives matter is offering a ” reward ” of half a million dollars for the murder of a prosecutor . Is this the sort of event that a former head of a police service should be seen and sitting along side with on a panel ?
Emily Duron, BA, BEd is the Director/Founder of The ACE Approach (Awareness and Consciousness Education). After teaching in Toronto private schools for many years, she realized the importance of developing the Social and Emotional skills of students. Through transformative and reflective practices, The ACE Approach nurtures self-awareness, self-responsibility and peaceful problem solving by teaching students meditation, breathing techniques and emotional literacy. The ACE Approach offers a potent combination of three key educational methods that current research has proven are most supportive of student growth: Social and Emotional Learning, Mindfulness/Awareness and Inquiry-Based Experiential Education. The ACE Approach Classroom and Professional Development programs provide a full spectrum of practical tools to enable students and teachers to connect in healthy, communicative and peaceful ways. The inspiration of The ACE Approach has its roots in the teachings of Yogini Mangala Anshumati, creator of Hridaya Yoga – Yoga of the Heart and AHIMSA -Artistic Harmlessness in Mind Speech and Action. These two organizations are committed to teaching non-violence to people of all ages. Emily has been a student of Hridaya Yoga for 5 years and is devoted to a life of learning and self-discovery.
Alok Mukherjee is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University, Toronto. He served as Chair of the Toronto Police Services Board from 2005 to 2015. Police Boards, having served as its President. With his focus on promoting effective and affordable community-based policing under civilian oversight provincially and nationally, Dr. Mukherjee was actively involved in Ontario government’s Future of Policing Advisory Committee as well as in other police governance forums across Canada.
He is frequently called upon to speak and write on policing issues for a variety of audiences. He brings a unique perspective to law enforcement issues from his experiences in a highly multicultural and multiracial environment.
Dr. Mukherjee has worked as an educator and a consultant. He has written extensively in a variety of areas including diversity and inclusivity, employment equity for racially visible and aboriginal people, and anti-racist education.
Dr. Mukherjee has held several public appointments, including membership on the Toronto District School Board Safe and Compassionate School Taskforce and the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, and has served as Vice Chair and Acting Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Dr. Mukherjee has received several awards for his volunteer activities and for his outstanding work at a professional and social level. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Government of Ontario.
Margot Van Sluytman
Margot Van Sluytman is an award-winning expressive writing teacher, mentor, restorative justice advocate, and public speaker. She is invited to teach and give talks and workshops about how expressive writing is a rich process of healing and transformation, by reclaiming, respecting, and living our precious voice. Her books include: Sawbonna: I See You, A Real Life Restorative Justice Story; The Other Inmate: Mediating Justice-Mediating Hope, Poetry and Writing Workbook for Restorative Practices (English and French); Layers of Possibility: Healing Poetry from The Members of The National Association for Poetry Therapy, Foreword by Dr. Robert Carroll, NAPT; Dance With Your Healing: Tears Let Me Begin to Speak With My Pen; and, Wild Self Real Self: Write Your Voice of Healing and Strength. She has been interviewed by media around the world. Margot is the Founder of The Sawbonna Project for Living Justice and a Member of The National Association for Poetry Therapy.
Sunny Dhillon is a Researcher and Program Evaluator with the Centre of Research, Policy & Program Development. He joined the Centre in 2014. He is involved in the evaluation of a variety of local office programs, and provides support to current research projects. He has completed an MSc with Distinction in Criminology and Criminal Justice Research Methods at the University of Oxford, as well as an MA in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. He has also worked as a Senior Statistics Officer for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. During his graduate studies he focused on the operation of the criminal justice system, access to justice, and emerging methodologies in criminological research.
Sunny’s talk will be based on the recent report by the Centre titled: Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario. This report chronicles how the criminal justice system has become a catchall for people whose mental health issues have gone untreated or undetected in the community. The Report calls on the province to stop relying on the justice system as a key responder to individuals who have mental health issues, and provides recommendations aimed at shifting Ontario toward prevention. Unlocking Change articulates a pressing need for a paradigm shift in Ontario toward – and investment in – proactive, preventative and inclusive approaches to mental health. A prevention-based approach would aim to help Ontarians with mental health issues beforethey become at risk – of homelessness, crisis, unemployment or conflict with the law. The talk will emphasize possible policy solutions as well as open a discussion among the panelists and attendees on promising solutions for the future.
Steve Wineman’s social change activism dates back to the 1960s. He has participated in efforts to achieve peace and disarmament, racial and gender equality, workplace democracy, and ecological sustainability. He retired at the end of 2013 after more than 30 years working in community mental health. Steve is the author of The Politics of Human Services and Power-Under: Trauma and Nonviolent Social Change.
Steve Wineman’s talk will focus on the complex, interacting dynamics of power and trauma. He will describe the continuum of objective power relations, ranging from dominance to shared power to subordination, as well as the continuum of subjective power experience ranging from full empowerment to the internalization of powerlessness that often accompanies trauma. To understand the full complexity of power, we need to recognize how the same person can be dominant on one dimension (such as class) and subordinate on another (such as gender). We also need to recognize that subjective power (or lack of power) often does not match people’s objective power positions, and that internalized powerlessness can lethally combine with objective dominance. Understanding the complexity of power dynamics, including the role of trauma, is critical to the development of effective strategies for transformative social change.
Cameron Reid is a community activist and recent graduate of Humber’s SSW program. He has served as the co-chair of the Toronto Harm Reduction Worker’s Union Organizing Committee (IWW 610), and is a member of the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance, a local advocacy and activist organization.
His experiences living with clinical depression since his early teens and his later journey through self medication with drug use form the basis for his commitment to advocating for peer-driven solutions, community empowerment, and reformation of drug policy.
Leah is a queer-crip-femme-witch who spends a lot of time working, writing and thinking about community accountability and transformative justice. She supports and develops community accountability processes in her communities. She is a white, settler, who is a community organizer based on the stolen and colonized land of toronto, ontario, that has spent over a decade involved in struggles for justice within apartheid canada. Leah’s involvement in the environmental movement lead her to supporting Indigenous communities in the struggle for Sovereignty and Self-Determination. Leah has also been part of building communities that fight for justice for queer and trans people, women, low- income, disabled and racialized people. She has worked with groups across Turtle Island on fighting sexism, homophobia and transphobia and in solidarity with the movement for migrant justice.
And so we arrive at Ms. Henderson. She is employed at city hall, working for police services board member Shelly Carrol , yes, the same Ms Henderson who was one of the main organizers of the G20 riots , an act that several top law enforcement officials referred to as domestic terrorism. Her words to the court when she was sentenced were :
“… I stand here guilty of breaking your laws, not the laws of justice … ”
“… Ok so a bit about me. Today is not just my halfway point, but it is also the day that I became eligible for parole. I’ve waived my right to apply for parole. I’ve done this for a few reasons, one is that I feel no remorse for my organizing against the G8 & G20, and given another opportunity, I will continue to organize against them (and colonialism and capitalism more generally). The parole board looks for remorse, and for how you will not re-offend. I can only hope more of us reoffend this work more often… ”
Her full statement to the court prior to sentencing :
( sourced from here )
” … STATEMENT READ IN COURT AT SENTENCING HEARING
All you need to know about me is that I am a person of conscience, I came to this situation from a place of morality within myself, and I am a member of a community that shares that morality and a powerful vision for a future that is truly free.
I stand here guilty of breaking your laws, not the laws of justice.
The court has been told, “this prosecution is not political”, and that this has been done to protect society from danger.
The truth is this entire prosecution is born from the politics of fear.
Fear of our ideas, fear of what we represent:
A Freedom that your jails will not confine.
I am not here for approval.
I am here because this is what stands for justice on this colonized land.
Though I stand here being judged by you, I am accountable to more, that is beyond these walls.
I am accountable to the indigenous communities whose lands we are on. To the earth who we’re daily assaulting with saws, and chemicals. To the elders in my life and to the generations yet to come.
The laws that govern our societies are not laws of community, or laws of consensus, they are laws of oppression. Laws that underpay and overwork mothers. That deport the poor and those of colour. Laws that rob Indigenous Nations of their traditions, their land, their childhoods. Laws that blame the unemployed and rewards those that get rich on their backs.
I have been deeply and profoundly affected by this process, but have not been changed by it. I have been moved by the incredible support that I have received, far beyond what I could have imagined. It has been made more clear to me through this process that this vision for the future is part of a groundswell.
I want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me, thank you to my friends, my family and my lawyer.
I submit to your jails because today you hold many of the weapons, and many people under your spell. A day is coming when that will not be so.
A day is coming where the distorted mirror that hides the lies of capitalism and colonialism will shatter. … ”
Her statement to her fellow criminals :
( sourced from here )
” …STATEMENT TO THE COMMUNITY
As most of you probably know by now, I have decided to plead guilty to the charge of counseling to commit mischief. Originally, I along with 20 others was charged with four counts of conspiracy in what was called the G20 main conspiracy group.
I am writing because the past year and a half of facing these charges and living under bail conditions has meant that I have not been able to talk as openly as I would have liked. My voice has been muzzled by the state, which has served as a powerful reminder of the many voices that are muzzled by the daily colonialism, patriarchy, racism and violence of the
world. While the silencing of my voice has an end date, the work to hear the chorus of our grandmothers and the Indigenous Peoples whose land we stand on is ongoing.
I never considered that the people in power would see me, my community and our values as anything other than a threat — because we are a threat. We are working to tear this system down and to make space for life-centered systems that make the 1% irrelevant. Those who benefit from the status quo have always tried to crush that.
I want to tell you that I was arrested because I am seen as a threat. I want to tell you that you might be too. I want to tell you that this is something we need to prepare for. I want to tell you that the risk of incarceration alone should not determine our organizing.
My skills and experience — as a facilitator, as a trainer, as a legal professional and as someone linking different communities and movements –were all targeted in this case, with the state trying to depict me as a “brainwasher” and as a mastermind of mayhem, violence and destruction. During the week of the G8 & G20 summits, the police targeted legal observers, street medics and independent media. It is clear that the skills that make us strong, the alternatives that reduce our reliance on their systems and prefigure a new world, are the very things that they are most afraid of.
I organize openly as an anti-colonial, anti-capitalist anarchist. My organizing is focused on movement building, and this commitment to build skill sets and support other activists is another part of why the state has targeted me. However, this attempt to deter me has failed, just as it has failed to deter thousands of others similarly facing police brutality and jail. I am strengthened in my resolve to build communities of resistance. We are building the structures of a new kind of society in the midst of the old, and we cannot do that without a commitment to skill-sharing, mutual aid and collective liberation.
Since the G8 & G20 protests, Toronto (and beyond) has witnessed a wave of repression that has seen the justice system trap people and their communities in its jaws, using all of their time and energy to survive the resource-intensive and soul-sucking legal process. The state hoped that there would be no energy left to fight against them as they cut funding to essential services, ignored self-determination, and further criminalized poor people, migrants and people of colour.
They were wrong.
The awe-inspiring and humbling surprise in all of this is that we have refused to be crushed and, in fact, we have grown in strategy, strength and numbers: in Toronto, I’ve seen the anti-austerity movements grow with campaigns like “Stop the Cuts”; in Grassy Narrows, one day of powerful mobilization forced the government to listen to the community’s demands; globally, there has been a continued, intensified uprising that is showing collective dissatisfaction with the capitalist system and austerity agenda that the G8 & G20 per-petuate.
I took this plea willingly. I consented today to confine myself to a cage, away from the people, work and struggles that I am connected to. I did this for a reason.
As a group of accused, we come to organizing with different access to power. When the 17 of us found ourselves around a table facing a trial, continued disruption of our lives and livelihoods, possible convictions, jail sentences and deportations, it became essential that some of us plead guilty to ensure that the rest walk free.
It was a decision that could not be and was not taken lightly. I was inspired, along with the rest of the 17, by a proud history of political trials, where people have chosen to plead guilty to end the legal process? if it resulted in the best possible deal for all involved.
This plea is not a defeat. I am energized. I am hopeful knowing that we have each other’s back and will take care of each other, even if it means that some of us go to jail. I am proud. I hope you are too.
I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life who have been supporting me and who will continue to do so.
To the women who have carried me through this — you are my faeries with magick wands and combat boots; you’ve granted me wishes and kicked the crap out of anything I couldn’t handle. Your care and support is revolutionary. May it become less invisible to the world.
To my family — every day I am grateful for your unconditional love and support; that I chose you when I came into this world is perhaps the greatest gift I have given to myself.
To my community — you have grown and expanded with me since my arrest; this growth is a testament to our strength.
To my sureties — you took me out into the world when no one else could; you housed me, sat on absurdly uncomfortable court benches while pregnant and while waiting to see if your own child would be released from custody.
To the assistants, receptionists, lawyers, and legal workers that represented us — thank you for your dedication and commitment.
To my friends that stayed in to keep me company, moved me, brought me comfort and, most importantly, helped me to laugh and cry and rage-craft through this — I hope that I can give half as much to you as I have received.
To my co-evils (otherwise known as co-accused):
“While I can’t have you, I long for you… I spin worlds where we could be together. I dream you.” – Jeannette Winterson
I’ve missed you, friends. After all this time, my heart still beats as one with yours. But things have changed, we have grown, my heartbeat sounds different — I’m sure yours does too. Since we became wrapped up in this together, I have carried you with me everywhere I go. I’m excited to begin new relationships with you that don’t have the state stuck in between us.
Thank you for all that you have been through this process: fierce, vulnerable, honest, inspiring, loving, strong, and deeply committed to working collectively, challenging oppression and building communities of resistance.
There is a complex combination of rage and inspiration that this experience has given me that cannot be summed up in one statement, let alone a lifetime of statements, but moving forward, I am energized and filled with hope that we will continue to struggle together in creative, supportive and inspiring ways.
I would say see you in the streets, but if you know me, you know that I’m more excited to see you in a meeting.
With love, rage and solidarity,
Please write to me! If you don’t know what to write, send my a copy of your favourite poem(s), recipes, you really like or short stories.
c/o Vanier Centre for Women
655 Martin Street, Box 1040
Milton ON L9T 5E6 … ”
Mr. Alok Mukherjee Is this the sort of event that a former head of a police service should be seen and sitting along side with on a panel ?What kind of message are you, as head of a police service board sending to the very officers you and your board seemingly create policy for ?
I might understand attending such an event as a panelist and possibly having one questionable person as part of that panel. That might be a simple oversight . However, attending a panel along side three of the top terrorists in their field sir is, in my opinion, incompetence . One would think, and perhaps event expect that as former head of the largest law enforcement organization in the country, you would want to at least check out the back grounds of those with whom you are about to share a stage with .
Mr. Alok Mukherjee , your attendance and participation at this seminar along side these three people is , in my view, exactly the same as is the Director of the CIA or NSA where to attend a party hosted by ISIS or some other terrorist group. I doubt sir that if John Gotti the famous mobster , where to host a party or a seminar, the chief of police would sit at the table along side him as part of his panel , or attend a party know who was going to be there. So sir, I have to ask the rhetorical question of whether , during your tenure as Police Service Board Chairman , where you in fact there to undermine the efforts of officers attempts to enforce the law effectively , or , where you there to forward your own personal agenda ( if there was one ) ? I ask sir because under your tenure , you allowed the black live matter group to disrupt one of the board meetings , seemingly , freely. Under your tenure, officers were seemingly held back from stopping a major riot during the G20 that destroyed this city. I am NOT saying you were responsible for either, i just find it very odd that these events , these people you engaged with at this seminar are so closely tied together . It makes me question you leadership and soundness of judgement. Mr. Alok Mukherjee, I am not questioning your commitment to your duties, I AM questioning the soundness of your judgement with respects to whom you share a panel discussion table with … especially with even the most minimal research , you would have known who these people really are / where , and especially given your former position as head of a top law enforcement agency.