Red Flag Express №10

Reject the “divide and rule” strategy

Coinciding with the beginning of the demonstrations against the Montebello Summit, we are publishing this communiqué issued by the PGA-Bloc (People’s Global Action) that has been working in the recent weeks to gather the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist forces for this important event. This statement is supported by other groups including ours—the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Arsenal express

This statement aims to encourage solidarity and unity amongst the diverse protesters and groups who will be demonstrating our progressive anti-racist opposition to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the Bush/Harper/Calderón meeting in Montebello, Quebec this August 20-21, 2007.

It’s clear that the police and security forces—in complicity with the state and corporate proponents of the SPP, as well as sensationalist mainstream media—utilize a strategy of divide and rule. They distinguish between “good” and “bad” protesters to weaken social movements.

You’re “good”, in the eyes of the police, if you comply with their protest pens and zones, and “bad” if you do not; you’re “good” if you limit opposition to electoral politics and lobbying, but “bad” if you reject parliamentary politics and parties, and privilege direct action; you’re “good” if you get permission from the police to protest, and “bad” if you refuse to talk to police on principle.

Already, both RCMP and SQ officers have begun a fear campaign in the communities of Montebello and surrounding area, with talk of “provocateurs” and “violent protesters”; these scare tactics will only increase in the next week before the demonstration.

RCMP officers have also selectively approached demonstrators for “dialogue” (although there is absolutely no requirement in Canada to “dialogue” with police, and we have the right to organize autonomously, without police meddling). The RCMP approaches are also a not-so-subtle attempt to spread rumors about groups they dislike, while promising to accommodate groups they do like.

The People’s Global Action Bloc (PGA-BLOC)—comprised of direct action anti-capitalist organizers from Ontario and Quebec, with organizing hubs in Montreal and Ottawa for the Montebello mobilization—is one organizing group that is being targeted for marginalization by the police.

Our basis of unity includes the following: “A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organizations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker; AND: a call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements’ struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples’ rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism.”

Our basis of unity, and our ongoing organizing, is rooted in both local and global social justice struggles. PGA-BLOC organizers, thru many different groups, are actively involved with immigrant justice, anti-poverty, indigenous sovereignty, international solidarity, anti-oppression, worker’s rights, anti-war, prison justice, environmental and other movements and organizations, for many years. It is our day-to-day organizing work that brings us to mobilizing against the SPP in Montebello.

Still, there will be an attempt by police and state to marginalize the protesters affiliated with the PGA-BLOC.

In anticipation, we are making this call for solidarity and unity. The progressive anti-racist opposition to the SPP shares a lot in common—a long-term commitment to social justice, popular education, public debate and discussion, and popular mobilization and action.

We also have differences in analysis and tactics; we should debate and discuss those differences, honestly. Any social movement that is diverse and vibrant has differences and disagreements and that is not a negative thing.

However, those movement debates should not be tainted by police attempts to marginalize one part of a movement from the rest.

We write this statement to ask that all progressive organizers, activists and protesters mobilizing against the SPP and the Bush/Harper/Calderon meeting maintain solidarity and unity in the face of attempts to divide us. You can certainly disagree with the PGA-BLOC, as we may disagree with you, but we ask that we dialogue about those disagreements in our movement spaces, and not engage in any public marginalization or denunciation.

Tangibly, “solidarity and unity” means:

  • assertively refuting any police misinformation about any activist groups in order to block police and state attempts to divide us;
  • refraining from denouncing other groups to the police, and certainly not to the mainstream media;
  • pro-actively expressing and showing solidarity, thru statements of support, whether publicly or privately;
  • avoiding any attempts to frame protesters as “good” vs. “bad”, or “violent” vs. “non-violent”.

Please share this statement with your organizing groups, and do endorse it if you agree.

Good luck to everyone in their mobilizing against the SPP and the Bush/Harper/Calderon meeting in Montebello!

In solidarity,

PGA-BLOC Montreal (comprised of members of groups such as Block the Empire, No One Is Illegal-Montreal, le Comité des sans-emploi, Solidarity Across Borders, Les Sorcières, Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie, Tadamon Montreal, La Otra Campana, QPIRG-Concordia, DIRA, Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP), and others)

PGA-BLOC Ottawa (comprised of members of groups such as Under Pressure, Indigenous Solidarity Working Group, Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee, OPIRG-Carleton, Exile Infoshop, IWW-Ottawa, Anarchist Discussion Forum, Anarchist Assembly, Ottawa Fair Trade Network, Oaxaca Solidarity Ottawa, Books to Prisoners, Hands Off Venezuela Ottawa, and others)

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