Environment Magazine

Montreal: Subverting Earth Day – A Reportback from the Anticapitalist Contingent at the “March for the Earth”

Posted on the 23 May 2013 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

By Sabotage Media 

This year in context of Earth Day Inc., a call out for an anticapitalist contingent for the 21 April march somewhat spoiled this yearly ritual of greenwashing and self-flagellation.

A year almost day-to-day after the wild riots of the Salon du Plan Nord – for many the decisive moment when the student strike transcended its reducing identity and took the form of an uprising against authority – it was inspiring to see the black and green flags in the streets once again, carried by a loud and energetic crowd of a hundred or so, contrasting intensely with the thousands of others at the March for Earth Inc. which seemed more like a funeral procession of those ready to bury it already. That same contrast clearly defined whom in the crowd felt true desire to face the enormity of the task of liberating this planet from destruction.

The march as such lasted forty minutes. The crowd from the anticapitalist contingent brought an anticolonial and anarchist presence through chants and banners. In fact the contingent was alone shouting slogans, bringing the only presence whatsoever. It was also the only place in the march that got flanked by the cops.

Montreal: Subverting Earth Day – A reportback from the anticapitalist contingent at the “March for the Earth”

Montreal: Subverting Earth Day – A reportback from the anticapitalist contingent at the “March for the Earth”

When the head of the march reached its endpoint, Canada Place, a 4 meter high black and green banner on which it was written “Green economy is a SCAM / LET’S KILL CAPITALISM before it kills us” was hoisted between two trees, right in the face of the end of march event across the street, which was to consist of monologues by reformist collaborators and green capitalists like Steven Guilbault and Laure Waridel. At first the march orderly huddled into the park. Then, once the anticapitalist contingent arrived, it headed towards the banner, yelling “le capital détruit la Terre, guerre au capital” [capital is destroying the Earth, war on capital!] as they continued to block the street. A few cars got trapped and cops on bikes intervened so the 2-3 cars could could go threw then hurried away as the crowd shouted them out, staying quietly posted a bit further.

The fact that the street was held made it so that the rest of the crowd started overflowing the perimeter established by the stewards, as curious bystanders and people from the march began occupying the street de facto, walking freely between the event of reformist monologues and the intriguing crowd surrounding the black and green banner with whom they came to chat, also being that the spot was devoid of those nasty speakers blasting out loud reggeaton between empty monologues.

Montreal: Subverting Earth Day – A reportback from the anticapitalist contingent at the “March for the Earth”

“Green economy is a SCAM / LET’S KILL CAPITALISM before it kills us”
Montreal: Subverting Earth Day – A reportback from the anticapitalist contingent at the “March for the Earth”

“no to C-45 / When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” 

Around 4pm there was already a somewhat large crowd in the park behind the eco-anarchist banner as some decided to head towards the commercial St. Catherine street a few meters away. They held the street for a while at the corner of Metcalfe, right in shopping central. As riotsquads awaited in small buses close-by, the crowd began to grow and march on St. Catherine, chanting among others “the Innu people* will never be defeated!”, stopping to occupy intersections while more people kept coming. Media reported that a hundred anarchists / anti-capitalists had blocked traffic, but in reality it was a few hundred people who tagged along. A spontaneous demonstration without an official route, therefore illegal, successfully defying the anti-protest P6 regulation which has been systematically applied in recent months.

*chanted in french it works as a play on words with “the people united…” and refers to the struggle of Innu people against the many industrial projects destroying their land.

A flier that was massively distributed during the day:

Because social peace kills 200 species per day

It’s 2013. 97% of forests were cut and 98% of natural grasslands have been plowed or paved, 90% of big fish are gone forever. We, the inhabitants of the “developed” countries consume more than 10 times in watts of energy, as much as a blue whale, 30 times more than a subsistence farmer and 40 times more than a hunter-gatherer. We will happily to a warming of 2 to 5 º C by the end of the century and we are asked to continue as if nothing happened. We’re deluded with rhetoric about “clean energy”, “green economy” and “sustainable development.” Faute de mieux, we dream of chimeric technology and all kinds of citizenistdelusions.

We do not march to ask to be consulted on a multitude of hateful projects. Rather we walk to oppose these projects and those who benefit from them. We also march to find allies with sincere desire to defend the living. We march today even if the empty rhetoric sickens us and we loathe this days recuperation by greenwashing companies. We walk with you because we believe that like us, you too are tired of parades, of pretending.

We are not here to seek a “fair share” of “natural resources” exploitation. We have nothing to do with a “common good” that cashes its complicity in the ongoing ecocide. We know, like you, that what is now called “resource” has always been the home of people, animals and a multitude of other living beings. We also know that what we call “development” is a pathological impulse. We know we must break with this logic because it is suicidal. The Earth does not belong to us.

The ecocide is underway. There is this horrible Plan Nord renamed “North for all” with its appearance of an “open bar”, these projects, small and large dams (eg, La Romaine, Val-Jalbert), the drilling, the cutting of trees, the bridges, the roads and the pipelines must be stopped. There’s talks of getting a pipeline of 850 000 barrels per day of synthetic crude oil along the St. Lawrence river. There is no question here of asking to be consulted, compensated or receive some guarantees. It is necessary to do everything possible to stop this monster! The question is not whether a disaster could happen to us: this pipeline is one of the arteries that will feed the heart of the disaster that is the Tar Sands. This unprecedented destruction of habitat, the pollution of water, air and soil, and the CO2 emissions instruct us to act if we do not want to be complicit. The lesser evil is not an option.

Contrary to the official line, we have no ready-made solution to offer. We simply invite you to develop your own plans, making sure that others elsewhere are already busy with the task of building a culture of resistance and transgression. No more compromise! Stop looking for the public opinion and do what you really want to do to defend the living,

Let’s kill capitalism before it kills us!

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