I was one of the organizers of the Reoccupation of Parliament Hill. It was an Indigenous-led ceremony, and I had both principled and practical reasons to take on a role that was primarily about supporting the work that the lead organizers were doing.
Three days after
I decided it was time to write a short update for people who read my blog. I haven’t written many blog posts recently, largely because I have been busy organizing. Five of the last six days have been completely taken up by the reoccupation, and aside from taking some notes to help me remember what happened, I haven’t had time to do much of anything else.
Today, however, I have mostly to myself. It’s a beautiful sunny day, and the street where I live is quiet. I am feeling good. It is the opposite the days during the reoccupation, which were full of rain, noise and stress. But I feel good about the reoccupation, which I believe was a major success. More of a success than any of the organizers expected. It is healthy for me to learn how powerful we can be, and how the vision and determination of even a small group of people can have such a major impact. The original organizing was a dozen or so people. I don’t think there were ever more than 150 people at the reoccupation at one time, and frequently there was less. This small group went toe to toe with the RCMP and won, and then did a second round with Mainstream media, followed by round three with Prime Minister Trudeau. I have no doubt that we won the fight.
I was arrested twice during the reoccupation. The first time was painful. The second was surprising. As far as I know, I was the only one of the nine people arrested on Wednesday to be rearrested. One other man was also told he had to leave, but the police did not enforce the trespassing orders on the other people who were arrested. I’m still feeling a bit shaken up by it, although even during the first arrest the police violence was pretty mild.
I’m good, though. I believe that, other than being tired, all of the other organizers are well, too. They will be continuing to speak out, and at the end of this post I’m going to include links to websites, twitter accounts, etc.. I’m still too tired, and haven’t had t time to think and feel my way through to many insights into what it all means. For now I’ll simply repeat that it was a big win. I hope to write something more thoughtful in the next few weeks.
I also want to update people on some other writing I’ve been doing, as well as some radio shows. While I haven’t been writing for my blog, I have published two articles. I’m also writing about the five weeks I was incarcerated in 2010 on arson charges, and the week I spent at Gatineau for my role in a blockade on Highway 117 in 2008.
I will be writing more blog posts this summer, though. I’m going to aim to put out at least one post every two weeks, and more if possible. As always I write about politics from a grassroots anti-colonial, anti-capitalist and anti-oppressive perspective. I will be writing about ritual abuse, police, prisons, political prisoners, Indigenous resistance, and more.
News articles and radio shows:
July 27 OPIRG Roots Radio: Ash/Skoden in 15 with Summer-Harmony Twenish, DJ Anonymous on missing and murdered indigenous peoples with John Lilbear Fox, Jocelyn and Sophie Mckeown
July 20 OPIRG Roots Radio: Algonquins of Barriere Lake fight mining company Copper One; Fredrick Stoneypoint on the Reoccupation; Albert Dumont about protecting Akikodjiwan.
June 6 OPIRG Roots Radio: Protecting Akikodjiwan (Chaudière Falls); No to a new detention centre in Ottawa; Independent Jewish Voices in solidarity with Palestine; and Carleton University Student’s Association shenanigans.
To find out more about the reoccupation:
The Bawating Water Protectors: https://www.facebook.com/BawatingWaterProtectors/
You can also follow Candace Day Neveau, Frederick Stoneypoint, Ashley Courchen, Brendan Christopher, Trycia Bazinet, Hamiyda Diriiye, Liz Cooke and myself (Matt Akelay) on Facebook and twitter.