Cedar Updates! New Mailing Address

Cedar has been transferred from Barton Jail in Hamilton to Vanier Centre for Women in Milton where they will serve the duration of their sentence. While there, they would love to receive mail from people (friends and strangers alike!). Mail can be sent to the following address:

Peter “Cedar” Hopperton
Vanier Centre for Women
655 Martin Street
Milton, Ontario
L9T 5E6

They’d be happy to receive letters and would be interested in corresponding with people, and would also appreciate photocopies of things to read (news, articles, zines, books etc.) – just make sure there are no staples. You can also send them books if they are shipped directly from the publisher.

They’re currently most interested in books on Eastern Europe and the Middle East regional histories, and social movements history/histories of uprisings, revolutions etc., but would be interested in pretty much any general history, and anything anarchy related – theory, analysis, reportbacks, callouts, interviews etc. They are also interested in Italian language learning and any books that would help with that. Texts can be in English or French, or Arabic if an English translation accompanies it.

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Still Not Sorry: On the Plea Deal in the Locke St. Case

The What and Why

On November 29th 2018, those facing charges in relation to the so-called “Locke St. Riot” accepted a non-cooperating plea deal. The deal does not mention or otherwise implicate anyone outside of the group of people pleading guilty, and was agreed upon collectively by everyone involved. From the beginning, it was a priority for us to engage with this situation in a manner that went against the tendency for the legal system to individualize and to pit people against each other. Our focus was collective and outward-oriented – we took into consideration the wellbeing of the entire group while negotiating this resolution, as well as the wellbeing of the struggles of which we are a part. This was never about any one individual, nor was it just about those being criminalized.

In terms of the specifics of our plea, one person was sentenced to a year in prison, of which they expect to serve 5-6 months, and is now in jail; another will be sentenced to a shorter jail term in the new year; and one person received a 9 month conditional sentence entailing house arrest and a curfew. On the ever so slight brighter side of the plea deal, two people were sentenced to a conditional discharge and 3 others had their charges withdrawn in exchange for signing a peace bond. This means 5 out of the 8 us will come out of this without a permanent criminal record. Everyone’s sentence also include a period of probation and some amount of community service.

For those wondering why we chose to plea instead of going to trial, there are a number of different reasons. The nature of state repression is such that there really are no pure victories or clear-cut wins. When dealing with it, you are put in a position where all of the avenues available to you are bad ones – each is just bad for different reasons. Within the context of no good options, it becomes a matter of trying to choose the least-worst one, and for us this was accepting a plea deal.

There is no justice to be found in the legal system, just as there is no innate correlation between legality and justice. The courts are rooted in and fundamental to the settler colonialism that defines Canada; they prop up a system of white supremacy here just as surely as they do more famously south of the border. The courts provide a veneer of respectability and “fairness” while distracting attention from the naked violence of the state, like Hamilton police killing multiple people this year alone or there being countless deaths and incalculable suffering in the Barton Jail. Along with prisons and police, the courts are a crucial tool used by the ruling class to enforce inequality and maintain their power more broadly: the courts are run by and for the rich, operating to protect them and their property. For an action like this demo, one clearly targeted against the rich, what positive expectations could we possibly have for engaging with the legal system? We are their enemies and they hate us as much as we hate them, plus they get particularly upset when someone fucks up their Audis.

We’ve never had any interest in evoking the discourse of democratic rights or the concepts of guilt and innocence to navigate the violence of the state. We refuse to place ourselves within it and do not want to do anything that props up the frameworks that create and perpetuate divisions like the criminal vs. the law-abiding citizen, the good vs. bad activist, peaceful vs. violent protester etc. – these serve the interests of power and only harm us.

Even if we were to play this game at a trial and “win” there would be a cost. The trial process would take years, and in the meantime this case would continue to place a strain on people and relationships, and be a huge drain of time and resources. The process itself is a punishment, involving restrictive bail conditions (like house arrest, non-associations, and banishment from the city), and the immense financial burden of needing to raise tens of thousands of dollars for lawyer costs. This is probably worse than what we’re getting in this deal. Such pressures are completely routine and are faced by almost everyone dealing with the courts. The idea that you have some “right to a trial” is a joke: the legal system is a guilty plea machine and we are not immune.

In addition, we were very much concerned with the issue of a trial setting precedent that would influence future cases. As the first group of people being charged under Canada’s 2014 anti-masking law, if we were to have been found guilty of that charge, it would have set the precedent on which future sentences would be based. The events on Locke St. sparked a pretty intense public backlash and a period of what can only be called hysteria (e.g. news articles talking about the threat of anarchists hiding in bushes, the city declaring the circle A a hate symbol, dramatic press conferences about the anarchist “manhunt” etc.). Beyond that, the action targeted an area where judges, lawyers, and their friends live and go to dinner. Needless to say, we would likely face a quite hostile court, and if convicted our sentences would likely be on the harsher side of things. We’d then be involved in setting a bad precedent that would be applied to others and negatively impact social movements, other anarchists, and the like.

Resistance and Repression

Repression happens. It’s not an unchanging force like the wind or rain, but as long as the state exists those who oppose the actions of the powerful will face its violence. It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when” and we can’t say it’s surprising. In Hamilton, those charged are involved with public and visible anarchist projects that try to maintain a fierce antagonism towards exploitation and oppression in the city. Gentrification is one very visible form. Tension has been building –  anarchists in the city have refused to just let class war be completely one-sided and calls for repression against us have been building for years.

We reject any division between ideas and actions, and we stand by all the activities that took place on the weekend of March 3 – the bookfair, the demo, and more – all those acts that were criminalized and all those that weren’t. While we have no interest in making distinctions between those who broke shit and those who didn’t, it’s important to note that this was not (and it rarely ever is) just about a singular action. Those of us facing charges in Hamilton weren’t primarily targeted on the basis of breaking anything, but rather were targeted because we visibly and persistently push anarchist ideas and practices – ideas and practices that are fundamentally at odds with the vision the ruling class and their lackeys have for the city.

We could choose to be outraged about the criminalization of protest and of routine organizing tasks (like distributing leaflets), but this would be to say that the state is wrong to perceive those acts as threats to its interests. Every reading group, public meal, gathering, march etc. is as much a part of our refusal to have our lives managed by bureaucrats and capitalists as the act of throwing rocks through a window. The state will attack whatever parts of resistance it can, and since security practices during actions are often effective, that repression tends to focus on the activity done completely openly.

On the Backlash

There have already been a number of texts discussing the backlash following the events on Locke St., but it was so hyperbolic that it’s worth returning to. What gets noticed in this city and what doesn’t? One text from before any arrests said that the eviction of a single family is far worse than anything that happened on Locke. This could just be dismissed as a deflection, but it’s worth sitting with the fact that the property of investors and business owners is consistently valued more highly than the basic needs of most people living in Hamilton. For every article that equivocates about displacement, there is a stack of crime reporting on one hand, presenting our neighbourhoods as problems to be solved, and a stack of articles celebrating investment on the other.

Everyday forms of violence carried out by the rich, like rent (and eviction) and (precarious, low-wage) work are invisible, while moments where lower class people fight back are spectacular, presented as extraordinary, requiring a denunciation in which we are all pressured to participate.

This created a dynamic in Hamilton where the far-right could openly emerge to support businesses and try to physically attack “leftists” (or whatever they confusedly decided to call us) and where the city could try to use the special legal frameworks of gangs, terrorism, and hate crimes to go after anarchists. The ambivalence of the broader city towards a far-right that tried to position itself as the violent defenders of the status quo is a troubling reminder of just how passive and reactionary politics in anglo-canadian society are. The special legal frameworks mentioned above allow for extra repression beyond what regular criminal law permits, and the city’s attempt at invoking them shows the dangers of the state’s move towards treating ideas it calls “extreme” (i.e. too far outside the mainstream consensus) as crimes in themselves. Those antifascists who seek to get the authorities to fight their battles for them be warned, the beasts you help create may one day come for you… Fortunately, the attempt at using hate crimes to push the circle A off the streets backfired and the city was covered in anarchist graffiti, a rare bright spot in an otherwise difficult few months.

These experiences show the importance of building networks of action and solidarity that are not dependant on fair-weather friends, like so-called progressives, or on the good will of those in power and their institutions. If this round of repression failed to crush anarchy in Hamilton, it’s because the autonomy we’ve built up over the years allowed us to weather the hate of those who just want to eat in fancy bistros without being bothered and the repressive violence of those who would represent them.

Nothing Stops, Everything Continues 

The events on Locke St. and the repression that followed has changed nothing about our underlying commitments and none of the struggles that those events brought into focus have stopped. We still have no tears for the broken windows or cars, and developers, investors, and all their backers still deserve nothing but scorn.

Like other places in the city, Locke’s “small” businesses are a visible manifestation of a larger process of real estate and business investment, city planning decisions, bourgeois cultural production, policing, and representational politics that get called gentrification. Beneath the donuts and condos, it means displacement and increases the misery of being poor. What makes Locke different is the neighbourhood at its south end, where some of the most active players in this process live, making it “home territory” for local elites, rather than a “front” like Barton or King streets.

Our opposition to gentrification (and capitalism more generally) isn’t abstract – it can’t be when it’s a physical process with specific territorial patterns across the city. Resistance to it will continue to be territorial, whether it’s the defense of certain neighbourhoods as being for the people who live there (as opposed to those who invest there), or whether it’s offensive, reminding certain people that their pursuit of self-interest has real consequences on others’ lives.

Support and Thanks

As much as these months have been challenging, the support and solidarity shown by people locally and further afield have been crucial in getting through it. Thanks to everyone who has shown up so far to defend those targeted and to keep projects and struggles vibrant. Although the resolution of these charges does mark an end of sorts, we need to not forget about the people still dealing with consequences – don’t forget to have the backs of your friends on house arrest or probation, and definitely don’t forget those who will be doing time. Specifically Cedar is in jail starting today and will be happy to receive letters and reading material. You can send mail to them at Barton Jail (165 Barton St. E, Hamilton, ON L8L 2W6) for the next few weeks, but they will likely be moved so check https://hamiltonanarchistsupport.noblogs.org/ for an updated address. Remember that the Ontario Corrections system doesn’t allow books (wtf, right?), so print out any texts you want to send and make sure there are no staples or anything other than ink on paper.

Solidarity to the J20 defendants and their supporters and congratulations on beating the charges – fuck the courts even when they do stuff we agree with. Soli to those on the ZAD in NDDL fighting repression and recuperation to the end. Our thoughts are with land defenders to the east and west, to all those facing repression for Standing Rock, the Vaughn Prison rebels, and all who take risks resisting the many forms of exploitation and oppression.

Against the rich and the system that lets them control us,

Two Hamilton Anarchists

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Beyond Support: Update on Locke St Defendants and a Proposal for Beginning to Organize Solidarity

Before giving updates on the Locke St defendants, it’s worth taking a moment to put things in their context and to remember that these seven people are accused of participating in a struggle against gentrification in the city. This struggle has taken countless different forms over the years, from mass meetings, to stickers and posters, to broad-based organizing, to counter-demonstrations and pressure campaigns. The reason so many people have chosen to dedicate their energy to this issue for so long is that it’s one of vital importance — people are losing their homes at an everincreasing rate as housing is treated more as a commodity or investment than as a basic need that everyone deserves to have met. 
The broad charges brought against these defendants are a way of silencing the increasingly urgent voices speaking and acting out against this attack on our ability to live in this city with dignity. The message of the police and legal system here is that there is no circumstance in which our deteriorating living conditions would ever justify any threat to property. And yet for over a decade developers, speculators, and their boosters have been easily able to ignore all opposition behind a wall of feel-good platitudes about renewal and culture. To now approach the struggle against gentrification as simply a matter of crime is an attempt to strip it of its content, concealing the larger struggle between the class that profits from rising housing prices and those who are displaced. 
When dealing with the hugely disproportionate violence of the state, it can be easy for us to lose track of these larger issues. Yes, we’re opposed to all forms of political repression, and we also don’t see that repression as separate from all the ways the police and government protect those who benefit from gentrification (business owners, landlords, investors) at the expense of those who don’t. Yes, we will support these defendants in beating their charges and getting through the incarceration and bail conditions they will have to endure in the meantime, but we will also keep finding ways to act against the dominant interests in this city.  We can’t let ourselves be so swallowed by the support work that we give the rich a break. 
In terms of support though, the three people who were wanted by police turned themselves in last night (Sunday, June 3), and were released on bail today. The person who fought her conditions and stayed in over the weekend has also been released without the particular conditions she had refused. The person from Montreal will be up for his hearing tomorrow morning, and we are hopeful he will be released on consent and allowed to return to Montreal. More updates on his situation tomorrow. So far, all the recent arrestees are able to remain in their homes without having to deal with house arrest.
Although personal and financial support for the defendants remains important (https://fundraising.the-tower.ca for the Hamilton Community Defence Fund), a case of this importance requires solidarity that goes further than that. In the next week or so, we would like to encourage you to bring people together in your town to talk about issues of repression and gentrification, to talk about the details of this case and how it’s relevant to you elsewhere in the territory controlled by the Canadian state, and to clarify your basis of support for those accused. This might be a useful step in preparing to act in solidarity over the long term as this case drags on. 
To help get discussions going, we’ve compiled a hastily laid-out zine of various texts that have circulated about the Locke St actions and these charges to far that can be downloaded here: https://north-shore.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/discussion-zine.pdf And if you do decide to organize an event, if it’s public, consider posting on North Shore Counter Info’s events listing so others can find out about it: https://north-shore.info/submit-event/
Regardless of innocence or guilt, solidarity with the Locke St defendants and let’s keep pushing back against the power of capitalists.
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New arrests in Hamilton and Montreal: Updates and call for support

We write this just to give a quick update on the rapidly changing situation in Hamilton (traditional territory of the Chonnonton, Anishinabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples). Since yesterday, May 31 2018, three more people have been arrested in connection to the so-called Locke St riot: one was picked up by the SPVM in Montreal and was flown to Hamilton, where they are in custody awaiting a bail hearing, and the other two were arrested in Hamilton. One of these people is already out on bail and another will appear again on Monday. Further, the police released an additional three names of people against whom they have laid charges and are seeking to arrest. Charges against all six include mischief against property, unlawful assembly while masked, and variations of conspiracy and counseling to commit those things. 
As anarchists, we want to be clear that we oppose all acts of repression aimed at those who resist oppression and exploitation. Police and prisons do nothing to address the fundamental injustices of this society and locking people in cages is a horrible thing to do. These systems continue to value property over people’s bodies. Solidarity to all those accused, regardless of their charges, and we call on everyone to show their support for these six people. 
This is a large number of charges and a huge burden on our material and emotional resources. Our priority right now is getting everyone out on bail, which has so far been costing about $2000 per person (because justice, right?). We hate to be asking for donations again so soon, but the backlash against anarchists and their projects in Hamilton just keeps going on and we’re pretty tapped out. If you can, please make a donation at https://fundraising.the-tower.ca and encourage your friends and comrades to as well.
We’ll keep posting updates as they appear. Check out https://north-shore.info as well for a good source of up to date information about events and conversations in the region.
That said, we’re a pretty determined bunch and aren’t going to abandon our ideas or projects in the face of these attacks by the state. Of course, seeing your friends get arrested is scary, but watching people pull together to organize and defend each other and seeing how those charged hold themselves with courage and integrity is a powerful reminder of our individual and collective strength. 
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Letter from Cedar on Conspiracy Charges, the Barton Jail, and Solidarity // Lettre de Cedar sur les accusations de complot, la prison Barton et la solidarité

Descendez pour la version française

I’ve been out of jail about two weeks now, enough time to get set back up with a computer to replace the one stolen by the police and to begin sorting out what reflections I’d like to share more widely. I wrote a public letter while in the Barton Jail about a month ago and tried to mail it out, but it seems it didn’t survive the prison censors, so a few details will be less timely than they might have been.

First of all, thanks so much for all the gestures of support and solidarity. Dealing with charges and incarceration is hard, but it makes a huge difference to know that people have your back and understand these attacks by the state in the context of larger struggles for freedom and autonomy. As anarchists, we have a long history of facing repression bravely, and when I feel sad or scared, I think of the toothless grin of Bakunin in Siberia, or the defiant tilt of Louise Michel’s chin as she confronted her judges, or the countless others since those days who have refused to let the violence of the state force them to abandon their ideas and integrity.

I’m not going to comment on the details of what I’m accused of, other than to say I stand by every word that we wrote in The Tower’s statement back in early March. I do, however, think it’s important to discuss the primary charge that is being used against me, Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Assembly While Masked. Continue reading

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Cedar Is Out of Jail!

Cedar is no longer physically in the hands of the state! Unfortunately Cedar will have to abide by the bail conditions set at yesterdays bail appeal for the foreseeable future including staying out of Hamilton, not participating in any rallies or demonstrations, and being under house arrest.

The fight is far from over. Even though Cedar is no longer in jail, they will be facing a unknown amount of time under these conditions while awaiting trial, meaning they will still need our unwavering support.

A longer update will be forthcoming, as well as a new address to reach Cedar at!

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Noise Demo in solidarity with prisoners in Barton Jail

On Thursday, May 10th a group of folks carrying balloons, banners, and signs conducted a festive march around the jail to remind those on the inside that they have not been forgotten.

Banging was heard from inside the jail letting folks on the outside know that they could be seen. In love and rage, support was shown  for prisoners at Barton Jail.

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Solidarity with Cedar Hopperton from J20 Defendants and Supporters

Our friends and comrades in the so-called United States, facing serious repression in light of the J20 demonstrations, have taken the time to write the lovely statement of solidarity below!

If you would like to help cover the substantial legal fees of the 59 remaining defendants, please donate here!

Cedar Hopperton is an anarchist living on occupied Anishinabek, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe land in so-called Hamilton, Ontario. In March, there was a small disruptive anti-capitalist march in a gentrifying neighborhood the weekend of the Hamiliton anarchist bookfair. Afterwards, far right and white nationalist groups began attacking Hamilton’s anarchist community space, who took the opportunity to advance their own agenda. The police responded by targeting Cedar, raiding their home, and arresting them on April 5th and charging them with conspiracy charges. Cedar was denied bail at their last hearing and is currently being held in segregation. As of now, they may be held for a year or longer awaiting trial. The charges against Cedar as well as the recent attack on The Tower, an anarchist space in Hamilton, can be understood as yet another example of the use of conspiracy and rioting charges to criminalize dissent and scare us out of the streets.

Cedar was targeted for their commitment to anarchism, their outward organizing with the community, and their alleged role as an organizer of the bookfair. Their trumped-up charges represent an attempt to criminalize dissent and legitimize the carceral and judicial system in the eyes of the residents of so-called Hamilton who remain confused and angry about the reason the demonstration took place. As in the J20 case, the criminal charges are not about broken windows–they are about using the repressive carceral apparatus of the courts and prisons to punish and terrify members of our communities as part of a strategy to discredit and destroy our communities and movements. In both cases, we see the use of police collusion with the far-right, the targeting of well-known anarchist organizers, and the use of conspiracy and rioting charges to put anarchism on trial. While both of these imperial governments claim that people facing charges have protected rights while they go through the court process, the reality is that much of their punishment has already been meted: separation from their loved ones, separation from their communities, and being forced to submit to many of the oppressive norms of incarceration and the judicial system.

We see clearly the parallels between this recent attack on Cedar and anarchists in so-called Hamilton and the 2017 inauguration mass arrest and subsequent conspiracy and riot charges in so-called Washington, DC, USA. These parallels transcend borders, as their similarities are rooted in a global strategy of repression based on each imperial government’s desire to repress and destroy anarchist and other radical movements for liberation. The recognition of these congruent tactics of repression from both imperial governments demonstrates the interconnection between the liberation and survival of peoples on both sides of the artificial, colonial border. By reaching across the imagined borders the state uses to hold us captive and occupy stolen lands, we offer a gesture of support and commitment to the ideals that define our movements.

We call for Cedar’s immediate release, the dismissal of all charges, and the cessation of attacks against anarchists, anti-fascists and anti-capitalists. As supporters of and defendants in the J20 case, we offer our support and solidarity with Cedar and their community. We stand firmly against the state and their attempts to dissolve our movements, strain our resources, and exhaust our communities. By reaching across the imagined borders the state uses to hold us captive and occupy stolen lands, we offer a gesture of support and commitment to the ideals that define our movements. We reject the ideology of law and order, guilt versus innocence, and the carceral system that seeks to isolate and individualize our efforts of disruption. We will continue to fight for a world without cages and without borders. None of us are free until all of us are free!

To show your solidarity with Cedar, we ask for support in the form of letters and fundraising: organize a letter-writing event or host a fundraiser in your community!


You can donate to anti-repression efforts at http://fundraising.the-tower.ca/.

With love and solidarity,
Some J20 defendants and supporters.

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Free Cedar Mural – Guelph Solidarity Action


“On April 28th families and comrades in Guelph gathered to pose with a Free Cedar mural. Many of us have never met Cedar but all of us have felt the impact of their tireless work to promote anti-authoritarian values. Stay strong Cedar Rabbit, we carry you in our hearts. Spring is here, the buds on the trees are opening and so too will the jail doors.”

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Noise Demo in Solidarity with Prisoners at Barton Jail and Everywhere!


Join us on Thursday, May 10th at 7pm for a family-friendly noise demo to show solidarity with all those locked behind bars at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre (Barton Jail). We’ll meet at Jackie Washington Rotary Park (by the gazebo) and from there, go on a lively and festive march around the jail to remind those on the inside that they have not been forgotten. If only for a moment, we want to break the isolation of prison and make some serious noise using our voices, drums, and fireworks.

Prisons and everything they stand for represent the worst of state violence. They dehumanize people, destroy families, and tear entire communities apart. Whatever the question, locking somebody in a cage is never the answer. Barton Jail in particular has become infamous as a site of gross neglect, ongoing scandals, and unnecessary cruelties. The local news is littered with stories of overdose deaths, overcrowded cells, suicides, indefinite periods of lockdown, and prolonged solitary confinement. A coroner’s inquest is currently underway to investigate the brutal conditions at the jail, but we can be sure that no significant changes are likely to come. Jails are built to be brutal and dehumanizing – we shouldn’t be surprised when they do their job.

In love and rage, let’s show our support for prisoners at Barton Jail. Spread the word and bring your friends, family, and neighbours. Bring pots, pans, whistles, drums, and any other noise makers you can think of!

Against prisons and their world, in solidarity with prisoners at Barton Jail and everywhere, and for the liberation of all.

There will be banner and poster making this Sunday, May 6th from 2-5pm at The Tower (281 Cannon St. East). Supplies will be provided and all are welcome!

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