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Anarchists call Police report comparing activism to hate crime "chilling"

category north america / mexico | anarchist movement | press release author Thursday May 28, 2009 06:30author by Common Cause - Common Causeauthor email commoncauseontario at gmail dot com

May 23, 2009
HAMILTON- Local members of the provincial anarchist organization Common Cause fear Hamilton police are seeking to criminalize local organizers after a Hamilton police report identified the 2nd annual Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair as a potential source of hate crime.


Anarchists call Police report comparing activism to hate crime "chilling"


May 23, 2009

HAMILTON- Local members of the provincial anarchist organization Common Cause fear Hamilton police are seeking to criminalize local organizers after a Hamilton police report identified the 2nd annual Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair as a potential source of hate crime.

While presenting the Year-End Hate Crime report to the Hamilton Police Board on May 19, acting sergeant Michael Goch stated police would be “actively monitoring” the book fair scheduled to take place on June 6.

Alex Diceanu, Ontario Treasurer of Common Cause responded, "As the organizers of the annual book fair, and as local anarchists and activists, Common Cause is deeply disturbed by these statements.

"This is a manipulation of hate crime laws to criminalize activism. At this time of economic and environmental crisis, alongside increasing political disengagement, activism and educational events such as the book fair should be encouraged, not chilled with surveillance."

The report also identifies the 2010 G8 summit (Huntsville, ON), the 2010 Olympics, “local native land reclamation issues”, “the anarchist movement” and “anti-government and anti-establishment reaction of economic crisis and job losses” as trends and events that “may have significant impacts and repercussions on the Hamilton community in terms of hate/bias related incidents.”

For the first time the report also includes incidents of graffiti aimed at police even though this contradicts the report's own definition of a hate crime.

Diceanu commented, "We are concerned that public resources meant to investigate hate crimes are being focused upon people trying to improve this community."

The Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair is not a threat to the community.

It is open to the public and family-friendly, featuring free child care and a kid's workshop.

Over 300 people attended last year's book fair. Activists will gather again this year to exchange literature, stickers, buttons, t-shirts and other forms of information. Workshops at the book fair attempt to address issues faced by marginalized groups named in hate crimes legislation, including indigenous peoples, racialized groups, people facing disability barriers and others. Other workshops address the the economic crisis, environmental justice and workplace organizing.

"Common Cause's Basic Policy states clearly that, and I quote, 'we actively oppose all manifestations of oppression such as racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia and we struggle against them.'

Indeed, anarchists have always sought to understand and end all forms of oppression in our struggle to create a world marked by true equality, freedom, peace, and harmony with the natural environment" says Diceanu.

For more information contact commoncauseontario@gmail.com

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