WITH ART BY
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WITH WORDS ABOUT
- COINTELPRO Then and Now (by Herman Bell)
- The Green Scare and Security Culture (by Aric McBay)
- John Graham and the Continuation of COINTELPRO Tactics Today (by Vancouver-based supporters of John Graham)
- Resisting Repression of Dissent in the International BDS Campaign (by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid)
- Grand Juries: Tools of an Unjust Authority (by Lynne Stewart)
- Incapacitating Activists: The Court System as Repressive Mechanism (by RNC 8)
- Lessons from the Black Panther Party on Addressing Sexism & Building Stronger Movements (by Safiya Bukhari)
- Neutralizing Black Resistance: The Role of the Carter Era (by Kevin "Rashid" Johnson)
- Fusion Centers: U.S. Intelligence Gathering and its Canadian Counterpart (by Tim Groves)
- Setting the Terms of Liberation: Slogans and Resistance in the Civil Rights Movement (by David Gilbert)
- Jericho Amnesty Movement to Free All Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (by Jihad Abdulmumit)
- Cultivating a Community that can Resist Waves of Repression (by Danver Anarchist Black Cross)
The term COINTELPRO has become synonymous with the ‘tricks of the trade’ of state repression: surveillance of organizations and individuals, the use of infiltrators and informants, frame-ups, harassing or disproportionate use of the legal system, and outright physical attacks. While the term is widely used to describe repression of liberation movements, at least in North America, the history of the actual COINTELPRO program (described in the article below) – its details and the lessons to be learned from it – remain relatively unknown.
Recently, we have witnessed growing awareness of state repression of radical organizing in North America, although it is difficult to judge to what extent repression is actually increasing, and to what extent this reflects the success of the work to expose it. Certainly since September 11, 2001, the state has new tools – and new social license – to go after social movements and marginalized sectors of the population alike, perhaps comparable to the Red Scare climate of the 1950s, when COINTELPRO was conceived of.
In some ways, this is to be expected. Effective movements beget repression. That being said, resisting this backlash – directly fighting back (rhetorically, legally, physically, but also via a more general resilience) – is fundamental to the survival of liberation movements.
In the wake of the repression associated with the summer 2010 G20 meeting Toronto, with several cases of infiltration in both the U.S. and Canada coming to light in recent years, and with ongoing legislative changes giving government increasing power to surveil and disrupt us, the time seemed ripe to remind ourselves of the legacy of COINTELPRO, and resistance to it.
In putting together the Certain Days calendar, we always aim for a realistic balance between bringing to light social injustice and the challenges we face, and the inspiring work done to meet these challenges. It is important to speak of repression – to share examples so that we might learn from each others’ experiences, and see the patterns and trends in the state’s approach. But it is impossible to do so without also being struck by the many contemporary and historical examples of resistance. We hope that the information gathered in this year’s calendar can help teach the difficult lessons we need to learn to weather the storm and also provide the inspiration we need to do so.
The Certain Days Collective: Amy Schwartz, Anna Mathen,
Helen Hudson, karen emily, Nora Butler Burke and Sara Falconer
David Gilbert and Robert Seth Hayes
and Herman Bell's Jericho page
The Certain Days collective can be contacted at email@example.com, or else at:
Certain Days c/o QPIRG Concordia
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. O.
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
They also have a nice web presence at http://www.certaindays.org