https://i0.wp.com/media.guelphmercury.com/images/53/e4/b92d8f3e4938947de7ee30d06494.jpgToday marks a day of celebration for anarchist in Ontario, one of the last and longest-held prisoners from the G20 summit, Amanda (Mandy) Hiscocks, was finally released. She served 11 months at Vanier, one of 20 charged with “conspiracy” for organizing protests against Toronto’s G20 meetings in 2010, one of the longest sentences awarded in the now-notorious trial. This leaves Alex Hundert and Kelly Pflug-Back inside, along with almost forty thousand others across the
country.

During her time inside, Mandy managed to author one of Ontario’s most popular radical blogs, Bored But Not Broken, chronicling her incarceration. This wasn’t easy, having to get posts out by mail or over the phone and rely on friends to post them online. Soon enough, though, her writings were being reposted across many newsfeeds, and her voice started resounding far beyond the walls and bars. I encourage everyone to read back through them, as they provide some amazing insights into her plight, and the even uglier situations facing those she met inside (also, Alex and Kelly’s blogs). She also recently filed a Human Rights complaint against the Vanier jail over their arbitrary and unchallengable decisions which divide prisoners between “medium” and “maximum” security.

Bored But Not Broken – Mandy’s Blog
Kelly Rose Pflug-Back – Kelly’s Blog
Narrative Resistance – Alex Hundert Writing from Jail

The G20 represented a number of important milestones for political policing in Ontario. Aside from their billion-dollar-budget, police utilized mass-arrests, house raids, years of undercover investigations and pursued organizers with an unfamiliar zeal. In stark contrast to most of the actions I’ve been apart of before, the infiltrators weren’t universally older-larger-white-men with horrible moustaches, and went as far as living with people who’d later become defendants.

http://denverabc.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/occupyvanier2012scowl-300x300.jpg?w=468Some of these tactics, like “kettling” and conspiracy charges have since become very common, used against movements like “Occupy”. Others haven’t, like the specific targeting of some of the brightest and most articulate anarchist organizers. One need only look at the “Cleveland Bridge Five” to see what kind of anarchists they now prefer for their show-trials. Why the shift? These charges accomplished two things. They put some of the province’s best anarchist organizers in the middle of some of it’s largest prisons. That, in turn, made anti-police and anti-prison activism into a leading priority of un-incarcerated anarchists across Southern Ontario. Mandy was a prime example here, bringing all the wrong kinds of attention to the prison system with her well-syndicated blog. I doubt they’ll be sad to see her go.

Unlike most of those accused or jailed, I never met Mandy, and I still curse myself for never getting around to writing to her. Though I know her only through her writings and the friends we have in common, I’ll be having one in her honour tonight. This concludes another ugly chapter in a saga which has now plagued activists across our province for at least four years now. Looking back, for all the suffering I saw, I take solace in the fact that these strategies of repression ultimately failed. The G20 protests, like all great anarchist actions, may have been a tactical disaster, but strategically they were something of a success. The mass-arrest of over a thousand protesters started a national discussion about police brutality. Chief Bill Blair’s reputation lies in tatters. And if nothing else, it’s safe to say that Toronto won’t ever host another G20 summit.

Ever.

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