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Vancouver New Year's Noise Agitates Guards and Cops

Anti-Prison Rally One Day After Three Prisoners Escape

by Zig Zag

Police pulled over the bus after the demo at FRCC
Police pulled over the bus after the demo at FRCC

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On New Year's Eve 2010, protesters brought the noise—along with a banner and fireworks—to a local prison as an act of solidarity with prisoners and against prisons. The 'New Year's Noise' rally began in an East Vancouver parking lot early in the evening, when approximately 25 protesters gathered before embarking on a 45-minute bus ride to the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, located in an isolated rural area in Maple Ridge.

Enduring a cold ride in an old yellow school bus (“School buses are cool,” read the sign on the side—cool like a refrigerator!), once the protesters reached the FRCC property they promptly marched down into the parking lot, hauling a portable but powerful PA system that pumped out rebellious hip hop.

8-9 guards from the prison quickly came out to confront the group but were simply ignored as fireworks and flares were let off. Prisoners, clad in orange jumpsuits, could be seen waving to the protesters as speeches of solidarity were made. One organizer stressed that not only was this a solidarity rally, it was also a manifestation against the prison system itself.  Slogans included “Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prisons!”

Some hollered “Happy New Year's” to the prisoners, a group of which were jailed in large canvas tents surrounded by 20 foot high fences at the end of the parking lot. They are kept in these tents while construction work continues to expand the prison.

Built in 1990, the FRCC was originally intended to jail some 254 male prisoners, but currently has 550. In February 2008, the jail was hit with a riot that caused extensive damages, the cause of which has been partly attributed to the overcrowded conditions.

In addition, since August 2010, some 400 male Tamil refugees have been imprisoned at FRCC since their arrival on the MV Sun Sea that month. Solidarity rallies with the refugees and demanding their release occurred at FRCC, as well as the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women and the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre (where Tamil women and children have been imprisoned).

While those rallies were organized by No One Is Illegal, the New Year's Eve night action was, according to one anonymous organizer, part of an international effort traditionally organized by anarchist and prisoner solidarity groups. It is done to let the prisoners know they are not alone, and has a radical analysis about the role of prisons for social control and in maintaining the overall system of exploitation (see the call out, below).

Shortly after returning to the bus and departing, six RCMP vehicles from the Ridge Meadows detachment stopped and surrounded it. An RCMP officer boarded the bus and informed the group that trespassing on government property and shooting off flares and fireworks was mischief (a criminal offence). Despite this information, there was little the police could do as they weren't at the scene when the rally occurred and couldn't identify who had participated.

Instead, they took the hired driver off the bus and threatened him with sanctions under the Vehicle Act if he did not return directly to East Vancouver and deposit the group back at their start point. Obviously intimidated, the driver did as he was told, cancelling a rally at the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre that had been scheduled for the return trip.

One anonymous protester speculated that, while police could have “made up a pretext to seize the bus as a punitive measure, that would have left them with a mob of angry protesters prowling through their jurisdiction.”

Despite this set back, participants felt it was a powerful and successful action. They were seen and heard by the prisoners, the guards were powerless to stop them, and the police were left with few options since it took them so long to get their force organized.

In addition, three prisoners escaped from the FRCC the day prior to the protest, on Thursday Dec. 30. Douglas Erickson (42), Ryan Plotnikoff (30), and David Traill (48), escaped at around 12:30 PM while on work detail. RCMP state they may have been picked up by a blue/grey sedan and their destination was “unknown.” This was unrelated to the 'New Year's Noise' rally.

Call Out:


New Years Noise!!!

against prisons and the world that needs them!!

December 31st, 2010 – 6pm

Meet at the Safeway parking lot, at Commercial & Broadway

Prison has long been the logical conclusion for the poor, and generally those who refuse to submit to the mudanity of life within capitalist society. As Anarchists or as workers we find ourselves in conflict with a conspiracy of the state and capital to lock us up and maintain control over our daily lives. Ironically, our comrades regularly find themselves being accused of conspiracy, as they organize in opposition to G20 summits, and capitalist mega-projects wherever they reside. The state has made it clear that if we are not willing to accept a world of surveillance cameras, terrorism hysteria, police on every street, and the daily grind that leaves us in poor health, and with little or no time to build relationships that break through the expected racism, and misogyny of our society; that they will kidnap a few of us to make examples out of. Indigenous warriors like Harriet Nahanee are punished with death for standing in their way, and refusing to accept the courts’ authority. Migrants fleeing unlivable circumstances, likewise are imprisoned and labeled terrorists. Under the guise of “solving homelessness,” the Government can declare a state of emergency and turn the prison of life on the street and the prison of living in a slum hotel, into the prison of a psychiatric institution.

New Years Eve has become a day of action against prisons around the world, this year a callout was made for these types of actions in North America. The callout states, “in memory of those currently imprisoned, The Green Scare Prisoners, The Asheville 11, The anarchists arrested in Chile during the repressive round up of Sept 11th, Those arrest during the Toronto G20, Roger Clement”.
It is in the spirit and celebration of uncompromising war with the prison system as a whole, and the world that needs it that we call for a demonstration against prisons on December 31st, 2010 meeting up at 6pm at Safeway Parkig lot (Commercial & Broadway).

We ask all to bring whatever banners, noisemakers, fireworks and ferocity they have saved away, to break down isolation in the prisons, and to show human creativity, in the face of the sterile controlled prison world!!!

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The call to completely

The call to completely eradicate prisons, with the assumption that every one of their inhabitants is bored with the "mudanity [sic] of capitalist society" is a foolish one indeed. While I can applaud those activists who have a high work ethic and enjoy putting out substantial amounts of personal effort to get something done, their assumption that all people would hold that level of effort if they were free people is not correct. A disfunctional idea that floats around high-spirited liberals and other bright-eyed rosy-faced "free thinkers" is that everyone is equal-- completely inaccurate to suggest that this is the case. Many people have ambition and high levels of effort, while many in fact want to contribute as little as possible and get the largest possible return. Yes, in some examples, filthy rich capitalist CEOs fit this-- but so do petty criminals. Why get a job to warn my own money if I can break into the car you worked hard to save money and buy (those of us who aren't provided for by our well-off parents, that is), and steal your possessions to sell them? Am I using this money to provide food or shelter? Unlikely. The capitalist system is not an equal or fair one, and I recognize the vast class differences it sustains, but personal effort to personal return really should not be ignored. Some people, regardless of how easy the game may be to play, will refuse to play by the rules. Even "Go Fish" has its cheaters, as will any sort of unachievable idealist society. Get rid of crime-perpetuating gangsta rap which suggests to our youth that there is some sort glamour to be found in a lifestyle where crimes against people and the property of others are a legitimate way to live. Kids aren't turning to gangs because The Man is oppressing them. I target gangsta rap quite specifically because I recognize how awesome our activist and socially critical hiphop artists can be. Furthermore, heavy metal only suggests that we grow long hair, drink beer, and worship Satan. I don't know of any reports where metalheads have done as Dying Fetus prescribes in their song "Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog". Many of our incarcerated offenders are serving time for things which should not be crimes, actions with no victims aside from their perpetrator and should therefore not be criminal acts. If this were the case, then let them all be free-- but they are not. Many crimes have very specific victims, who should not be required to live in a society where a crime can be committed against them with no repercussion or punishment! Some prisoners do not deserve their freedom, and many should not be incarcerated at all. The system needs massive reforms and overhaul to remedy this cleave of offenders, but scrapping criminal justice and prisons entirely is in no way a good idea. Turn off the immediacy which has been ingrained into the internet-ready-at-birth generation, and allow mechanisms of reform to actually work. The real world does not operate as fast as your facebook feed or your twitter on your new Mac laptop. Remember this: if that laptop is stolen, would you shake the hand of the thief and blame the capitalist oppressor? Would you smile and say that you are helping the victims of capitalism when your car is stolen overnight, or would you call the police and report it stolen?

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