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On Trial

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

There is more violence in people’s lives on the street
and in the world than there is in our lives in our cells and on the ranges
There are more traps and there’s more being trapped
out there than there is here inside the cages
There’s more anger and hatred,
imprisonment in the world than there could ever be in prison
More drugs, more cops,
more beatings,
more rapes,
more traumatisation, victimisation, dehumanisation
and pain out there than there could ever be in here
Fortunately, out there, there is also lots of love.

I am one of eighteen organisers charged with “conspiracy” for the demonstrations that took over the streets of Toronto this past June. I have now spent more than four months in jail since then. Released on bail in July, and after beating the Ontario Crown Attorney’s office’s appeal of that release, I spent the rest of the summer on house arrest. But after speaking on discussion panels at Wilfrid Laurier University and then at Ryerson University, even though I was in the presence of my court-appointed surety, I was again arrested, before being released on bail after another month behind bars, under conditions that have been called “draconian” and rallied against by legal professionals, civil libertarians, journalists, academics, and activists alike. I had initially refused to sign those conditions which included a ban on talking to the media and sharing my political beliefs in public, as well as absurdly punitive non-association conditions designed as an attack on the communities and networks that I am a part of. For taking that stand, I was thrown in “the hole” at the Toronto East Detention Centre. I eventually capitulated and signed the bail conditions, getting released in mid-October. The decision to sign those papers haunts me still—I wish I’d taken a stronger stand.

Only eight days after getting out, after a court appearance to challenge some of those conditions, I was again re-arrested, this time charged with the preposterous allegation of “intimidating a justice participant”. The same crown attorneys who had failed repeatedly to get a “detention order” against me from the court have now themselves personally made an accusation that has resulted in my being charged with a new offence and jailed since October 23.

***

This past December, a member of the Toronto Police Service was finally charged for a small piece of the brutality that was enacted on the streets of this city in June. One cop has been charged and some people seem to feel somehow vindicated. But this is not justice. Even if each and every assault committed resulted in police and politicians being held somehow accountable, that would still be only a beginning. Unless their actions are acknowledged as having been part of the planned security operation; unless it is recognised that their attacks on people were meant to intimidate those who would resist, and to criminalise dissent; unless we recognise that brutality and targeted violence are standard operating procedures for police forces and state security; unless we start organising for change and start to name and confront the system that these thugs protect—unless all this begins to happen—we will never have justice.

When it was first decided that the G20 would be held in downtown Toronto, what happened was inevitable. It happens every time they decide to hold such meetings: resistance and repression. That’s why, while people prepared to take the streets with tens of thousands—working people and poor people, migrant and Indigenous peoples, queer people, disabled people, students, activists, and anarchists—while people began to organise, the state infiltrated our meetings and organisations as they sank hundreds of millions of dollars to “security” and prepared to criminalise dissent and to attack those who would stand for justice, for communities, for the people and for the land.

And what they were so malicious in protecting that weekend in Toronto is the same thing that they are so brutal in protecting every day; a system of exploitation and destruction in which the rich get richer while their mercenaries and subsidiaries subjugate and destroy targeted communities and the land, with their wage slavery and their assimilationist economics, with their clear-cut logging, their mountaintop removal mining, and their deep-sea oil drilling. But people will refuse to be destroyed, and we will protect the land. We will resist.

This newest stage of keeping their exploitative system in power entails cutting resources from the few places where most people have access to them—social services, education, health care—all to be sure that there will still be enough money to keep bailing out banks and corporations, to keep this system called capitalism afloat. But we don’t want this system, this “capitalism”. The people of the world are rejecting this destructive system of exploitation and violence. We are resisting.

And we have already had massive cuts to social services including to the special diet program and to immigrant services in Ontario. These cuts have targeted—as the system always does—poor people, people of colour, migrants, disabled people, and women. Meanwhile, corporations have been announcing massive expansion of plans for destructive resource extraction projects that will continue to devastate and poison the environment and the lands of Indigenous nations. And this state continues to pour billions of dollars into the prison industrial complex, which as always continues to target anyone who by virtue of their actions, or even their very existence, poses a challenge to this system of domination.

***

On January 31 I will be in provincial court to face trial for the charges arising from the two speakers panels that took place on university campuses this past September. These discussions are said to have violated the bail condition not to participate in public demonstrations, a condition that PEN Canada has called “unconstitutional”. The crown and the OPP claim that these discussions qualify as “demonstrations” because of the tone and content of the discourse that was put forward by myself and others.

But the university is supposed to be a place for learning, for the sharing of ideas. It is a space for challenging, controversial, and confrontational ideas. It is a space where dissenting ideas are supposed to be protected.

This specific battle is not simply a fight over freedom of speech. And it is definitely not just a fight over the absurd suggestion that I breached an already preposterous bail condition. This fight is not merely about legalities and rights; it is about spaces and responsibilities.

We have a responsibility to speak about justice, to refuse to let injustice be met with silence even when our speech comes into conflict with the state’s agenda, especially when we carry voices of dissention and are privileged enough to be able to bear the consequences of the state’s repression.

The university is a space for ideas and campuses are among our spaces where we are supposed to protect the idea and practice of dissent. This fight, for me, is about defending spaces where freedom is possible.

Press Release Dec 21, 2010 “Alex Hundert’s Breach Trial Set”. Link
http://g20.torontomobilize.org/node/679

Locked Up: Alex Hundert speaks on his case. Media Coop link
http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/locked/5354. Rabble podcast link
http://www.rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/awl/2010/12/locked-jailhouse-intervi...

Write to Alex in jail and read other updates from his support committee “Alex Hundert: 30 days behind bars". Link
http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/5244


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alex hundert (alex hundert)
kitchener-waterloo
Member since December 2009

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Comments

On Trial

Excellent post, niawen. The pyramidal control grid is the cornerstone of the new world order. The PM and leader of the opposition are the officers who run the day to day business for the corporation, there main function is to continue the illusion of freedom. The Universities are all thought control centres funded entirely by the shareholders of the corporation. The mass media is the ministry of propaganda and they promote fear, hatred and anger to set the stage for black-ops like the G20 incident. The first step toward peace is to end corporatism. Change the law and restore shareholder liability, remove the masks.

 

Keep writing friend,

thahoketoteh.ws

Many of us are rooting for you

 

 Hey Alex,

  I'm not sure how soon you will see this but I wanted you to see how many people are in your corner. I was glad to join and film the protest at Ryerson in mid October to demand your immediate release and to expose the injustices you have suffered which the mainstream media hasn't covered enough if at all. The link below contains a news article and links to the 3 part video uploaded to You Tube showing all speakers at this rally as well as the march to the Attorney general's office. I hope that seeing this will inspire you as your strength has inspired other activists. 

 

  I wish you success with your trial and hope that you are acquitted and released soon, without any conditions.

-Paul

http://wearechangetoronto.org/2010/10/15/this-is-what-a-demonstration-lo...

solidarity

I just want to take a minute to let you know how much you have inspired me , you dont know me but over the past few months i have ranted about your situation on what first started as a weekly radio show on trent university radio and because once a week just wasnt enough turned into me buikding myself a internet radio station and a website to host to station from scratch. I have been trying to spread the word about what has happened to you and others and you have inspired me so much! Last about this time I was so depressed with the state of this world that i was pretty much just a zombie dead on my feet numbing myself with opiates to the point of near death actually hoping i would overdose and die. Between dec21 And Feb 5th i Was Arrested 3 different times for possesion and ended up in east correctional in Lindsay Ontario. Luckily My Dear Sister Bailed Me Out Where I Was Then On A VERY strict Bail Conditions Set At 10,000 And No Internet access And Full House Arrest Unless With Her My Sureity. I Couldnt go to The G-20 Although i Wanted to very bad my sister couldnt take me and going without her would have therefore surely landed me in jail i didnt attend. But Seeing What Happened And What Happened to you Made Me Say Enough Is Enough. I Had Gotten Clean Off The Drugs And Started Researching What I Call The Global Conspiracy And Said To Myself When I Get Off House Arrest And Get This Court Stuff Done With Iam Going To Do What I Can To Make A Difference! So I Started Flyering On Fridays And Also Got My Radio Show Going At Trent Radio Then I Buildt My Website And Internet radio Station And I Do Daily Shows Now5-8pm Iam Networking With People EVERY Day! And I Just Wanted To Take A Minute and Let you Know That You Have Inspired Me To Keep Going And To Do This! I KNOW I Cant Change The World. But MAYBE I Can Inspire Someone Or A Group Of People Who Can! I Have Talked About Your Situation On My Show I Have Links To AW@L In My Links Section On My Website Also G20 Mobilize , I went On Nov 11th To The Event Which I Flyered For And Promoted On My Radio Show And Got To Meet Naomi Klien Whos No Logo Book Really Inspired me 10 Years ago and continues to this day. I Have Found Plenty Of Great People And Have People On My Show Often. Its Still Very Young but Things have Happened Very Fast And 2011 its just gonna get better you have a friend in me i WILL be Reading Your Blog On Air Tomorrow On My Show And I WIll Continue To Spread Your Message. The One Good Thing The G20 Did I DOnt Think They Planned On , Was Inspire People Like Me to Say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Iam Just One Person But There ARE Many Others out there like me who show Solidarity With You Brother! I Know How Shitty it is to have the Orange On Just KNOW That YOU ARE MAKING A HUGE Difference And When You Get Out I Would Be Honoured To Have Coffee With you I Will Be Talking To Dan DIcks He Is Coming On My Show This Week Also The Stimulator I See Is A Friend Of Yours I Have Been Trying To Get Him On The Show As Well I Would Love To See About A Media CO-OP To Do A Doc Film About You And Your Story And What Has Happened! I Think It Would Be A Great Project! Iam Attending A Film Program This June In B.C. And I Would Be More The Honoured To Be A Part Of It! I Will Try And Send You A Letter Here Soon , Hopefully you are out though and i Can Buy You A Beer Or Coffee Instead , Your Friend In Solidarity,

                                                                               Slim Swayze

What bothers me immensely

What bothers me immensely about your situation, Alex, is that although you have not been convicted of any crime at this time, you are already being punished by your bail conditions.  The amount of bail is staggering and the conditions are completely inconsistent with life in a democracy.

Now, assuming your charges do eventually get thrown out, you will receive no compensation at all for the time you have had to spend behind bars.  None.  You can't get those days or weeks or months back, so they're gone forever.  And if they repeat this type of thing, as they have for instance, with Jaggi Singh, you could lose a lot of your regular life by simply speaking your truth.  So you have to decide whether you will martyr yourself for your cause or shut the f*ck up.

Canadians need to know this story.  We know all about people under house arrest in far-away lands getting Nobel prizes and the like, but your story is underreported by the mainstream media and much less known within our country.  But there's not much difference.  This is a free speech issue.  This is a justice issue.  This is a democracy issue.

I do not know any of the details of your case, Alex, but I do believe that the justice system has been incredibly cruel to you.  You are probably being made an example of to discourage other people from joining in and challenging the systems we have in place at this time.  And you may just possibly have been selected for this dubious honour because you were (are?) a successful organiser.

I'll stay posted on your story, Alex.  You will not be forgotten.  Many of us are out here taking notes.  Plotting OUR strategies to create a world in which the academic freedoms we have come to cherish will not be cause for a visit by people in black boots with hand cuffs.

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