On August 14th 2013, in a courtroom filled with individuals facing charges stemming from Swamp Line 9 and their supporters, some powerful and wild acts of solidarity occurred. As our friends and comrades went up one by one in front of the judge, people expressed their support with hand claps and a few hoots, leading to threats by the judge for us all to be removed from the courtroom. This threat lead to other noises of solidarity (including the clicking of tongues). Apparently these noises posed too much threat to the on-duty pig’s ego and sense of control, at this point I was kicked out of the courtroom. However while attempting to leave I got a cough in my throat, causing me to stop and choke and cuss right there in the courtroom. This reckless cough was definitely too much for the pig and his ego to handle. He grabbed me, pulled me into a room in the back, and accompanied by two other male officers pushed me against a wall, handcuffed me and told me I was under arrest for contempt.
At this point, comrades rushed to the back of the courtroom attempting to get into the room I was being bullied around in. Shit escalated from there. The door was eventually closed after a friend who was laying on the ground was dragged out of the way by the thugs (the police of course). I heard yelling, loud chanting of “COPS PIGS MURDERERS,” thunks and thuds which were immediately followed by calls for backup by the police. My insides turned quickly from frigid shock and confusion to the most joyful fiery rage as a result of the solidarity filling my heart!
Seven individuals, including myself, were arrested on various charges, six of whom were released after about 10 hours, (on very disruptive conditions, including non-associations) and one badass who had to spend the night inside the shit-hole cages.
I have been charged, potentially amongst other things, with disrupting court. “Guilty” of this or not, it’s court we are talking about here. Courtrooms are easily one of the most disruptive places around. A place (like most places in this world) where only those of certain classes and race can flourish or even understand what the fuck is going on. I was reminded of this yesterday. Before the Swamp Line-9 crew started to go up, I sat and watched case after case of defendants comprised of racialized individuals, immigrants who don’t speak English and people with mental health issues, go up against the goof of a prosecutor, her goon friend the judge both backed by their muscle, (the police). As the judge humiliated defendants for having their hands in their pockets, for chewing gum, or for not knowing English, I was reminded of the circus-type proceedings of the courtroom, proceedings which showcase domination by those in power and demand submission from those not who are not. The court room exemplifies, to a more intense degree, the inequality and control that goes on every day in the most formal and sterile manner. This is a place where peoples’ lives are disrupted in intense ways: families are ripped apart via jail time and conditions, people are given fines that they will never be able to pay and much more.
Not only is the courtroom a place of disruption and domination in itself, it also reinforces and justifies the brutal disruption and destruction that happens to communities, land bases and individuals at the hand of corporations, police and capitalism in general. It takes away autonomy from individuals and communities to act in accordance with their own needs by imposing its sanctions. Furthermore we can’t forget the roles that courts play and have played in the stealing of native land and colonization in general, court attempts to control land they have no right over. The role the courts play in colonization is so huge it is hard to comprehend today (especially for those of us who don’t feel the effects of this).
Watching my friends go up against the court for their role in resisting Enbridge’s plundering of this land base, we are reminded of how the court enforces laws which allow horrendous projects such as Line-9 to go forward in many ways, such as repressing and silencing those who try to resist it, and those who try to support those resistors. The court has shown itself complicit with the disaster that is Line 9 and the oil industry in general.
So, to those who had my back so fiercely, those who are constantly fucked over by courts, those who don’t let the intimidating glare of the courts dictate their role in resisting Line-9 and other such monsters, and to any of you who carry this same fiery anger, I send the most “disruptive” solidarity your way!