Commentary | No justice, no peace, no burnout

Ten tips for dealing with the cops when protesting

10. Tell your comrades it’s okay to be scared, to need time off, to make decisions based on the knowledge that you can’t go from facing riot cops to studying and expect your brain to keep up.

9. Promise your friends you’ll ask them for support when you’re losing track of time and basic needs because your brain and body is fucked up with ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

8. Promise them you’ll return the favour. Promise yourself to be honest with them when they need more support than you can give alone. Promise yourself to be honest with them when they need more care than they realize.

7. Cry. Crying flushes the pepper spray out of your eyes, blurs the images of riot cops that play incessantly when you close your eyes, bleeds the adrenaline from your body, and the physical pain, and the anxiety you feel about your friends, your lovers, your future.

6. Accept that All Cops Are B(insert non-patriarchal slur here), but that they’re worse to some people than to others. Look out for your comrades whom the cops love to target: women, people of colour, people with conditions or records, people who defy gender norms, people with disabilities. Known organizers. Consider the impacts of having rage-fuelled cops around for sex workers, homeless folks, folks who use intravenous drugs, and look for opportunities for solidarity.

5. Invite your friends to cuddle. Carry phone chargers so people who’ve been too out of it to go home don’t lose touch with their friends. Plan jail support.

4. Add Maalox (used with water as an anti-tear gas remedy), a lawyer’s number, a bandana and goggles, disinfectant, and Band-Aids to your bookbag. Take it everywhere you go.

3. Continue to dream. If we’re working for a revolution here, we don’t want the new world to look like the old. Let yourself imagine not just what that world looks like but how we get there.

2. Don’t talk to the cops. Do talk to your friends and family and classmates and everyone who loves you but doesn’t get it. Give yourself time for this. Find someone you can talk to and reteach yourself how to have conversations that aren’t about strategy or slogans or where they took the people they arrested. Remind yourself that this, too, is resistance.

1. Celebrate a diversity of tactics. Cheer when the windows of mega corporations are destroyed. Also cheer when someone does the dishes that fed hundreds of people with wholesome, collectively-made food. Cheer when court battles allow people to stay in the country or stay out of jail.

0. Be strategic. Make chaos for capitalism. Protect yourself from the cops that defend the crumbling world order and reclaim the streets for a life not ordered by their demands. Remember that the battle between protesters and cops is but a small part of where the struggle between humanity and capitalism plays out, and never mistake the battle for the war.

In Through the Looking Glass, Mona Luxion reflects on activism, current events, and looking beyond identity politics. Email Mona at lookingglass@mcgilldaily.com.


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