Over the last week, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) has organized numerous protests targeted at special events in Montreal related to the Formula 1 Grand Prix. These protests were labelled as part of an “International Week of Struggle against Parasites.”
The first protest, on June 7, called for the “extermination of turbo-capitalism,” and aimed to disturb the Grand Prix. Around thirty protesters gathered at both Laurier Park and Hochelaga Park. The total sixty protesters left their respective parks, all on bicycles, at around 6 p.m.
The protesters rode through various streets where the Grand Prix activities were held in an attempt to disrupt the events. They claimed that the Grand Prix promotes the commodification of women – due to the increase in sex work – capitalist excess, and environmental destruction – as promoted by car culture.
The protest was not declared illegal, despite a heavy police presence, and no arrests were made. This was the first CLAC protest of the year not to be declared illegal. Last year, hundreds of protesters took part in demonstrations against the Grand Prix, and numerous clashes between protesters and police officers occurred.
The second protest organized by CLAC this past week called for the “extermination of financial capitalism,” and took place on June 10 alongside the Conference of Montreal. The conference, hosted by the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA) has occurred annually in Montreal since 1994. This year’s event saw numerous speakers, including economists, chief executive officers of oil companies, and political leaders.
The meeting took place at the Hilton Bonaventure hotel. Just over thirty protesters stood to the side of the entrance to the hotel’s parking lot, which was heavily guarded by over ten protesters, as well as a few of the hotel’s security guards. Police officers were also stationed at the corners of the nearby intersection.
As onlookers across the street gathered, the protesters began to make their grievances with the IEFA clear. Norman, a member of CLAC who was holding one side of a large black banner which called for the destruction of capitalism, told The Daily the meeting was “all about these people making money off of everyone’s back.”
When asked by The Daily who “these people” referred to, Norman claimed, “We’re talking about the government; the provincial and federal government. These people are creating austerity everywhere.”
Various protesters, including Aaron Lakoff, a community organizer and DJ at CKUT, had dressed up in extermination suits. One by one, they called out the names of some of the members in the IEFA meeting, prompting another protester wearing a mask with that member’s face on it to come forward. The CLAC members dressed in extermination suits then introduced each IEFA member as a type of insect, and described how they could be fought.
For example, Christophe de Margerie, the Chairman and CEO of the multinational oil and gas company Total, was introduced by Lakoff as a “nasty parasite” that can be found “lurking around wherever there’s oil money to be made.” Lakoff also cited “class war” as a “good method of prevention and extermination” to fight this so-called “parasite.”
Regardless of the theatrics, the conference behind the line of police officers was not disrupted by the group gathered outside, and no arrests were made. Last year CLAC held a similar protest against the meeting, and while the turnout was approximately double, that protest was not disrupted by the police either.
CLAC Extermination Speeches – recorded by Davide Mastracci