If I Knew Who You Were, I’d Buy You A Beer

Brilliant fucking action by persons unknown in Montreal, who have very recently engaged in an educational graffiti campaign exposing the sordid history of police murder in this city.

As an article in today’s edition of La Presse, with the scandalously biased headline “Des graffitis haineux contre le SPVM” (“Hate Graffiti Against the Montreal Police Department”), tells us, “Hateful graffiti against the police has sprouted like mushrooms over the past few days, all over Montreal.”

The “hate messages” are actually epitaphs of a sort, a simple stencil of the Montreal police department’s logo with a gun adjoined, and the name and date of death of a person killed by the police along with the words “Killed by the Montreal Police”.

Oh yeah, and a website: www.flics-assassins.net.

That’s right, while the action here is the communiqué, this action also exploits the wired nature of North American culture, the graffiti-memorials including a web tag, where you can see photos of other epitaphs from this campaign, along with a text explaining some of the murderous history of the Montreal police department.

La Presse quotes police propaganda officer Paul Chablo protesting that “This is vandalism plain and simple. We’re in a democratic society, and if people want to express themselves they can, but not at the cost of private property.”

Ah private property, so much more important than truth, justice, or human life.

So often our actions are constrained by anxiety, sometimes serious sometimes fanciful, so that the form of our protest ends up making a mockery of the content of our politics. This action does the opposite of that, and in its own almost-under-the-radar way manages to deliver an unambiguous message in a politically exemplary form, liberating public space to keep the memories and pain of the oppressed alive.

Like i said, if i knew who did this, i would buy you a beer.


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