For the second time in two years a group calling itself the Initiatives de Resistance Internationaliste (Initiatives of Internationalist Resistance – IRI) has claimed responsibility for an armed attack within the province of Quebec.
Very little is known about the IRI. In December 2004, just as President Bush visited Ottawa for the first time, the group blew up a hydro tower carrying electricity to the United States. The Radisson-Nicolet-Des Cantons line carries electricity from Hydro Quebec to New England, notably the city of Boston. This attack was effectively suppressed from the media – the group’s communiqué only being published by a small country newspaper, Le Progres de Coaticook – and was not really discussed at all by the left.
While the Quebec Provincial Police’s anti-terrorist unit launched an investigation, there were no arrests made.
Then last week, sometime on the night of the August 10th, the group blew up a car belonging to Carol Montreuil, vice-president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute. After having initially concluded that the explosion was the result of an electrical malfunction, the Quebec Provincial Police force ordered an investigation by its anti-terrorism branch when a number of media outlets received an email from a source claiming to be the IRI.
While the media are not suppressing this to the same degree that they did the December 2004 attack, to the best of my knowledge nobody has posted or published the communiqué all the same.
What i have been able to find is the following extract published on the La Presse Affaires website:
We refuse to be reduced to docile consumers to be robbed at will, or to peaceful shareholders who finance an imperialist army.
In their hunger to increase their astronomic profits, the (integrated) oil companies and their agents are free to act as they please with the blessing of their subject States. The rise in gas prices, which is causing all the necessities of life to go up in price, make us vulnerable to their machinations even though we can see what they are doing.
According to other media reports, the IRI’s “Communiqué #2” blames oil companies for holding consumers hostage while making enormous profits, damaging the environment and financing “an imperialist army which is committing barbarous acts” in places such as Iraq.
While communiqués regarding the IRI’s 2004 action were sent to various media outlets, to the best of my knowledge only Le Progres de Coaticook – a small country newspaper in the Eastern Townships – saw fit to share it with their readers. It is thanks to Le Progres that i have been able to translate it and post it below.
It is frustrating that the more recent Communiqué #2 is not available anywhere – hopefully someone will upload it at some point. For all the talk about the internet “making information free,” the media are so tightly controlled that a lot of stories and information are nevertheless getting buried, and to a degree that should not be possible, except that our movements remain woefully undeveloped.
Judging from the statement the IRI released in 2004, this seems to be a group with good politics, trying to tie an opposition to imperialism to regular people’s concerns about the heating bill and environmental damage, all while bringing the struggle to a new level.
What is completely missing from the statement, or from quotes from the subsequent Communiqué #2, is any mention of indigenous people. This is particularly bizarre, as those “natural resources” the group does not want pillaged, and those dams producing all of that electricity, are mainly on Native land.
This strikes me as a major oversight, and while the group does not seem to be nationalist in any way, this is the kind of omission which i do find telling. After all, the Cree Nation is a lot closer than the “noble Iraqi people,” and Quebec and Canadian imperialism are far more directly implicated in the theft of the First Nations’ land and energy resources. So that’s a bit of a pity.
Nevertheless… people standing up and resisting… that can’t be bad news…
Here is the suppressed December 2004 Communiqué from the IRI:
December 4th 2004
Explosives were detonated on a hydro tower on Hydro Quebec’s Radisson-Nicolet des Cantons export line, close to the American border.
With this action we are making clear our refusal to be stand idly by as natural resources are pillaged to enrich the American empire. We are also taking action against our obscene exploitation by Hydro Quebec, to the benefit of private businesses, which benefit from every opportunity offered by imperialism.
We refuse to leave all the weight of resisting on the shoulders of the noble Iraqi people, who are currently being massacred because they present an obstacle to the American control of energy resources, or on the shoulders of the Bolivian peasants who are courageously mobilizing against the pillage of their natural gas resources, at the risk of their lives.
We also refuse to leave it up to the Colombian and Palestinian people to confront the imperial army, whether or not it hides behind a national banner.
Finally, we refuse to leave it up to the American opposition to carry the heavy burden required to struggle against the police state (surveillance, arrests, torture).
In Quebec, satisfying and reinforcing the imperialist ogre is supposed to be our road to salvation, and the increasing electricity exports to the United States which the government wishes to impose on us are supposed to get us there.
But what kind of salvation is it? The kind that consists of repeated hydro price hikes for residential customers? The pillage of our collective natural resources? The atmospheric pollution which is caused by power stations? Or that which all of this allows: juicy contracts, preferential electricity rates for the multinationals, the privatization of water and fiscal bailouts for businesses, all measures which favour the capitalist interests.
This act of sabotage, which the democratic authorities hid from the population when the head dictator was visiting, is our response to the ease with which the State is laughing at the people’s opposition.
So we are in no way another group remote controlled by Washington, we do not have access to the CIA’s training camps, any more than to the Pentagon’s financial generosity.
No, Zarqaoui has not found his way to the mountains of the Eastern Townships.
To the imperialist:
Initiatives de Resistance Internationaliste (IRI)