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WATCH: Direct Action: Ann Hansen and the Squamish Five
Thirty-five years ago, in 1982, the financialization and pacification of “movements” was already well underway. The Squamish Five was a group that resisted this co-optation.
The Fifth Estate: “From 2002 our profile of the Squamish Five. Direct Action, or the Squamish Five as dubbed by the media, was a group of self-proclaimed ‘urban guerillas,’ active in the 1980s. These activists were not motivated by any political ideology but rather had become frustrated with traditional methods of activism which they saw as inefficient and futile. The group was implicated in a series of spectacular bombings which made them both wanted outlaws and symbols of protest. Their first target was B.C. Hydro, which had come under fire for spraying pesticides. Second, they bombed Litton Systems, a manufacturer of American cruise missile components. Unfortunately, this operation went horribly wrong; bombs went off before all employees could be evacuated. Ten employees were injured, some seriously. Third, the group bombed Red Hot Video, a pornographic video store which carried overly violent films. Eventually, the group was captured by police in a dramatic confrontation and all were sent to jail. Their sentences varied from six years to life, although all were out of prison by the early 1990s. Twenty years later, Ann Hansen, perhaps the toughest and most committed of them all, reflects on the decisions they made and the consequences that arose.”
Further reading & free download: Direct action: memoirs of an urban guerrilla – Ann Hansen
“From its origins in the Canadian anarchist and counter-cultural milieu of the late 70s/early 80s; to going underground into a clandestine life of arms drills, explosive practice, stealing cars, and (failed) armored car heists; to the massive reaction and surveillance of a State that felt (understandably) very much under attack; to the subsequent “trial by media” of those involved—this is very real, incredible revolutionary “true-crime” tale of unrepentant action.
Four hundred, eighty pages of fast-paced narrative are topped off with Communiqués issued for all the actions and Ann Hansen’s “Statement To The Court Before Sentencing.”
A triumph of storytelling, history, and a very real debate about movement tactics, goals, and vision.
“Hansen’s story is an intense, articulate rendering of her motivations and desire to be part of an effective revolutionary force for social justice.”
Review via AK Press