Direct Action: Left Wing Activism in the 1970s and 1980′s

Dr. Eryk Martin – A member of the history department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, gives an interesting, almost-contemporary lecture about the radical left to a meeting of about 65 people at the MoV Oct 27, 2016 . He focuses in the first part on the Squamish Five, whose bombings of BC Hydro facilities in 1982 brought them instant notoriety, and described the process of radicalization (in San Francisco and Paris) of two of the members. He then described the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade, radicalized by the tidal wave of violent porn in the 1970s, who struck back with bombings of Red Hot Video outlets in 1982. The issue of « Direct Action » – of individuals taking the law into their own hands after seeing an unsatisfactory (in their eyes) response from authorities – animated the entire presentation. One particularly interesting part was the unwillingness of these BC radicals to attempt any assassinations, unlike their German and Italian counterparts of the time; sabotage of property was their goal. Dr. Martin ends with the rhetorical question of whether these direct actions had had any lasting effect.

In the context of the 30th anniversary (2012) : Direct Action and the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade in the history of anarchism in so-called  »British Columbia »/Interview with Gord Hill (

In the context of the 30th anniversary : Direct Action and the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade in the history of anarchism in so-called  »British Columbia »/Interview with Gord Hill (

Résistance féministe vs. réforme d’Ann Hansen

(version originale anglaise disponible dans la brochure Writings of the Vancouver Five à

La majorité des féministes blanches revendiquent des salaires égaux pour du travail égal, plus de garderies publiques, des lois plus strictes contre la porno et le viol, plus de financement étatique pour les groupes de femmes et des changements dans le domaine des entreprises.

Ces demandes sont appelées des réformes, parce qu’en elles-mêmes, elles ne présupposent pas la nécessité de la destruction du patriarcat dans son entièreté pour leur réalisation. Ces réformes sont demandées aux gouvernants par des voies légales comme les pétitions, le lobbying des politicien-ne-s et le support de partis politiques.

Certaines femmes croient que les réformes peuvent les libérer sans qu’il y ait destruction du capitalisme.

Elles ont grand espoir dans la réforme du patriarcat, particulièrement en Amérique du Nord, si les femmes sont blanches et veulent prendre une personnalité masculine. Certaines féministes radicales voient les réformes comme des gains à court terme qui deviendront le terrain de lutte du mouvement révolutionnaire pour la destruction du patriarcat. Trop souvent, leur travail de revendication à court terme occulte leurs buts révolutionnaires et fixe les méthodes qu’elles utilisent. Par exemple, pour changer les lois pour réprimer la pornographie, leurs méthodes vont généralement impliquer le dialogue avec les représentant-e-s gouvernementaux, des campagnes de lettres et des pétitions. Si tout ce qu’une femme fait de ses journées est d’être attelée à changer la loi alors ses aspirations révolutionnaires secrètes resteront de l’ordre des rêves.

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À propos d’Ann Hansen et de Juliet Belmas, sur la violence révolutionnaire, sur Direct Action et sur les Wimmin’s Fire Brigade ainsi que sur la lutte contre le patriarcat en général

Tiré de la brochure This is not a love story : Armed Struggles against the Institutions of Patriarchy (Ceci n’est pas une histoire d’amour : luttes armées contre les institutions du patriarcat)

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I Have Not Signed A Treaty With Any Government: A Brief Look At “Direct Action” and “The Wimmin’s Fire Brigade »



In 1982, five Canadian anti-authoritarian activists, variously known as Direct Action, the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade, and the Vancouver Five, conducted a highly visible series of guerrilla actions against patriarchal, industrial civilization. When the five anarchists — two wimmin and three men — who comprised these cells were finally captured by the Canadian state in 1983, they were charged with a host of clandestine attacks on industries that represented some of the most notorious war criminals, environmental despoilers, and exploiters of wimmin and children.

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R, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, about Red Hot Video and the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade

in Frontline Knowledge, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, Objectification of Women

Friday, January 1, 1982 – Saturday, January 1, 1983

A brief evaluation of some feminist activity against ‘Red Hot Video’ stores: An Unfinished Business

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Jim Campbell and the Vancouver Five (Direct Action)

Ann Hansen and Bob Sarti on Stark Raven about Jim Campbell : Tribute to Jim Campbell

about Jim Campbell

The Vancouver Five: armed struggle in Canada by Jim Campbell

Being Direct – An Interview With Ann Hansen by Deanna Radford (published first in Herizons magazine)

Ann Hansen was a member of the militant group Direct Action, also known as The Squamish Five. Formed in the early 1980s during an era of punk rock, radical counter-cultural politics and an active anarchist community. Direct Action was made up of Hansen, Julie Belmas, Brent Taylor, Doug Stewart and Gerry Hannah. They lived and worked as an underground cell.


Belonging to a radical group, Direct Action’s members were united in their desire to draw attention to the environmental impact of hydro development, and to Canada’s contribution to the arms race. Some Direct Action members stole dynamite and built a bomb that destroyed the Cheekeye-Dunsmuir Hydro substation in rural BC. Later, members built a bomb that exploded outside of the Litton Industries plant in Toronto, where guidance system components for cruise missiles were manufactured. The blast caused millions of dollars in property damage. While no one was killed, there were several injuries. Ann Hansen was also part of the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade, which claimed responsibility for firebombing three locations of Red Hot Video in Vancouver and won the tacit approval of many women’s organizations.Sentenced to life in prison, Hansen was released in 1991 after serving seven years at the Prison for Women in Kingston. In 2001, she wrote Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerilla. Based on her recollections, on newspaper articles and on court documents, it is a story that is impossibly true and unbelievable, simultaneously passionate and enthralling. A must-read for modern activists, Direct Actionrepresents a glimpse into a controversial chapter in Canadian protest history. Lire la suite