Ontario-based anarchist Kelly Rose Plug-Back appeared in court on July 19 to finish sentencing. Pflug-Back, 24, had accepted a non-cooperation plea bargain, pleading guilty to six counts of mischief and one of wearing a disguise with criminal intent. Kelly was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her sentence was reduced by four months to a total of 11 months in prison, due to time served. Following her prison time, she will be on probation for three years. This comes after already being on house arrest and strict conditions for nearly a year preceding her trial's completion.
To place this in context, the man who was convicted for murdering her friend, Victoria street-kid Ariana Simpson (Harley), by pushing her under a bus, was only given a one-year sentence and 250 hours of community service.
Kelly is a long time community organizer, activist, published writer, poet, artist and musician. Kelly works as an editor with various anarchist publications including The Fifth Estate and Iconoclast Magazine (based out of Ontario). A collection of Kelly’s poetry titled These Burning Streets is being published by Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness, to support her.
Prior to her involvement in the Toronto G20 Black Bloc, Kelly was a long time activist, involved with groups such as Food Not Bombs and Camas Books collective in Victoria, and doing harm reduction work with SOS in Ontario - as well as hosting workshops and doing outreach for queer youth, and doing Indigenous solidarity work.
At the time of her sentencing, Kelly was a full-time student working toward finishing her degree. Kelly also has a vegan diet, which is very difficult to maintain in the Canadian prison system.
Most mainstream media has depicted Kelly as a violent vandal who has no remorse for terrorizing "innocent shoppers," as well as calling her cowardly for wearing a mask while taking on fully armed and armored riot police in the midst of one of the largest surveillance cultures in the world. Media has routinely referred to the breaking of windows by black bloc members as violent and occasionally even as terrorism.
At the same time, media coverage downplayed police violence and misconduct even though there were numerous cases of police sexually assaulting or threatening to rape female bodied persons during the 11 hundred person arrests. In one well known case related to the G20 in TO, police tore the prosthetic leg off a disabled man, and in another case a deaf man was violently taken down and arrested.
These were the largest mass arrests in the history of this nation-state, nearly doubling the 700 people arrested during the implementation of the War Measures Act under Trudeau in response to the FLQ kidnappings that took place in 1970 in Quebec.
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Kelly before her sentencing was completed. If you would like to hear her own thoughts on all this and how this has affected her, you may read the interview here.
The courts have clearly stated that they intend to send a message with this sentencing. We need to send a message back by increasing resistance and supporting our imprisoned comrades, so that they come out strong with a fighting spirit! Currently prisons in this nation-state are being double-bunked, while the Harper government is busy constructing ten new ones and passing new legislation that includes mandatory minimum sentencing as well as cutting most programs and funding to help reduce prison recidivism. While Kelly, Mandy, and the others involved in resisting the G20 and global capitalism sit in prison cells, the men who are responsible for the policies that kill millions from poverty each year live in luxury and will likely never see the inside of a prison cell.
Please write to Kelly. She loves letters and poetry. Writing to prisoners is one way to ensure they know they have not been forgotten.
Kelly will most likely be held in Vanier Prison. To send letters or post cards please address them to:
Vanier Centre for Women
655 Martin Street
L9T 5E6 Canada