Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla

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Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla
Direct Action - Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla cover.jpg
AuthorAnn Hansen
SubjectDirect Action
PublisherAK Press Between the Lines Books
Publication date
January 1, 2001

Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla is a book written by the Canadian anarchist Ann Hansen. It was published in the US by the anarchist book publisher AK Press on January 1, 2001 and simultaneously in Canada by Between the Lines Books.[1][2] An audio CD was released by the left-wing Canadian record label G7 Welcoming Committee Records on October 14, 2003 under the name Direct Action: Reflections on Armed Resistance and the Squamish Five.[3]

About the book[edit]

Ann Hansen was incarcerated for eight years for the bombing of the Litton Industries which was described by its perpetrators as the direct action, urban guerrilla protest. The group was known as Squamish Five, after the name of the BC town where they were arrested, or also as Vancouver Five. In her book, Hansen concedes tactical mistakes, but maintains the necessity of militant opposition to capitalist state. She stated among other things, that

"The essence of direct action ... is people fighting for themselves, rejecting those who claim to represent their true interests, whether they be revolutionaries or government officials. It is a far more subversive idea than civil disobedience because it is not meant to reform or influence state power but is meant to undermine it by showing it to be unnecessary and harmful. When people, themselves, resort to violence to protect their community from racist attacks or to protect their environment from ecological destruction, they are taking direct action".[1]:335

The book sheds light on mostly forgotten page of the Canadian history, when "the most significant left-wing terrorism took place in the early 1980s, committed by a group of five people from BC who called themselves “Direct Action” after the French revolutionary group, “Action directe”. The ideology of Ann Hanson and her collaborators is characterized as a "mix of environmental, anti-nuclear, and feminist ideals".[4]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading (reviews)[edit]

  • Direct Action by Ann Hansen (Book). Conley, Jim // Labour / Le Travail, Spring 2003, Vol. 51, p. 289.
  • Direct Action by Ann Hansen (Book). Behrens, Matthew // Quill & Quire, August 2001, Vol. 67, Issue 8, p. 25.
  • Direct Action (Book). Lowther, Chris // Women & Environments International Magazine, Fall 2002, Issue 56/57, p. 48.
  • Direct Action by Ann Hansen (Book). Lowther, Chris // Horizons, Summer 2002, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p. 37.
  • Direct Action by Ann Hansen (Book) / Guilty of Everything by John Armstrong (Book). Beadle, Scott // BC Studies, Winter 2002/2003, Issue 136, p. 146.
  • Blast from the past. Shaidle, Kathy // Newsmagazine (National Edition), 3 April 2002, Vol. 29 Issue 5, p. 42. (Discusses Canadian radical activist Ann Hansen and her book Direct Action.)


  1. ^ a b Hansen, Ann. Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2001. ISBN 978-1902593487
  2. ^ Hansen, Ann. Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2001. ISBN 1-896357-40-7
  3. ^ Description of the audio release from the G7 Welcoming Committee Records' official Website Archived 2006-05-13 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Terror in the Peaceable Kingdom: Understanding and Addressing Violent Extremism in Canada. (Ed. by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Senator Linda Frum.) Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Washington, D.C. ISBN 978-0-6152506-8-7