Category Archives: Social Conflict

No Repression Without Response! (2010)

No Repression Without Response!

Report from Vancouver March in Solidarity with G20 Arrestees

by Annie Elation

July 5, 2010

No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!
No Repression Without Response!

A rally began from Vancouver’s China Creek Park yesterday, July 4th, in solidarity with the over 900 people arrested at the G20 summits earlier this week. Before the rally began four police officers attempted to enter the rally and speak with the organizers. Clearly the treatment of organizers in Toronto could make any organizer shy of speaking with police.

A group of masked people quickly amassed in front of them yelling “No cops in the demo!”, an effective and common phrase at demos here over the last year. The police left and did not attempt to interact again with the demo in a formal way.

Banners in the demo read: “We are all the Black Block!” “Solidarity is our Weapon,” “Solidarity against Police Repression,” “Free the Toronto 900,” “Freedom to Assemble,” and “People Before Profit.”

A main goal of the demonstration was to encourage solidarity with all elements and tactics of protest used at the G20. Black masks were distributed at the beginning of the demonstration and people donned them in solidarity with the black block arrestees. The majority of the demo was masked.

It has been said that masking, rather than just concealing ones identity, reveals who we are. In Vancouver, since the Olympics, it is more generalized amongst activists and radicals to take a position against the condemnation of certain protesters and tactics in order to give support to the ‘good’ protesters. Instead many people are arguing that you cannot separate the militants from the community builders. This is not so much an argument to take up with the legal system, as a valuable understanding to come to within our movements.

The demonstration held an intersection that was blocked for 3 hours in April 2008 in an indigenous led solidarity action. At that time, Mohawks from Tyendenaga re-occupying their land against resource extraction in Desronto were facing the threat of an armed police assault. As part of a nation-wide variety of actions, that solidarity demo blocked truck traffic from the Port of Vancouver all the way to the US Border. Likewise, this G20 solidarity demo aimed to disrupt trucking traffic, tossing a wrench into the economic gears. A 2010 Olympics and a Canadian flag were burnt amidst cheers. A speaker made the point that while

The state is trying to rip out the heart of our resistance by brutalizing and arresting us, we should respond by ripping out the heart of Capitalism “- lifeline of the State. And so solidarity really does become a weapon.

As stated by author Bineshii, “This march was an example of … direct action strategies that community based resistance movements can take.” Soidarity march report by Bineshii at: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/%E2%80%9Cdrop-all-charges-free-all-p… The march then turned back down Clark Dr. pausing again at a few intersections. Some organizers from Toronto spoke about the folks in prison there, police brutality and calls for an inquiry into the police violence. Proceeding over the 1st Ave. viaduct the march made it to Main St. Destination: Cop Shop (police station). Throughout the demo, the banner holders maintained a perimeter, making it difficult for police to come close to people. It is especially important at demonstrations where people are vulnerable to police targeting to stay tight and use back and front banners so the police cannot enter in a group. At the cop shop, another speaker stated,

“I am going to use some harsh words right now, just to warn you. In Toronto, the cops brutalized, intimidated and arrested people. As reported by independent journalists, young women were threatened with gang rape by the police. However, we have to remember that this is not exceptional. This is what the police do everyday: arrests, deportations, beatings, disrupting people’ s entire lives. And this is Democracy. This is what democracy looks like, and this is what we are up against”

The march shouted, “No Justice, No Peace, Fuck the Police!,” “Drop all Charges,” “Police cars up in smoke. Anarchy it ain’t no joke!” and just simply “Fuck the police!” Some people from the neighbourhood joined in the demo and many people grinned and put their fists in the air.

Of course if this was an “objective” article I might also point out that a few people, like one or two, expressed negative sentiments, but we can expect that from a society that brainwashes it’s citizen’s into believing that this is freedom. At one point a man on the sidewalk, unassociated with the demonstration was being agressively hassled by police. The march stopped and surrounded the cops. The man said that police punched him. I found it odd that, at one point, a police officer told me emphatically, almost imploringly that he did not strike the man.

I don’t usually talk to cops, but I gave it a whirl, “Maybe not today, maybe it was yesterday a cop fucked him up. You beat on people in this neighbourhood.” In a surreal twist he agreed with me. Whatever, diplomacy I guess. Seriously, a cop agreed that people in the downtown eastside face frequent beatings by police. What the hey, aren’t they supposed at least lie about shit like that? The demo continued down Hastings to Andy Livingstone park where people worked together to block cameras as the black block changed back into street clothes. While leaving, two people were surrounded by cops just out of sight. As one cop reached for something on his belt he said “You’re not so tough now, huh?”

The two managed to run back to the demo. Everyone then left in larger groups. The demo lasted for 4 hours covering a total of 12 kilometers. The sentiment of those in the streets was, “What’s four hours compared to the 200 and counting for the current G20 prisoners.”

No repression without response! Drop all Charges! Free All Prisoners! Link to “straight talk” article explaining “Why Solidarity with the Black Bloc?”: http://www.straight.com/article-332050/vancouver/vancouver-protest-planned-show-solidarity-g20-detainees-black-bloc-activists

Vancouver Anti-G20/G8 Protest: Cops Stay Liars, Media Remain Complicit (2010)

Vancouver Anti-G20/G8 Protest: Cops Stay Liars, Media Remain Complicit

by Oshipeya
June 27, 2010
Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver

Vancouver demonstration photo by Stephen Hui
Vancouver demonstration photo by Stephen Hui

Video of Vancouver demonstration at The Georgia Straight website:

http://www.straight.com/article-331218/vancouver/video-vancouver-protest…

Photos of Vancouver demonstration at The Georgia Straight website:

http://www.straight.com/article-331215/vancouver/photos-g8-and-g20-prote…

About 75 people attended yesterday’s anti-G20/G8 demonstration in Vancouver, taking the streets in opposition to the extremes of global corporate and government control, and in the case of most demonstrators, the entire capitalist system. The three-hour-long march went along Commercial Drive, Hastings Street and to the Clark Drive overpass leading to the Port of Vancouver along the city’s main trucking route, and then back again.

It was also an explicit show of solidarity with the G20/G8 protests in Toronto, including the rioters there, as the small crowd in Vancouver loudly cheered upon hearing of the rebellion on the streets of Canada’s financial capital.

The Vancouver march circled back on itself after trying to cross the Port of Vancouver overpass at Clark Drive because a line of crowd-control police blocked the way. A banner against the tar sands was hung across the overpass for a while as speeches were made.

Translink said they had to redirect four major bus routes during the march and many of the backed up buses could be seen from the demonstration.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) deployed several vans full of riot police along with cops on bikes and on foot who followed alongside, behind and in front of the march. A police helicopter also hovered overhead throughout.

Contrary to the lies of the VPD, simply parroted as usual by the corporate media, it was the police who initiated the minor shoving matches with the small black bloc present and tried to steal banners and flags. The cops said, “while there were no arrests today, the right to protest doesn’t include the right to commit criminal acts that place the public’s safety at risk.”

Except there were no criminal acts unless you include the unpermitted march itself, or some light shoving in response to the cops shoving, or the attempt to block the trucking route to the port, which the cops didn’t mention. And if there were crimes, why didn’t the cops make any arrests? Maybe because they’re lying about it and trying to imply criminality where there is none or to exaggerate it.

Cops repeatedly closed in on the sides of the march, only to be met with chants of “No pigs in the demo” each time, not just from the black bloc, but from most of the demonstrators. The crowd also joined in chants of “What’s the solution, revolution, what’s the direction, insurrection,” and, “1,2,3,4, this is f#cking class war!”

One of the black bloc’s main activities was attempting to block the cops surveillance camera with their black flags, which was welcomed by other protesters, some joining in with their placards and banner.

In the media, the cops tried to portray the black bloc as taking over and distracting from the “legitimate” protest, despite the fact that the black bloc did not initiate conflict and was supported by the other protesters. The cops also failed to mention that the march as a whole attempted to block access to the port, that it had at least the intention of some form of direct action and that the black bloc was there in support of that.

The cops focused on and exaggerated the black bloc’s activities while concealing the intent of the “legitimate” protesters to do more than just peacefully and lawfully protest.

The police are desperate to divide people and to portray the black bloc tactic as marginal, in part because they know its strength comes as much from its supporters, passive and active, as from those who use the tactic themselves.

Toronto’s police chief was even more desperate, given his situation, in his pleas for the public to support his embarrased and ineffective police force rather than the black bloc many in the city had been supporting. Toronto’s head cop knows that rather than experiencing shock, many in his city and around the world were inspired by the street resistance.

So the cops always have to wage a propaganda war with the help of their corporate media pals to do damage control for their own image while attempting to demonize and mystify what many see as one of the clear and correct ways to respond to the violence and exploitation of capitalism and the State.

At the Vancouver demonstration, a speech on repression of indigenous fisheries in British Columbia and the necessity of a diversity of tactics and direct action received the most cheers and applause, seemingly indicating an increased radicalization, or at least a more obvious radical perspective in Vancouver since the Olympics.

The black bloc clearly does not distract from, but brings more attention to the “cause” of opposition to the G20/G8. More importantly, it also poses the question of the what good a “cause” is if people aren’t willing to fight for it and take the necessary action to make change when the ruling class have contrary interests that they’re more than willing to violently defend with their police.

The black bloc would not be much of a problem for the police if not for the many who support it, or those who would also or already have rioted against the cops, the government and the corporations in more-than-justified retaliation.

Grandview Park party against redevelopment was a smash (2010)

Grandview Park party against redevelopment was a smash

By Oshipeya
Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver
May 16, 2010

Corrections made to the probation office (Photo: schemamag.ca)

Last night’s anti-redevelopment party at Grandview Park in Vancouver went from 8:30 at night until almost 3:00 in the morning, coming to an end not long after the cops pushed people off the street in response to some masked marauders who smashed-up and paint-bombed the front door and windows of the nearby probation office.

Hundreds attended the party in the park, dancing to bands and deejays, listening to short speeches about the redevelopment and eventually flooding into the street. Banners, a dumpster, newspaper boxes and pieces of wood were used to block off Commercial Drive at the front of the park. A thrown paint-bomb caused the cops to back off at one end of the street when they tried to approach the barricade.

At the other end, two plain-clothes cops were yelled at and chased away. A Canadian flag was burned by Native and non-Native party-goers after some patriots tried to grab the flag and were pushed back. Fires were then set at both ends of the street. A masked group dressed in all black who had been defending the barricades then ran out and made some “community corrections” of their own as they attacked the probation office, which of course is an extension of the police and prison system.

The cops then ran in along the sidewalk, chasing the masked-mischief-makers, but were blocked by people from the crowd. After a short while, the cops pushed everybody off the street and stood on the sidewalk with dumb looks on their faces as a few stragglers milled-about in the park.

As part of the redevelopment plan, the city government plans to shut down the entire park for a year starting July 1st, at least in part to appease a group of paranoid and control-freak-type citizens who might piss their pants when they smell marijuana or see scruffy-looking people hanging around.

Some people would like to see parts of the park maintained or fixed-up one way or another without having the entire park shut down for a year. Some people don’t want to push the poor out of the park and might be more worried about hard drugs than weed. And a lot of people like to party with music and a fire, outdoors on a nice night in the park and in the street.

Here’s a link to another person’s story about last night:

http://www.schemamag.ca/archive2/2010/05/grandview_park_commercial_driv.php

And here’s the website of the Defend Grandview Park campaign:

http://defendgrandview.wordpress.com

————————————————————————————————————————

Comments

Sun, 05/16/2010 – 19:40 — Vancouver Anonymous

In Addition…

Also targeted during the street occupation were two surveillance cameras mounted on restaurant facades and giant “circle A’s” were spray-painted in the street alongside the words “Total Freedom!”

The park-house, recently covered in a mural by the local Community Policing Centre, was again, covered in anti-cop graffiti.

Banners blocking the street read: “Deconstruction of the Street,” (to the best of our memory) and “Defend Grandview, The Peoples Park!”

- Commercial Drive Barricade Inception Association (the other BIA)

Comprehensive summary of resistance to the 2010 Olympics

Click here for to view the PDF:

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/sites/mediacoop.ca/files2/mc/Anti-2010%20Report.pdf

“From 2002 to 2010, an anti-Olympic protest and resistance movement emerged in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, developing also into a national network. This time period can be divided into two distinct phases of protest & resistance. “

No action is sufficient in itself, black bloc or otherwise (2010)

No action is sufficient in itself, black bloc or otherwise

By Oshipeya
March 14, 2010

“No act is sufficient in itself, nor is its meaning so obvious that it would require no expression at all.”
– Gilles Dauvé and Karl Nesic, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Autonomy

This article is a response to three other articles, “Breaking windows is not a revolutionary act” by Judy Rebick, “The State Is Not a Window” by Heatscore and “Thoughts on the anonymous communiqué from members of the Black Bloc” by Andrew Loewen.

It is true that the State is not a window, but neither is it just an abstract concept. Breaking windows is not a revolutionary act and neither is any other act if taken out of context and presented as an abstraction, ignoring the intentions and strategy of those who break the windows.

The State or Capital or colonialism cannot be attacked as abstractions. They can only be attacked in their material forms, their social relations and their institutions. It is not possible to attack all forms and material components of oppression at once, so they must be attacked in pieces at different times and locations.

Like oppressive systems, a social revolution is more than the sum of its parts, but neither can it exist without its parts working in relation to each other. A social revolution can be seen as an accumulation of diverse activities over a period of time. It is not a switch that can be flipped instantly. It can’t be understood in a purely abstract way or by ignoring the different particular factors and actions that compose it.

It is not always possible to fully understand the long-term impact, effects and interrelation of effects of different actions in regards to social movements and revolutionary struggle, just as it is difficult to understand “public opinion”, which is also an abstraction as well as a contradiction, in as much as the “public” is an abstraction and contradiction, made up of opposing social classes, other oppressive divisions and diverse real individuals.

The idea that breaking windows is a revolutionary act or that the State is a window or made up of windows was never presented by participants in the black bloc at the Heart Attack anti-olympic demonstration in Vancouver on February 13, 2010, or by its supporters. It is not possible to understand or build an analysis or argument around statements that were never made in the first place. The easiest way to not understand something is to take it out of context.

The black bloc at the Heart Attack demo also did not “come into the middle of a demonstration with black face masks and break up whatever takes their fancy when the vast majority of people involved don’t want them to”, as Rebick falsely claims in her article.  The demonstration was publicly called as a “diversity of tactics” and “confrontational” demonstration to block traffic, “to clog the arteries of capital”. A prior spokes-council for the action was publicly announced. Of about 200 participants, about half, or 100 people, were using the black bloc tactic, while the other half mostly supported it or did not oppose it, staying with the march throughout and continuing on after most of the black bloc had dispersed.

The Heart Attack demo was only one of many during the anti-olympic convergence. Participants in the black bloc respected the wishes of others at demos that were called for as non-confrontational. This built support for the way the black bloc tactic was used at the Heart Attack demo. The previous day, the black bloc had taken part in a demo to block the torch route on Commercial Drive and the mass demo at the opening ceremonies and did not break windows. The tactic has also been used at many demos in Vancouver over the past 10 years, mostly without any window breaking. Participants in the black bloc also participate in many other activities. They are not only anonymous. The black bloc cannot exist or survive repression without some level of outside support. This support is built up before and after black bloc actions, over a long period of time.

The tactic is used to evade police surveillance. What it does beyond that is up to the participants. What has been shown in Vancouver for 10 years is that black bloc participants are not random intruders upon demos called by others, that they in fact seek to work with others rather than against them. This is why the black bloc at the Heart Attack demo had so much support from local activists and non-activists. Ironically, this particular black bloc was one of the most publicly and privately supported of all that have taken place in Canada or the United States in the past 10 years, since the Seattle World Trade Organization riots.

Neither did the black bloc try to provoke a “police over-reaction” as Rebick contends. At the Heart Attack demo, the bloc only responded to police or bystander vigilante initiated attacks. The focus of the demo was blocking traffic, which was highly successful, with a dumpster and many newspaper boxes pulled into the streets and the police response of shutting down the Lions Gate Bridge for more than an hour (the bridge being one of only two routes to the north shore and Whistler Olympic venues from Vancouver). At the mass demo of several thousand people on February 12 at the opening ceremonies, the bloc only shoved against and threw projectiles at the police toward the end of the demo, after organizers publicly called for the bloc to move to the front line and warned other demonstrators to move to the back or disperse.

The breaking of corporate windows at the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the Toronto Dominion (TD) bank were complimentary actions to the overall Heart Attack march. They were not the main goal or component, although they were supported within and outside of the bloc. The HBC attack was for obvious reasons particularly supported by indigenous people. But the overall goal of blocking traffic during the first day of the Olympics was highly successful, perhaps more than could have been hoped for, since the direction of the march, heading toward and getting close to the Lions Gate Bridge, caused the police to shut it down for more than an hour. This kind of success is easy to objectively measure compared to the building of long-term wider support and the strengthening of social movements, which is equally important.

The Heart Attack march was one part of the overall movement against the Olympics, with the strategic goal of disrupting the games and their propaganda, so as to lessen their impacts and to create an unwelcome and unstable climate for such events to be proposed in the future. The Olympics are also not a temporary summit of world leaders such as the G8 or G20, but a years long massive infrastructure development project with permanent impacts, which consequently cause greater public opposition to the games and sympathy for protests and actions against them.

The anti-olympic convergence was first called for by members of the indigenous sovereignty movement in Vancouver and British Columbia, and was first publicly announced at a Zapatista gathering in Mexico. Respect for diversity of tactics was a cornerstone from the beginning, and years of confrontational public and anonymous actions followed across the country building up to 2010. So if anything, those opposed to diversity of tactics or the black bloc are the intruders and outsiders to the anti-olympic movement and their numbers are a minority in comparison to those who use it, support it, are neutral or may disagree with it but do not oppose it.

The undercover police officers Rebick brings up, who were exposed at the Montebello protests against the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), were masked but not in black bloc and were exposed by the black bloc and not by a confused trade union leader who apparently could not understand the word “police” said to him in French by black bloc participants, as shown on a youtube video of the incident. Such infiltration is not done only to provoke violent action, which was already taking place at Montebello anyway, but also for surveillance and to target individuals for arrest. It may also be done to discredit the black bloc tactic and to add fuel to the fires of denouncement and bad-jacketing already built-up by activists. While many are quick to accuse black bloc participants of being police agents, without any evidence whatsoever to back up this assertion, the police practice of bad-jacketing, falsely accusing individuals of being police, is never brought up or denounced by the same activists who denounce or chastise the black bloc. Voluntary bad-jacketing done by activists is far more damaging to social movements overall than any actual police infiltration at any particular demonstration.

While any particular black bloc may be infiltrated by police for any number of police purposes, open activist groups are susceptible to long-term infiltration, in which police can attain positions of authority within the organization, as happened a few years ago to an anti-war group in California or for instance to the American Indian Movement, whose head of security was exposed as a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) infiltrator in the 1970s.

While the particular statements of black bloc participants or its supporters around what constitutes violence or the corporate media’s predictable response and impact are open to criticism, as are particular actions of the black bloc (just as everything is open to criticism), such as vandalism against random vehicles or newspaper boxes, such critiques cannot logically be over generalized and made into guilt-by-association arguments against the black bloc itself or its other actions.

Contrary to Loewen’s statement, blocking traffic and breaking windows does directly harm corporations and is not merely symbolic. It’s not the amount of traffic disrupted or the amount of financial damage that makes an attack or action material rather than just symbolic. It is the nature of the action itself and the intentions and the strategy behind it. An action is only purely symbolic if it is intended as such. Corporations are also unlikely to make an insurance claim for broken windows given the deductible and the negative impact it would have on their insurance overall, and at any rate the cost would simply be passed on to an insurance corporation if they did. Nothing is without consequence.

Broken windows also have an impact beyond the window itself, since they must be repaired and their function of advertising displays in this case is disrupted, as is the image of the Hudson’s Bay Company itself. The action also inspires others opposed to the company and draws more attention in general to it and its contentious place in society. An open attack shows open hostility to the company itself, not merely an opposition to particular things it does or a desire to reform its excesses.

The meaning of these kinds of actions are obviously not only the domain of the corporate media but are also ours to define and communicate in whatever ways and places we choose, as this article itself displays, as do the many other statements in support of the black bloc of that day.

To end with I’ve provided a transcription of part of a speech made by indigenous elder Stella August of the Downtown Eastside Power of Women group addressed to the crowd at the February 20 rally for a national housing program in Vancouver where she talks about the black bloc at the Heart Attack demo and received cheers and applause from the crowd:

“Our young people who have broken the windows at these big stores with the Olympic costumes or whatever you want to call it, they’re not bad, they’re angry because of the rich people bringing the Olympics into our country when it wasn’t needed here. Those kids were not bad, they were only angry because of what they bring to our country, big time poverty. And I’m angry,  I’m very angry at these people that organize the Olympics to come to Canada, our beautiful country, our stolen land, our stolen Native land. They had to bring the Olympics here? And we’re still fighting for our land and we’re going to continue to fight until we get some answers. So remember, those kids that broke the windows, that were protesting, they’re not bad, they’re our people, they’re our children. We are the mothers, we are the grandmothers, we are the aunts, we are the sisters, we are the caregivers. Those kids were not bad when they broke that window. They were protesting because of what’s happening to our country and our city. All my relations.”
– Stella August

Links –

Video of Stella August speech:

Corporate news article about Stella August’s speech on the black bloc:

http://no2010.com/node/1362

SFU Labour History Director and anarchist writer Mark Leier’s interview in the media about the black bloc at the Heart Attack demo:

http://no2010.com/node/1353

Response to Derrick O’Keefe about the black bloc and Heart Attack demo,
By Oshipeya:

http://www.mediacoop.ca/blog/oshipeya/3029

Black Bloc vs. Liberal Shlock,
By Bineshii:

http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10839

Breaking windows is not a revolutionary act,
By Judy Rebick:

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/judes/2010/02/breaking-windows-not-revolutionary-act

The State Is Not a Window,
By Heatscore:

http://linchpin.ca/English/State-Not-Window-Iconoclast

Thoughts on the anonymous communiqué from members of the Black Bloc,
by Andrew Loewen:

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/2790

A Contribution to the Critique of Political Autonomy.
by Gilles Dauvé and Karl Nesic:

http://troploin0.free.fr/ii/index.php/textes/16-a-contribution-to-the-critique-of-political-autonomy

Recent Repression in Vancouver (December 2009)

by 12thandclark
December 1, 2009

Hi All,

This week, one member of our small collective, was deported from Vancouver to the United States.  Although supposedly arrested for “overstay in Canada,” this kidnapping was clearly targeted.  This deportation is a result of increasing social control around the Olympics, as this person was recently threatened by members of Vancouver Integrated Security Unit, the overseers of Olympic security. (see article, How Much Does An Anarchist Cost?)

On October 15th, 1284 E12th hosted an anti-olympics film night.  Since then there has been a marked increase of surveillance and harassment in our lives.

The police are trying to isolate and intimidate anyone involved with anything that disturbs their social order.  This tactic can be successful unless we act to strengthen and forge ties of real solidarity.

And so, we continue to host events and projects self-organized resistance and invite you to do the same.  That said, “Proposal’s Night” this month is the 16th of December (7-9pm). a note re: proposals.  Also, The December Calendar will be out over the next few days, so please check back in.

Since borders are like prison walls, are we all living in some kind of prison?

Until we are all free,
12th and Clark

12thandclark@riseup.net

Street Fighting Men – Rolling Stones Riot in Vancouver (1972)

Great new article on the ’72 Vancouver Rolling Stones Riot at the Past Tense blog:

http://pasttensevancouver.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/street-fighting-men/

Inspector Bud Errington on stage with the Rolling Stones at the Forum, 19 July 1966. Photo: Vancouver Police Museum

Inspector Bud Errington on stage with the Rolling Stones at the Forum, 19 July 1966. Photo: Vancouver Police Museum

Rioters outside the Pacific Coliseum during the Rolling Stones concert, Vancouver Sun, 5 June 1972

“… the time is right for violent revolution, cause where I live the game to play is compromise solution.” – Rolling Stones