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

Repression and Resistance to the Torch Relay (November 2009)

Article re-posted from anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10132

How Much Does An Anarchist Cost? Repression and Resistance to the Torch Relay

In the week leading up to the Olympic Torch Relay kick-off in Victoria, numerous people, who oppose the Olympics, were harassed by RCMP officers of the Vancouver 2010 Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) – an arm of Olympic Security. We believe that it is likely the 2010 JIG be moving with the Torch Relay and will use much of the same tactics as were used in Vancouver and Victoria to repress Torch Relay resistance across so-called Canada.

article followed by accounts of police visits, (scroll down)

Over the last year-and-a-half people have been visited by members of the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit, security overseers of the 2010 Games, at their homes, family homes, workplaces, or in the streets. Some people choose to file these visits with BC Civil Liberties, many more go undocumented. Our information comes from word of mouth and other written statements.

In the week leading up to the October 30th 2009, Torch relay kick-off in Victoria, harassment by RCMP JIG members stepped up. From what we can name, 25 people were visited, and harassed with specific references to the Torch. The number of people visited is likely to be at least double. This is reminiscent of the 15 people in 48hrs, who were visited last June. (http://mostlywater.org/approximately_15_visu_joint_intellige…).

The intended effects of their tactics are to intimidate, isolate and interfere. Obviously what they are capable of is not limited to what follows, and will likely change based on context, like with whom and where they are dealing.

In Vancouver and Victoria, the cops used intimidation and an attack on morale as the first line of defense. This strategy is often used to avoid open public use of force. By keeping the more objectionable repression out of the public eye, the appearances of democratic protest are maintained.

The intent to create isolation was shown during harassment, when the cops named off lists of other individuals that they said were ‘up to something.’ This is probably done for a number of reasons. One that we note, is to drive a wedge between people. This is meant to encourage people to separate themselves from the individuals that the cops are naming. Implied with associating with these individuals is the threat of surveillance and criminalization.

Interference in peoples personal lives was attempted through police visits to family and workplace. The cops, visiting a persons parents can cause friction and disruption in relationships and go beyond this by playing on parental concern to extract information. The cops are known to come to family homes and spout off lies. They have also revealed criminal records to unsuspecting parents.

These tactics are used to create reactions of fear and concern, potentially causing the parent to give information about their kids life over to the cops, with the idea that it is ‘for their own good.’ Secrets held back from family or friends, but known to police, can be used as leverage; eg. if your parent (etc..) already knows the information, the cops are dis-empowered. And for parents who haven’t had much contact with the police in their lives, they should be made aware that the cops lie as a rule and not an exception.

The best solution remains: do not talk to the cops! Not because you have something to hide, but because their primary interest is to defend property and those who have it, at the expense of the natural world and people who have little to call their own.

The strength of our resistance is social. That means it depends on the strength, solidarity and relationships of many of us who are fighting along similar lines and facing common enemies. From community organizers, to indigenous land defenders, anarchists, paramedics (who were pressured back to work by VANOC), and workers coerced into signing away their right to strike, let us strengthen bonds of solidarity, as this is our greatest tool in the struggle to live with dignity and without exploitation.

__________________________________________________________________

Vancouver/ Victoria, October 2009:
A Partial Overview of “Vancouver 2010 JIG” Harassment:

INTIMIDATION

In East Vancouver, on October 28th, 2 days before a demonstration in Victoria, scheduled to coincide with the first leg of the Torch, someone was approached after leaving a house. He was on his way to a vehicle, when plain clothes RCMP officers called after him. He did not reply and continued to the vehicle. As they drew closer they began to yell at him, saying “Don’t even think about going to Victoria! We know what you are up to. We’ll be with you in a swarm the whole way there. If you do go to Victoria, don’t do anything illegal. And tell your anarchist-kid friends the same thing!”

After getting in the vehicle, RCMP followed him and a friend around for 20 minutes, disappearing then reappearing and waving, which suggests more than one cop vehicle was tailing the car.

Later that day, 2 individuals leaving another house were approached in a very similar manner while leaving another house in East Vancouver. This time police listed off names of other people and asked if these individuals knew what they were planning. Again the cops got no reply.

ARREST

The next day, Thursday the 29th, three people were approached in East Vancouver by plainclothes cops, also outside a residence. The cops identified themselves as “elite intelligence officers” working on Olympic security and told the three they knew they were “heading to Victoria to protest the torch.” They offered the group a ride to the ferry and when the three were unresponsive and continued the cops told them they would be on the same boat and not to think about doing anything illegal, because they would be making arrests.

The officers continued to follow for about three blocks, until the people got on a bus, at which point they called out someone’s name. No one responded.

Once on the boat the three noticed the same 2 male cops aboard. One of the three, a young woman, approached people on the ferry sitting nearby and told them that the men were cops who’d been following her since she left home. She went up to the cops and told them to stop following her. It is at this point the cops allege she threw water on them. The cops cornered her. When a bystander approached and asked why police weren’t letting the woman go, a cop pushed the man and threatened to charge him with obstruction for getting in the way of his job. Apparently harassing young women is his job description.

Other ferry passengers began to gather around the situation. One bystander was filming on his cell phone and shouted, “This is Canadian civil liberties going down the drain.”

When people began to form bonds of solidarity with each other, it was the police in turn who were cornered. Telling the woman she was free to go, they arrested her later when she was alone in the streets of Victoria for “Assault Police.” Even with the legal, moral and physical backing of the State, cops remain liars and cowards.

FLATTERY, THREATS AND BRIBES

An Anarchist in Victoria was visited by members of JIG at a house. They told him that they think he is intelligent, influential and they would like to work with him. They said they are worried if windows are broken during the demonstration, children may be injured. Emphasizing that they “…also think there are many negative aspects of the Olympics,” they offered to meet for coffee and discuss ways to solve them. And finally they said, “Anyways, you wouldn’t want to be beaten and arrested at the demo, would you?”

To which he replied, “How did you know where I am, and how do you know my name?”

“Hey, come on, we have you under surveillance,” they returned.

“If you know me so well,” he stated, “you know I’ll never talk to you.” And he shut the door.

The RCMP came to his door once more. When he opened it they told him they were very serious about wanting to talk to him and then pulled out a hundred dollar bill.

The door was immediately closed and locked.

Don’t they know it takes at least 150.00 to buy off an anarchist?

Although it might seem like a good idea to grab the bill before you slam the door, the cops could use this against you in a multitude of ways.

SURVEILLANCE

In Victoria, on Saturday, October 31st, the day after the demo, a group of people were sitting together on the beach. Shortly after some friends showed up, a man nearby began “taking pictures of the ocean,” positioning another man so he could believably take pictures in their direction.

Going on the gut feeling that this guy was a cop, about 10 people ran up the stairs to challenge them. Already the two men were walking away. The people caught up however, and demanded why they were taking photos of them and, to supply their ‘business cards.’ The men feigned ignorance and showed the digital photos to the group, revealing that indeed he had not (yet) taken photos of them. Shortly after, another friend showed up and confirmed that these were the cops who’d followed the group on the ferry and arrested a woman two days earlier.

EMPTY THREATS

The threats of the cops were mostly empty. There were no swarms of them following these people around Victoria. They obviously pretended to know more than they really do about their lives. And all the information they did flaunt is easily obtainable.

Let solidarity be our bond as we continue in our struggles and stand together against repression.

-Some vancouver anarchists

For more information on resistance to the Olympics check out:

Articles and Zines:
http://anti-politics.net/distro/#olympics

An account of dealing with a Olympic police visit by indigenous warrior Gord Hill:
http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/1985

Ongoing Updates:
http://no2010.com

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

Premier Gets Shut Down (2002)

Premier Gets Shut Down – Vancouver, Canada

Friday, June 14th, 2002

Gordon Campbell was set to speak at the opening of “Carr, O’Keefe, Kahlo: Places of Their Own” at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday, but didn’t show his face.

A crowd of about 400 people gathered there around 6pmto demonstrate againt Campbell’s Liberal government, to disrupt his speech, and to bring attention to the rise of corporate fascism in BC and the world. His choice of venue, an opening of feminist and revolutionary women artists, was an obvious insult to everyone living under his policies. Campbell has recently cut all funding to women’s centres; another attack in a long line of cuts to social programmes in BC. These cuts are killing people and are strengthening a state that is controled by the profit margins of multi-national corporations.

Police had erected a fence on the south side of the art gallery, where Campbell was to make his public speech outside. Police also had barricades at the west side entrance where a few people stood in front of the doorway, confronting and informing the guests as they entered the building. As guests arrived they had to walk through two rows of armed police guards lining the pathway to the door. As more guests arrived police showed a more aggressive pressence and shoved, grabbed, and threatened to arrest people standing around in the entranceway. Police cleared a path for guests using bikes, ironically, making it more difficult and confusing for people to enter the showing. One of the groups who had called for the demonstration, the Anti-Poverty Committee, made speeches off to the sidelines, while several people blocked the street with banners, puppets, and street theatre. Also, artists and artist groups such as the Gorilla Girls (who had also called for the demo) and the Andy Wharhol gang handed out anti-liberal literature. Many protestors decided to enter the showing and disrupt Campbell from inside.

When the time came for Campbell to make his speech the crowd moved to the south side of the building, approached the fence and began to shout and denounce Campbell. The Anti-Poverty Committee made a few speeches while the crowd continued screaming and chanting anti-Liberal and anti-capitalist sentiments. “Campbell’s Cuts Are Class War” and “Off With His Head” were popular.

People banged fists on the fence and then started to shake it. Some tried to dismantle it. The crowd grew more agitated and the police got more aggressive. One officer showed the crowd his pepper-spray, while others attempted to strike the fence shakers’ hands. Four officers entered the crowd from behind the fence and tried to arrest a person. The crowd started to spit on the police and jeer at them, eventually forcing them to leave the area drenched and humiliated. The person the police attempted to arrest got away.

A woman dressed as Frida Kahlo took the podium but her speech was too quiet to be heard by the crowd behind the fence. A member of the Anti-Poverty Committee then took the podium and started shouting to the audience and the crowd, and was tackled and arrested by police who dragged him away by the handcuffs. A second man, a bystander, was arrested inside the art gallery. Both men were held overnight and released the next day.

As the police arrested the A.P.C. member at the podium the crowd became angrier and began to kick at the fence, jump on it, and tried to tear it down. Police continued to strike at people as they attempted to pull the fence out from underneath and continued to spit on officers. At this point police fired pepper spray, hitting three people directly in the face and others indirectly. Those who were pepper-sprayed were taken to a medical station while those still at the fence screamed in outrage at the police. The crowd was stunned by the pepper-spray, but as they recuperated they realized that Campbell was not going to show up, thus did not continue attacking the fence. Pepper sprayed people returned to the fence to demonstrate their defiance and contempt of the police and the police state. One was heard ” this art is under the gun because facism is on the rise”. and “Khalo, O’Keefe and Carr were revolutionary women, fuck you pigs” Shortly after this the demonstrators dispersed, leaving with a sense of victory, and a group headed to the police station to demand the release of those arrested. Supporters camped outside of the police station and court house most of Friday night and Saturday until both people were released.

In our analysis, the militants who attacked the fence in open rebellion, and regardless of official activists plans and speeches, were the ones who contributed the most to the disruption of the event, the cancelling of Campbell’s speech, and to strengthening the social movement of the exploited in BC as a whole. The fence was a physical barrier between classes, rich and poor, that needed to be torn down. The rich cannot be allowed to mingle and sip wine while the poor are starved and beaten.

The fence was attacked by a diverse group of people, including, men and women young and old, parents, euro-canadians, native people — all people who are deeply, and adversly, affected by the cuts Campbell’s government is making, here and now, and also by the policies of capitalist globalization. We are tired of this false democracy. When the police try to move us back by telling us we are endangering Campbell, or that we’re only going to get hurt (by the police attacking us) we know that what the Liberals are doing here, and what capitalists are doing around the world hurts more. Pepper spray is agony for half an hour, state terrorism and murder last forever.

against capital and the state,

Insurrectionary Anarchists of the Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver and Victoria)

Anti-Poverty Committee Denounces Anarchists and Street Youth on May Day (2002)

Anti-Poverty Committee Denounces Anarchists and Street Youth on May Day


by the Anarchist Mallrat Brigade

First statement –

May 1st, 2002

For Immediate Release From: Anti-Poverty Committee Re: May Day Demonstration

“On Wednesday May 1st, the Anti-Poverty Committee held a ‘May Day’ action against the training wage. The demonstration started at Victory Square in Vancouver. Organizers from different groups spoke about the need fight the training wage and the importance of May Day as a celebration of international solidarity. ‘On International Labour Day 2002, we stand with all workers and oppressed people of the world and declare our continued commitment to heighten our resistance against imperialist globalization,’ said Carlo Sayo of the Philippino-Canadian Youth Alliance. The protesters then marched to the McDonald’s restaurant on Granville, where they blocked the entranceways of the restaurant for about an hour, shutting down business. Many people from the Anti-Poverty Committee and other labour/community groups spoke out against the training wage, the history of McDonald’s union-busting, and the racist treaty referendum.

After the visit to McDonald’s, the demonstration marched towards the art gallery. In an action that was not planned or approved by the Anti-Poverty Committee, a group of individuals marched into the Pacific Centre Mall, chanting ‘6 bucks sucks, 8 is not enough.’ The police arrested one man, who was dragged away spitting blood. Some of the demonstrators marched to the police station to show support for the arrested demonstrator. The police attacked this group at Main and Hastings, a traditional site for police brutality, and arrested three more people. At the time of this press release, all four people are still in custody. The Anti-Poverty Committee demands their immediate and unconditional release.”

Second statement –

A Statement From the Anti-Poverty Committee Regarding May 1st

“We, the Anti-Poverty Committee, are writing this letter to denounce the actions commited inside the Pacific Centre Mall by individuals at our May 1st demonstration.

Neither the derailing of our march as our demonstration was finishing, nor the subsequent vandalism carried out inside the Pacific Centre Mall, were carried out in solidarity with us or the workers inside the Centre. We were not informed that any such action was planned. The actions taken put workers at risk of being physically harmed, as was seen when one person was trying to break an enormous plate glass window with a piece of wood while people stood on both sides of it.

There was nothing political about what a small group of people did in the Pacific Centre. It was immature, adventuristic, and harmful to the interests of working class people. We are a mass based organization of poor and working people fighting for the interests of the oppressed, and the actions taken in Pacific Centre Mall unambiguously worked against these interests.

We, the Anti-Poverty Committee, are engaged in a very serious battle against this bourgeois government. The fight between capitalist oppressors and oppressed people is warfare. In a serious, dedicated political movement, we cannot afford to have people running around and engaging in destructive, clown-like behavior devoid of political consciousness. This is not the Dukes of Hazard, this is not a John Wayne movie: this is a life-or-death class struggle where every move counts, where every mistake counts. Those who engaged in this action have seriously damaged the Vancouver movement against poverty and against the BC Liberals, and we will not tolerate sloppy activities that hurt this movement. Workers in the mall, young people at the demonstration, immigrants at the demonstration who cannot risk arrest due to racist immigration policies, and many other important elements of the Vancouver working class have been alienated from participating in a militant movement against BC Liberals, and the masked-up people who rampaged through the mall are clearly responsible for this.

As we have shown at previous demonstrations, and on May 1st before this irresponsible derailment took place, the Anti-Poverty Committee is a group dedicated to fighting back against the provincial government through economic disruption. We have had a number of successful actions that were disruptive and powerful. However, we have never engaged in actions that put other workers at risk against their will, nor will we in the future. We work in solidarity with workers, indigenous people, women, people of colour, and poor people. Any group of people who does not work in solidarity with oppressed people, who puts them at risk against their will, has no place in this movement whatsoever.

In future events, we will be much more vigilant towards people who show up to our demonstrations and sabotage what we are trying to build. The interests of those fighting back against the BC Liberals must never be subordinated to the narcissistic desires of an undisciplined handful of individuals seeking an adrenaline rush.”

The real story –

The Anti-Poverty Committee is a new group of activists who have held several demonstrations in Vancouver and who plan to do welfare advocacy. They call for economic disruption to stop the current Liberal government. At the request of other groups, and to kick off their campaign against the new 6-dollar training wage, they decided to hold a demonstration on May Day in Vancouver. As with all APC demos they had a police liason and media spokesperson, as well as several “marshalls” to direct the crowd. APC had also supplied demonstrators with large placards on 2X4 pieces of wood.

Demonstrators in Victoria had been arrested and pepper-sprayed only days before. Last year on May Day in Vancouver, a group of people were arrested and pepper-sprayed for wheat-pasting posters about a transit strike.

At the beginning of the demonstration in Vancouver on May Day 2002 a small group of anarchists and militant street youth from both Victoria and Vancouver gathered. Many of them wore masks, some held banners, and one waved a black flag as the contingent marched along with the other demonstrators to the McDonalds. Most of the group attended the event because it was May Day and not because it was APC’s. They chanted “Class War Now!”, “Make the rich pay!”, and “Fuck six bucks, eight is not enough!”, injecting an obviously radical spririt to the demonstration. The group was not organized and had not made any plans.

Once the demonstration arrived at McDonalds, APC marshalls directed the crowd to block the doors of the building, which they did. The general assumption was that an occupation would take place and that the business would be shut down. Many people had anticipated a violent reaction from the police. Several people from the crowd spoke through a megaphone, including members of APC who shouted their standard “Fight Back!” rhetoric. Only one of three doors were blocked. It should be noted that the majority of people blocking the doors were the anarchists, street youth, and supporters since APC was busy adressing the crowd with speeches. Members of APC asked several masked-up anarchists to speak, but they refused. Customers inside the McDonalds continued to eat. After about half-an-hour APC called the demonstration to an end and urged people to march to the Art Gallery and disperse.

At this point many people from the crowd had already dispersed, but the group of masked anarchists, street youth, and their supporters spontaneously decided to march through the Pacific Centre Mall directly across the street. Some members of the group engaged in minor vandalism against corporate property inside the mall. Within a minute of entering the mall one of the masked demonstrators was hit in the face by a large man wearing a track suit who was angry about the march. The demonstrators decided to avoid further confrontation with this man. APC claims that one of the group in the mall tried to break a plate-glass window that people were standing on each side of with a piece of wood, putting workers risk. In fact the window was part of a display for an upscale clothing store, and so the only “people” put in danger were manequins. The fact that APC cannot distinguish between real live people and manequins begs the question of how they hope to advocate for those living in poverty. Clearly, APC has lied in a public statement.

The person who had been hit in the face was arrested in the mall and dragged away spitting blood. Some of the group then marched to the police station to show solidarity and 3 more were arrested there after a bottle was thrown.

It is strange that the first statement APC published was only sent to the anarchist websites “Ainfos” and “Infoshop” and that later public statements on Vancouver Indymedia would denounce the same people that the first statement demanded the release of.

APC says that it works in solidarity with indigenous people, wimmin, people of color, workers, and poor people, but the people that entered the mall represented all of these groups. APC says that the actions of those who entered the mall worked against the interests of working class people, but the group who entered the mall were working class people, including street youth. This also begs the question of how attacks on corporate property could hurt the interests of the working class. What does “economic disruption” mean to them?

Does inviting the media and having a liason with the police not endanger working class people who attend their demonstrations?

Inspector Bob Meanley of the Vancouver Police Department was quoted in the Vancouver Sun, May 3rd, 2002, as saying “This was a rampaging gang of criminals, hooligans and thugs, nothing else. On most occasions protesters are very cooperative. But we were clearly led astray, led to believe this was a lawful protest. In this case we were lied to.” The Vancouver Sun reported that Meanley and the police would be going over tapes made by mall security and television cameras to identify violent protesters. Again we ask, doesn’t inviting the media to a demonstration endanger people?

In the May 3rd issue of The Province it was reported that APC claimed that a splinter group had ignored its request to disband the rally. Inspector Meanley told The Province that “Everything seemed to be in order” and that he had discussed the plans for a peaceful protest with the APC organizers.

APC organizer Mike Krebs was quoted in The Province as saying “APC supports actions that are militant, not actions which put workers at risk …so we do not support anything that puts workers at risk.” Krebs was reported to agree with police inspector Meanley that the group in the mall were “criminals, hooligans and thugs.” and distanced himself from protesters who came armed with potential weapons. “If they had bags of rock and paint, that kind of speaks for itself.”

The question must be asked of what APC means by “militant” and how any militant actions could be free of risk. Why does Krebs and APC denounce protesters who came with potential weapons when they had supplied the large 2X4 placards? Why does APC denounce the actions of poor and working class people who take APC’s “Fight Back” and “Class War” rhetoric literally?

We ask how many more people have to starve to death or suffer police brutality before we are given permission to “Fight Back”?

May Day has existed for more than 100 years, as a traditional workers holiday, and day of anarchist action. It belongs to no person or group, least of all APC.

No oppressed person should have to beg for survival or the right to resist this system, and they will not! When APC says it will use “vigilance” in the future against these kinds of protesters what exactly do they mean?

– Vancouver Anarchist Mallrat Brigade

“These were the actions of working class people tired of being trampled on by both the money-grubbing capitalists of the Right, and the back-stabbing hypocrites of the Left.”

– Class War Federation (U.K.)

====================================================

A critique of the APC statements regarding May 1st

Mayday is an international workers holiday with a history going back more than 100 years, it doesn’t belong to APC. Are members of the Anti-Poverty Committee unaware that since its inception May Day has been internationally known as a traditional day for anarchist and communist action? May Day cannot be symbolic; nobody can control angry workers! When you say ‘Fight back’ and ‘This is class war!’ – do you mean it? Nobody can hijack May Day.

You denounce ‘the vandalism carried out in the Pacific Centre Mall’ in two different statements. The first was presented to members of APOV at the APC general meeting and named the Anti-Poverty Coalition of Victoria as the group responsible. The second statement was essentially the same with APOV’s name removed, and released publicly on Indymedia Vancouver and infoshop. Before this a message sent only to the A-infos website demanded the release of the prisoners and that a crowd marched to the jail in solidarity. First of all, APOV was unable to attend the demo, therefore made no plans and so didn’t lie about having plans.It was a spontaneous decision by the crowd of workers, indigenous peoples, women, people of colour and poor people to enter the mall, so no one marshaled any body through the doors of the mall. The act of going through the mall had nothing to do with APC since they were telling people to go to the Art gallery. And the crowd split and some people did leave. Using APOV as a scapegoat is exactly the tactics of the cops and media. When fighting this ‘life-or-death class struggle’ and chanting ‘The people united will never be defeated’ and then avoiding discussion and therefore creating divisions, APC is hurting the movement. How can ‘a serious, dedicated, political movement’ ignore the impact of such divide and conquer tactics? What are you trying to build, and with who? Does APC prioritize Corporate property over the lives of poor people? You say you fight the provincial government through economic disruption. On May 1st where did economic disruption occur – at McDonald’s for 30 minutes, where people inside continued to consume, or ‘rampaging’ through the mall demonstrating our rage using your ‘dangerous weapons’ ( 2×4’s with wooden signs saying ‘Fight Back’) against numerous multinationals, not just one McFuck’s.

You masturbate your ‘political conciousness’, yet appear to have no awareness of Vancouver history. It was a violent fight to get what CampHell is trying to take away. Are you waiting for a minister’s roundtable to kiss ass or do you want to fight back? This is ‘warfare’. Your authoritarian complex is hurting the movement, who do you think you are to be so self-righteous to think you can control a group of poor people. You can’t control people and advocate for them at the same time. Be specific who you want to work with. We are working class, poor, indigenous, women, and people of colour who will fight by any means necessary. If somebody throws a rock at a cop at a downtown eastside demo, will they be denounced? What do you expect to happen when rallying radical speeches inspire an angry crowd? We need words AND ACTION!!!!

How can you be so arrogant, racist and sexist as to call people immature, adventuristic, undisciplined and devoid of political conciousness? Did you read what you wrote? Sometimes it’s better to wait until the ‘adrenaline rush’ is over before making public statements.

The more masks at a demo the better. There could be enough masks provided for everyone. It not only represents international and local solidarity, but can help prevent individuals being targeted by the pigs.

As far as risks go – do you really think this world is safe? The state kills people everyday. The least we can do is fight first and not wait to be vicitims. It’s really patronizing to tell poor people to be peaceful and calm. Capitalism is killing us – there’s no time for compromise, negotiations or hesitations. You seem to have the fervor for cowardly acts of threatening ‘vigilance’ towards people who show up at YOUR demonstrations (narcissism?) and ‘sabotage’ (express ourselves) what you are trying to build, but you back down from having a militant stand against the state? APC claims to be committed for the long haul. What exactly are your long-term goals – a political party? Explain yourself! Since when has collaboration with the cops been beneficial to building a movement? Do you trust the media to tell the truth when they are in the back pocket of the pig force? Why don’t you just hand people over to the cops at the beginning of YOUR demo instead of using the ‘working class’ cop/media’s precious time sorting through video surveillance? I guess it saves APC’s labour to have the state create more propaganda for you.

We urge you to state your position regarding diversity of tactics, so that there is no ambiguity. If you advocate peaceful non-violent civil disobedience rather than direct action SAY IT !

The Clown Brigade

Class War Rages On in British Columbia (2002)

Furia y guerra de clases en la Columbia Británica

====================================================

Class War Rages On in British Columbia

On Wednesday, August 7th, 2002, the Anti-Poverty Committee (A.P.C.) of Vancouver held a rally, march, and action for “Welfare on Demand” and against the current economic restructuring of neo-“Liberal” government of B.C; an escalation in the war on the poor that has translated to cuts to welfare rates, and a new 3-week-waiting period for new welfare applicants. This is taking place at the same time as massive government and corporate lay-offs, and in the wake of a new 6-dollar “training wage” (2 dollars less than the minimum wage in B.C.).

The excluded class (the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, welfare recipients etc.), the most oppressed sector of society, is facing the most serious and painful consequences of these increasing attacks. In response, there has been an unsurge in self-organization, militant direct actions against the State, and the developement of “base structures” – anti-poverty organizations that struggle to provide the excluded with basic needs through direct intervention, and ultimately, to dismantle this government through campaigns of economic disruption.

The Anti-Poverty Committee’s rally began at the Burrard Street Skytrain station at 1 p.m. with a few speakers, media interviews, and the handing out of legal rights cards with phone contacts in case of arrests. A speaker announced the A.P.C.’s demands, and the crowd of about a hundred people made a short march through the financial district to the regional executive welfare office. Once reaching the office the crowd attempted to push through a line of police to gain entry to the building. A banner was dropped from a balcony by two people who had gained entry prior to the march. Several people managed to gain access to the inside of the building through side-doors and attempted to push open the front entrance doors from inside. This meant that the police had people pushing on the doors from both sides at once. At one point a door was forced open and a scuffle broke out as the crowd continued to try to force their way into the office. One cop used his bike to push the crowd back, but the demonstrators held their ground. Many people put up stickers that called for an end to the 3-week-wait all over the outside of the building . Through negotiating two A.P.C. members were granted a meeting with the office. The crowd rallied outside until they returned, and then dispersed.

A large and diverse group of organizations endorsed the A.P.C.’s demands and their march, including the Hospital Employees Union of B.C., the B.C. Government Employees Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees B.C., the “Prepare the General Strike Committee”, as well as many community groups. While this is a welcome and positive developement, there was a visible lack of rank-and-file union workers at the demonstration, in contrast to the presence they have shown at previous rallies in opposition to the B.C. Liberal government. Several factors may have contributed to this, including the mid-day timing of the demonstration as well as it’s focus on welfare rights, rather than broad opposition to the Liberals policies as a whole. Although grassroots networking efforts by radical and community groups is important, the initiative should fall to the rank-and-file union workers, to show solidarity with the most oppressed sectors of the province. The illusions held by many regarding the trade unions must be broken, and an autonomous movement of rank-and-file workers that fights in true solidarity with the excluded must be developed.

Later on Wednesday night hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered at the beach near downtown Vancouver for a fireworks display that ended with the crowd blocking off major streets downtown, the intervention of police who arrested several members of the crowd, an attempt by the crowd to charge the police line in response, and attacks on vehicles and store-front windows. There are conflicting reports of police using pepper-spray to disperse the people who confronted them. This incident points to the always-present potential for class conflict at all large gatherings of people, particularly ones with an overwhelming and agitational police force. For insurrectionaries, this incident should illuminate other-than-traditional avenues for our own intervention and agitation.

From an insurrectionary viewpoint, the increasing willingness of anti-Liberal demonstrators in B.C. to directly confront the Capitalist State, and its enforcers; the police, is a positive development that should be expanded upon.

From our observation, this increasing militancy has become possible not only because of the deepening of class contradictions under the Liberal governement, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, but also because of the conscious efforts of radicals and militants to move away from symbolic protest and towards intentional conflict and direct action.

The context of the current class war in British Columbia includes –

– An attempt by B.C. Government Employeees Union (B.C.G.E.U.) members to charge into a hotel on January 23rd, 2002, where Premier Gordon Campbell was set to speak.

– Illegal wildcat strikes in late January by the B.C. Teachers Federation (B.C.T.F.) and the B.C.G.E.U.

– A tent-city occupation by street youth and students on the front lawn of the provincial legislature building in Victoria in February which ended with it’s dismantling by riot police

– The fire-bombing of Premier Gordon Campbell’s office on the night of February 21st.

– A B.C Federation of Labour rally at the legislature in Victoria by more than 20,000 people, at which a group of about 10 anarchists intervened by attacking a security barrier and throwing rocks at the legislature building.

– An anti-poverty Snake March in Victoria on March 25th that went through a mall and several corporate stores, leaving splatters from paint-bombs and graffitti behind.

– An anti-poverty march to one of Premier Gordon Campbell’s homes in Vancouver on April 1st.

– An all-womyn anti-poverty brigade’s occupation of a “Member of the Legislative Assembly” office in Victoria on April 25th that was broken up by riot police who pepper-sprayed several demonstrators.

– A May Day demonstration in Vancouver against the 6-dollar training wage that included a half-hour blockade of a McDonalds restaurant (one of the businesses using the training wage, and a major contributor to the Liberal’s election campaign.). After the end of the demonstration a masked group charged through a downtown mall and carried out small acts of vandalism and sabotage.

– A July 14th demonstration at the opening of a gallery show at the Vancouver Art Gallery at which the Premier was scheduled to speak at, but failed to show his face in public – because of “security concerns” caused by hundreds of angry demonstrators who attempted to dismantle a security fence, spat on police officers, and were then pepper-sprayed.

In conclusion, direct action is the only hope for the excluded, the only means available for survival and dignity. Our strategies for moving this struggle forward must focus on three areas –

– Conscious attacks on the institutions of oppression

– Propaganda

– Continuing efforts to organize affinity groups and base structures with explicitly revolutionary goals.

…Until the final victory…

Insurrectionary Anarchists of the Coast Salish Territories (British Columbia, Canada)

Anarchist Action In Vancouver (2002)

Anarchist Action In Vancouver

an insurrectionary anarchist analysis

Catalyzed by the growing popular resistance to the Liberal government in British Columbia, and in particular the Woodwards Squat, anarchist affinity groups have been organizing and intervening in the struggle in Vancouver in a visible and direct way.

On November 4, 2002, an affinity group of 8 anarchists dressed in black bloc made a presence felt at a demonstration against the B.C Restaurant and Food Association. The demonstration had been called by the Anti-Poverty Committee of Vancouver (APC) to expose the association of business groups that played a large part in the implementation of the $6 dollar and hour training wage. The anarchists waved black flags, chanted and pushed for demonstrators to take up more space on the road, to block both directions of traffic. Police made a pathetic attempt to curb the anarchists, with one motorcycle cop approaching the group and other cops announcing over and over again on a load speaker that the anarchists and other demonstrators should “move back for their own safety”. Once the cops realized that their petty intimidation was useless they gave up their attempts. Soon after the anarchists were approached by a different breed of pig; an irate APC member approached the group aggressively and demanded that they move away from the second lane. A shouting match ensued and a physical scuffle was barely avoided. The APC member repeated “This is an APC demo. I am telling you what to do.” Like the official cops, this self-appointed “leader” quickly realized that the group would not be intimidated or pushed around.

Mounted police then formed a line next to and then in behind the black bloc. Many within the group predicted that the police were preparing to charge the crowd. A stand-off resulted, and the anarchists shouted for the police to go home. The horse police eventually left, and as the demonstration dispersed the anarchist group chanted “Kill the rich, arm the poor, this is fucking class war!” adding a militant spirit to a symbolic display of “dissent”.

On Saturday, November 9, an autonomist group formed and attended two demonstrations in Vancouver. About 9 people with black flags and a banner that read “Time for revolution. Against Capital. Against the State.” Made their way to a protest called by the Bus Riders Union to call for a “People’s Agenda” for city hall, timed to coincide with upcoming city elections. 3 masked members of the group were detained briefly by police before the beginning of the demonstration but were released once others from the crowd confronted the cops. The affinity group then quickly moved on to a demonstration downtown against growing police repression. Residents of the Downtown Eastside, who live in the poorest neighbourhood in Canada, responded positively to the masked group, and yells of “Fuck the police!” were met with cheers. Agitators from the affinity group spoke out against police violence and in favour of militant community response. A young child from the group shouted through the megaphone “Pigs are assholes!” A member of the Marijuana Party warned the crowd of “agent provocateurs”, cops who mask up and break windows to justify police violence, and an argument and shouting match erupted. The group dispersed shortly after.

On November 17, an anti-capitalist contingent took part in a large march against the war on Iraq. Red flags, black flags, and a Palestinian flag flew side by side, as the group initiated militant chants like “George Bush, we hate you, and your fucking army too!” and “Stop! Stop the USA. Class war is the only way!”. The Anarchist Action Group – Vancouver distributed pamphlets against war, as well as capitalist “peace”.

On Sunday, December 1, an anarchist social night took place in Vancouver, and many new radicals met each other and made contacts for future organizing.

The anarchist movement in Vancouver appears to be growing and becoming more cohesive, opening up new possibilities for rebellion and revolt.

– Insurgent-S