YELLOW CARD: Undemocratic Behaviour?

A serious problem has been resonating in my head since yesterday. I’ve tried to ignore, but it is affecting my ability to sleep…

First, a disclaimer. I have nothing but respect for the people I’m about to criticise – agreeing to facilitate this meeting was a heroic act.

We began our meeting with the agreement we would stick to logistics and planning- not policy.

I was in awe how well we kept to this decision (a major achievement!) Then, right at the finish line, we were led astray with a potentially divisive policy decision – to acknowledge we were standing on land that does not belong to us.

I have some strong views on this issue. It’s my opinion that humanity will never achieve peace until we stop blaming and holding each other liable for the misdeeds of our great grandfather’s. So, it is time to stop blaming each other and to find a way to move on…

I never thought I’d speak in this context- but, I’m left feeling I’ve been oppressed. I’m not angry, only concerned we may have failed here.

The question was thrown at us without warning, there was no opportunity to debate, and I was afraid to speak out- without time to explain my position, I feared being labelled a racist, or that people would mispercieve my intentions.

I’m curious to hear other people’s perception about this incident. Am I over reacting? Did others see the same? If so, how do we avoid such situations in the future?


(Posted on Occupy Vancouver Facebook page on October 9)

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    • Lee on November 9, 2011 at 07:04
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    Am not part of OV but watched GA (Nov. 8th) on livestream tonight…was disappointed to see how things were handled at the end: (lines 518-582). I share your concerns.

    1. Tonight’s meeting was the Supermarket Sweeps of General Assemblies- run down the aisle and pass as many laws as one can. The last official act of any government is to raid the treasury. In this case raiding became the first official act. They really couldn’t resist chasing the money…

    2. Lee, sorry if you were disappointed with the GA, why didn’t you show-up and help make it better? All are welcome!

    • Anon on November 9, 2011 at 07:28
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    Amen! If this is the way all people whose land has been stolen from them should behave, then I should be pissed off at all Spaniards, Dutch and Americans (to name a few – the Philippines has had it rough) for raping and pillaging the land of my ancestors. But, I’m not. Let it go, people. Most countries on God’s (yes, God’s) green-ish earth have been conquered over and over again. I respect their position that this isn’t “our land”, but that argument is riddled with holes and it’s time to move on.

    Oh, and if the Darwinists out there are offended by my God reference, then let me say it another way – it’s survival of the fittest. Always has been. Always will be. Thank God for natural selection.

    1. Technically I should be chasing the Norwegian government because some viking raped an early ancestor of mine, and should be chasing down the city of Krakow to ask for my great grandparents house back. Luckily, the world is more sane than that.

      This said, I believe there are treaties from the past- so, I imagine there may be valid claims. Regardless, we don’t assist the FN community by helping them focus on the past. We should close-off business and all move on.

  1. technically speaking, the land is not actually ceded and that means that the BC government does not have title to the land. Although there is a moral argument as well, this is actually a legal argument that is stating the facts. The people that elect governments on these lands must understand that – technically – those governments do not have jurisdiction. The BC courts themselves have confirmed that and the BC government has never produced a title (or deed) for “crown lands” in court. So don’t feel oppressed Greg, feel liberated by knowing the truth.

    1. Ceded means ‘to give up power or territory’, right? Can you please explain how that isn’t the case? Please excuse my ignorance, but I am readjusting and learning- have lived outside of BC for much of my life.

      1. This is the case because there are not deeds, documents or treaties that show that indigenous communities in the vast majority of BC “gave up power or territory”. These communities have asked the BC government in many court cases to provide any such evidence and the government is unable to do so. There for the land is unceded.

        A basic understanding of the issues can be found here:

        And just to be clear, even the politicians (all politicians) in BC are aware of this fact.

        So when you claim that people have “inserted” unceded territories language into the OccupyVancouver movement what they have actually done is “inserted” facts. You would think a smart and effective movement would welcome the insertion of facts, not demonize people that do so. The 1% uses the tactic of personal attacks to try and hide the facts, really hope you can stop using their tactics against the movement.

    2. The truth I know best is that if we keep blaming each other for the sins of our forefathers we will never have peace. If I agreed with you I’d have to take-up violence against the Norwegians- because, a few hundred years ago, vikings invaded my ancestor’s in Jersey and raped one of them before stealing all of their wealth.

      Just plain silly…

      And, thanks for exposing yourself as an apologist for violence….

  2. Oh, and by the way, the only reason the BC government can claim jurisdiction is with the threat of violent repression. I’ve seen that you are also against violence, right? Would be ironic for you to be opposed to violence while supporting a system and state that has jurisdiction that is dependent on violence.

    1. That’s a bit of strange logic there. Good twisting, keep it up! Because, outside of our Middle Eastern adventures with the Americans, I can’t see how the BC Government is violent. Hell, we don’t even have a provincial police force!

      1. One of the biggest military operations in domestic Canadian history was against indigenous people here in BC. “By the end of the 31-day standoff, police had fired approximately 7,000 rounds of ammunition, blown up a vehicle with an IED, shot one woman and killed a dog. The operation was the largest paramilitary operation in British Columbia history and cost $5.5 million dollars.” (source: The operation was directed by the BC Government.

        And ask yourself this question. If Haida Gwaii – as an example – decided to declare it’s complete sovereignty and decided to kick out all “foreign” operations (ie. anything supported by the BC government) and attempted to be recognized as an independent nation at the UN, do you think the Canadian and BC governments would mobilize the military? Of course the would.

        And a more obvious example – now that you know that the territories in BC are unceded and the BC government does not have jurisdiction – when people set up a road blockade against a destructive industrial project in their territories in order to challenge the BC governments jurisdiction what is the response from the BC government? Send in the police and military. What do the police an military represent – weapons, force, power and the threat of violence. It’s not complicated.

        Not to mention, you speak about the violence that is committed against windows, but for those that value lakes, ecosystems, trees and wilderness more slabs of glass, the BC government has helped destroy/smash/blast nature in a far more violent act against what indigenous people depend on for their traditional means of life than anyone else. There is literally dynamite that blows out sides of mountains in BC that is supported by the BC government.

        1. Violence never justifies violence. If it weren’t for this type of ignorance, we’d probably have peace in this world.

  1. […] that may just be the most important story about this movement yet.  If you read my article Titled Yellow Card you’ll know the story. Harsha Walia is the person who injected the term “Uunceded […]

  2. […] There is something almost poetic about their choice of victim. The Bay was the tool used by the British monarchy to rape & pillage the original inhabitants of our country.  And the “Anarchist Intelligentsia” have adopted a pro First Nations stance. This is made clear by the incident I mention in the letter I wrote the day after OV’s first planning meeting: Yellow card. […]

  3. […] There is something almost poetic about their choice of victim. The Bay was the tool used by the British monarchy to rape & pillage the original inhabitants of our country.  And the “Anarchist Intelligentsia” have adopted a pro First Nations stance. This is made clear by the incident I mention in the letter I wrote the day after OV’s first planning meeting: Yellow card. […]

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