BullyWatch: Letter I wrote to Dave Vasey this morning

They certainly do in Dave's case…


Last night I went home with tears in my eyes. It must have been looked quite obvious, because a woman who didn’t know me stopped and asked if I was okay. It was after 10pm and we were on the subway, quite an unusual situation.

I got home, cried some more, and started working on a blog posting- detailing your relationship with organisations funded by the George Soros funded TIDES Foundation. Ruckus Society, Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network, etc. But, I stopped working on it half-way through and decided to get some sleep. People who behave like you aren’t worth losing valuable sleep over.

What happened last night, being bullied by you and your clique, was beyond shameful. It reminded me of moments in the schoolyard back when I was a child. Honestly Dave, you should have grown past that by now- especially if you think you are worthy of being our leader.

School yard bully…

Either you have now proven you aren’t ready for that privilege- or, you have exposed yourself as the wrong kind of leader for the Occupy movement. I’ll leave it to you to explain your motivation before I pass judgement- a luxury you did not afford to me.

I woke-up this morning to a very welcome surprise…

The attached email was written by Rob Gordon, one of the people whose name is on the letter you used to justify your attack and public slander on me. Rob is a very well-respected member of Occupy Vancouver– someone most people accept to be an ‘honest broker’. He’s the guy people go to when they are looking for someone they can trust to help sort-out conflict. He’s dedicated his life to working with and supporting the unfortunate people who live in poverty in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. His credibility is beyond question.

As you will read- Rob, like others at Occupy Toronto and Occupy Vancouver, was manipulated by someone with less than honourable intentions. I know that Rob was also threatened with physical violence. And, working in the DTES, everyone is concerned about Harsha Walia’s political power and the impact that could have on his career. But, Rob is a man with a conscience, and he couldn’t let himself watch this injustice go any further.

And, at this moment, Rob is my hero…

I will respectfully ask now that you step-back from imagining that you are the leader of Occupy Toronto. After last night’s performance, and considering you decided to try and destroy my reputation here without giving me the benefit of a trial- you are no longer someone the people of our movement can trust right now. Besides, had you paid attention and/or heed to the Occupy ethos, you would have realized that we are a leaderless organization.

I will not ask that you are removed from the movement. First, I believe that you have a lot to contribute- your years of experience as an activist are valuable to us. But, also, because I do not believe in banishment of any kind. Like many others in our movement, I believe that this is one of the tactics people use to subvert us.

There are others at OT who have been hurt by these tactics, and I would like to call on the people of OT to contact them and welcome them back with open arms. In cases where there is genuine reason for concern, we should sit-down and talk with them about what happened, and find a way to resolve the issues of the past. If there are situations where people were rejected due to political manipulation, we should all pass our apologies and give them loving hugs. We are Occupiers, this is what we do…

It is now time for you to come to account and disclose what your intention was. Was this just simply school yard bullying? Or, is there more to the story? Are you being paid for your participation at OT? Are you working to fulfil the goals of an external organization? Do you support and/or participate in groups that exercise Black Bloc tactics? What is your relationship to Action Canada, or other organizations I haven’t mentioned yet? I will make no accusations until you have a chance to explain for yourself- but, I warn you that I have enough information to understand if there are things you are lying about. Some of them at-least.

It is not my decision to ask you leave Occupy Toronto or not. But, once you have exercised full-disclosure of your intentions- I ask all of our sisters & brothers here to ultimately be tolerant and forgiving towards you. So, the ball is in your court now, time to come clean and show us all that you can be trusted.

I, personally, will find it in my heart to forgive you for your trespasses against me. And, when we have won our Evolution, I’ll buy you the first drink to celebrate our victory with.

With Solidarity,

Our first planning meeting look closely, I'm the orange dot in the middle of the stage.

A Beautiful Letter From Occupy Vancouver!

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is on a list. The list is attached to a letter complaining about Greg Ranouf and his campaign to denounce the use of violence within the “occupy” movement while unfortunatly specifically targeting one individual. I fully supported Greg in his relentless campaign to define the “occupy” movement as non-violent. Where Greg and I disagreed was his very vocal pursuit of this individual.

What I didn’t realize was that that Greg was willing to stick his neck out and risk his reputation to challenge anyone that supported the use of violence or law breaking as one of a “diversity of tactics”. Greg was the first and loudest voice in Vancouver calling for a commitment to non-violence.

Let me be clear. I still think Greg went to far in singling out this individual. But that is my opinion. Greg is different then me. I also use a pseudonym on FB for my poitical pursuits where as in others do not. I prefer to engage in online activity with a measure of anonymity while Greg and others do not. Although I personally asked Greg to stand down in his campaign he chose not to. Different strokes. What I didn’t see coming was the tactics and great lengths a GROUP of people representing OccupyVancouver would use to discredit, malign, harass, intimidate and ridicule Greg – some of it arguably criminal in nature.

To give you some context, even after I agreed to sign my name to that letter (a decision I regret) when I questioned the behavior of that group of people I was harassed, “blocked” on FB, telephoned and physically threatened and also shunned by this group of nasty people. In my opinion, the actions of this group of people constituted far worse examples of harassment and intimidation than any actions I am aware of Greg perpetrating.

OccupyVancouver is in ashes due to the insular and cultish behavior of a few of the people on that list. Most people who’s names are attached to that list are decent, well intentioned people that may not have understood the big picture and what was going on beneath the service. Some people attacked Greg for alledgedly being sexist and racist from the beginning of his campaign (of questioning said individual’s connection to Black Bloc) even though not once did Greg frame the conversation in that context. This was the beginning of the diversity of tactics employed by what many in Vancouver refer to as the occucult. When I agreed to attach my name to the letter denouncing Greg it was because I was in spirit denoucing any form of harassment or calling out of people in the movement – something Greg is clearly not afraid to do. Regrettably, I signed that letter not realizing that the people who created that letter were willing to do far worse.

In the aftermath of Greg’s “banishment” many others were subjected to similar abuse by the same people that claim to desire a safe environment free of oppression. In Vancouver, some of those hiding under the banner of anti-oppression are the most abusive, nasty, and dishonest people I have ever had the misfortune of attempting to work with – all under the pretext of the common good. If I or anyone else where to draft a similar letter naming names of some of these “occucult / anti-oppression” individuals and dencouncing their behavior I am quite sure the list of supporters would be much longer. Many, many people left the movement because of the hegemony and attitude of this insular group. Thankfully, some of us have managed to organize outside of the GAs and “spokes councils” and have retained valuable friendships and unpaid workng relationships. It saddens me deeply that this is currently the fate of OccupyVancouver. Many of us still cling to the hope that there will be a resurgence of energy and collaberation. I and others in Metro Vancouver are still trying to challenge this corrupt system for a better world, but we have been severly hindered by this percieved “occucult” and their tactics of exclusion. What many individuals within the movement did not realize that well organized sub groups of people attempted to subvert the “occupy” movement for their own means.

Petty, ego driven and damged individuals sought the reigns of a leaderless movement and shattered a window of oppurtunity to build momentum with the public at large. I also, sadly, have the skinny on why big labour distanced itself from OV and it is due to the very same people. I realize that without details or proof it is just words on a screen (or a sheet of paper) so perhaps even mentioning this is pointless; it is however the truth. There are many other details I am tempted to disclose but I decline because it is completely counter -productive to our movement towards social change. OV may be fucked right now but hopefully, good, honest people can rise from it’s ashes and direct the struggle at it’s entended foes. Peace & Respect.

Sincerily, and in solidarity,

Robin Gordon

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