Has OPSEU’s Large Yurt (formerly of Occupy Toronto) Been Torched By an Arsonist?

One of the yurts that was 'donated' by OPSEU

I remember reading about Occupy Toronto’s yurts back when they were “donated” last year. One part of me was envious- where were Occupy Vancouver’s yurts! That said, it made sense to donate them to Occupy Toronto, as they definitely needed it for the city’s colder weather!


The day I arrived at Occupy Toronto I was excited to see the yurts. That said, there was one major problem- there were no yurts to be seen! It was explained to me that the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) had taken them back! Scoundrels!

“Wait” I asked, “I read in the Toronto Star that OPSEU had donated the yurts to Occupy Toronto?” The answer I got was “yes, but it seems they have taken them back”. I was told that day that “we can make an application to OPSEU to use them though!”

Why is it that every time I’ve seen Occupy get involved with the unions it ends up feeling like a cheap one-night-stand?

Well, here’s the latest update. A story came out a couple of days ago on Judy Rebick’s slander-machine they call Rabble.ca- apparently, the large yurt has had a fire and us no longer usable.

There is one particularly interesting sentence in Rabble’s article: “This was the act of perhaps one angry person.” But, of course, there is no further explanation- Rabble’s standards of reporting aren’t so high….

Warren "Smokey" Thomas, Curiously Named President of OPSEU

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    • bonnibrai on April 9, 2012 at 16:10
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    Blazingcatfur did a great piece on this yesterday .I wonder who destroyed the yurt.And why. Keep up the good work Greg

    1. Thanks, I’ll check that out…

    • James on April 9, 2012 at 18:20
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    The reason, Greg, why dealing with the unions seems like a 1 night stand is because that is what it is. I have been trying to tell people this for ages: Occupy, esp without a clear purpose, if a perfect front man for any group that has an axe to grind with the powers that be. When occupy is fighting a common enemy, the other group can support them, letting them do all the dirty work, while still saying “Hey, that was occupy causing all those disruptions, vandalism etc, not our fine upstanding group/union/cause”. And the arrogance and/or naivate that some in Occupy exhibit makes it very easy for them to do it. Hate to tell you, Greg, but Occupy could very easily, if it is not already, become the Blac Bloc of the Labour/Activist community.

    1. I’d reframe that to say that “Occupy has been infiltrated by the union-run Black Bloc since the start. The majority of us who joined this movement don’t support black bloc tactics. And, despite the optics of how the unions started & funded this fiasco (which they did), this movement doesn’t belong to them.

      The next few weeks will be gloves off for the unions. Unless they bring some sensibility to the table, I will be taking them down to the mat!

    • James on April 9, 2012 at 18:41
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    No, what I meant is in the same way certain folks in Occupy wont denounce nor endorse blac bloc, because they feel they do serve a purpose but politically savvy people know not to publicy endorse them in case things go bad, the unions and others may apply the same logic to Occupy.

    And just for the record, I have no problem saying as I have in the past that I think any acts of voilence or destruction is stupid and a waste of time and energy.
    As for whether most of the individuals involved in Occupy got involved because they sincerely want to work together to make a brighter happier world or not, I would say yes they probably did. But I would also suggest many who joined in where somewhat unsophisticated, politically anyway (ie as in how things work, the machinations of politics and power) and that Occupy is coming with a real learning curve.

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