If you want to understand the mindset of the people who were arrested at last week’s Vancouver Casseroles march, there’s an interesting document that has been posted on Facebook by one of their arrestees. Interesting, in a sick & demented kind of a way that is- this guy is way off the charts on the crazy lefty scale…
I’ve seen Gregory Williams around in the Occupy Vancouver social media forums. He tends to get himself involved debates on violence- always supporting the concept of ‘Diversity of Tactics’ (DOT). DOT is a perversion of politically correct language that says that protesters must ‘respect’ other people’s ‘right’ to use whatever tactics they wish to- basically, anything goes. So, one protester may decided to drop a banner off of a bridge, while another may decide it is a good idea to break windows or get into a street fight with the police
DOT has been the downfall of the activist community. It enables the selfish and immature to use demonstrations as a reason to externalize their anger without thinking of those around them. If you want to see the results of this policy, have a look at this video from the 2010 Olympics.
A lot of people involved in the anti-Olympics demonstrations complained about this incident afterwards. The result was that they received a lot of abuse from the DTES activist crazies. This resulted in a good man (who has since been co-opted) receiving a lot of abuse from them, and finally in a stacked debate with Harsha Walia. You can watch this debate on the infamous Harsha Walia Gone Wild! video.
Gregory Williams wrote a very long public letter about last week’s incident- one that would make most regular people cringe. I have put the most relevant part here for you to read- the rest of the document is embedded as a PDF at the bottom of this article:
When we understand this critique, it puts calls for “Casseroles” activists to cultivate good relations with the police in a whole new light. There are several implications:
1.) Whether or not a social movement is policed depends, to a certain extent, on how effective it is. Most genuinely anti-capitalist movements with any traction whatsoever have suffered police repression. But it depends to a much greater extent on the social location of the given movement. Movements that are mostly composed of middle class white people, which tend to have a rhetorical and tactical bent that is far less threatening to racial and class power structures and therefore to capitalism itself, are, as a rule, usually not threatened with nearly as much police violence as movements that are composed of low income and/or racialized people.
2.) As a result of this, it is important to note that the ability to be friendly with the police, to treat them as protectors and purveyors of our “charter rights” is a LUXURY that only movements with a significant amount of social privilege enjoy. Those movements can choose, in solidarity with low income and/or racialized people, to undertake a thoroughgoing critique of police and to chose tactics that do not rely on police protection. But they do not have to.
3.) It follows, then, that it is an a priori good to make it as difficult for the police to do their jobs as possible and, ultimately, to work towards the abolition of police entirely. This is not to say that there are times when it is tactically advantageous to cooperate with the police. Sometimes solidarity with another social movement demands this (the most recent example I can think of is the efforts by the Musqueam Nation to protect their ancient burial ground at cesna:m, where the leaders of the demonstration have asked those who come to be respectful of the police). As a general rule, however, it is a social justice concern to make the cops’ lives as difficult as reasonably possible.
As you can see, not only does Williams misrepresent the behaviour of the Vancouver Police (who are tame by the standards of most countries), but Williams actually tells people it is their duty to resist the police when they are doing their jobs. This is the sort of demented thinking we are up against here.
Another story of the crazy activists in Vancouver’s Downtown East side…