There were two things one was attacked for criticising at Occupy Toronto & Occupy Vancouver- Black Bloc anarchists and the group’s relationship with the unions. At first, when I was in Vancouver, I thought that the two subjects were unrelated. But, once I was in Toronto, it quickly became apparent both groups are closely related. Or, at least, so it appeared on the surface…
My first real clue was when I ran-across a man named Rob Chamberland. You may remember him from back in February when he was attacking me out of nowhere- Rob will be forever remembered as the Crazy CUPE Guy. He started attacking me because I criticised how CUPE (in a rather devious way) brought a politician onto our stage in Vancouver. This was a big deal, because we had an agreement that no politicians would talk from our stage.
Once Rob started his attacks, I decided to do some research and figure out what his motivations were. It turns out that Rob is the president of CUPE Local 2073. That wasn’t so much of a surprise as learning how strongly he promoted Black Bloc tactics. How could a union president back violence I thought? Was I ever naïve!
So, I was rather shocked when I found Rob’s Facebook profile- is that a picture of people doing Black Bloc violence right on the cover of his page? This doesn’t mean that he supports violence and property destruction though- right?
Well, I guess it does- once again, I was so naïve back then. This discovery was the beginning of my research into the relationships between the unions and Black Bloc anarchists. Shortly after that I found an article about CUPE, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), student unions and Black Bloc’s involvement at the G20.
OCAP is anarchist central- it is virtually unthinkable that one could go to one of their events and not see a number of anarchists present. OCAP is also highly-connected to the unions- including CUPE. Apparently things got too hot for the CAW though, they have recently withdrawn their support.
Then I learned how Harsha Walia, a leader in the Vancouver anarchist community is not only a member of CUPE, but they directly support her events. And, in Vancouver, Harsha isn’t the only anarchist connected to the unions. People like Lauren Gill and “schoolteacher” Sasha Wiley are also involved. All of these people are also connected to the NDP- what a surprise.
Wherever there’s a radical-left event, the 3903 always seems to be around. Occupy Edmonton’s Chelsea Flook (sister of Occupy Toronto’s Taylor Flook) was also an activist in the 3903. And, as I wrote a week ago, the 3903 have been involved in stirring-up dissent over at the Six Nations reserve in Brantford Ontario.
The unions also, indirectly, support many of the Black Bloc criminals who were involved in the violence at the Toronto G20. They provide funding for publications like Rabble.ca and the Media Co-Op. Both of them have provided support and backing for these criminals- even after they were incarcerated. Krystalline Kraus of Rabble has gone as far as to call them political prisoners.
I learned some new information about Occupy Toronto and the unions a couple of days ago, and confirmed it with a second source today. Apparently a couple of unions were trying to recruit Occupy Toronto anarchists to join and work for their flying squads. This wraps everything I’ve learned about the unions and anarchists together in a nice package.
Flying squads are the union’s modern equivalent of people with monkey wrenches. They are the “direct action” arms of the unions whose place is to stir-up trouble in ways that would get union leaders in trouble if they were do to it themselves. There’s a good article about Canadian flying squads on the anarchist International Worker’s of the World’s website. The article discusses how CUPE, the CAW and OCAP have all had involvement in flying squad monkey wrenching.
Most union members are good, hard working, people who have no interest in violence or anarchy. It is unfortunate that they are forced to pay union dues that go towards these causes. From what I can see, most union members don’t understand that their dues are being used this way. It’s time to publicise this and stop the damage that’s being done to our communities…