Almost exactly one year ago this site pondered if VISION Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson had showed signs of reaching his Peter Principle in his responses to militant protests. The anarchists ran wild last year; burning down a house, marching down the street with flaming torches, and criminally harassing a restaurant owner. Throughout this series of events, we saw little-to-no leadership from the police or city government.
This year has brought us new protests, and the continuing lack of leadership from Gregor Robertson. There weren’t any flaming torches at this year’s May Day parade; but one of their leaders openly encouraged violence against the police, the protesters took his advice, and the guy is still out on the streets. In fact, he’s now one of the public faces for a “homeless” tent city occupation of Oppenheimer Park.
The city recently gave the occupiers an ultimatum that they must leave, they responded by saying that they’re “on stolen native land” that they’re reclaiming. First Nations protester’s claims were quickly neutralized when leaders from their nations publicly declared the occupiers aren’t speaking for their communities. Yet somehow, despite the farce, (and potential for violence) the camp still exists today.
Same, Old, Tactics:
When Occupy hit the stage in 2011, Vancouver was one of the world’s most well prepared and equipped occupations. Tent cities are one of the most favoured and consistently used tactics by DTES radicals; some of the more memorable include the 2002 Woodwards squat, and the 2010 Olympic tent city (raised by the same people who encouraged a gang of thugs to run around smashing-up the city).
The Oppenheimer tent city isn’t much different than Occupy, Woodwards and the Olympics; but they do have a traditional Great Plains teepee, and a “longhouse” they’ve made from tying together some twigs and branches. Like Occupy, they also have a “sacred fire” ‘justifying’ their occupation because it’s “impossible in one hundred square feet rooms” to conduct sacred fires in their housing units. (Can you guess who the BS artist is who wrote that?)
Same Old People:
The reason we know there’s a sacred fire is because it was reported to us by Harsha Walia in a special contribution to the Vancouver Sun. Walia is one of the country’s most unabashed supporters of activist violence- after the Olympics she was recorded defending the “Black Bloc” who smashed-up the city calling them “deeply heroic” for “de-arresting” people from the police. (Note: G20 ringleader Alex Hundert was locked-up for encouraging this behaviour.)
Audrey Siegl is one of the spokespeople for the protest. She’s a jet-set Musqueam protester, a former DTES resident, and deep in the thick of the DTES radical activist scene. Curiously, considering she was representing a camp of “homeless” protesters, Sigel flew out to Ottawa this week to participate in Beau Dick’s “copper breaking” protest (Love Is The Movement activistocrat Clayton Thomas-Muller was there to assist).
Siegel is joined by another First Nations spokesperson- Stella August, an activist with the DTES Power of women. This organization, as many know, has been led (‘facilitated’) by Harsha Walia. DTESPoW leads an annual march for housing. In the picture below you can see Siegel with Oppenheimer protester Rosanne Gervais making t-shirts for this year’s march- the same print is being used for posters seen at the park. The prints are being created at the Carnegie Community Centre, all on the taxpayer’s dime.
Dan Wallace was the man who called for violence against the police back at May Day. Wallace has put a lot of his resources into helping to organize and equip the camp and appears to have taken a leadership position. You may also remember Wallace as one of the people who chained their necks to the gate of a Chevron refilling station back in May.
The camp has had no shortage of visitors, often the same people we saw at Occupy Vancouver, and other recent tent cities. The above picture shows BCTF activist Shasha Wiley-Shaw, an Occupier and participant in this year’s May Day parade, who is most famous for lying to the media about the police breaking her arm during a 2012 “Casseroles” protest. Standing beside her is activist Adrienne Smith, a recently graduated lawyer- David Eby and Jenny Kwan attended her ceremony when she passed the bar (Smith works for PIVOT Legal).
From The Frying Pan Into The Fire:
Oppenheimer Park will be host to a “Direct Action training and Support” event on Saturday. Two of the organizers are known to this site. First there’s Dan Wallace, who has used the Facebook page as an opportunity to gather resources for the camp. The other is Anthony Gauthier who has worked Vancouver Cop Watch- a group that shadows Vancouver Police officers as they do their jobs, often yelling abuse (sometimes racist) while the cops are trying to do their jobs.
The event’s Facebook page calls for supporters of “the new REVOLUTION movement” to come learn how to fight for a group of issues that are incredibly similar to those backed by the Council of Canadians (who always seem to be in the background at these kinds of events, one CoC leader has been confirmed attending- Harjap Grewal married to Harsha Walia).
The organizers haven’t provided many details on the type of direct action training they’ll be providing- by definition, direct action is usually something that puts people at risk of being arrested. As we saw during May Day, Dan Wallace’s type of direct action promotes violence against the police. Gauthier’s friends at cop-watch are notoriously anti-police (and have been supported by PIVOT Legal), Walia is a global icon for activist violence.
In addition to training, Wallace plans to use the direct action course as an opportunity to encourage people to join the protest, asking participants in a Facebook posting to: “bring your tents and leave them if you can” and “Spend a night or 2 to help with evening security”. We may see a boost in camp population this weekend- or, perhaps like Occupy, a new host of empty tents.
Same Old Response- In A Dangerous Situation:
When Occupy Vancouver was launched, Gregor Robertson’s response was so pro-Occupy it was echoed joyously by Occupiers around the world:
“We have seen the Occupy Wall Street movement grow and spread to dozens of cities across North America. In these turbulent economic times, I recognize and appreciate the concerns and angst that people, especially young people, feel about the economy, rising inequality, the environment, and state of the world right now. I fully support the right of people to demonstrate those concerns publicly and peacefully.”
Robertson’s response angered a lot of people, some pointed-out the hypocrisy of how the mayor used laws about “structures” to shut-down the Falun Gong’s protest across from the Chinese consulate but he was wholeheartedly behind the structures at Occupy. Robertson was accused of having double-standards (and eerily eager to please the Chinese government).
Occupy Vancouver’s first drug overdose was a bit of an embarrassment for the mayor- so, as the protest began to take form as a political liability, the city sent-in health and fire inspectors to try and shut down the camp. Their first official action was ban occupiers from erecting any more tents- isn’t it time to do that, before Wallace fills Oppenheimer with a new wave of occupiers?
A city with competent leadership wouldn’t have let things go this far. A police force with competent (and unbridled) leadership would have taken Dan Wallace into custody the moment after the riot he called for came to fruition. A competent newspaper would mention in their articles that Harsha Walia has a stake in the game. Instead, what we have here today, is an institutionally enabled farce.
Let’s hope Gregor Robertson’s absence of leadership doesn’t result in another dead body this time…
The city is backing this with their own resources, ie. giving a blackberry to one of the organizers: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/07/30/occupier-given-city-paid-phone
This city council needs to be turfed – openly supporting those who break laws by occupying a park illegally is going way too far!
Oh, wow, the city council is really dumb as a box of rocks…
if your so humble post my comments and make a public debate happen.
I believe that there was a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Falun Gong huts being erected near the Chinese consulate in that the city bylaws did not trump the right of political protest, speech, and expression on public land. Of course, unlike Occupy and the other tent cities, the Falun Gong was making no attempt to camp or reside in those huts, they were operating them as information booths of sorts. Camping out in a park, on mass is a different story since there are minimal washroom facilities and sanitation.
Of course Gregor being a lefty probably likes communist China and admires their tyrannical style of government. I’ve heard even kingpins in the environmental left acting as apologists for the Chicom’s disastrous environmental record, either ignoring it altogether, or citing the construction of wind and solar projects in China as genuine remediation efforts.
ok i’m open to a public debate how many of you in this readership can back up what you say? bring it on. you bring your group and i will just put it out there for others to come and join..
da fu.. are you talking about trespasser? get your encamped ass off of a public park and then we’ll talk…
pay your bills you trespasser useful idiot, although your not living up to your name…..
Not sure why you all hide behind fake names either but it does show how you low character you have. I have nothing to hide but your not that convinced even in your own opinion to just be people and have a straight out debate. Are you all afraid that you might learn some real facts? Isn’t that why Hitler burnt books?….. Your probably not as screwed as he was but still feel you have to hide behind a phoney name/identity.
Sick thing about what government just did was dictate the transparency act within indian affairs. What pisses me off about this is that it put’s me in a position to defend our people that work for the imposed indian act system.
Government is again using our people as a scape goat to hide what their real agenda is and this is a racist act on behalf of all canadians. This by all accounts should piss you off or in the least concern you.
It should concern everyone in light of the supposed use of tax dollars….
My argument to any canadian who thinks they are justified in using our people as an excuse of wasted tax dollars… Canadians need to come to terms with this. Your job, house, clothes on your back, water you drink, retirement your are living on or extra money you have been able to make has all been made on stolen lands and every I MEAN EVERY DOLLAR YOU MADE HAS BEEN AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR PEOPLES LIVES, CULTURE, LAND THROUGH RESOURCE EXTRACTION AND OUR PEOPLES COMMUNITY STABILITY TODAY.
So here is my message to the average canadian, SCREW OFF WITH YOUR WHINING ABOUT TAX DOLLARS AND BLAME THE ASSHOLES YOU ELECTED INTO GOVERNMENT. START DOING THE RIGHT THING BY PUTTING GOVERNMENT PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS IN JAIL AND EVEN ON DEATH ROW…… THEN TURN THAT BACK TOWARDS CORPORATIONS AND THEIR CEO’S!!!!!!! They are the ones that are really screwing you over NOT MY PEOPLE!!!!!
Mr Wallace, I really don’t see much point in debating anything here. You rant on and on, maybe have a few valid points, others are way out there, but if someone makes a counterpoint, or contradicts you, you will just throw out the race card. The Indian Act imposes a corrupt and unaccountable system of governance on native peoples, nobody is denying that. Also nobody is denying that there are valid land claims that need to be addressed. But to suggest that in spite of treaties to the contrary, some that have been in place for over 100 years, that every non aboriginal lives on stolen land, and that Canada’s economic wealth has been made from stolen resources is pure lunacy.
First it assumes that every square foot of land was occupied by one aboriginal band or another, which is false. Second it assumes that the aboriginal bands would have made use of mineral wealth, or other resources, that they either had no means of exploiting or were even aware of, had the non aboriginals not arrived. Third, it assumes that every aboriginal band is not inhabiting land that was not originally inhabited by another aboriginal band at some point, or that are not overlapping claims between one band and the next.
With regard to the transparency act with aboriginal affairs, why are you opposed to disclosing how band funds are spent and how much the chief, band council, and staff, take home as pay? Do the ordinary band members not have a right to know how much money is coming in and where it is going? Not that this has anything to do with land claims but this is something that every elected official, like the Prime Minister, a city’s mayor, or a director of a publicly traded company must do, by law. But tell us again about how that’s racist to hold band councils to the same standard as everyone else.
Hmm Fritz? You do realize every treaty has been broken therefore it legally kills it.
Now this is the first time you and I have engaged so it is easy for you to dismiss a debate before one has even started, lol.
Please explain to me how this country built up it’s wealth other then natural resources? You and I know that the spin off business based on resource economics and wealth has a long reach for example; workers like loggers or miners need to eat so a grocery store is needed, homes need to be built, police fire and medical needs have to be thrown in as well. I think your getting the point…..
Now consider this in your point with respect to land occupancy “First it assumes that every square foot of land was occupied by one aboriginal band or another, which is false.” Let me ask you this then. You live in a home that has a bathroom right, (obviously rhetorical) but should we consider your bathroom not your just because you are not in it 24-7? Please man you need to get it together. We had our villages, nations and actual areas that were designated hunting or fishing grounds, same as places we harvested medicines and berries and so on…. It’s kind of like having a house with a back yard if you will, we just didn’t put up fences….
Now i think you are confusing the imposed Indian act band councils as there are many bands a part of their traditional NATION. This was established well before reserves were imposed and Columbus got lost at sea.
So the transparency act and how it has been delivered to mainstream society is also stupid when it comes to protecting actual business economic development for just reserve lands but this does not address lands that have not been surrendered….
Man this was way to easy. NEXT! BATTER UP, i know i knocked your points out of the park Fritz…. But still willing to engage an obvious intentionally ignorant mind ( note no race card until this, but still didn’t pull it like you suggested lol)
Want to talk more please educate me with respect to 1763 Royal Proclamation, then the BNA 1864 and show me in those documents actual land transfers if any….