Not So Fast, Canada

February 27, 2010

Oh, Canada…

Stolen from native land

Troops, tanks, and bombs

Invade Afghanistan

Seas of red and white, flags-o-wavin, chanting in the street. Canada really wants to celebrate itself. But are we at a point where we deserve a celebration?

Many Olympic goers have felt as though the protesters at the games are out to spoil their fun. Not so. To those protesting oppressive Canadian policies, Canada does not evoke pride but pain. There is nothing wrong with celebrating, but let’s take care of each other first. That’s something to celebrate.

I saw a homeless man picking bottles out of trash bins from the window of  a downtown apartment yesterday. He had a large Canadian flag attached to the back of his bike. I wondered what reason he had to celebrate his country, which had let him slide through the cracks. Then I realized that there was a rickshaw attached to the back of his bike. He was selling patriotism to make a buck, to buy him a meal.

We think we are living in the future with our fancy technology, but as long as we’re bombing each other for peace, we’re living in the past.

Police Brutality

February 22, 2010

The Face of the 2010 Games

I have had several alpha male types tell me in regards to the Heart Attack protests last weekend: they wanted to punch the protesters in the face. But does breaking a window give anyone the grounds to break your face?

No. In the court of law, you are required to be made whole regarding damaged or stolen property. If you hurt someone for ruining your stuff, there will be serious charges laid against you

Then WHY is this legal for the police?

Below is a compilation of some exceedingly brutal arrests made during the march which are an ominous sign of what is to come for our society since the police did not inflict proper discrepancy on who they were arresting. The Vancouver Police department took people down as they tried to disperse and they detained peaceful protesters in the street for a strangely long period of time. To violently attack anyone wearing black is not a solution for arresting the few in black who smashed windows – the police force didn’t know who they’re taking down, but someone had to pay. With them, the police brought machine guns, pellet guns, batons and shields (which they used), and tear gas, which was not used as the area was crowded with Olympic goers, or as one policeman called them “normal people”.

It is not illegal to cover your face with a mask on the street. If this were the case, the SWAT team would be breaking the law by covering their face in anticipation of the tear gas they may potentially deploy.

The videos all show protesters hitting the pavement and being hit and shoved with shields and batons. They do not show the protesters inciting violence towards law enforcement.

When a movie warns that it will contain violence, does this typically mean that you will see vandalism? Buildings being demolished?

No, it means that there will be bloodshed and people will get hurt.

A main intention of the protesters on the street on Saturday 13, 2010 was to show the world what becomes of those who express intense dissent towards government. You can disagree with the government, but make too strong a statement and you will be physically attacked.

Do You Believe?

February 18, 2010

The slogan for the Olympics this year is strangely similar to the old McDonald’s jingle: “Do you believe in magic?” (then something about always having a friend wearing big red shoes), the main quality I seek in friends. Anyway, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics somehow requires our belief for it to take place. But although the city is abuzz as expected with red-clad bandwagon riders who jump at the chance to celebrate drink, the city has also been in a state of perpetual protest, thousands gathering to express dissent about the two week party for the rich and the  corrupt society that Canada has sunken into.

Why Resist 2010?

  • Ecological Destruction

Despite claims to be the “greenest Olympics” ever, and PR statements about ‘sustainability’, the 2010 Olympics will be among the most environmentally destructive in history, with tens of thousands of trees cut down & mountainsides blasted for Olympic venues in the Callaghan Valley (near Whistler) & the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion. In the summer of 2007, a record number of black bears were hit on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, with at least 11 dying (attributed to loss of habitat). Massive amounts of concrete used in construction have also caused millions of Salmon to die in the Fraser River, where tons of gravel are being mined to make concrete.

  • Homelessness

Since winning the 2010 Winter Games in 2003, Vancouver has lost over 850 units of low-income housing; during the same period, homelessness has increased from 1,000 to over 2,500. It is estimated by 2010, the number of homeless may be as high as 6,000. Since the 1980s, Olympic Games have caused the displacement of over 2 million people (Fair Play for Housing Rights report, 2007). In Seoul 1988, some 750,000 poor were displaced, in Atlanta 1996, over 30,000, and for Beijing in 2008, an estimated 1.5 million have been displaced. Yet still today Olympic officials talk about ‘sustainability’ and ‘Olympic legacies’! To ‘clean out’ the poor and undesirables, Olympic host cities routinely begin a campaign to criminalize the poor. In Vancouver, the city has launched Project Civil City and new by-laws to criminalize begging for money, sleeping outdoors, etc. It has also included hundreds of thousands of dollars for increased private security (i.e., the Downtown Ambassadors). New garbage canisters on streets make it more difficult for the poor to gather recyclables, and new benches make it impossible to lay down.

  • 2010 Police State

Some 12,500 police, military and security personnel are to be deployed for 2010, including Emergency Response Teams, riot cops, helicopters, armoured vehicles, etc. The RCMP plan on erecting 40 km of crowd-control fencing along with CCTV video surveillance cameras. Special security zones will be established to control entry near Olympic venues. For 3 weeks, Vancouver will be an occupied Police State! And once the Olympics are over, there is no guarantee many of these security measures will not remain (i.e., CCTV).
Repression also involves attacks on anti-Olympic groups & individuals, including arrests of protesters, raids of offices, surveillance, media smear campaigns, cuts to funding programs, etc., all in an effort to undermine anti-2010 resistance. This repression has already been used against anti-poverty & housing groups, environmentalists and Natives, in Vancouver.

  • Public Debt

VANOC and government officials claim the 2010 Games will cost some $2 billion. However, this amount doesn’t include the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion, the Canada Line Skytrain to the airport, the Vancouver Convention Center, or the lower mainland Gateway Project. Including these costs, since they were necessary to win the bid and had to be completed by 2010, makes the true cost of the Games some $6 billion, which must be paid for through public debt, money that could have been spent on social services, housing, drug treatment, healthcare, etc.

  • Corporate Invasion

Governments and businesses use the Olympics as a means to attract corporate investment. In BC, the Liberal government has ‘streamlined’ application processes, cut taxes, and offered other incentives to increase certain industries such as mining, oil & gas drilling, and ski resorts. This includes large increases in transport systems, including new ports, bridges, expanded highways & rail-lines. This is all part of their Investment to 2010 Strategy. The results have been dramatic, record-breaking increases in these industries, resulting in greater environmental destruction and more corporate power & influence over our daily lives. Many of the main corporate sponsors of the Olympics are themselves responsible for massive ecological destruction and human rights violations, including McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Petro-Canada, TransCanada, Dow, Teck Cominco, etc., while others are major arms manufacturers (General Electric & General Motors).

On February 15th, a tent village was erected on an empty lot on East Hastings owned by an Olympic sponsor. Watch below what Canada was become:

That evening, several hundred gathered for a moving spectacle against globalization, poverty, and war on the downtown streets, ending at the tent village to show support.

Sticker left suprisingly not by myself

And NOW for your daily dose of propaganda:

(Meanwhile back at the ranch in Calgary, anarchists smashed up a McDonald’s in solidarity.)

Here are my points of contention with CTV’s spin on the protest, and yes – it was a protest:

  • You call the protesters violent, yet make no mention of anyone they hurt, although I know from participants that protesters were beaten in the street with batons.
  • Why were police so terrified of protesters blocking the Lion’s Gate Bridge when they close it bi-weekly at the drop of a hat based on “police business”? It was partially blocked this morning for an hour.
  • I’ve got news for you, the black bloc is not a small group, it is not even a group – it could be anyone behind those masks at any time. The same way that you hide behind your riot gear.
  • Police claim the anarchists are from Central Canada and the U.S.. There are anarchists in Vancouver, in every city. Anyone who has felt poverty, violence, and oppression is an excellent candidate for anarchy.
  • We must remember that the largest theft happens on a scale too massive to see, made legal by jargon and loopholes.

But the anarchist movement had this to say of Saturday’s protests:

The San Francisco-area blog, entitled “Beneath the snow: covering the resistance to the 2010 Olympics,” said the group of masked protesters, members of the “black bloc contingent,” have been a strong force of resistance since the Games opened in Vancouver Friday.

“What’s especially striking here… is how disciplined and strategically — even politically — effective they’ve been, and how much respect they’ve earned through their organizing efforts leading up to this point as well as their actions on the streets,” the author, who remained anonymous, wrote. The blog is produced by three writers involved in the social justice movement.

Two of Hearts

February 17, 2010

Two Hearts that Beat As One

Human + Animal = Beastiality True Love

Silly humans, fur is for animals.

Have you ever wanted to feel famous for a day? Well that was the experience Sunday as 12 activists took over the stairs at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Valentine’s Day. With thousands of camera happy people lurking around the fountain and clock, we had constant flashbulbs going off. Might have had something to do with the naked people…

This was my beginner attempt at banner making, which is an excellent thigh workout, btw, with all the hovering. The letters are made of everything from pastels, to oil paint, to tape, to gift bags, and there are also sparkles, diamond studs and tissue paper. Keep it simple.

We also had media attention, including a Russian newspaper and who I believe was Kermit the Frog.

Check out 24’s coverage here.

Behind the Scenes

Everyone loved the naked guys. From our Zac Efron look-alike who couldn’t put his clothes back on because there was too long a line-up of tweens wanting to take pics with him, to our super, super naked guy who was not afraid to go all the way for compassion and was so well-received, even families wanted to take pictures with him.

So there you go – feel famous, toned thighs – activism has its perks.

Heart Attack 2010

February 14, 2010

Clogging the Arteries of Vancouver

Olympic Welcoming Committee, Feb.12 2010

After thousands hit the streets yesterday to come together in protest of the 2010 Olympics, chaos broke out today in the downtown core of Vancouver, windows of various corporations smashed and doused in red paint, including The Royal Bank, The Bay, and Bell. The protesters, about 200, were in black bloc formation.

The Black Bloc

While some misguided protesters decided to vandalize personal property (?) others sent a strong anti-capitalist message to corporate sponsors. CBC is describing the group as “violent”, but it was the cops who committed violence – full on beatings with batons.

Property destruction is not the same as violence. Get your story straight CBC. Spin, spin, spin.

What is violence? Smashing a window, or someone's face?

Personally, I think kicking over mopeds on the DTES is stupid, but it was a sight for sore eyes to see The Bay’s windows demolished. The Bay makes millions of dollars off the needlessly cruel fur industry and are very much deserving of anger coming their way. Vans parked on the sidewalk tried to cover the broken windows. A woman stood in front of a window after holding a cardboard sign that said something like “Douchebags breaking windows is not protesting.” Of course, I yelled something about how The Bay skins animals alive only to have the media cameras on her aim at me, asking: “What is freedom?” I replied:

“The end of all oppressive systems”

An explanation of the tactis used for Heart Attack 2010:

“Diversity of tactics means support for each others’ chosen method of resistance while not threatening the lives of those around us. It is a way by which we hope to create space for the realization of tension, uncertainty, action, humour and beauty as we strive for new ways to engage with each other and against a common enemy. While we may practice one tactic or action, we do not chose yours. As participants we agree to leave the policing of tactics to our oppressors, not our comrades; we will not attack each other for using methods that are not our own. Through a diversity of tactics we are stronger and more cohesive towards our goal of giving Capitalism a massive coronary.”

*More footage of the protest to come…

STFU Vancouver

January 25, 2010

2010 Olympics Tries to Silence Dissenters

In case you didn’t know, in June 2009, Vancouver passed the “Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games Bylaw” to restrict the distribution and exhibition of unapproved advertising material and signs in any Olympic area during the Games (!)

It includes an exception for celebratory signs, which are defined as those that celebrate the 2010 Winter Games and create or enhance a festive environment and atmosphere.

Um, is anyone buying this Nazi bs?

Your city does not have the right to tell you to celebrate or go home.

Olympic Rings are the new Swastika

A deja vu of the orignial Nazi Olypmics:

“For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the Summer Olympics. Soft-pedaling its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.”

"They" are watching you.

The 2010 bylaw includes a passage entitled “prohibitions regarding city land,” which includes a clause that will almost surely trigger a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge. Clause 4B makes it illegal during the Winter Games without authorization to:

“(a) bring onto city land any
(i) weapon,
(ii) object, including any rock, stick, or glass or metal bottle useable as a weapon, except for crutches or a cane that a person who is elderly or disabled uses as a mobility aid,
(iii) large object, including any bag, or luggage that exceeds 23 x 40 x 55 centimetres;
(iv) voice amplification equipment including any megaphone,
(v) motorized vehicle, except for a motorized wheel chair or scooter that a person who is elderly or disabled uses as a mobility aid,
(vi) anything that makes noise that interferes with the enjoyment of entertainment on city land by other persons*,
(vii) distribute any advertising material or install or carry any sign unless licensed to do so by the city.”

*Canada has evidently become a country that places entertainment as its first and foremost priority, above freedom of speech. Sit and watch and Shut The Fuck Up.

Protest signs usually are made using sticks, often are larger than subsection (iii) allows (as are puppets and other protest devices), demonstrations almost always employ megaphones or other voice amplification devices, and can well “interfere with the enjoyment” of the Olympic spectacle by who chose to be so offended. Protesters often pass out leaflets as well.

Rule 51 of the IOC Olympic Charter prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Not exactly the stuff of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but then again, nobody elected the IOC to protect democracy.

  • If you have something to say against the Olympics, say it loud and clear, and say it during the Olympics.

  • If you have a campaign in mind that targets the international Olympic audience, then by all means show up and state your message.

  • These bylaws are meant to intimidate, but they are just words.

  • Your city (and country) will only become a police state if you let it.

Solidarity Against Police Repression Rally, 200 in attendance: January 22, 2010

Elephantine Cruelty

July 27, 2009

Orange County People for Animals (OCPA) demonstrate in Anaheim, California to show circus-goers the animal cruelty recently exposed by the Ringling Brothers in their disgusting treatment of elephants.

PETA recently went undercover backstage at the Ringling and Barnum & Bailey Circus and captured Ringling workers on video as they beat the elephants in their show dozens of times in venues across the country.

  • 8 employees including an animal superintendent and a head elephant trainer used bullhooks and other objects to strike elephants on the head, ears, and trunk
  • employees whipped elephants and a tiger, including on or near the face
  • employees hooked and yanked elephants by their sensitive skin using the sharp steel tips of bullhooks
  • one elephant, Tonka, repeatedly exhibited signs of severe psychological stress but was nevertheless forced to perform night after night




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