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Bros and Barbarism - The Trouble with Trustafarians

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.

 Having read a lot of the reaction to the Canucks riot, I'm finding myself in a lot of disagreement with people I'd usually find common cause with. As the mob of the outraged turns on the mob that formed that night, a profile of the typical rioter has been coming forward. Young. Middle class. Privileged. University students and athletes from "good" families. This flies in the face of a lot of the initial reaction from anti-establishment sources.

 This was not the rage of the alienated, fighting a battle that existed only in their subconscious. This was not a sudden outburst against an oppressing authority. This was the tantrum of a collection of the spoiled children of the exploiters. The Douche Suit Riot, The Broletarian Revolution,  Frat Tuesday.

  This wasn't an abberation, either. This sort of behavior on a smaller scale is par for the course on a typical Vancouver weekend. Near-misses with speeding luxury cars bearing an "N" sticker pasted on the bumper are commonplace, Granville Street during weekends is often a dangerous labryinth of thugs in designer jeans bearing scowls and simmering with hostility, especially if you're clearly not "one of the pack". 

  This is a problem of culture and a problem of capitalism. In a strongly stratified city such as Vancouver, a new aristocracy has formed, with similar attitudes to their ancient counterparts. An arrogance that has become so powerful that it is more than simply distasteful, it's downright perilous at times for the average citizen. 

  In my occupation, I've had to respond to numerous beatings of homeless individuals on the Downtown Eastside, and these incidents have been increasing steadily since the initially slow gentrification has ramped up to a fever pitch. Main street from Terminal to Hastings is quickly being developed into another Granville street as expensive commuter bars have begun to appear, uprooting the locals and bringing them into contact and conflict with hostile affluent youth. 

  The constant dehumanization of the destitute in the media plays a factor. The recent comparison of downtown eastside residents as "Pigs" by Vancouver Sun columnist Shelly Fralic is just the latest example of corporate news sources engaging in poor-bashing slander campaigns. This type of dreck will only continue as the Vision Vancouver/Developer assault on the neighborhood ramps up. 

  The disappearance of "good jobs" from this city has become another factor. Paying work has disappeared in this new economy. Those of us who are not born into wealth must struggle in a market polluted by service work, where the culture of "customer service" has created an expectation of servile, submissive behavior from the working poor. I work with the mentally ill and addicted, I work with people in pain and despair, but the occasional trouble I deal with in my current occupation pales in comparison to the abuse I recieved in my time in the service industry. It's a mild complaint, certainly, yet the framework of these seemingly miniscule quirks of life under Vancouver's unique brand of neoliberalism play out on a larger scale. 

  This divide has robbed an entire subset of the population of humility and compassion. It is imperialism at home on a smaller scale. I would dare not compare the severity of the suffering of those abroad to the problems here, but the dynamic remains the same. Abuse and exploitation reign, sowing the seeds of criminal actions by a generation constantly reminded of their inherent superiority.

  This violence and strife is fuelled by consumerism, a culture that glorifies the wealthy by mere virtue of their holdings and a culture quickly devolving into feudal values. These "little lords" commit crimes and menace the public with impunity, spurred on by the indulgences of their families and othering of the rest of us.

 As a society and city we are regressing under the reign of capital, and it is the duty of all of us to resist and fight for the dignity, safety and health of all Canadians. 



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Thank You

Thank you for sharing this considered perspective on trustafarians, and especially for the grounding in your own direct experience.

Great points.  I also wonder

Great points.  I also wonder to what extent the fact that Vancouver's house price bubble has been stubbornly lingering for years after it has collapsed in other areas like Los Angeles, England, Spain etc... contributes to a culture of entitlement.  There is probably a subpopulation that has extra money in their pockets from this, but we can logically recognize that it's unsustainable and won't last long (which subconsciously might make people hostile). Local kids will not all grow up to be dental surgeons and afford the houses and high rents, and international money can't flow in forever. Unfortunately, in other cities like Phoenix, the poorest areas still suffer the most, and rents don't really come down despite a bunch of empty overbuilt condos everywhere.   With the hockey riot, I mainly wonder why this doesn't happen in the other cities this has been held for the last decade. Is it a 2011 thing or a vancouver thing?

I agree with everything you

I agree with everything you have to say in this article concerning the rapidly widening schism between vancouvers haves and have nots. However sir, I must point out that the why? of any real situation cannot be answered so simply, by blaming exclusively a spoiled lifestyle that has been brought about by unfettered capitalism run amok. Life is rarely so simple as that.

Even the wealthy must chafe, at least subconciously, under the shackles of our politcally correct nanny state society. Even if all these supposedly spoiled and braindead rioters conciously think about is twittering, eating, shitting, fucking, and watching tv all their lives as many people these days seem too, that doesnt mean that somewhere deep in the recesses of their poisoned minds they dont realize that life the way we live it is profoundly wrong.

Everyone feels anger against the authority that takes half their money, spends it on war, corruption, interest on debt to zionist banks, etc etc with a little trickle left for toll bridges, schools designed to teach stupidity and some clean needles for junkies.

Whether or not we conciously associate this oppression with our government and its collaberating structures of power is a matter of perception and education not subjective opinion, however, everyone at some level knows that they are being held down. Even the so called privaleged, the middle class and up, they suffer the same affliction as the rest of us. And when their hockey team loses and everyone is drunk and one rabble rouser rouses the rabble as planned all along.... well all that pent up rage at our lot in life is itching to be unleashed upon a police cruiser or the windows of a drug store.

Plus add the different mob pshycology angles, esoteric concepts, local riot nostalgia from 94 etc etc etc.

All these factors and much more should be addressed if one cares to know why the riot happened. Honestly your article left me with the distinct impression that you blame what you percieve to be capitalism for the shortcomings of vancouvers youth and our culture as a whole. Your writing gives me the impression that you're what they call a 'leftist'.

Well, I am not a card carrying right winger, conservative, centrist, liberal, anarchist, communist or any such ideological puritan. What I am however is a student of history. And history is what tells me that the system to blame for social inequity, war, poverty, enviromental degredation, and yes the hockey riot, cannot in fact be described as capitalism. That idea is of course anithema for any good follower of marx but its a clod hard fact that really, even the supposed "pure capitalist" countries like the USA are more akin to marx's socialist paradise than anything Adam Smith wrote of.

Here lies the root of it all. The linchpin of our enslavement is not money, or private property, or george bush's goofy face, it is the interest we pay on our money. It is the fact that every nation on earth that isnt currently being bombed or blockaded uses a central bank that charges interest on the money it prints to its respective nations taxpayers. Oh no its a conspiracy.......... well no shit. Centralized banking and economic sytems like that which we currently have robbing us all, were an essential part of socialism as invisioned by marx. The opposite would be true of of the free market which by its nature cannot exist under a central banking and economic authority hell bent on constantly inflating the money supply. So if central banks and free market capitalism cannot co-exist, and these private banks have existed for nearly a century or more in many cases, well.... then what economic ideology has actually brought us to this, the brink of self-destruction?

I apologize for the pain I've caused anyone who actually read all the above despite by bad grammar and lack of articulation. Also for my long windedness and lack of a clear point. But the media co-op sadly seems to be the most prominent of the local independant media outlets; I don't enjoy reading the same left-right arguments that have trapped us here in the first place, being rehashed in the only supposed free and enlightened media forum he have around here.

I've noticedthat many of us anti establishment vancouverites are chasing the wrong ghosts, and all I want to do is open a dialogue between us all and hopefully flush out the real ones.

Keep on keeping on friends


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