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At a recent press conference Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said that the riots Downtown on Wednesday night were the work of “anarchists and criminals”. Initially I can say that his words are both true and untrue. First he is correct when he admits that anarchist are hockey fans too, but wrong to say that we had any significant contribution to the events downtown. When looking at the pictures of the riots that he is making his judgements from, it is quite clear that it was simply ordinary people, emboldened by the power of numbers, and the rage of the crowds who were doing the majority of the rioting.
In reality anarchism is a way of viewing the world that wishes to see a society in which all decisions in society are made by those that are affected by those decisions, a non-hierarchical society in which those that want to play leader and control or manipulate others are either destroyed or stripped of their power and viewed with utter contempt. There are many different strains of anarchism... ...blah, blah, blah, I won't spend too much time on this right now, but you get the idea. It's too damn bad that these people weren't all anarchists. One thing we did have in common this evening was our uncontrollable desires and our disdain and disregard for the property and wealth that this society holds so dearly over human life, and the life of our planet.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, and many corporate media outlets, have stated that the rioting was committed by “a small minority”, this is an utter load of bullshit. There were thousands of us and I am proud to say that I am from the Lower Mainland today. Just like in '94 the city made the mistake of inviting mass numbers of working class people into an alienated downtown core that none of us hold sacred, to celebrate a violent sport. Even if many of us didn't see it that way: Richmond, Surrey, New West, Burnaby, North, East, South Vancouver, all the rest, we showed the pigs, politicians and developers whats up!
On the streets you could feel the expression, and even us anarchists found it liberating. It was, as usual, disappointing to see so many people attacking each other for stupid reasons, like we see every time after the fireworks at English Bay, but one thing I did notice is that wherever our true enemies (property and pigs) were attacked, was exactly where we stopped attacking each other. That's not to say that some of the violence against human bodies was not for good reason, I'll say this now, heroes and vigilanties need to wake the fuck up and get their priorities strait! Fuck snitches!
Contrary to David Rovic's comments (http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10769) regarding the anti-olympic demonstrations on February 13th 2010, it seems clear to me that ordinary people certainly do love a good riot!
Throughout the drive to the cup, I was a little worried by Gregor Robertson's statements that the city had “matured” since '94. In reality the “maturity” I believe he was talking about was the brutal yuppification of the lower mainland, over the last 10 years or so, I'm glad to see that our city still has some heart! The news the next day, was full of quotes from middle class white people, apparently disturbed at the thought of Vancouver losing it's reputation as a “world class city”. I would like to ask the rest of us whom the corporate media would never allow to have a say on the matter, do we really want to live in a world class city?
I for one would love to live in a classless society, but the goddamn pigs won't let me!
What does it mean to live in a world class city? Sterile communities without a flaw in the pavement, or a drop of paint on the wall? A giant resort for the rich of the world to come and enjoy the fruits of our labour? Back breaking costs of living? This is one of the things we were trying to get at with the anti-olympic stuff: Fuck living in a world class city!
They say that after the riots in '94 there was a 26% “correction” in housing prices in Vancouver. Yes people it's been said before and I'll say it now: Riots Work!
Unlike the riots in '94 there were loads of people with cameras, they took hundreds of pictures and videos, many of them are now innocently uploading these onto the internet, and the pigs and snitches are viewing them and trying to have people identified. Please stop!
There is a tactic that people who take illegal actions use around the world it's called masking up, and I hope people remember that.
Also tactically speaking, early on in the rioting there was often a feeling of panic, people constantly moving in surges, whether away from, or towards apparent “danger”. Closer to the end of the riots people became more comfortable and began to move collectively with more purpose, imagine if the riots happened more often and we could begin with more purpose next time!
Yet another inspiring event that night was the mass re-appropriation of wealth (looting), capitalist morality calls it “theft”, and I'd just like to wish a merry game 7 to all!
On the night of January 7th 2009, there were riots in Oakland, California in response to the murder by pigs of Oscar Grant. Some anarchists in Oakland put out a letter congratulating the people of Oakland for their bravery in rioting. It is their words to the people who were arrested during those riots that I would like to relay to those who will undoubtedly be facing criminal charges as a result of these riots:
“But let this letter be a word of encouragement. Let this letter be comfort in the courtroom when you stare up back at the judge, when they call you a criminal... ...We grieve that we are choked each day and we celebrate that just past the tear gas we finally caught a breath of reality. We finally found humanity, together.”
This is not to try and say that the loss of the Vancouver Canucks at the hands of the Boston Bruins in any way compares to the loss of a human life at the hands of the pigs, but instead to point out that all the other reasons for rioting are indeed very legitimate, and we all know that win or lose those reasons still exist.
I heard a rumor that one of the people who was already apparently identified in the rioting has already been fired from their job, there was also a news headline, calling for everyone to be fired. Fire us like the postal workers? Don't let this kind thing worry you, it's the nature of capitalism, they can't afford to fire us all!
To all the snobby Anarchists around the world who will read this and call me lazy or unable to build a real revolutionary movement; I would never suggest that riots involving Hockey fans every 17 years in any way replaces the urgency of organizing against the state and capitalism. Just that I am proud of my city, and I would never want the propaganda campaign of the police, media, and politicians to rob people of the freedom that they realised on Wednesday night.