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Dancing at the Ledge

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Dancing at the Ledge

Are you going to fight for your right to party? Because we did, and we got that right and more. 

We imagined an autonomous zone at the gates of a gothic fortress, the BC Legislative Building - once a Songhees village, now the crown jewel of BC's capital Victoria. We imagined a zone of freedom smack in the middle of the zone of government control - the grand expanse of lawn, statues, flags, and fountains overlooking the harbour.

Inside the towering fort, esteemed Members of the Legislative Assembly pass the laws, set the penalties, and count the money. Their baroque, be-robed and bejeweled ceremonies are off-limits to public participation; we can only watch from a guarded gallery. 

Behind closed doors, our "representatives" carve up forests, watersheds, coastlines, and fish habitat for corporate handouts. This is where all our letters and petitions against tankers and pipelines go to die ignored.   

Certain charter rights - like the right to sleep - are suspended when we step onto the hallowed grounds of the Ledge. Commissionaires patrol with grim vigilance around the clock. 

That's why we decided to hold an all-night dance party on the lawn. We spun and stomped under the sheltering branches of a giant Sequoia and a statue of the Queen. The sun rose and the marching band rolled up and the party climaxed with a two-hour noise jam as the workday began.   

Members arriving for the May 1st legislative session found a circus cacophony. In ones and twos and small groups, they stopped, grimaced, stared, grumbled and shouted at us and each other. They peered down from upstairs windows and balconies and came down to complain about the noise to the Commissionaires, who only shrugged.

Yes, we DO have the right to party at the Legislature. 

It was a message beyond words. It was a feeling beyond empowerment. It was a slap to the ones who think they govern us. They heard it and they felt it. Every thud of the giant drum, every clash of the cymbals, every bellow of the slide trombone reminded them it was Mayday, and the people are taking back their power.  

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