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The Pickle Makes Us Strong – Pidgin Picket at Three Months

by Joseph Jones

Getting Started on the Evening
The Cop Doesn't Want to Sing
Six Stanzas of "Saltydarity for Pickle"
Friend of Owner Shoulders Fancy Camera
Turning Up the Volume
Near and Far
Watermelon Greets Pickle
Watermelon Has Pink Too – Inside
Lots of Activity
Signs Ring the Entrance
Do They Know What They're Doing?
Pickle Power
Five Cops Hang Out by Pigeon Park
Cops and Pidgin Owner Across the Street
Owner Says to Focus on Provincial Election
Cop Car Late to the Party

Week 13 of the Pidgin picket saw the Vancouver Police Department jackhandle its intimidation campaign another notch or two upward.

In response, the Pidgin picket closed off its first quarter-year with an emergency call out for Saturday May 4.

A high-spirited and fluid group of two to three dozen, perhaps more, gathered on the evening of May 4 to feast on watermelon and to sing a few rousing rounds of a special anthem crafted for the occasion, Saltydarity for Pickle.

Pictures with captions far outdo prose in conveying a sense of the evening. Keep eyes peeled for all those VPD in the background, about ten of them as regular presence. Contemplate the dangers that were averted by maintaining a policing ratio in the range of one cop to three picketers. Consider the whack of money that could have gone to building social housing rather than paying for police overtime.


On Friday 3 May 2013 the VPD issued a media release — Warrant for Woman in Relation to Pidgin Protests — that put a name to a unidentified person already singled out in their 17 April 2013 press conference.

The discrepancy apparent between (a) the allegation — a purported symbolic attempt to carry out an unrealized and apparently non-destructive action, and (b) the issuance of a "wanted" notice for a person said to have no criminal history, mainly serves to make police look foolish. Especially when this follow-up media release calls attention to a warrant for arrest that has been outstanding for more than two weeks now.

In the background, a metaphoric burning rubber of spinning wheels raises acrid stench. It smells like police are under pressure from politicians to make a display of taking action?

An earlier media release — Some Protestors to Receive Notice of Criminal Conduct by Police — came out in conjunction with the first press conference, but itself referred only to "the unusual step of warning a small number of protestors."

As usual, mainstream media flocked to rehash the latest VPD media release as "news," and sometimes to grab-bag their propaganda together with whatever else could be scraped up.

By far the stupidest instance of elaboration on the media release came from CBC News. That "reporting" relied heavily on a tainted source that is infamous for having few standards other than vituperation, fabrication, and unacknowledged appropriation.

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Pidgin Picket

This picket has been an unqualified success.

By ignoring heroin dealers, and going after pickle dealers, the picketeers have converted the entire city to their cause.

Every day, more and more people flock to the line. Last night, more than nine people showed up to denounce the menu. 17,000 people live in the DTES. Nine picketers out of 17,000 residents is an overwhelming proof of support in the DTES.

The fact that the leadership of the picket doesn't even live in the DTES is beside the point. Although Homeless Dave isn't actually homeless, the fact that he lives in North Van is immaterial. Joseph Jones lives in Norquay, a subject of no relevance either.

The fact that a restaurant must be held responsible for providing public housing cannot be overlooked. Pidgin should have been required to build 47 units of public housing before being allowed to open its doors. Everyone agrees.

Night after night, the residents of Pigeon Park come over and stand on the line in support... Oh. Wait. They don't. Sorry.

The restaurant hasn't drawn a customer in over two months, and all of this free publicity hasn't helped them at all.

Everything considered, the Pidgin Picket has been a triumph. They have drawn a line in the quicksand, and the entire DTES has rushed to their side. Nine out of 17,000 ain't bad.


I agree, the Pidgin picket

I agree, the Pidgin picket has been a great success and this can be seen in the reaction from politicians, business, and cops.  It has been a success in that it has continued for over three months, despite police harassment and intimidation.  I have seen far more residents of the DTES at the Pidgin picket than sitting inside the restaurant.  0 out of 17,000 is pretty bad.  Where does the owner of Pidgin live? Or all the other business owners hoping to profit from gentrification and displacement in the DTES?  Where do all those cops who patrol the DTES live? 


Hey Zig:  you ask where the DTES cops live. Probably in North Van, like Not-Homeless Dave. Or out in Norquay, like Joseph Jones. Or over in West Van, where Nick Ellan comes from. Or in a luxury highrise condo in Burnaby, where Harsha Walia lives.

But the cops and business people don't pretend to represent the people of the DTES. You do.

There are 17,000 people living in the DTES. You have nine people walking a line and you pretend you "represent" the other 16,991 of them.

And get this. The people who actually live in Pigeon Park ignore you. They could walk 12 feet to join your picket, but they can't be bothered. Tells you something.

Your picket would have a lot more credibility if you went after the real source of suffering -- drug dealers and pimps.

Your picket would have a lot more relevance if you went after the real center of power -- City Hall, or Victoria, or Ottawa, or even BC Housing.

But instead a small and wornout band stands around complaining about a menu, and wonders why you have no public support at all.

Nine people out of 17,000 is not the popular uprising you may have intended.

and what about yourself Tim?

Who do you represent? Don't think anyone is disputing drug dealing or pimping today ... they're talking about gentrification. Perhaps you're too busy creepily profiling people to pay attention to what they're trying to say? Anyway, I've seen all those people you mention outside of city hall or at the legislature in Victoria or any number of other protests so ... even the point you're trying to make doesn't really make any sense.

Also, you're one of those masks-are-for-cowards idiots. 

in reply

Masks ARE for cowards.

Did you ever see ML King wear a mask? Nelson Mandela wear a mask? Malcolm? Gandhi? Louis Riel? Proudhon? Kropotkin? Emma?

Masks are for cowards. And raccoons. 

The Pidgin demo is so irrelevant that even the people who live in Pigeon Park can't be bothered to walk across the street to join it.

You are entitled to pretend otherwise.

If it WAS relevant, the people who live at Pigeon Park all day would have organized the demo in the first place. But they didn't. You know that, and you know why.

Your demo has nothing to do with their lives, and so they ignore you.

So do the other 16,991 people who actually live in the DTES.

Thanks for asking.



You're confused ...

Masks are for managing risk in this "free" society of ours. As for why you expect the people in pigeon park to do anything other than live their lives as they see fit ...

The vast majority of the general population isn't very politically engaged or active in this country. It's complicated to talk about why that is but the threat of a good example is why some of us support the picket. Turbulent economic times means there will only be more tension, more confrontation around issues like this.

You might as well get used to it Tim.


Masks are not for "managing risk". They are for avoiding responsibility, and escaping consequences.

The thugs who mask up and break windows, overturn garbage cans, and steal sandwich signs are not revolutionaries. They are vandals with a Grade 8 education.

Mandela didn't need a mask. He had courage. So too Malcolm, and Martin, and Emma, and Louis Riel. The maskers of the DTES have zero courage, and much fear.

"Managing risk"? They're just hiding from cops, like a child not wanting to get caught with a hand in the cookie jar.

The people who live all day in Pigeon Park have totally ignored your demo. It is meaningless to them for reasons you cannot bear to acknowledge. Of course it is "complicated to talk about", because a thoughtful analysis would reveal that the Pidginites don't represent the actual folks who live in the park, or in the DTES.

Those folks couldn't care less about your efforts.

But that's OK. You couldn't care less about theirs. You are mutually exclusive groups, working on mutually exclusive agendas. Yours is ideology. Theirs is survival. Yours is trivial. Theirs is existential.

If it were otherwise, they would be marching with all nine of you. If it were otherwise, they would have organized the picket line themselves.

But they are not, and did not, and you continue to parade in failed isolation... and just across the street, the people you claim to protect simply ignore you, night after night.

You might as well get used to it.


Whoa whoa, catch your breath

I'm not actually involved with the picket, don't even live in Vancouver. You certainly love to leap to conclusions and get swept up in your own rants. I don't believe in representation so I'm definitely not claiming to represent anyone, I just like watching hysterical yuppies get pissed off by underdog troublemakers the world over.

As for your ridiculously weak analysis around masks and tactics, it's a good thing nobody reads the comments here or you might have embarassed yourself with that clueless polemic.

I mean ... logic fallacies like "avoiding responsibility"? To whom? Many militants don't recognize the legitimacy of the canadian state, so how can they be avoiding responsibility to it? Are you just incapable of comprehending anything outside the usual reformist liberal discourse?

And yet you seem to spend quite a bit of time here ... apparently not learning anything, ranting about things you can't be bothered to understand enough to speak intelligently about. Luckily I'm long since used to it. 

The cowardice of masks

When Gandhi and his colleagues organized the legendary Salt March in 1930, it was a direct and non-violent attack upon the salt monopoly of the British. It challenged economic forces essential to the Raj, and was essential to achieving Indian independence 20 years later.

None of those great Indian revolutionaries wore masks.

When King and his allies organized a decade-long cycle of marches and pickets across the South, and later in the North, they were challenging a Jim Crow system whose legitimacy they did not concede. For Rev King, the only masks he saw were worn by the cowards of the KKK.

When Louis Riel, a militant who did not recognize the "legitimacy of the canadian state", was betrayed, he organized the Mètis Rebellions of 1869 and 1885 -- and never wore a mask either.   

In these cases, we saw true militants defy all the forces of government. You may have noticed, Sid, that Riel and Gandhi and King and Malcolm and Emma and Nelson never wore masks. They never talked about "risk management". They talked about principle.

In Vancouver, the masked cowards of the Black Bloc attack sandwich signs, pizza restaurants, store windows, trash cans, and march around with sticks on fire. 

When Dr King and Gandhi and Malcolm led forces of REAL rebellion against the state, they proudly submitted to arrest. And they changed the world.

When the people you defend mask up, they do so out of cowardice. They are not proud of what they do. They are children, afraid of consequence and getting caught.

Their political cowardice is enough to give raccoons a bad name. 



You still here?

Actually, most of those people you mention were reformists, not revolutionaries. Gandhi  and MLK were about dialoguing with power, not opposing it militantly. As for Louis Riel, he didn't have to contend with modern surveillance technology obviously, but really, your analogies are so ridiculously poor and scream clueless liberal baby boomer ...I have to wonder if you're just deliberately provoking me for fun.

There's countless -relevant- modern examples of masked revolutionaries that would make for better comparisons. The kids in cairo for instance? Anyway, canadian security forces haven't killed anyone at a protest lately so it's not so dramatic around here. 

In vancouver, the kids mask up to show solidarity with militancy and occasionally because they want to manage some risk. If you GO to any of the protests you're talking about, you'll see police everywhere filming everybody constantly, building their profiles on anyone they percieve as a threat.

People still want to go to the demos but they don't want to be filmed/profiled by police SO they put on a mask. What the hell is so difficult to understand about this? Do you have a head injury or something? Pull your head out of your ass and think about it for 2 minutes.

Jackass ...

and not going away

Sid, you defend the childish actions of masked bullies and cowards.

Gandhi was a non-violent militant who brought down the British Raj, and in twenty years created an independent India. He never needed a mask. He paid for such militancy with his life.

King was a non-violent militant who brought down a system of Jim Crow and segregation, achieved voting rights for his people, and empowered millions. He never needed a mask, and paid for such militancy with his life.

The children you defend raccoon-up, smash windows, overturn garbage cans, and march with the torches of the Klan.

They achieve nothing, and their 'militancy' is an excuse to -- like raccoons as well -- leave piles of trash in their wake.

These are "revolutionaries"?? What a joke. They are entirely inter-changeable with the Stanley Cup rioters and -- very likely -- were part of that circus of drunken idiots as well.

No one who speaks truth to power ever needs a mask for a megaphone.

You defend cowards. I'm glad you are not one of them.

I wonder ...

Are you a troll or just mentally ill?

I'm not claiming Vancouver has any "revolutionaries" and there's obviously no such thing as a "non-violent militant". You seem to deal almost exclusively in logic fallacies? It's impressive to have a decent command of the english language but so little ability to reason ...

I'm not "defending" anyone either ... just patiently explaining some very simple concepts.

Gandhi didn't "bring down the raj" and MLK is still a reformist although I don't really take issue with those methods. I'm just pointing out that your reactionary rejection of OTHER methods is very condescending and has little to do with reality.

"March with torches of the clan"?! Come on ... you have to be kidding. I'm not sure if trolling this website is sadder than actually believing half the crap you type ... actually the only other idiot in this town who sounds half as pompous is Greg Renouf the fucking Goof.

Is that you Greg? ;)  If you're some other idiot, you and Greg should totally blow each other. 

Still defending raccoons?

Hey Sid:

You wrote, absurdly, "there's obviously no such thing as a "non-violent militant"."

"Obviously"? Don't be ridiculous, and don't be so obtuse in reading history. You may oppose non-violent resistance, I suppose, but you must try harder to comprehend it.

Both Gandhi and King were powerful militants, leading non-violent protest against the power and instruments of the state.

You seem unaware of what actually happened during the Salt Marches. They were a direct -- and entirely militant -- assault on the economic hegemony of the Raj, and its salt monopoly. There was a great deal of violence, and all of it led by the British. You just don't know what you are talking about.

So too are you unaware of the history of Dr King and the non-violent militancy he raised against the entrenched white power structures of the Old South and, eventually, of the North. The night Dr King was assassinated, he had been leading a strike in favour of the sanitation workers in Memphis. Perhaps no one told you this.

I gather that wearing masks, and being called on the political cowardice it represents, is a sensitive subject for you. It takes zero valor to throw a rock through a window, and hide behind a mask while doing it. And it takes zero brains to march using torches redolent of the Klan and the SS.

But courage trumps cowardice, and proud determination trumps masked trembling, every time.

One day you'll find this out, and soon. I hope. Good luck!

Perhaps the dictionary then?



Combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause: "militant Islamic fundamentalists".


A person who is active in this way.


adjective.  warlike - bellicose - combative - belligerent - fightingnoun.  fighter - combatant - warrior - activist


I'm amused, not upset ;)

Also can't help but notice how you'd rather debate abstract interpretations of ancient history instead of the subject at hand. Any reasonable person can look at recent events in montreal if they want to know why angry dissidents nowadays wear masks and expect police violence.

Anyway, you're not really interested in a serious conversation, are you Greg? 

Still playing defense, I see

You have become an apostle of the obvious, Sid.

You quoted, "Combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause: "militant Islamic fundamentalists"." Very good. Now you're on to something. That is precisely what Gandhi and King did, and did with extraordinary success. And no masks.

But you knew that all along.

I presume you have friends in the Raccoon Brigades. Fair enough. Everyone needs a role model, and I gather they are yours.

The fact remains inarguable:  if they had courage, they would not need masks.

Rather, they throw rocks from behind masks -- and then run away as fast as they can.

The notion of openly confronting the power structure, of (as Alinsky taught) making that structure play by its own rules, and doing all of it with pride and distinction:  this is foreign to the midnight maskers.

They are cowards who would rather steal sandwich boards, and break pizza windows. Whoo hoo! Now THAT will smash capitalism.

Why do some crooks wear masks? To avoid getting caught.

Why do some demonstrators wear masks? 

You already know the answer.


And while you're learning about the real purpose of masks...

Here, an example of what happens when authentic demonstrators confront the Raccoons...

Because of the childish "diversity of tactics" argued by some, these characters showed up at a legitimate demonstration in Montrèal. Behind masks, they attempted to incite violence. They were caught holding rocks.

Unfortunately for them, they were also caught by a courageous trade union leader, and turned back again and again. That leader demanded they drop their masks, and their rocks. You can hear him, in English and French, requiring it. He was relentless.

Unsurprisingly, the maskers turned out to be undercover police. Agents provocateurs, concealed by the very masks you endorse.

The reckless tactics -- that you support -- actually provide cover for cops.

Nice play, Sid. You never really know who is behind those masks, do you?


The DENC, together with the Carnegie people, has been the engine of this pointless demonstration.

Led by Ivan Drury, Wendy Pederson, and Jean Swanson, these are the "forces" that have tried to keep it going.

Tonight, they admitted failure. Tonight, on the DNC website, they published the following: "

DNC statement on the Pidgin ProtestThe DNC shares many of the goals of the anti-gentrification protesters, but feels that the specific actions in front of 350 Carrall St. have served their purpose. The DNC therefor disagrees with the continuation of this action, and calls on the protesters to move on. "

Even the major actors behind this useless and ill-conceived stunt have now turned their back on it. Why?

Because it had no future. No constituency. And no support. The DNC is cutting its losses, and moving on. Like Not-Homeless Dave's so-called "hunger strike", it has all been a complete waste of time.

Time to get down to it, and actually build housing, instead of complaining about those who refuse to give it to you -- just because you demand it.


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