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Mayday 2012: An East Van Anarchist Reportback
Vancouver, BC - Stolen Coast Salish Land
While hundreds of our comrades just south of the border in Seattle raged and smashed many targets of capitalism and the state, a smaller number of anarchists in Vancouver engaged in low intensity social disruption and agitation.
Earlier in the day a number of us participated in a grassroots occupy assembly at the art gallery downtown for a while, agitating for a general strike, autonomous solidarity, etc. This small assembly was to grow to a bigger Union Demo featuring the longtime head of the BC Federation of Labour (BC FED) “Slippery Jim” Sinclair. We have witnessed Sinclair stab thousands of workers in the back over the last decade or so. To anarchists and revolutionaries, organizations like the BC FED are just as despicable as the Capitalist exploiters themselves. The role of the Union Buracrats (along with their buddies in Left-wing party's like the NDP) is to ensure peace between the exploited and our exploiters. They are the enemy to all of us who wish to intensify true workers rebellion against our exploitation and towards dignity.
We would have enjoyed heckling these traitors of the working class and disrupting their spectacle but we had other plans to prepare for back in East Vancouver. There was an autonomous Mayday demonstration/street party to start around dusk in the Commercial Drive neighborhood.
The evening demo started as people gathered next to China Creek skate park around a loud speaker blasting out some hip hop, punk, metal and other styles of music. A chaotic mish mash of individuals and crews showed up slowly. People socialized and ate dinner that a Food Not Bombs group had prepared.
At dusk approx 100 people gathered as a comrade outlined the anarchist roots of mayday and gave brief reports of Mayday happenings in other cities. We then took to the streets, with torches and black flags, and carried two big banners reading 'GENERAL STRIKE' and 'SMASH EXPLOITATION AND PATRIARCHY'.
We marched east to Broadway and Commercial then headed north towards Grandview Park. Our torches stayed lit for about half of the march. Chants were thrown in periodically amidst the loud music and the dancing mob. Including one new one; “Dump the BC FED: Organize Your Self Instead!” Many wore all black, some masked up and most openly expressed antagonism towards the police surrounding the demo. One black clad masked rebel danced on the roof of the jeep that was carrying the music and waved a black flag as the march was proceeding along the drive.
When we got to Grandview Park the burnt out torches were piled up and a fire was started in the middle of commercial drive. This brought back memories of the fires that were lit in the same street a little less than two years ago, at a larger community street party during the climax of the resistance to the "revitalization" of our neighborhood park. That battle was lost, but the memory fuels the embers inside of us. It is still possible to break the social peace and the yuppy take over of East Van.
We stayed and partied around the fire for about half an hour before the riot squad came and read the order to clear the street. We slowly moved onto the sidewalk at the corner of Grandview Park. Some comrades strongly encouraged a few heavily intoxicated individuals not to walk into the riot cops that were taking over the street after one of them was nocked over by a pig. Shortly after this some of us cut the sound and people started dispersing. There were no arrests.
We passed out many flyers with the following text through out the day and to many passers by during our street party/demo. A bunch of them were also thrown in the air during our demo:
'May Day is the international holiday that commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, when Chicago police murdered workers participating in a general strike. It’s also a time to rejoice in rebellion.
Tensions are mounting with workers all over the province and austerity measures are being imposed on every sector of society. Solidarity is our weapon.
The governments of BC and Canada continue to fool us into believing that we live in a “green” and peaceful location. While resourse extraction practices and development continue to tear apart the land and spew poisons into the air and water. Traditional indigenous communities are leading the fight against the destruction of their territories.
Everywhere we look working class/low income people are pushed out of the way for condo developments and yuppie fueled park renovations. Meanwhile rents keep skyrockiting.
In workplaces, schools, parks, in the streets and on the land we need to steal back the time and space that is stolen from us by capitalism. It starts here and now.
Towards a full scale general strike/shut down of the economy.'
Anarchist Analysis of Unions:
Local Strike Archive:
Seatle May Day Reports: