Red meat Anton wrong

“Inequality?  There’s nothing the city can do about it.”

Suzanne Anton


Whoever said that the Occupy folks have no message and no goals is spinning like there is no tomorrow.

Of course they have a message and goals.  They are fed up with the neo-Liberal world that appears to be shoveling every bit of wealth created in one direction.  And they want it to stop.

The Occupy folks aren’t expressing themselves perfectly.  I guess they can’t afford to hire Rob Ford’s message machine like Suzanne Anton can.  But they are expressing themselves and I believe most people understand what they are saying.  Worse for the 1%, most people even agree with it, either entirely or to a point.

So why the spin?  That’s simple:  to put a stop to their message because it harms the status quo.

It works this way.  If they have ‘no message’ and no goals then they have no legitimacy.  They’re more a festival of the tawdry than a real demonstration.   And with no legitimacy they have less right to be where they are.

That seems to be the argument made by Suzanne Anton, the NPA and their mouthpieces at the Sun and Province.  Occupy is nothing more than a rabble, they say.   And the city should treat them like any other rabble.  It should bring the full force of the law to bear and toss them in the slammer if they don’t like it.

Last night Anton said as much when she compared the Occupy group to the Stanley Cup rioters.

Except that it’s a completely false comparison.  If anything the Stanley Cup rioters were the anti-thesis of the Occupiers.  They were by and large privileged.  They had no point except booze filled rioting.  And they started the violence.

Occupy is made up of the no hopers in the current order.  They aren’t privileged.  They have nothing but a point of view.  And they are by and large peaceful, no matter what the Police Chief says.

Support for that view of the Occupy group came from an unlikely source yesterday – BC’s Supreme Court, which gave the group’s lawyer a week to muster up his Constitutional arguments based on political expression.

That’s exactly as the City and it’s lawyers predicted a week ago.

Anton’s supporters went ballistic.  Ian Mulgrew over at the Sun somehow managed to spin this was all Robertson’s fault, even though city staff predicted this precise legal result.

So here’s what it comes down to.  No matter what Anton and her raw meat eating followers say, Occupy is a legitimate political expression.  And as the mayor of Calgary says, freedom of expression trumps city by-laws.

That means the only way to resolve this situation is Robertson’s way.  Even if Anton ends up as Mayor – and that would be a tragedy for the ages – she’ll have to take Robertson’s path of negotiation and ‘tolerance to a point’ to bring an end to the occupation.

Worse, if she ends up as mayor and implements her plan of ‘no change for the 1%’, Vancouver can expect a lot more tent cities in the future.

A version of this story appears on the Vancouver Observer

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6 Responses to Red meat Anton wrong

  1. Facilitating the overdose and yet another overdose, but death, of an innocent with rampant, open drug dealing and consumption; defacing public property; damaging private institutions and property; uttering threats to cops, fire personnel and first responders; assault of two police officers (specifically biting, resulting in broken flesh); committing to bouts of crazed behavior in a place of worship (and the damage of that same place of worship); uttering threats to the sitting Mayor of Vancouver, to the extent that he had to escape out the back door of that place of worship; assault causing bodily harm; assault with a weapon; over three dozen violations of the fire code, etc.

    These are the messages you write of. I realize it’s no less a political statement for me to simply dismiss the idiocy of what they are doing as it is for you to defend it–at least that’s what our respective audiences would see. But this was your worst post ever.

    Truly, that anyone cannot see the criminality of this movement for what it is just makes me very sad.

    Suzanne’s inarticulate messaging notwithstanding, the travesty is that we can all condemn unbridled capitalism or neo-Liberalism–as I would condemn unbridled anything.

    But to defend douchebaggery and criminality is well beneath someone of your unimpeachable integrity and depth of character.

    I continue to wish you well.

  2. Ian Bateson says:

    A great post Ian. The message is simple. Those who only give lip service to an ever increasing number of disenfranchised and label them as hooligans, will pay a price eventually. Tent city seems to me a reasonable way to show dissent in light of the increasing lack of understanding that comes with job creation, an expectation to to put bread on the table, provide shelter for families and most important, expect our political and business leaders to care and provide transparent understanding of basic human needs to ensure that future tent cities of protest will not be necessary. They don’t get it!

  3. Norm Farrell says:

    I am inclined to the thesis that the real message is lost because of the tent city. Clearly, it has become a focus in the media instead of the issues of growing inequality, social injustice and tax policy. The status-quo mouthpieces – you excluded CKNW’s almost non-stop coverage of “no message, no goals” – are happy to have the situation unfold with focus on what they claim to be mere grunge. Even better, a little violence would prove that demonstrators are not worthy of a legitimate place on the public stage.

    The art gallery steps can remain a place for daily debate. Talk about the economy, about poverty, restricted and limited opportunities, about spoiling of the wilderness, the groundwater of NE BC, the destruction of the ocean, the campaign to damage the labour movement, use of the police and courts as instruments of the 1%, etc. Ask elected representatives to come to the art gallery and talk about policy, listen to them, debate with them, elect those with attitudes you appreciate, oppose the rest. Prepare flyers, pamphlets, street signs, art pieces, etc. Use smart street theatre, push articulate spokespeople forward. Engage people in debate but do it with a little class.

  4. Norm Farrell says:

    As an example of what public protest can be, have a look at Robert Reich and Robert Scheer at Occupy L.A. Teach-In.


  5. Laila says:

    I spoke at the first rally on October 15th, and stood on the steps while waiting for my turn, observing the process,the protestors and the organizers.

    There was a very clear and defined presence and difference between those who were genuinely there for the greater good, to fight the inequalities and the incestuous relationship between government and corporate greed…. and those who were there for only thing- to incite violence with the police and any city officials. Very Black Bloc in nature, it actually creeped me out to be near a couple of them. Some of the committed young people who were trying to do the right thing, were totally being run over and steered by others who were clearly far more street wise than others. It was not only I who saw this, but many of my friends, colleagues and readers who also attended. In fact, one of the men I travelled with also remarked that this was not going to end well based on what we saw behind the scenes on day.

    In my heart of hearts, the message of the Occupy movement was lost right after the thousands of rally attendees left on day 1 and continued to degenerate as time has gone because of this other element actively involved in organizing and running the Vancouver camp and movement. Are there real protestors down there right now, hoping to make change? Yes there are. Have they and their message been completely lost at this point? Completely.

    Let me share something with you, a message sent to me on facebook by a reporter/ documentary producer I know who has been on site every day since the protest started, documenting what is going on with his camera, his words and his photos.

    ” We are over-run with needle addicts and homeless ppl at Occupy Vancouver.

    The media have been awful up till now, refusing to acknowledge the work of volunteers, mostly non-residents, taking care of the worst welfare cases in Canada, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. ( laila’s note* Eric Doherty is one person I know trying to help there)

    By October 18 it was clear to me we had become a soup kitchen/triage centre for hundreds of indigent. IMO, Gregor and Suzanne are both confused and manipulative at the same time, as she is nipping at his heels in the polls for mayor.
    Even the CBC’s Ian Hannomansing was refusing for weeks to see the real picture and was spouting City’s Hall pablum…
    In the medic tent, I’ve personally taken care of a number of ppl, including the homeless man who last week overdosed on heroin but survived bcf our ski-patroller medic, Matthew, who gave him CPR and saved his life.

    Friday the hospital discharged “Buddy” back to Occupy, which he told hospital nurses, was now his “home.”
    He went unconscious while I was with him and had to go back to the hospital, where a female DOCTOR told him what a loser he was and kept our nurse there for FIVE HOURS depriving other ppl here of her services. After Buddy was stabilized, he chose to go to a treatment centre… a small success!

    He was NOT an Occupy activist, he never attended meetings, and was almost unknown in camp. But I did notice his right hand was mangled, so he cld easily have gone from morphine or other addictive painkillers to heroin to get pain relief. He looked like an unemployed logger with a smashed up hand.

    Insite now has a constant presence so needle addicts, being CARED FOR by the Occupiers, do not die in our midst and halt political progress on Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Everywhere.”

    Pretty telling isn’t it? The camp needs to go and sooner than later. And everyone needs to take a good hard look at why so many politicians, and so many social agencies, have been unable to address the issues of poverty addiction and homelessness that is still one of Vancouvers biggest embaressments for so many years. The best way for all of us to support change for the Occupy movement is to get the vote out in support of candidates that offer a chance at change, and to become more politically involved than simply bitching at coworkers about the status quo at the water cooler.

  6. kootcoot says:

    ……”But this was your worst post ever. “

    Consider this an endorsement, as this is actually one of your best posts, though I think all your posts are good, even those where I disagree, at least you present your case in a cogent fact based manner instead of resorting to insult and some implied idea that “it is so, BECAUSE I SAY SO!

    If you care to read some deranged posts, click on the link at the top of the comments. The entire first paragraph is a description of a typical day on the downtown eastside, perhaps they should get a court order to clear out the neighborhood, move ’em to say Point Grey, Kerrisdale and West Van………………..

    “Worse, if she ends up as mayor and implements her plan of ‘no change for the 1%’, Vancouver can expect a lot more tent cities in the future.”

    If the widening disparity, greater already than even in 1928-29, continues, expect Vancouver to be surrounded by, not a tent city, but a “suburban” hell of cardboard boxes and corrugated metal!

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