later this month, at Spartacus Books:
Marisa Holmes and Matt Presto, who have participated in Occupy Wall Street since its inception, will recount their experiences as anarchists in the movement. They will facilitate a conversation about the influence of anarchist principles, such as direct action, mutual aid, and voluntary association, on practices in OWS. Also, they will ask about the role of anarchism in the occupy movement moving forward.
Marisa Holmes is an anarchist activist and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She has organized with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), No Games Chicago, Bibliotheque Popular, US Uncut, and, Occupy Wall Street. At Occupy Wall Street, she has been largely involved with structure, facilitation, and media. She is looking forward to building a global movement in response to the financial crisis.
Matt Presto is a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to Occupy Wall Street, he was involved with NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Coalition to Stop Islamophobia, the G20 protests in Pittsburgh. He has worked with the tactical committee, safer spaces, and mutual aid at Occupy Wall Street.
Date: June 28 2012
Spot: 684 E Hastings St
Occupied Coast Salish Territory
cross-posted from the VMC
from Puget Sound Anarchists —
Don’t Stop Now!
Now that May Day has passed, it is more important than ever to KEEP GOING. One easy thing anarchists can do (which is particularly important now with the onslaught of slander against us) is to provide counter-information. There were a lot of really nice posters designed for the big day… why stop now? We can’t get overwhelmed by the media’s assault or let the fear of repression prevent us from acting. It is important that we exert some control over the May Day narrative by framing and telling the story ourselves. Some things have already been written, and this is great. But there are many, many other means of expression.
Lies are dropping like maggots from the mouths of our enemies. This is a precious moment when people are actually interested in thinking for more than three seconds about what anarchism is. It would be a shame to let this opportunity pass by…
Banner drops, posters, leaflet drops, disruptions, flash mobs, noise demos, paint-bombings, hand-to-hand flyering, tabling, informational events, outdoor film projections, graffiti: keep going! Be creative and experiment with something new.
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:
Instead of cross-posting ONYC’s Six Ways, we here at the VanMayday blog present our own version:
Six Ways to Prepare for May Day:
1. Decide to take action on May Day. You have the choice to act however you wish, despite the consequences — so evaluate your position, take stock of your personal power, and make a plan! This might include organizing a walkout at school or work, joining a demonstration, or making an individual statement either through subversive or overt mechanisms.
2. Spread the word. Use social media, posters, word of mouth, and other/more creative ways to encourage and embolden others to take action on May Day and beyond. Speak from your heart and get in it to win it!
3. Start or solidify your Affinity Group. Collect people you trust and share your plans for May Day with them. Work out whether you will do joint actions (flash mob? rally? picket? walkout?) or how you will support one another in individual ones (legal? medical? media?).
4. Prepare your Affinity group. Write handbills, make buttons, sew costumes, produce a video — whatever you need to do to pull off your intended action and to make sure people get the message. Got a callout for the general public? Email it to the blog at email@example.com.
5. Familiarize yourself with/Inoculate yourself against Media Spin. Watch videos of successful past May Day actions and review the classic authoritarian “spin” that is used to put down social movements. Here’s a very timely example.
6. Get a good night’s sleep, eat the healthiest food you can find, and drink lots of water.
See you in the streets!
Tensions are mounting with workers all over the province; teachers, posties, Air Canada baggage handlers, on-board attendants at the Rocky Mountaineer, Maple Ridge Extra Foods workers, taxi drivers, the list continues to grow. But we are not just victims, we can also act.
Grassroots solidarity on Dec 12th helped dock workers in Longview WA win what had been a long and bitter strike. Wildcat action at Air Canada last month gives us a small taste of what we need: A full scale general strike against the likes of Christy Clark and the other capitalists of this province!
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.
Honor the Dead, Fight For the Living!
– May 1st 12 noon – Vancouver Art Gallery
Occupy May Day!
– May 1st 3:00pm – Vancouver Art Gallery
Big Labour Demo
– May 1st 7:00pm – China Creek Skate Park (Just west of Broadway and Clark)
Reclaim the streets party!!
Also don’t forget to read our statement on safer spaces: https://vanmayday2012.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/on-safer-spaces/
Capitalists profit from and control what we need to survive – Banks and landlords profit from our need for housing. Actually, all the things we need to survive—the water we drink, the food we eat, even the roofs over our heads—are turned into commodities that someone makes a profit from. This excludes many of us from the necessities of life.
Capitalists exploit us at work – We don’t work because we want to. We work because we have no other way to make money. We sell our time and energy to a boss in order to buy the things we need to survive. During our time at work we make things or provide services that our bosses sell. Our everyday working lives are sold hour after hour, week after week, generation after generation.
Capitalists create schools that produce obedient workers and unquestioning citizens – The primary task of education in a capitalistic society is to teach students to ‘respect authority.’ Authority is imposed through a system that punishes those who do not do what they are told and rewards conformity. Strict adherence to trivial rules teaches us to obey no matter how stupid the order is. This prepares us for the world of bosses, cops, politicians, and military officers ordering us around and treating us as inferior.
Capitalists terrorize immigrants – Hundreds of immigrants and refugees are forcibly deported every day for doing what humans have done for thousands of years—moving in search of a better life, escaping poverty, abuse, discrimination, disasters, persecution, or war. Those on the wrong side of borders, whose homelands are often torn apart by the same economic practices that define the so-called First World, are illegalized and criminalized and are forced to work for less than those with papers.
Capitalism is global and needs colonization to expand – Canada, like many other nations, was founded upon the genocide of it’s native populations. Capitalism requires the full assimilation of all communities who have a different relationship to the land and each other. While native people are forced to live on reservations, or in the city in poverty, to endure the legacies of genocide and residential schools, their traditional territories are occupied, and destroyed for the needs of capitalist resource extraction. The governments of BC and Canada continue to fool us into believing that we live in a “green” and peaceful location. We cannot have our own freedom, until we reject their nationalism and all that it stands for alongside a long tradition of native land defenders.
Capitalism affects everyone differently, but regardless of who we are, as working class people we are exploited by the system in one way or another. That pervasiveness can be threatening, but it is also a common link that we can use to struggle against it together. Simply standing up for our own interests in this struggle is the starting point for undermining capitalism.
Anti-Capitalists to the Streets!
With full recognition that we live in a white-supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist society we cannot declare any event to be a completely safe space from racist or gendered violence and harassment, whether at the hand of the police or others. We do however assert our own abilities and support the initiatives of others to make all May Day events at least “safer” spaces. We are inspired by the example set by a group of individuals as a “circle of protection” to defend one individual from the harassment of a man named Ben Pearson and to demonstrate through words and actions that issues of gendered violence are structural, not interpersonal. They base the circle of protection on four goals:
1.Empowerment – To trust in our possibilities, in our concepts and our own definitions. We must build this power because we come from dis-empowered positions.
2.Autonomy – The refusal to rely on existing structures to act from our own positions of empowerment outside of institutions entrenched in oppressive power structures. Building our own methods and structures so that we are creating the world we want now.
3.Self-Defense – Our inherent right to defend ourselves from aggressors/abusers.
4.Safety/Safer Spaces – A space where emotional, physical and spiritual well-being are respected. When these are challenged, we are able to maintain our autonomy and right to self-defense so that we may act to make our spaces safer.
For those who want to support their goals the circle asks for Solidarity and defines Solidarity as:
“Acting from the understanding that your struggle is reflected in the struggles of others and strengthening each others positions without compromising each others goals.”
And should Ben Pearson show up, or any other situation which requires actions for safer-space we will act in solidarity with the goals of the circle, for we see their struggle connected inherently with our own.