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Ranting on the riot

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

June 16, 2011

I had been thinking to myself how to express what I have to say about the “(anti)hockey riot” last night in Vancouver. It's not like I'm opposed to riots. If people rise up against oppression, systematic racism, the destruction of social housing brought about by Vanoc and the IOC, etc that is both justifiable and an act of self actualization in the face of power. But the pointlessness-- and worse-- of what happened last night did not bother me as a Vancouverite. It bothered me as a Canuck fan.

I started living and dying with this team in 1983, the year that Darcy Rota got 42 goals for the Canucks and a full year after the collapse against the Islanders-- a team that was and still is honored as a legendary bunch of heroes for losing four straight in the Stanley Cup Final. That's what being a Canuck fan is like-- so little to grasp onto, so little to celebrate we build statues of coaches on teams that got swept. We retire the jersey numbers of the leaders of teams that never won and only got close once, or lost regularly and never even lived up to their potential.

I had watched the team suck every year for 11 years when they got a sniff and collapsed against the Rangers in one epic game (where they performed better in the winner take all match than last night, it should be noted). Then they went back to beneath mediocrity, and briefly looked like they would become a true contender until it got derailed by a criminal act. A real Canuck fan knows what I mean.

It's not so much the fact that a sports riot occurred that has me upset. That is not uncommon, though it is always utterly pointless. What aggravates me is the minority of people who think that this was good purely on the basis of “riots are good”. Some even theorize about it, playing up different aspects of what went down. There is this small group of people who believe that any act by large groups of people to riot somehow puts them into knowledge of how power works and what it is to confront the state. I ended up around a lot of what happened last night, and this crowd was different in one major way than all of the others I had been seeing.

When Torres scored the goal with mere seconds left in game one, the cameras went outside. Canuck fans everywhere, of course, excited beyond belief, were panned. Almost equal numbers of women, less than half white people. Not to express some liberal multi-cultural nonsense I do not actually believe, it is however pretty cool that the face of the fans of this team are mosaic. I started to revel in that, especially when I was long distances away during the playoff run and watching on a laptop. This city is steeped in racism and escalating colonialism, but it is not ridiculously white as most hockey crowds are.

While watching the supposedly “brave” idiots downtown last night, they all looked like the asshole white agro men I used to avoid like the plague in high school. They really were throwing stuff onto fires and then asking their friends to take pictures of them doing it. It was an actualization of their privilege, and the very fact that they know absolutely nothing about security culture shows in how stupidly they kept mocking for the TV's and what not. They were not hockey fans, either. They may have jumped on board in the last little while and think that saying “Luongo sucked” is deep hockey analysis, but real fans-- those of us who used to hope that JJ Daigneault would really turn around the franchise-- were so depressed by the loss there was no energy in them. And some of those were big strong, white athletic jock types. Like my cousin. I called him after the game and he was in tears. Crying, like I would later once the shock of the loss sank in.

There were many of us, looking through our fingers and our sorrow, who tried to find a way to seriously feel happy for the players on the other team we respect for how they play the game, and knew that they were living the dream we were so distraught because our vicarious ability to do so had just slipped away, again, as it has so often with this team.

Then I wake up twice this morning after seeing the idiocy, feeling it was sadly predictable and somewhat irritated that people who don't denounce music after concert riots will now be re-emboldened to denounce the game that keeps me able to fight another day as a revolutionary. Dealing death, murder and all of the various oppressive situations that we do is enough to drive one into despair-- we all need an out. For some of us it is hockey and we do not defend the sexist, patriarchal culture surrounding it. We celebrate the fact that one of our stars was the one who called out a major sports “critic” for being sexist, calling them “Thelma and Louise” by stating “He called us women. I don't know what he thinks of women, If I were a woman I would be offended.” That's one more proud reason for me to love my team. And I do.

We have suffered for so long, and really know the team inside and out. And when I woke up twice this morning, I briefly thought that we hadn't lost-- that it was somehow a dream. Then I read posts from people explaining the virtues of this riot, as if they care about the team. That somehow they can make radical analysis of that splurge of dumbassery that is going to get a large number of those priviliged white kids end up in serious legal trouble. Today, I have stopped a few times and gotten choked up as the loss sinks in. And others who don't even know who the players are want to talk about how awesome the riot was, how that alcohol fuelled nonsense was “liberating” and so on?

All I can say is fuck you. This is our team, and those twerps made a bad day even more annoying. If you can organize a riot against the destruction of the Downtown Eastside, the missing women, the systematic stealing of indigenous lands? More power to you, and that is people speaking truth to power, even if it gets nowhere. This? Will increase the destruction of our civil liberties, get nothing but a few watches and jackets and maybe a slurpee for the privileged idiots who carried it out, and makes the horribly painful loss hurt longer and get lost in the shuffle of the stupid.

Seriously, go away. This is for real fans. Hockey loving and dumb ass privilege do not need to go hand in hand. We all need our out from the pain of reality. Some of us love the Canucks. And for those who jump on this and try to use the most painful loss of our time to achieve absolutely nothing? Leave us to our team. We have a long summer ahead to figure out what went wrong and will endlessly pretend we run the team, and we will talk about it. Over and over again. Why? Because some of us are:

Canuck...   for life.

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1242 words


Riots are good, unless they

Riots are good, unless they are racist riots.

Get a job!


So anti-queer, sexist shit is fucking awesome? Are you really going to say that?



"While watching the

"While watching the supposedly “brave” idiots downtown last night, they all looked like the asshole white agro men I used to avoid like the plague in high school."

Umm, I guess this statement just proves that you should not rely on the representation of reality as reality itself. You are wrong. It was not all white men. A lot of "asshole white agro men" were actually playing the role of hero (snitches and property protectors) and alot of the ones who weren't playing hero took off when things really took off. It was a very diverse seen.

And unlike the police chief and the mayor and yourself are claiming, it was pretty clear that the rioters were (in an overwhelmingly massive majority) REAL GENUINE LIVE hockey fans and not just people dressing up and disguising themselves as such.

For an account and analysis from people who seem to actually have been there check out:

This is just silly...

The people who were at the riot were definitely people who had been watching the game. They were privileged white youth (I was there, don't even try to tell me otherwise). They were testosterone and alcohol driven punks-- for the most part-- who were actively trying to beat up queers, scaring the shit out of women and acting with the knowledge-- proven by the fact the police did not mete out collective punishment in the manner I have experienced in countless rallies that were far less damaging to private property-- that they would be seen by the cops as "their kids" and "their neighbours" and subjected to very little.

When I say they were not real fans, what I mean is that *real* hockey fans who have actually cared about this team when they sucked and wore Canucks jerseys even then-- not only when it was "cool" because they were winning, were so fucking devastated they did not rise up and do anything other than cry.

Unlike the crowds of people cheering for the Canucks throughout the playoffs, the people who were acting out like spoiled brats were overwhelmingly white. The kind of men that start fights in bars over sweet fuck all, the crowd reminded me of closing time at a bar in Fort McMurray but on steroids and without any possibility of being called out on their privilege.

I hope the Bay took a good hit on their bottom line. I don't care about the owner of a Hummer losing their climate destroying ride for awhile. But this shit was not liberatory, and will only mean Vancouverites will now have a much harder time fighting back against closed circuit cameras, the continued demonization of anarchism as if this had anything to do with "anarchy" and a lot more.

You know what most of the anarchists I know have been up to during the last week? Doing boring solidarity support for postal workers. Getting ready for an all out labout confrontation that is coming with this pseudo fascist government. Working in solidarity with people still facing trial over the G8.

This attempt to politicize this gargantuan, homphobic and sexist crowd of alcohol addled white  men who have jeopardized the real work of real anarchists-- and always forgetting to mention that Bruin fans got beat up by these twits-- is so pathetic and indictative of how little we have been able to achieve in terms of the serious work we need to do.

I just got back from a work related trip that included time in Palestine. Go ask them how fucking "cool" this sort of nonsense is.

Seriously, get a life.






Right On Macdonald!

Yesterday, I was speaking to another anarchist I know who was saying how this whole hockey riot and (some) anarchists' response to it has shown him how, when the chips are down and something really serious happens, say a natural disaster like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, people like this will not have his back.  They will undoubtedly be out smashing shit up, rioting and looting trying (without success) to be the spark that starts the revolution (while the anarchists that Macdnald knows will be out actually helping people).

While nobody familiar with the racist and colonial history of the Hudson's Bay is going to mourn their smashed windows and looted merchandise, nor are those familiar with the VPD's actual record of brutality and violence (especially against the poor and marginalized) going to get too exercised about a few burned out cop cars, there is nothing "good" about violent attacks on young men whose only offence was that they were Boston Bruin's fans or assaults on Queer people.

Likewise, looting and burning small franchises that are often run by immigrant families is a poor tactical choice.  While many of us like to think of small business as "middle class" the reality is that many owners of small businesses work longer hours and for less pay than many full time union workers.  This attack on their livlihood is only going to make their lives, as well as those of their families, more difficult.

Get a Job?!!  This is a reactionary, poor bashing slag that is most often directed at anarchists and other radicals by ignorant, right wing trolls.  I'm frankly surprised to see it used here, especially since it's poster has been the recipient of similar attacks in at least one other article on the Media Co-op network.

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