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Occupied by Police?

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Several women were the victims of a chemical attack in NYC during an Occupy Wall Street march
Several women were the victims of a chemical attack in NYC during an Occupy Wall Street march

Earlier today a comrade alerted me that the Occupy Vancouver organizers have contacted the Vancouver Police to "to make sure we can work together =)"

As an activist who has faced police repression, these news deeply disturbed me. I thought that it was obvious to local organizers, that the powers that be don't want this movement to go off. Specially after the police violence we have witnessed at the birthplace of this "Occupy" movement in New York City. Not to mention the history of brutal violence by "Vancouver's finest" against the poor and political activists. I am in Japan right now, where activists face similar repression for organizing rallies where they demand the end of nuclear power.

In short and without getting too deep in the historical context of the role of the police within social movements, the job of the police is not to protect the people but to protect those who aim to rule the people. They protect the same people that the "Occupy Together" movement is trying to depose. By inviting the police to your demonstration you are inviting the enemy.

I threw my support to the Occupy Vancouver early on as a show of solidarity, and because I believe that we are witnessing a revolutionary moment and the birth of a global movement. I also thought that the all decisions were made during the general aseembly. But I cannot in good conscience exhort my comrades and others to attend the Art Gallery occupation when the police are a de facto part of the demonstration.

There is still time to salvage this, and I hope that during the general assembly the decision to work with the police is reversed.

In the spirit of total resistance

the stimulator

 


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stimulator (The Stimulator)
Vancouver BC
Member since Avril 2009

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Thanks

Just want to say thanks for posting this. it sadens me to think that anyone would be stupid enough to invite the pigs into their resistance movement. Perhaps we need to start organizing workshops on security culture?

Police can’t be trusted.

From Crimethinc. Dear Occupiers: A Letter From Anarchists

Police can’t be trusted. They may be “ordinary workers,” but their job is to protect the interests of the ruling class. As long as they remain employed as police, we can’t count on them, however friendly they might act. Occupiers who don’t know this already will learn it firsthand as soon as they threaten the imbalances of wealth and power our society is based on. Anyone who insists that the police exist to protect and serve the common people has probably lived a privileged life, and an obedient one.

http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2011/10/07/dear-occupiers-a-letter-from-anarchists/

The Polis

Dear Sir,

Alot of ways of organising that we take for granted have been informed by hard and often painful experience, For instance, you write that the job of the police is to '... protect the same people that the "Occupy Together" movement is trying to depose... by inviting the police to your demonstration you are inviting the enemy'. This is doubtless true, however we only percieve the police to be our enemy because our experience of them acting against us in the past informs our current beliefs regarding their role in the dominant power structures - experience which the Vancouver activists evidently do not yet share.

To put it another way, many people have been radicalised after seeing their liberal tactics met with at best pained smiles and at worst guns and batons - but I do not know any radicals who have ever been liberalised.

You are write to criticise the Vancouver activists for their unwise decision. However, I write in hope that next year the very same activists will be ardent enemies of the police having seen their demonstration undermined by police involvement this time around.

No justice, no peace.

D.

There have been a few very

There have been a few very dedicated individuals trying to pursuade those who contacted the police not to. But alas, they did it anyway. These same people are also in favour of citizens-arresting fellow occupiers. I chalk it up to their inexperience in this area, their opinions will change, as D stated.
Thank you Stimulator for writing about this.

Told you so

The OccupyVancouver people are completely irresponsible and it doesn't take a genius to know that the Police and the DVBIA are the enemy that they should be concerned with.  In fact, if you look at ANY of the other Occupy demonstrations it's clear that this is the case.  The fact is that these people choose to be ignorant, and they choose to sie themselves with the elite in this city instead of the people who have been the victims of the wealthy here.

Anyway, if it looks like a trap, sounds like a trap, it's probably a trap.

The non-violent trap !!! On policing your own Movement

Not a big surprise also. This movement is made of this people who are also encouraging this pathology of non-violence inside the movement and are in the same time trying to collaborate with this so violent elite and their f... pigs. Violent against angry masses, that can be ok for them  (remember the Olympics and the G20 and so many other occasions), but the violence of the angry masses so bad. These people are friends of the cops. They are the cops inside the movement. Stop waiting for their illusion !!! Stop repeating all the time the same mistakes !!! Decolonize your spirit !!! What we particularly need is a fighting spirit, as Zig Zag said. 

I know that other Occupy

I know that other Occupy movements have contacted the place, but only to tell them that they will be doing this, at this hour, in this place. End of discussion. Not asking, but telling the police what they will be doing. One simple message, no further contact.

For me, I completely support that. Let's not kid ourselves; the police already know all the details. But by saying that we told the police what we time/date/place we win public image and gain more supporters. I do need to stress that the message should be the only contact, and that you tell them what you will do - you don't change because they disagree.

Police involvement

For the past several years police involvment in protests held in Vancouver has been kept to a minimum, in part because of a new approach under the directive of Jim Chu and in part because of the legal activists who volunteer to keep an eye on protests and make sure everybody, including police enforcement, does not break the law and reporting on those that do.

The police inititiave has been to circumnavigate traffic around marches and film ongoing activism. Even during the hockey riots their role was primarily to clear the downtown area and aid those injured by the riots, rather than make any arrests (there were less than a dozen arrests at the time). I personally believe the VPD has handled themselves amicabbly during previous protests.

The legal activists serve to take notes of all activity that may be of legal interest in the future, including the police but also the activists. This is to aid everyone in case of charges or lawsuits pending from the results of the actions. This has encouraged pasificm from the police department as well.

However, the police can not always be trusted to stand by the protests, as demonstrated several times during the olympics when they set up barricades to halt the march to Olympic infrastructure. However, if this is the full extent of their involvment in this protest I do not see any complaints arising.

Furthermore, police involvment is the only newsworthy result of any of these actions. Until these actions are actually met with police resistance they do not remain newsworthy, at least until the smashing and looting start.

I didn't let them know, but who cares if someone did. Cya next Sunday.

Where have you been?

"For the past several years police involvment in protests held in Vancouver has been kept to a minimum"

Seriously, where you around during the Olympics or even the actions that took place after (G8 University summit, G20 soliarity marches)? Just search around this site and you will see that the police go way beyong just being traffic cops.

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/photo/3468

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/dawn/8166

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/olympics/power-women-pow-protest-police-st...

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/olympics/targetting-anti-2010-movement-wha...

 

 

so... they gathered

so... they gathered information and did... what with it? They escorted people out of the way of a bus? What were the protesters planning to do, set up camp? They knew the police would eventually escort them out and earn them a protest badge and media blurb.

And the police being VIOLENT? News flash, that's what we PAY them to do. The police hold the only position that we entrust to assault the public as long as it's for a good cause. They hold one of the only positions we entrust to carry a gun. The fact that some of these humans make errors in their judgement and commit violence, or even worse bully, should not come as a surprise. No matter who comprises their force they will always be committing violent acts, due to the nature of their job.

What is really shameful is the media spin on protesters being irresponsible anarchists, since we only get coverage when a crime is comitted. I'm not suggesting we give the VPD a great big fucking hug here, but writing an article about this is inane.

1) the police already know. If its on the net and in the free ad rags the police DEFINITELY know about it.

2) This is scaring people who would want to be involved away

3) It turned out to be a waste of my time to read.

But alas, the discourse that resulted...

Hear hear.  Do you honestly

Hear hear.  Do you honestly think the VPD don't read this very site?

The Occupy Wall St. protest in NY uses the same tactics of Critical Mass, where there is nothing to incite police to be violent.  Smashing a window or possibly endangering people on a bus will be incentive for the police to act with the force necessary to do their job.

The VPD, RCMP, CSIS, CBSA and other evil acronyms read MediaCoop

 

Based on the referrers from this site to my blog, I can safely that the RCMP, VPD, CBSA, CSIS, INAC, CF and CSE all read the Vancouver Media Coop website. Someone at CBSA even has it in their Google Reader, which is far more hardcore than I would go for reading this stuff.

I like the fact that people admit that the police are violent and that it's their job to be violent.  I don't think anyone was debating that point.  Instead, I think that point was being communicated because people aren't understanding the risks involved in these actions.

For example, the cops change their mood in Critical Mass often.  I've been on Critical Mass Bike Rides where there were police escorts, and where the organizers tried to control the ride, and I've been on rides where people have been arrested and put in Police Trucks only to be released in another end of town because they weren't wearing a Bicycle Helment.  

The fact is that the police will get violent when they feel the need to get violent.  Pretending that it's live and let live with the VPD just because activists have spent almost two decades getting Critical Mass to that point is idiotic.  If you're engaging in Non-Violent Direct Action, like tying yourself down to something, or making yourself an obstacle (both non-violent), expect the police to pull you apart, and to use force to beat you down until you stop/let go/comply.  Just because you're not violent, doesn't mean you're not doing something illegal, and I think that people need to understand that not every protest/action/rally/whatever is not as mainstream as Critical Mass.

The important thing is to be informed of all the police tactics and to remember that the police are not your friends, they aren't paid to be your friends.  They are paid to beat you down and arrest you so that they can make some quota that gets them some bonus or something.  They don't give a fuck about you, and you shouldn't give a fuck about them beyond not getting arrested/infiltrated/whatever.  I have a feeling that a whole new generation of people are going to learn that the hard way, but yeah, posting this on MediaCoop is kinda preaching to the choir.

Thus far...

the police have made their presence known there and I have even seen them paying attention to the speakers and conversing with the public. But they are strictly acquantance! They dismantled the blocking of howe and georgia because that's their job! They tried to write me a ticket for jaywalking when they were breaking it up! That's their job!

But the fact that the policy comittee has seen it due course to institute a police relations committee is astounding in it's naivety. The police have no reason to be honest with their intentions, they owe us a lot less than they owe their employers...

 

be wary.

This movement is 'our's to lose'

 

I understand the history and complexities of the relationship between traditional activists and the police.  And, I can in many cases, understand why these methods are important.  If you are protecting a virgin forest from a fleet of chainsaws, a simple hug may not be the answer.  However, this protest is different:

1.) The general public don't understand the complexity of the G20, nor do they really care (as a result of not knowing - feedback loop of silence).  They loved the Olympics- and had a very hard time understanding why anyone would protest them.

2.) This new issue is understandable by all - 99% of the population are under-represented in government compared to 1%. Once they understand us, I find it hard to believe that more than a handful of the 99% would be tolerant if the police used violence.

3.) Government employees and the police are most probably not happy with the future of their investments and pension fund(s). They are feeling the same pain, as are their families, as are all the 99%.

4.) For the G20 & Olympics, the world was watching Toronto- any negative incident would quickly affect the city’s population.  Our event is not a focus of world attention- in fact, the same event is happening across the continent.  So, there is less reason for the city to repress us- quite the opposite.

5.) Canada has treaties with other countries that require the government to protect foreign dignitaries from harm.  To my knowledge, there will be no foreign dignitaries attending our event.  (but you are welcome!)

6.) The city of Vancouver is spending enormous amounts of money on building a reputation as a Green, and Socially Conscious city.  The local government understands that it would seriously damage this reputation if they were to start pepper spraying people at a non-violent protest.

7.) The people of Vancouver are still in-shock about the hockey riot.  This event cast a shadow over city, a real buzz kill after the Olympics (we’ve only just started paying the bill for it!).  It will only take one smashed window on the 15th and many will see us as a threat. Conversely, if we can show the world that the people of Vancouver have passion for an important issue, and that we led the most peaceful of all occupations-   we can redeem our city’s reputation.

This protest is real, and if we communicate well with ALL of the 99%, our only deterrent to success will be ourselves.

I will re-post this on the #OCCUPYVANCOUVER Facebook page.  I don’t come here often, so please direct any questions there.

I think you've insulted the general public

I disagree with the statements, and I'm going to explain why here, because Facebook is super sketchy, and pseudonymns are better than real names:

"1.) The general public don't understand the complexity of the G20, nor do they really care (as a result of not knowing - feedback loop of silence).  They loved the Olympics- and had a very hard time understanding why anyone would protest them."

This isn't true.  The General Public often isn't able to protest things like the G20 because of the fact that they know all too well what the cops do to protesters.  There's also the villification and demonization of protesters in the media that discourages the general public to take to the streets.  You can see this in the Stanley Cup riot when the rioters were called protesters by CTV and CBC.

Also, not everyone loved the Olympics, and in fact most people just tolerated it because they didn't see protesting it as productive.  I'm guessing that you don't live in Vancouver, otherwise you would know more about how the Olympics played out for the average person as opposed to the wealthy elite.

People may have loved the Gold Medal Hockey Game, and the rest of the Hockey Series, but the rest of the Olympics (the super-expensive, public debt-inducing, habitat-destroying part) was considered bullshit by far more people than you would think.

 

"2.) This new issue is understandable by all - 99% of the population are under-represented in government compared to 1%. Once they understand us, I find it hard to believe that more than a handful of the 99% would be tolerant if the police used violence."

I still don't entirely understand what the issue is. Vancouver hasn't made any policy statements other than that it's pro-police, and it acknowledges that it's on Coast Salish Territory.  So far, even Gregor Robertson, the mayor of Vancouver, has a more progressive position than what the offical OccupyVancouver position is currently. 

 

"3.) Government employees and the police are most probably not happy with the future of their investments and pension fund(s). They are feeling the same pain, as are their families, as are all the 99%."

That doesn't mean they don't have a job to do.  Fictional Officer Peter E. Pigerson could be a very nice guy, but he is paid by the City of Vancouver to enforce Law and Order, which is determined by that 1% that you put yourself against.  I don't know any job where you can just not do your job just because you didn't want to.  You normally have to quit your job if you're disgusted with it.  I don't see people qutting being police officers at all.
 

"4.) For the G20 & Olympics, the world was watching Toronto- any negative incident would quickly affect the city’s population.  Our event is not a focus of world attention- in fact, the same event is happening across the continent.  So, there is less reason for the city to repress us- quite the opposite."

Actually, there's far more reason.  The fact is that they can get away with it, because it's just another Occupy movement.  Most people arrested at the G20 were let go without charges because the wold world was watching, and the public pressure worked.  If nobody was paying attention in Toronto, far more people would be in jail now.  Also, if you look at Seattle, even though the City supports their Occupy, the Police do not.

 

"5.) Canada has treaties with other countries that require the government to protect foreign dignitaries from harm.  To my knowledge, there will be no foreign dignitaries attending our event.  (but you are welcome!)"

I take it you are referring to the G8/G20, the Olympics and the Falun Gong protests.  It should be noted that the city created a bylaw outlawing protest structures, and that this city council not once, but twice created bylaws to criminalize free speech.  I think you need to review the City Hall decisions.
 

"6.) The city of Vancouver is spending enormous amounts of money on building a reputation as a Green, and Socially Conscious city.  The local government understands that it would seriously damage this reputation if they were to start pepper spraying people at a non-violent protest."

I think that the VPD will actualy try to rescue their reputation by pepper-spraying people at a non-violent protest.  They were seen as being too soft on the Stanley Cup Riot, and they will probably want to come out hard against any protests since they're trying to make people believe that riots are protests and that protests are bad.
 

"7.) The people of Vancouver are still in-shock about the hockey riot.  This event cast a shadow over city, a real buzz kill after the Olympics (we’ve only just started paying the bill for it!).  It will only take one smashed window on the 15th and many will see us as a threat. Conversely, if we can show the world that the people of Vancouver have passion for an important issue, and that we led the most peaceful of all occupations-   we can redeem our city’s reputation."

I honestly don't care about the City's reputation.  In fact, I hope it is lowered so my rent goes down!  I won't smash any windows, but I really don't care if a window does get smashed or not, since windows aren't people.  The fact is that you can't control what people do, and by liasing with the VPD, OccupyVancouver is putting itself at risk of being liable for what any person does.

I'm mostly taking a wait-and-see attitude to see what happens after Oct. 15.  My feeling is that the real test is going to be with those who stay for the long haul.  So far, my impression of the core organizers is that they are not able to do this, and I find that I'm less and less worried about their feelings, or them getting all butt-hurt because I wrote a scathing critique, since they'll be gone when the 17th rolls around.  It's the people who keep the Occupation up that I'm more interesting in seeing.

 

Frauds veiled as Supporters

If you see this demonstration/occupation as an opportunity to express your opinions through violence, then I suggest you stay at home! It goes without saying that this protest will draw certain elements that will "use" the event to serve their own purposes which are quite likely in direct opposition to goals of the event organizers.

Willful destruction of private property, theft and terrorizing shop owners and staff will HINDER not HELP the Movement. These actions don't garner support - they cause the general public to totally DISCONNECT from it!

And if you actually believe that these participants give a rat's ass about the issues that inspired this movement, you're delussional. They are nothing more than users and abusers cleverly veiled as supporters.

They don't belong at this occupation - they belong in jail - if their intention is to wreak havoc as they have at other events recently. As such, the police should have been notified of the occupation.

I swept up and cleaned for hours after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. What I learned from that is mob mentality can spread like wildfire and cause weak-minded people (many under the influence of drugs and alcohol) to do insane things.

That the police and businesses downtown fear a repeat performance is totally understandable. I share their concerns when I see comments labeling the police as the "enemy." It's highly inflamatory and I suspect deliberately chosen it to promote and then justify any anti-social behavior that may erupt on Saturday. 

Weird that we don't want to be victims of the elite yet have no concern for those who might fall victim to fraudulent opportunists who show up with their own agenda in mind!

If anyone plans to take matters into their own hands rather than act in accordance with the goals of the Occupy Vancouver organizers, then perhaps they should hold their own event elsewhere and keep the "enemy" out of it all together.

  

Not to suggest that there

Not to suggest that there will be any property destruction but any such actions would not be considered violence, as opposed to the probable response of the police.  However MMI Girl is right, these actions do not garner support among the general public.  The reason for that lack of support is fear and ignorance.

Fear that they may be assaulted by the police or ostracized by their friends and co-workers, perhaps even lose their livelihood.  This doesn't mean they should engage in attacks on the state themselves but they should be supportive of those who are willing to fight the true criminals, the elite 1% and the legalized gangsters we call police.

Ignorance of the truth that (sadly) peaceful demonstrations are doomed because of the lack of an "or else" to back up demands of equality.

And please let's not equate the happenings of May 15 to any political or socio-economic struggle.  Anarchists who do exhibit seemingly similar behaviour do so while sober and with considerable debate about appropriate targets.

I was extremely disappointed to hear of the collaboration with the police and nearly aborted my plans to attend the occupation.  However I am willing to at least take a look and support peaceable attempts at social change because despite the protests of MMI Girl, I have the same goals as those implied by her.  I think that support should be reciprocal should other strategies present themselves over the coming weeks.

 

There have been a fe

There have been a few very dedicated individuals trying to pursuade those who contacted the police not to. But alas, they did it anyway. These same people are also in favour of citizens-arresting fellow occupiers. I chalk it up to their inexperience in this area, their opinions will change, as D stated.Thank you Stimulator for writing about this.

_________
Pseudo: christalfulkerson
Website: voyage tunisie

re: 'Fraud as Veiled Support'

Interesting discussion. I know little about the Vancouver situation but MMI Girl's statements that "[those who] plan to take matters into their own hands rather than act in accordance with the goals of the Occupy Vancouver organizers... should hold their own event elsewhere" reminds me alot of discourses which I have seen alot within the UK. For instance, in the first few years of the Climate Camps many liberals at the camp asserted that whatever happens, the issue was simply too important to allow it to descend into anarchy. This stance was reified by the media who would repeatedly ask participants if the event had been 'taken over' by anarchists or 'co-opted' by radicals.

Which, really, is a bit like asking whether the Vatican has been 'taken over' by Catholics or schools 'co-opted' by teachers.

To put it another way, we are all anarchists now.

D.

MMI Girl- "They don't belong

MMI Girl- "They don't belong at this occupation - they belong in jail"

You're fucked. You believe someone should go to jail for smashing a window?  What does MMI stand for?

Smashing a window

I have no objection to you smashing a window - just make sure it's your own. I have no objection to you rolling over a car and torching it - as long as it's your own.

If you'd like to preserve and protect the things that you've busted your butt for then I am going to assume you have the same RESPECT for other people's property and possessions. 

By the way the defintion of respect is:

1. to have an attitude of esteem towards; show or have respect for 
2. to pay proper attention to; not violate 
3. to show consideration for; treat courteously or kindly

It's unfortunate indeed that you have not yet matured to the point where you can think first and then choose a suitable course of actiion that does NOT violate another member of society!

That makes me mature, responsible, considerate, courteous and intelligent but certainly not screwed. I may not like some things about the way my parents raised me, but I LOVE them for teaching me RESPECT - for myself AND for others.

 

Are you joking?

Nothing wrong with working WITH the police or anyone else on this. To change the system, you need to work WITH the system. You can not isolate yourself from them and then expect others to make the changes in themselves that you desire. They too are part of society, and what ever new world order you envision, THEY will need a place to be a part of it. Working WITH them, setting up good relations, is a GREAT thing.

Get over yourself. Not all cops are bad. Every workplace has bad apples, and VPD is not immune to it. Look in the mirror and you will see that activists too have bad apples.

 

Kudos to those who took the first step, acted like the bigger people, and reached out an hand to the VPD. Dialogued and cooperation IS the way to go.

VPD are part of the 99%, are they not?

I love the police. I am thankful for the hard and important work they do. Don't think for a moment that activist types are superior. Activists too play a role in events when they get out of hand.

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