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Get the Cops on Our Side?

Disinformation Countered at Occupy Vancouver Assembly

by Joseph Jones

Get the Cops on Our Side?

At a point a little over an hour into the Occupy Vancouver meeting held in the Woodwards atrium on the afternoon of Saturday 8 Oct 2011, a young woman expressed concern over a leaflet that had been distributed. [A pdf scan of her marked-up leaflet is provided with this story.]

In a crowd of 300 to 400 people, with difficult acoustics and a "human microphone" set-up, all communication took place through mass repetition of short phrases. Constraints of the forum limited the commenter to four main points about the leaflet:

  Expressing concern about origin
  Describing leaflet text about police
  Calling for diversity of tactics
  Insisting on no support for snitch culture

One audience member immediately asked what "snitch culture" was, but the question was not heard or responded to.

The leaflet was disowned by the event facilitators.

The scan fails to capture the almost unreadable ghostly gray header to the right of the question-mark-headed logo:

REVOLUTION: a how-to
from anonymous to the citizens of the world. Enjoy!

The following correspondences can be noted between the leaflet and what the facilitators said and did:

  The opening outline of agenda topics, in order, was legalities, media, food, kids
  The event and October 15 were both described as "general assembly"
  A set of hand gestures was established for crowd feedback
  A "people's mic" was employed
  Desire was evident to shift rapidly from general discussion to work in committees

If the leaflet did not originate with Occupy Vancouver organizers, speculation quickly leads toward a disinformation strategy on the part of authorities. The prominence given to the first paragraph — How to Handle Law Enforcement — and its content (fear arrest, impede fellow activists, work for the police) make the rest of the page look like filler designed to camouflage the core message. What comes first counts the most.

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297 words


Anonymous is not Unanimous

This very well could be something that Anonymous put out.  During the early days of protest, Anonymous emphasized the fact that they were peaceful protesters and that they'd cooperate with the police.  However, Anonymous also wore masks because they read about the tactics of the Church of Scientology.

I think that, like Anonymous, the General Assembly is not a Unanimous unit.  It is clear that the people who are at the core of Occupy Vancouver's organizing are complete idiots and don't understand the need for anonymity, what I do hope is that there are some who understand that even if you don't have anything to hide, you don't necessairly want to be seen at a protest, and if you're masked at a protest, either as the Black Bloc, or as Anonymous, that the last thing you want to do is take the blame for someone elses shit, or be identifiable by these people who clearly are a part of snitch culture.

I find it disturbing that nobody dealt with the fact that the VPD was INVITED to the General Assembly if this was such an important issue.  This does seem on-side with the pro-cop message of the core organizing group that set up Vancouver's Occupy, based on the Twitter Feed.  The Facebook page, fortunately shows a slightly different story.

    Excellent points,



Excellent points, both.


The 'core' of the Occupy Van abstracted the gathering purpose from any real 'issue' and was oblivious to the fact that 30+ police were present at the location. They demanded that there be no political discussion as if to do so would take away from their obstinate desire to remain uncontroversial, said nothing about the issues that relate to Vancouver, paid flippant lip service to the issues of land occupation, tactics, and cross-organizational collaboration, and dismissed some of our region’s most important activists who had something to say and deserved way more respect.


While there is a desire for active resistance, a popular bubbling-up if you will, I'm very put off by the talking manikins we witnessed yesterday. I attribute much of this to the political naiveté of the facilitators. Frankly, all this leaves me very much hoping that our friends in the Black Bloc and other more thoughtful activists will play a much more prominent role in our future struggles in this vein. 

Also this came directly after

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