Genuine protest or pure intimidation?
May 17, 2007 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Protesters threaten to target homes of Olympic officials Anti-poverty protesters in B.C. are threatening to take their protest against the 2010 Olympics to the homes of Vancouver Olympic officials. Protest organizer David Cunningham says members of the Anti-Poverty Committee know where officials from the Vancouver Organizing Committee live and work and protesters will take their demonstration directly to them. The Anti-Poverty Committee has a controversial presence in Vancouver currently. Among other things, they throw urine at people they don't like. Anti-Poverty Committee spokesman David Cunningham said these tactics (well, maybe not the urine) are the only way to get the attention of politicians.
posted by KokuRyu (25 comments total)

 
What could be romantic to Mike Watt? The Piss Bottle Man.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:37 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Throwing urine at Olympic officials will only embolden them. They collect that stuff.
posted by srboisvert at 1:41 PM on May 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


Funny! I was just telling the wife the other day that one thing and one thing only will cure povery and that's piss throwing.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:52 PM on May 17, 2007


VANOC officials like Jim Furlong will simply be driven to their gated homes in their chauffeured BMWs and have their urine-soaked clothing burned by their immigrant Filipino house staff. Then the time that took, their maids' salary and their replacement clothes will be billed to VANOC and the taxpayer will eventually pay for it.

What David Cunningham may not understand is that BC politics is a bloodsport and it always has been. Sure, he and his clan can picket 2010 officials' homes, for all the good it'll do them. Furlong lives in a secure, gated home. I guarantee that Cunningham does not.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:55 PM on May 17, 2007


from APC website:
"PROTEST CORPORATE INVASION OF INDIGENOUS TERRITORY!!"

Most of this work is directly linked to 2010, to improve transportation & other infrastructure in preparation for the games. Some of it forms part of a larger strategy aimed at capitalizing on 2010 and related tourism and trade, especially with Asia-Pacific (the International Trade & Investment to 2010 Strategy, as well as the $600-million Gateway project). All the expansion in transport infrastructure (highways, ports, railways, bridges, etc.) is meant to assist in greater resource exploitation, including ski resorts, mines, logging, natural gas, oil, etc.

So you're blaming the OBC for secondary-economic expansions which lead to more jobs and better standards of living. Unless they are professional protesters, this will not create many jobs. Typical Socialist BS... a hundred ways to distribute wealth, not one good idea on how to make it.

PROTEST OLYMPIC GENTRIFICATION!!

Don't got away poor, just go away.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:56 PM on May 17, 2007


Quite honestly, the infrastructure expansion is essentially aimed at increasing the number of expressways and orbital roads around Vancouver, and increasing shipping traffic by building new port facilities on agricultural land.

While economic expansion may falter if these changes are not introduced, it is also certain that Vancouver's smog and pollution will increase, while the remaining wild habitat and farmland will decrease.

As well, what the protesters are obscuring is their very cause itself: cheap housing in East Vancouver is being torn down to make way for the Olympics. As well, one of the first things Mayor Sullivan did after getting into office was to cancel projects associated with the 2010 Olympics that would increase the amount of social, low-cost housing.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:02 PM on May 17, 2007


Wait, wait. Youre saying the side that engages in piss throwing is being irrational?
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:03 PM on May 17, 2007


As well, what the protesters are obscuring is their very cause itself: cheap housing in East Vancouver is being torn down to make way for the Olympics.

Indirectly, this will lead to the gentrification of Hastings-Sunrise (east of the Downtown East Side), which is the last place in Vancouver proper where you can own a 2-bedroom property for under $150K and stand better than even odds of not getting shanked as you walk home from work.

The canny real estate investor would buy there today for resale in a few years.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2007


personally I'm ambivalent about any economic gains the Olympics will bring here long term, but the only ones the APC are hurting with their stupid tactics is themselves and those they are trying to represent.
posted by concreteforest at 2:12 PM on May 17, 2007


Perhaps the protestors should enlist the aid of poo-flinging monkeys? You don't want to get a pack of capuchin monkeys angry, trust me. I've seen the ensuing fecal catastrophe and it wasn't pretty.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 2:35 PM on May 17, 2007


Most of this work is directly linked to 2010, to improve transportation & other infrastructure in preparation for the games. Some of it forms part of a larger strategy aimed at capitalizing on 2010 and related tourism and trade, especially with Asia-Pacific (the International Trade & Investment to 2010 Strategy, as well as the $600-million Gateway project). All the expansion in transport infrastructure (highways, ports, railways, bridges, etc.) is meant to assist in greater resource exploitation, including ski resorts, mines, logging, natural gas, oil, etc.

So you're blaming the OBC for secondary-economic expansions which lead to more jobs and better standards of living.


Not convincing me, here. We should be diversifying from the natural resources sector, not building massive infrastructure to accomodate it.

All the jobs which might be temporarily created won't help much if you can't find anywhere affordable to live (unless you move way out into the Valley, and commute for two hours a day).
posted by jokeefe at 2:42 PM on May 17, 2007


the only ones the APC are hurting with their stupid tactics is themselves and those they are trying to represent.

You have any evidence to back this up, or should we just take it on spec?
posted by docgonzo at 2:44 PM on May 17, 2007


Oh yeah, and the APC. I used to hang with people like that, some twenty-five years ago. I can pretty much guarantee you that the thrill of seeing themselves in the news and on TV is more than a little of the driving force here. And it pisses me off, because it makes it so much easier to dismiss those who have been and continue to be working in the trenches, so to speak, for affordable housing and community development, and who have all sorts of rational and well thought out reservations around the Olympics and the effects of rapid gentrification on the city, and the housing bubble (seriously, you can buy a studio on the Upper West Side in Manhattan for about the same price as a one bedroom in Vancouver. Madness.)
posted by jokeefe at 2:45 PM on May 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Some people throw piss at people they DO like.

Now THAT'S fucked up.
posted by tkchrist at 2:50 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]



[snip] the only ones the APC are hurting with their stupid tactics is themselves and those they are trying to represent.

You have any evidence to back this up, or should we just take it on spec?

Yes - Vancouver City Council refused to renew some funding to DERA because of its association with the APC.

A little heavy-handed, maybe, but, then again, positive relationships do matter.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:08 PM on May 17, 2007


Re: City council not renewing DERA funding for old folks' home:

Your assumption here is that the needs of the poor in the DTES [1] and the activities of DERA [2] are perfectly aligned. I'd say that's not the case.

Second, if we take a longer view -- say back to the late 70s, when the real degeneration of the DTES began in earnest -- the only time substantial gains were made for the poor in the DTES is when they made a shitstorm's worth of noise, from blunting the mostly negative impacts of Expo86 to getting the AIDS outbreak noticed to finally having an arrest made in the missing women's case. You think the Woodward's redevelopment would have included any social housing if various folks hadn't occupied the building?

[1] DTES = Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, the poorest urban neighbourhood in Canada, with appalling levels of addiction, violence and misery and the worst outbreak of HIV in the Western world.

[2] DERA: Downtown Eastside Residents' Association, a local lobby group which also runs a substantial number of social services in the DTES. They are officially separate from the APC.

NB: My employer is involved in the DTES; these view are my own.
posted by docgonzo at 3:24 PM on May 17, 2007


I would think that an anti-poverty group would want to distance themselves from the smell of urine.

[/tasteless homeless joke]
posted by quin at 3:34 PM on May 17, 2007


News story about the DERA and Olympic flag theft
posted by acro at 4:18 PM on May 17, 2007


jokeefe concluded All the jobs which might be temporarily created won't help much if you can't find anywhere affordable to live (unless you move way out into the Valley, and commute for two hours a day).

The construction is temporary, true. But what about they also massively expanding ski resorts near Whistler, though these are not official Olympic facilities APC is protesting them as they encroach on disputed Native Canuck land. Now these facilities would provide longer-term jobs, plus secondary industries such as cafes, sport shops, tons of small businesses that could grow from this. Yet instead of encouraging small business that give poor people jobs, APC tries to shut it down. It's careless and counter-productive.

Does APC offer an sustainable alternative? All I see is them defending squatters and trying to attach a ball and chain to private development that could help provide boon to a depressed area.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:29 PM on May 17, 2007


While biking home from school one day a few months back, I happened to pass by Vancouver city hall during a protest. A large Olympic flag flies at city hall, and back in March or so it was stolen by a protest group called the Native Warrior Society. The protest I saw was occuring during the re-lighting ceremony for the new flag.

It was a surreal scene. A children's choir was singing a sweet, syrupy song about Canada, and a hundred or so protestors were booing, chanting, and blasting airhorns. Eight mounted police stood by. Dignitaries got on stage and read canned speeches that were totally inaudible due to the ruckus. Protestors outnumbered actual spectators about 3 to 1 at least. One chant I recall in particular was "No!...Olympics!...On stolen native land!"

That got me thinking. I grew up in suburban ontario, where the first nation groups are in the news maybe once every few years. The Caledonia protest in 2006 is the first I can recall since Ipperwash and Oka. I understood that first nations had suffered a terrible injustice, but pictured it as all having occured in the distant past, save a few isolated incidents. I remember the creation of Nunavut which settled the Inuit claim, and remembered thinking how that was perfectly fair, given that the Inuit had never given up their land in a treaty. Then I moved to BC in September 2006 and was rather startled at how often I was hearing first nations in the news. Pretty much every day there was a story about some land claim.

I was absolutely blown away to find out that the vast majority of BC, including all of Vancouver, is *unceded* first nation territory. The Squamish and Musqueam consider the entire Vancouver district to be their traditional territory and they have never given it up in a treaty. This is true for most of the province. I think it is not a stretch to say that they have a valid legal claim to the land.

I was further surprised to hear that the Musqueam and Squamish still inhabit their traditional territory: the Musqueam have a reservation on the north arm of the Fraser River, near Wreck Beach, and the Squamish, under the Lion's Gate Bridge in North Vancouver (and I think there are more). I had never heard of first nations reservations in urban centers before.

The sad, shameful, state of things is that many first nations people live in poverty in urban Vancouver. Many of them live in the downtown eastside, where drugs and prostitution are rampant. They are the ones who will be hurt the most by the Olympics. The real estate boom has already begun. Rents are skyrocketing across Vancouver and the urban poor are getting squeezed.

Some groups will benefit economically, such as the Squamish who were recently given land around Whislter in exchange for their co-operation with respect to the olympics. But the expansion of Sea-to-Sky highway has already caused increased development in the town of Squamish and the Sunshine Coast, leading to inevitable highway congestion along the mountain corridor and huge traffic holdups at either ends of the already congested bridges from Vancouver to North Vancouver. The Gateway project, doubling the Port Mann bridge, will inevitably lead to increased development on the far shore of the Fraser river, (eventually) doubling the amount of traffic and associated air pollution. And, as the 'stolen native land' link discusses, a number of new ski resorts and expansions are planned in remote mountain areas. The Olympics are the direct impetus for much of this development. The legacy they leave will be more sprawl, more traffic, more pollution, and more traditonial territories paved over. I had thought the marginilzation of first nations occured in the distant past, but here in BC it seems like it is ongoing.

This is why I support the APC. The problem is that they do not make it easy for people to take them seriously. But in spite of their childish tactics, they are promoting a cause that I think needs to be promoted.

On preview in response to Milton:
Funny how we found the same link. I don't have a good answer to your point. I don't know if the APC has a sustainable alternative in mind. But my impression is that the first nations who may have a claim to the land typically do not want developments to go forward. I don't think you can argue that the developments will necessarily be economically beneficial to the poor. I don't know if they would be or not.
(I've said about all I know on the topic and I won't be around tonight to follow-up. Hope you found my comment interesting.)
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:40 PM on May 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


What a bunch of idiots. Round 'em up and lock 'em up.
posted by caddis at 4:55 PM on May 17, 2007


BC is not now, and will never be, home to rational politicking at the Provincial level or the Municipal level when it comes to Vancouver. Bloodsport, indeed. The APC may not be coming off as the most rational group but they do get people thinking. I do think those protests did help get social housing into the Woodward's development.

The Olympics will be a huge money-eating boondoggle. It's what we do best out here! Hell, we can't even get a few ferries built and make it work. We're going to make Expo '67 look like a great investment by the time we're done.

Vancouver does need additional infrastructure but like many here, I'm not happy with the bulldozer approach the government has taken in order to get things done. We may not make any sense, but at least we're not boring. If Canadian cities were a social group, we'd be that flaky, slightly psycho girlfriend that appalled everyone else, yet never managed to get ditched.
posted by Salmonberry at 5:33 PM on May 17, 2007


PercussivePaul notes: I don't think you can argue that the developments will necessarily be economically beneficial to the poor.

First, thank you for the wonderful back-story.

Agreed, but I can't imagine expansion of the local anchor business making them worse, unless we are still chasing Injuns off by armed homesteaders. This area sounds like there is little in economic opportunity, so any growth helps. I'm not saying they will have swimming pools and movie stars, but CAN$15/hr job working the lodge and the lifts is better than government assistance which I imagine a shameful percentage are.

We're only getting one side of the story, I wonder what the tribe leadership has to say, and the developers. This area is in a rut, and APC isn't doing anything to change that.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:56 PM on May 17, 2007


christ, caddis, did you plan the placement of your your one-liner for maximum juxtaposition? i mean the only way that could have sounded less nuanced was to post it immediately after a long, thoughtful, cited post, and that's exactly what you did. in a way, you're to be commended, i suppose.
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:53 PM on May 17, 2007


I've been to Vancouver a few times (1999, 2002, 2003, 2006) and the most recent time, I was struck by how many more homeless people there were.

Spending billions on hosting the olympics when you have a homeless problem like Vancouver, does seem a little bit contradictory, but it's important to remember where the money for each comes from.

Lots of the funding for the Olympics will be federal or private, while looking after the homeless and those in poverty is a provincial concern. It's not to say that none of the funding will be provincial, but it's not going to be a sinkhole of money, stopping them from doing more socially worthy works.
posted by theducks at 5:53 PM on May 18, 2007


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