GPOY Occupy Spring edition

Queen Anonymous

Queen Anonymous

I! AM! The… oh waitaminit. Where’s my goddam hoodie? That’s better. All together now

I! AM! THE 99%!

HOODIE UP in solidarity with Trayvon Martin and all young people who have been targeted, hurt, or lost their lives as a result of racial profiling.

Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. He lived with his mother and older brother, and wanted to to study aviation. He was visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford when he was shot by the neighbourhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Trayvon was wearing a hoodie, on foot and un-armed; he had been to the store during a break in the NBA game to get Skittles and iced tea. Prior to shooting him in the chest, Zimmerman had called the police to report Trayvon’s “suspicious” behavior (walking while black??) and insisted on pursuing him. Police have not arrested Zimmerman because he claims that he killed Trayvon in self-defense, under the protection of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Police also did not contact Trayvon’s family and registered him in the morgue as John Doe, in spite of having his cellphone in their possession when he was pronounced dead.

For full story –


The hoodie is a symbol of how we are NOT subject to the same treatment, how some of us have to expect violence and negligence, not safety or protection, from institutions like the police because of systemic racism. In spite of how common and “trendy” the hoodie is, it retains associations with “danger” and “criminality” when worn by people of colour, especially those who are perceived to be poor/of lower economic class and therefore “not belonging” in particular areas.

Cultural racism means that mainstream society feels entitled both to treat people of color on the basis of racial stereotypes (which erases one’s individual character) AND to have ready access to people of color’s personal/private identities at all times (which makes one’s individual body hyper-visible).

Racial profiling in the form of policing, surveillance and incarceration affects many youth of color in the Lower Mainland from Arab, Muslim, South and/or Southeast Asian communities, and especially Indigenous and Black communities, who are already over-represented, with growing numbers, in Canada’s prison system.



Links to check out:

Video of parents of Trayvon Martin speaking

Video w/Brian Jones

Dress! Code! In! Force!

Hoodie up!

Hoodie up!

Action for Assange: UPDATED

Action for Assange poster by AusFoWL

Action for Assange poster by AusFoWL

Being the smart, well-informed engaged citizens that readers of the ol’ raincoaster blog tend to be, you’ll no doubt be aware that at literally any moment Julian Assange’s fate is to be decided. The Supreme Court of the UK will either send him to Sweden (which will presumably roll over obediently and hand him over to the US for a lifetime of confinement and probable torture) or they will set him free after more than a year under house arrest. For review: he has not been charged with a crime in any country, although the US has a Grand Jury inquiry ongoing that leaks like a sieve. If it doesn’t, how’d I find out about it? I’ve got better things to do than hang around streetcorners in Alexandria, Virginia.

Above is a poster from the Australian branch of Friends of Wikileaks. If you’re at all inclined to support WL, go ahead and sign up for this interesting new activist network, but expect it to be significantly more IRL than most. Below, I’m posting a link to Christine Assange‘s 60 (yes, 60) talking points, as well as the full text of a letter to British MP’s Nick Clegg and Teresa May. Initially I said those letters wouldn’t have an effect, but I stand corrected; as the author reminded me, things are indeed different now. Politicians may be no less self-interested than ever, but their self-interest now lies in listening to the Will of the People; they can hear the tumbrils approaching.

Christine Assange’s 60 Talking Points: a sample:

Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, has spent many long months reaching out to supporters and urging them to contact their local political representatives. Recognising that many politicians do not even know the true story behind WikiLeaks and her son’s legal battles, she asks supporters to give them the facts as well as requesting their assistance.

Christine today used her Twitter account and the #fact4mp hashtag to post 60 important talking points for supporters to disseminate:

1. Wikileaks and Assange have not been charged with any crime in any country in the world. See

2. WikiLeaks and Assange have been recognized for quality investigative journalism with many prestigious awards. See

3. WikiLeaks has a perfect record regarding information reliability. No government has denied the authenticity of any documents.

4. WikiLeaks redacts its documents, so to date not one person has been physically harmed by its publications.

5. WikiLeaks exposes government and corporate corruption, fraud, shady deals, war crimes, torture, and kidnapping. It is in the public interest to know these things.

6. WikiLeaks partnered with The Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegal, Le Monde, and El Pais to publish Cablegate. Why target only WikiLeaks?

7. WikiLeaks acts in accordance with traditional journalism. It publishes information given by various sources.

8. WikiLeaks acts like traditional media but protects its sources with a secure anonymous Drop Box.

9. WikiLeaks is a legal, legitimate, online news publisher, recognized as such by other journalist organizations worldwide.

10. WikiLeaks is a non-profit independent publisher funded by donations from ordinary citizens from around the world.

You can view the whole list by clicking on the link above.



If you’d like to poster or protest outside your friendly neighborhood Australian embassy for their abandonment of a citizen abroad, here is a handy-dandy roundup thereof, worldwide.

If you’d like to do it anonymously, we’ve already featured some instructions on making an Anonymous mask, but here is a great roundup of more, complete with security features eg telling you to wear gloves when sculpting clay, so you don’t leave fingerprints.

There is an Avaaz petition up to support Julian and tell Australian politicians that they have a duty to their citizens abroad. A duty they have noticeably not performed in this case.

and now, the Letter to MPs:

Continue reading

For the Haters

On the Interwebz, you’re nobody till somebody hates you, so OccupyVancouver shouldn’t take to heart the recent emergence of a parody twitter stream, 0ccupyvancouver (with a zero, and how! not an o; this humourless git probably never had an O in his life without his mother in the room).

To call it a humour-challenged account is to understate the case to a positively injunctable extent; it’s so bad that it had four followers when I saw it this afternoon, and about eight hours later it was down to three. That’s no doubt its mother, uncledaddy, and sisterwife.

Strangely, they have a platform that I think we can all support:

Continue reading

Occupy Vancouver Occupies the Port of Vancouver


If I do say so myself, I got some kickass photos today.


And won the Great Poutine Bet, although I should have known better than to bet with a tory with a tory judge presiding. Count your fingers after making THAT handshake deal.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


According to the one protester left to mind the placards and People’s Lovely Lending Library, about 300 people showed up, with the protesters only slightly outnumbering the media. After the obligatory speechifying (which I am glad to have missed) they then strode over to the viaduct into the port, where they were met by a count of 35 Vancouver police officers ranged across the bridge, completely blocking traffic, whether pedestrian or vehicular.

Here is Court, reporting from the scene:

Now, the Great Poutine Bet has everything to do with whether or not traffic was able to move into or out of the port, even though Dave doesn’t seem to think so. He and I had a bet: that if Occupy Vancouver shut down access to the port (and by that, what moron would think I meant completely sealing it off? We don’t have a geodesic dome big enough anymore!) on Monday the 12th, I’d win all the poutine I could eat, and if OV did not shut down access to the port, he would win all he could eat.

To which someone made the following observation:

Is #FreedomCurds or is it not the best hashtag of all time? Thank you, it is.

Anyhoodle, Dave weaseled out of the bet as expected, even though FoodNotBombs shut down access via the Clark bridge in the morning, OV shut it down at Britannia in the afternoon, and in early evening another group of OV shut down the Clark onramp again. Shut down access to the port.

Five people were arrested at the second Clark occupation (well, five people left involuntarily in custody of the police, although police say only two were arrested) and later released without charges filed.

Oh well, one must be philosophical about such things. Once Dave tries my cooking, he’ll realize that there are many ways of winnning, and many ways of losing.

Pooo. Teen.

Pooo. Teen.

Occupy Yourself

Occupy Liberty!

Occupy Liberty!

I’ve been Occupying the sofa recently, having damaged my back hauling around my camera, computer, and assorted gear including three sets of headphones (one of them even works) and a pair of a dead friend’s pants (long story) in my backpack to and from OccupyVancouver for a solid week.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. After all the whining about the cost of policing Occupy Vancouver, it seems that the police have simply stopped occupying the site: costs saved! Problem solved! If only all police were as practical and cooperative as ours!

This is what they do in Oakland: in fact, this is what they did tonight: they shot a veteran in the face.

Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen was wounded by a less-lethal round fired by either San Francisco Sheriffs deputies or Palo Alto Police on October 25, 2011 at 14th Street and Broadway in Downtown Oakland

Somehow I have a hard time believing this is what those officers wanted to be when they grew up. But this is what they’ve become. That kind of person, and the kind that does this: tear-gassing and flash grenading a wounded woman lying on the ground and the crowd that came to rescue her.

Over on Facebook that one got me unfriended by Brooks Bayne, who maintains that the cops’s action was appropriate. He also may have been influenced in his unfriending by the fact that I said that America should be ashamed of this, and that I had higher standards for his country than he did, and my ancestors looted and burned the White House.

Well, we GAVE them a day’s warning; obviously by his “they gave them a half hour warning” rules, we were quite correct to raid that puppy and set it on fire. I can’t imagine what he’s so upset about.

So: things got ugly in Occupy. The question is, what happens now? Do things get this ugly everywhere, do they calm down, do they get worse?

The Occupy movement has diversity as a source of strength; each Occupation is slightly different, and I think this will enable things to get worse in certain places (Oakland, Detroit, LA, possibly Montreal and Ottawa) and serve as magnets for attention and outrage. In effect, the worst fascist acts will cause the rest of the world to put its metaphorical, gigantic foot down and insist that protesters not be treated this way, long before the local people are treated this way.

Oakland Police y u use tear gas on the people?

Oakland Police y u use tear gas on the people?

I could be wrong, but you can’t really describe me as optimistic. When this movement started, I was one of those people who truly believed that the ONLY way through to positive change was to put the 1% in literal fear for their lives. And I was perfectly willing to do it, too. We’ve had fifty years of peace and love and working through consensus and what the fuck has that gotten us? A world where the 99% are routinely raped by the 1%, who expect us to thank them for it and send flowers in the morning. A world where pointing out injustice causes fellow citizens to call for your arrest. A world where everyone who isn’t a victim seems to be a quisling or a rat. The Stop War coalition is nine years old, and we’ve been in Afghanistan ten, so how’s that going then? I sat through far too many meetings at Greenpeace listening to people come up with strategies for protesting lost causes while ignoring winnable, important ones because of inter-office politics. I have lost faith not only in the institutions that control us but in the institutions we created to fight that control.

But I do have faith: I have faith in the movement.

Throughout the past week of observing, occupying, participating and sharing, I’ve learned to have faith in the collective, and in the movement’s commitment to nonviolence. I’ve come to understand that not only was my way of threats and possible violence morally wrong, but it certainly wouldn’t have worked, either. It would have cut the heart out of the movement, and prevented what used to be called the Silent Majority from supporting us. And this war isn’t going to be won by the people in the tents or in the marches: it’s going to be won by the people who catch the bus down the block from the camp, the people who drive by it en route to work or shopping, the people who follow it on Twitter or Facebook or the news (whenever it gets on the news), the people to whom it occurs that they, too, have been cheated out of what once was their birthright, and that they, too, have cause to be angry. The specific forms their support will take, well, who knows? But it all depends on the movement’s continuing nonviolence and independence.

The Dalai Lama is just a troll

The Dalai Lama is just a troll

If you’d like to get involved, but don’t want your fingerprints on anything, there’s an easy way: On October 28th, Occupy Yourself. For one day, shut the system down: don’t buy anything. Don’t use electricity. Don’t consume mass media. Close accounts you don’t use, shed things you don’t need. Donate your old things to charity, or use Freecycle to put them into the secondary market.

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK! Show your support and click “I’m Attending”!/event.php?eid=275706552463169&notif_t=event_ph…



A momentum is occurring
People are uniting across the world
They are sending a message
The next step is fast approaching

On Oct 28th 2011

For one day we peacefully protest in a symbol that will be felt across the globe.

We step out of the system and step back into ourselves.

Turn off all lights
Unplug all electrical devices
Abstain from using TV, radio and internet or phone.
Abstain from making any purchase of any kind
Choose that morning to cancel any services you feel you no longer need
That morning call in sick to work

Do NOTHING that generates money into THE SYSTEM.

We will send a message
We will unite

Most importantly, for one day…
We live without distraction
Read a book
Frolic in nature

On Oct 28th 2011
Step out of the system and get back to yourself

Spread the word!

Look for Versions of this video IN YOUR LANGUAGE in the occupy youself playlist and…SPREAD THE WORD!

meanwhile in Canada

meanwhile in Canada

If that’s a bit intense for you, the CBC has an anonymous poll (yeah, they’re probably pipping your IP, but big deal; if you’re worried, you should use TOR!) on What Should Be Done About the Occupy Movement and at this moment over 80% of respondents say “nothing; they’re doing nothing wrong.” Whatever your point of view, vote.

Like to mess around with Cornify in your lighter moments? Well, now you can Occupy any website with the Occupy app.

And if you’re still not inspired enough, how about a message of solidarity from the (successful) rebels of Tahrir Square?

To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.

An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under structural adjustment policies and the supposed expertise of international organizations like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, industries and public services were sold off and dismantled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immiseration reinforced by a massive increase in police repression and torture.

The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state, capitalism and the austerity-state now even attack the private realm and people’s right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon homeowners find themselves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them on to the streets.

So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy , real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.

In our own occupations of Tahrir, we encountered people entering the Square every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the possibility of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces forgathering, leisure, meeting, and interacting – these spaces should be the reason we live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the marginalized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst .

What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as quotidian as “real democracy”; the nascent forms of praxis and social engagement being made in the occupations avoid the empty ideals and stale parliamentarianism that the term democracy has come to represent. And so the occupations must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform. They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for.

But the ideologies of property and propriety will manifest themselves again. Whether through the overt opposition of property owners or municipalities to your encampments or the more subtle attempts to control space through traffic regulations, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules. There is a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have us do.

We faced such direct and indirect violence , and continue to face it . Those who said that the Egyptian revolution was peaceful did not see the horrors that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resistance and even force that revolutionaries used against the police to defend their tentative occupations and spaces: by the government’s own admission; 99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and all of the ruling party’s offices around Egypt were burned down. Barricades were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they fired tear gas and live ammunition on us. But at the end of the day on the 28 th of January they retreated, and we had won our cities.

It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose. If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted “peaceful” with fetishizing nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured, and martyred to “make a point”, we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious.

By way of concluding then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep going and do not stop. Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life, consensus, and democracy. Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover new ways to hold on to them and never givethem up again. Resist fiercely when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and from Cairo we want to say that we are in solidarity with you, and we love you all for what you are doing.

Comrades from Cairo.
24th of October, 2011.

And Vancouver, you stay crazy. Don’t. Ever. Change.

Lobster Man Darrell Zimmerman Busts up the Mayoral Debate

Lobster Man Darrell Zimmerman Busts up the Mayoral Debate. Well what the hell: he's a candidate too!