The tent city had the wide support of unions, activists and much of the general public, and it also had numerous issues with bylaw enforcement. There was infrastructure setup including a kitchen, and there were lawyers on site to represent the people who were occupying the site. It had numerous tents and the City of Vancouver was monitoring the situation constantly.
OccupyVancouver? No, I’m talking about Woodwards Squat from nine years ago. Given the fact that Vancouver seems to not remember its own past very well, it’s interesting to see the similarities between the two tent cities, and the fact that there’s a municipal election on right now. It seems clear that Mayor Gregor Robertson is going to “win” this election over Suzanne Anton mostly because he’s boring, and despite the fact that he has presided over a city council that has twice voted against free speech, he still somehow sounds positive, and sounds like someone who you would have a beer with, unlike Anton who is widely negative and is a generally unpleasant person. However, for some reason,this old image sticks out in my head whenever I think of Tent Cities and Elections!
Gregor Robertson is clearly paying attention to Occupy, since he has cited the recent incident in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne is often thought as a sister city to Vancouver, with many things in common. What they don’t have in common is a mayor, since the Mayor of Melbourne appears to be this Rob Ford-like character who believes that Free Speech only lasts a week. The thing with Australia is that he may actually be right, since Australia doesn’t have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the mayor will get away with it far more easily than Toronto Police Chief Blair got away with the G20 police riots in Toronto.
I think it’s critically important to support OccupyVancouver, especially after the City Election on November 19th, so that we don’t have a repeat of history. I rarely ever go down to Occupy, mostly because I don’t see the value of being on the site if I’m not one of the people actually occupying the space, however I’ll sure as hell come down there if I hear that it’s getting taken down by the cops, and if it stays around long enough, I’ll keep donating random things to the site, like a stack of Anarchist Literature, or a Tarp.