Mayday 2012: An East Van Anarchist Reportback
Vancouver, BC - Stolen Coast Salish Land
While hundreds of our comrades just south of the border in Seattle
raged and smashed many targets of capitalism and the state, a smaller
number of anarchists in Vancouver engaged in low intensity social
disruption and agitation.
Earlier in the day a number of us participated in a grassroots occupy
assembly at the art gallery downtown for a while, agitating for a
general strike, autonomous solidarity, etc. This small assembly was to
grow to a bigger Union Demo featuring the longtime head of the BC
Federation of Labour (BC FED) “Slippery Jim” Sinclair. We have witnessed
Sinclair stab thousands of workers in the back over the last decade or
so. To anarchists and revolutionaries, organizations like the BC FED are
just as despicable as the Capitalist exploiters themselves. The role of
the Union Buracrats (along with their buddies in Left-wing party's like
the NDP) is to ensure peace between the exploited and our exploiters.
They are the enemy to all of us who wish to intensify true workers
rebellion against our exploitation and towards dignity.
We would have enjoyed heckling these traitors of the working class
and disrupting their spectacle but we had other plans to prepare for
back in East Vancouver. There was an autonomous Mayday
demonstration/street party to start around dusk in the Commercial Drive
The evening demo started as people gathered next to China Creek skate
park around a loud speaker blasting out some hip hop, punk, metal and
other styles of music. A chaotic mish mash of individuals and crews
showed up slowly. People socialized and ate dinner that a Food Not Bombs
group had prepared.
At dusk approx 100 people gathered as a comrade outlined the
anarchist roots of mayday and gave brief reports of Mayday happenings in
other cities. We then took to the streets, with torches and black
flags, and carried two big banners reading 'GENERAL STRIKE' and 'SMASH
EXPLOITATION AND PATRIARCHY'.
We marched east to Broadway and Commercial then headed north towards
Grandview Park. Our torches stayed lit for about half of the march.
Chants were thrown in periodically amidst the loud music and the dancing
mob. Including one new one; “Dump the BC FED: Organize Your Self
Instead!” Many wore all black, some masked up and most openly expressed
antagonism towards the police surrounding the demo. One black clad
masked rebel danced on the roof of the jeep that was carrying the music
and waved a black flag as the march was proceeding along the drive.
When we got to Grandview Park the burnt out torches were piled up and
a fire was started in the middle of commercial drive. This brought back
memories of the fires that were lit in the same street a little less
than two years ago, at a larger community street party during the climax
of the resistance to the "revitalization" of our neighborhood park.
That battle was lost, but the memory fuels the embers inside of us. It
is still possible to break the social peace and the yuppy take over of
We stayed and partied around the fire for about half an hour before
the riot squad came and read the order to clear the street. We slowly
moved onto the sidewalk at the corner of Grandview Park. Some comrades
strongly encouraged a few heavily intoxicated individuals not to walk
into the riot cops that were taking over the street after one of them
was nocked over by a pig. Shortly after this some of us cut the sound
and people started dispersing. There were no arrests.
We passed out many flyers with the following text through out the day
and to many passers by during our street party/demo. A bunch of them
were also thrown in the air during our demo:
'May Day is the international holiday that commemorates the 1886
Haymarket Massacre, when Chicago police murdered workers participating
in a general strike. It’s also a time to rejoice in rebellion.
Tensions are mounting with workers all over the province and austerity
measures are being imposed on every sector of society. Solidarity is our
The governments of BC and Canada continue to fool us
into believing that we live in a “green” and peaceful location. While
resourse extraction practices and development continue to tear apart the
land and spew poisons into the air and water. Traditional indigenous
communities are leading the fight against the destruction of their
Everywhere we look working class/low income people
are pushed out of the way for condo developments and yuppie fueled park
renovations. Meanwhile rents keep skyrockiting.
workplaces, schools, parks, in the streets and on the land we need to
steal back the time and space that is stolen from us by capitalism. It
starts here and now.
Towards a full scale general strike/shut down of the economy.'
Anarchist Analysis of Unions:
Local Strike Archive:
Seatle May Day Reports: