Confrontational Anarchist Presence at Vancouver Anti-Pipelines Demo
From BC Blackout
Approximately 20 masked up black clad anarchist rebels created a defiant contingent within the 600 to 1000 person anti-pipelines demo organized by ‘Rising Tide’, on the evening of January 14th. This openly confrontational presence was maintained throughout most of the four-hour demo despite having an entourage of at least a couple dozen VPD’s Public Safety Unit (PSU) right from the onset. While many speakers addressed the crowd gathering at ‘Victory Square’ some of the “ninja’s” distributed a text (which is included below). Most of the demonstrator’s did not seem offended by the black masks and many were openly supportive. Of the few that vocalized criticism, most came around with warm exchanges when anarchists articulated the importance of expressing a fighting spirit if we are serious about stopping the pipelines and taking our lives back from the rich, making it clear that we’re not mindless thugs, but passionate revolutionaries.
During the march to the Sheraton Wall Centre (a hotel complex in downtown Vancouver where the Enbridge hearings were occurring) the small black bloc stayed tight within a barrier created with the help of three large banners. There were at least as many anarchists and other rebels scattered throughout the demo who wore masks and/or all black. And of course many of the non combatant people are as anarchists as well.
Once the demo reached the Sheraton Wall Center tensions mounted as the demo of at least 600 poured into the courtyard within the hotel complex. A large number of this crowd quickly faced off with the 40-50 PSU pigs who rapidly lined the entrance to the building where the hearings were taking place. Anarchists used banners and a black flag to obscure police surveillance. Others followed suit with their anti-pipelines picket signs. Fire works then exploded above the bloc.
For a short time it seemed possible for the crowd to overcome the police line and enter the building on mass. Then a demo organizer announced that we were at the wrong building the crowd then followed them across the courtyard to a building that was not protected by the police as the remained in their original formation. At this point, anarchists shot more fireworks into the night sky. Moods ran high, but the climax of the demo had begun to decline.
Shortly after indigenous women lead the ‘Women’s Warrior Song’, organizers directed the demo back to the original building as they had clearly been mistaken. When the crowd returned, anarchists quickly made a wall of banners against the police line to obscure the cops vision again. This time however, most of the demo kept their distance while they listened to activist speakers.
One anarchist yelled as she was being pushed by the police, many from the larger crowd joined the other anarchists in having her back. An escalating conflict was narrowly diffused as demo organizers and/or self delegated marshals got who got between the cops and the rebels.
The potential moments to break the peace of the Enbridge bosses any further had clearly passed and the potential of arrest was mounting as the demo got smaller. Not too long after this, the anarchists slipped into the dwindling crowd, de-blocked and then dispersed. The buzz of collective refusal was still in the air.
- This report is based on one individuals perspective and not meant to represent any other anarchists, black bloc or otherwise.
This text was distributed throughout the demo:
No Pipelines, No Tankers.
Capitalism is the Problem.
The capitalists don’t care what we think, they only care about the millions to be made from exploiting the land, water, and from our time spent working away from our family’s and loved ones. Continuing to dialog with these vultures helps to maintain the illusion they can be swayed with moral arguments. We encourage you to instead talk to one another about how to self organize and take action to stop them and protect whats left. A diversity of tactics are needed; from social confrontation and attack to social outreach, popular education, fundraising, building on the land, cooking, cleaning, child care and so on…
Solidarity means realizing the commonality between each others struggles. Our task is not only to have each others backs in the face of state repression but also to open new fronts wherever we live against the common enemy. We encourage you to develop your own analysis, find accomplices and decide for yourself what is the best way to attack the system and take a step towards control over your life.
One powerful source of inspiration are the Wet’suwet’en people who are facing off with the Apache and Chevron corporations to prevent the Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP), and all other pipelines threatening their territory (including Enbridge). They are on the forefront of resistance to resource extraction in the colonial province of BC.
Many people are aware of the epic ‘Northern Gateway’ pipeline project Enbridge is seeking to push through. A smaller but growing number are realizing that the Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP) is already approved and going ahead. The PTP would increase the flow of liquified natural gas extracted through the highly destructive practice of ‘fracking’ in North Eastern BC for exportation to overseas markets. Further, the PTP is clearing the way all the other pipelines that seek to follow along the PTP’s path, of which Enbridge is just one. Also to the much larger ‘Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy (2012-2020)’.
“Pacific Gateway” is a scheme which is funneling billions of provincial and federal tax dollars to spruce up and expand railway, pipelines, hi-ways, seaports, airports, etc. To accelerate the flows of toxic resources like coal, oil and gas throughout BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. With the rapidly growing energy markets in China and India, international capitalists are frothing at the bit amidst these unfolding possbilitys.
For us, there is no distinction between ecological resistance and class war. The same rich bastards profiting from our work, poverty, blood and tears are profiting from destroying the natural world. Same shit, same pile. They extort our consensus with the bribe of jobs, but what good is money on a dead planet? We want to get all the cops and bosses out of our lives, to destroy the capitalist economy and regenerate respectful relationships to the land, our selves and each other.