7 November 2011
Letter To the Mayor of Vancouver and a Letter Written the Next Morning To Occupy Vancouver's Organizing Committee
When I wrote the following, late last night, after I had been drinking a good deal, because that is what I do when people die and I am feeling kind of helpless, I did not intend it for publication (and will do so with a couple small edits) and have since sent a similar message to the Occupy Vancouver Organizing Committee, which I too will publish below, in which I have amended, for good reason, as I am an outsider, my offer as a concerned citizen of our region and a proud supporter of Occupy Vancouver, come what may. It, too, will be edited slightly for clarity and to preserve a few personal details.
It is, by the looks of things, from the new vantage point of a sober Sunday morning, Occupy Vancouver's time to do the right thing, before the City does the wrong thing.
I was in the Art Gallery square this evening, a few feet from what happened, happened. Your response, from what little I saw of it on my television, after I watched the Lions do their work, is understandable. No getting around that. That said, death at the Occupation was inevitable. Too much hot shit on the streets for it not to be.
I anticipate, however, it is not in the best interests of your city (I am a citizen of Abbotsford) (where we have our own problems) to intervene forcefully, as you too anticipate. No telling what the consequences of that might be, in an age of untellable consequences, in today's uncertain context.
Could be such a confrontation is all the organizers and participants ever wanted. My attendance, just three Saturday's worth of observations, does not support this. Consensus, the Occupation's ringing bell, does not often ring with a fight.
I do hereby offer my service as a peaceful, gradualist, Godwinian Anarchist to talk the Occupation down from the ledge before such forceful action be initiated, if no one from your city, a city I have volunteered in and owe much to, has similarly made such a mediatory offer.
I sure as fuck hope they have.
Be it the City initiated confrontation, or the Occupation's tactical retreat, my feeling is there will be much more written on this page of history, what ever it is you choose to do.
Perhaps an evening in tears, such as I have had, will put people in the same frame of mind as I. I hope so.
Have only been in contact with Geoff Meggs, who I met by happenstance, only a week or so ago, before I sent this letter, which, come to think of it, I should have sent much sooner.
I advised Geoff then it would be in your city's, and your own, political, best interest to speak to the Occupation in a general assembly as a free citizen, an individual, and to make clear you are doing so as such, in favour [broadly] of their aims, but fearing their means, as winter pulls its cloak of darkness over Canada, would mean certain death for some of its well meaning participants.
Too late for that, I guess, but not too late perhaps, for a winter's truce in this century's freshly enlivened fight over our scant resources.
This is for everybody,
I am a peaceful, gradualist Anarchist from the Fraser Valley who has been delighted by my visits to your Occupation, by all you have accomplished with it and all the promise for the future it encompasses. Even last night was delightful in its own sad way. That, however, is not why I am writing to you this morning.
I am writing to advise you to please, voluntarily, de-occupy. Given the present circumstances, winter (the least discerning of our seasons) is upon us. The cold is not the Movement's friend. It is no one's friend and ought to be given all the respect it deserves.
A retreat, at this time, is not a defeat, not to the authourities, not to anyone. It will provide time to reassess tactics, reinforce the message, to gather force to once again, when, perhaps, spring makes the streets more inviting, attack, hopefully in the same steadfastly peaceful manner you have thus far conducted yourselves.
It probably is not my place to bring such a proposal to a general assembly. I would only do so if invited and then with the knowledge that as an outsider my words may not carry the weight they ought to. It is your city. It is your Occupation. Think about it. Do the right thing.