Today is cool and crisp, with a peek of sunshine, and there’s probably 300 people in the park surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), where Occupy Vancouver has existed since October 15. There are about a hundred small tents, from one-to six person size, mostly distributed around the periphery of the encampment, with a so-called “gated community” (not really, of course) of tents in a sheltered area behind the Food Not Bombs (FNB) kitchen tent, which puts out meals fifteen hours a day. There are larger tents for “information”, “media”, “medical assistance”, “peacekeeping”, a”tea house”, and a very well-stocked lending library with comfy sofa and chairs, where I borrowed a copy of Manda Scott’s Boudacia–to take back on Saturday, of course. Hand-written posters everywhere remind us of the shenanigans of the banksters and the governments, the evil and waste of the illegal wars being waged against poor people all over the world, and how these crimes are impacting every one of us.
The stage and speaker’s area for Occupy Vancouver is on the steps of the VAG, with amplified microphones serenading with good live and canned music during the day between the many passionate speakers. The Indigenous Grandmothers, in the tent right across from the speaker’s venue, play an active part in this Occupation. The invocation today, by a Salish woman, was a blessing for protection for everyone involved in the Occuptation, including the police and firemen, who started a police riot the other day when they put out the carefully tended Sacred Fire (in an oil drum), located in the middle of the square, near the speaker’s venue and the grandmothers. They said they put out the fire for “safety’ reasons. The Sacred Fire, the real heart of the city, was restarted by court order yesterday, November 9.
The bureaucrats of Vancouver are doing their best to evict the encampment. This afternoon, they issued orders requiring at least three feet between
tents, and no tarps or coverings over them. But hearts are strong today, and it’s a joy to walk through this amazing place and feel the positive energy of the thousands of people who have made a peaceable alternative community a reality.
So, I chopped carrots for a couple of hours in the FNB kitchen, listening to the speakers, to the workers , to all the people in line for lunch. Beside me stood a beautiful young man from Croatia washing dishes, who was initially unwilling to tell me where he was from –“Planet Earth, like you”, he said, in a very French accent. I suggested that many people don’t understand that the Occupy movement is global, and the message coherent, and deserves to be discussed in places large and small, like my town. So he told me he’d just moved to Vancouver three weeks ago, and he was looking for a job, and wanted to support the Occupiers, and he’d been volunteering in the kitchen for the past several days. A group he had been involved with in Croatia had successsfully challenged the building of a huge golf course/condo project on the Southern coast. The investors got scared off by the protests, he said. I told him our LNG story–same story, everywhere.
Another world really is possible, and you can feel it in your bones at Occupy Vancouver.