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(en)Canada, Victoria, Report from the April 1 Day of Action

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 6 Apr 2004 17:03:50 +0200 (CEST)

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On Thursday April 1st, the Communities Solidarity Coalition (CSC)
organized an early morning flying squad of about 35-40 people and an afternoon
snake march that drew around 400-500. Together with the Students Against Poverty
(SAP) we successfully disrupted business as usual for several hours and ended
the day without any arrests. This was a refreshing break from the dismal activist
normality that often quells the spirit of revolt within our ranks.
After meeting at 6:30 am for coffee and snacks, the CSC flying squad split
into two and set up info lines at both of the main hospitals in Victoria.
We made it seem like we were going to set up pickets, thereby frustrating
the executives and management of the Vancouver Island Health Authority
(VIHA). But really they were just soft lines, designed to send a message
to the membership of the Hospital Employee's Union (HEU) that we were
mobilizing solidarity with their upcoming province wide strike, to express
our vibrant opposition to the privatization of health care and to push for
the General Strike.

Meanwhile SAP had set up info lines at the University of Victoria
attracting campus maintenance workers from the Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE) in solidarity, and building momentum for a snake march on
campus planned for 11am.

The two CSC groups rejoiced at the Jubilee Hospital to march up the
street, and storm the Regional Executive Welfare Office. Responding to the
loud voices, drumming and the odor that emerged from a small stink bomb, a
prestigious looking woman and some other men came out of their offices.
Some of us have taken part in past flying squads to secure people's
welfare checks and recognized her immediately: “…this is Lori Mist, the
Regional Executive Officer! …” said one. A barrage of heckling followed.
Someone from the group that initiated the occupation insisted that there
was no use in dialogue with such a parasite; after a couple more people
yelled at her about the cuts the squad ended the action with dignity. This
was organized to ignite a revitalized campaign of direct action against
the Ministry of "Humans as Resources."

Just as we left the office we got word from SAP that Sergio Marchi, the
former ambassador to the WTO, was about to give a lecture on campus. This
was a great opportunity to relate the very clear connection between
resisting the BC Liberal's cuts and the international struggle against the
global capitalist economic order. We rushed up to UVIC early and
interrupted his bullshit justifications for corporate globalization with
an onslaught of disruptive and well-articulated facts about the WTO; it
was very easy to expose his hollow arguments for the jokes that they were.
Two or three of our people asked questions in an orderly way but the
general theme was complete disrespect for the showcase of propaganda. For
many of us, our only intention at the lecture was to bring the class war
to the comfort zone of another money-grubbing businessman and enemy to the
interests of all poor and working people. He’s lucky we let him get away
with speaking at all!

All of these inspiring events culminated in an energized snake march when
CSC and SAP combined forces and proceeded through various buildings across
the University including the Library, Clerihew, Cornett, Business and
Economics, University Center and the Student Union Building. Drumming and
other percussion was accompanied with noisy appeals to “walk out”, other
chanting and fire alarms that were set off in three of the buildings. The
climax was in the prolonged visit to the space right outside the
university administration, which had very nice acoustics. A ‘Critical
Mass’ bike posse of about 25 people rode from UVIC at around 1:30 to get
downtown for 2 o’clock; the rest of us got rides.

At 2pm hundreds of people assembled downtown and took to the streets for a
short and spirited snake march. HEU members made up the largest amount of
those present, others included radicals from other unions, anti-poverty
activists, high school and post secondary students, parents, children,
street people, the disabled and a significant anarchist contingent.

Police on bikes tried to isolate individual anarchists and provoke a
situation for arrests, but the group stayed solid and defiantly held the
entire street, even when the cops managed to corral most of the march on
one side of the yellow line.

Patriotic and/or pro-police attitudes of some of the union folks were
naturally at odds with anarchists and others. We feel that discussions
around these issues are some of the many growing pains in building a
movement that unites people from different social sectors. If we are to
include indigenous and poor people we must challenge the colonial Canadian
system and its police.

There was lots of great music, food and speakers. Kim Toombs from the CSC
emphasized the importance for radicals to stand on the upcoming HEU picket
lines and generate momentum for a province wide general strike. Organizers
intended on ending the day with a feast in the middle of Government Street
next to Bastion Square, but for better or worse they evaded a conflict
with the police by leading the march to the provincial legislature. Then
we slowly dispersed.

-post by blackandred
-original article by "Real Eyes"
From: blackandred-A-resist.ca

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