(en) after the apec summit / solidarity action on dec 1st

Katja Cronauer (cronauer@cs.ubc.ca)
Fri, 5 Dec 1997 15:25:29 -0800 (PST)

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"the aftermath" - a personal account mainly about dec 1st, an action of solidarity at the university of british columbia (ubc) with people resisting APEC and what it stands for locally and globally

a couple of weeks ago, when i hardly got any sleep, i was looking forward to nov. 26th, when all the stress would be over, despite all the fun i had working with really awesome people and on issues that over the last year became very important to me.

after spending more than half of the night of nov. 25th waiting for every arrested person to be released though, i felt kinda lost and depressed the next days. what did we accomplish? and where would we go from here?

only on monday, dec 1st, when about 25 of us went back to the flagpole where we painted four outlines of a body with a raised fist around the flagpole and wrote in a semicircle "resistance is forever", i started to relax.

december first:

a group of about twenty-five walk towards the flagpole handing out pamphlets (i appended the text of the pamphlet below). there they unpack tons of spraycans, permanent markers and a can of ugly brown paint.

one of them dares to use the marker to write something right on the flagpole. something along the lines: thousands of people gathered here on november twenty-fifth to protest the corporate agenda that apec promotes.

some others spraypaint four colourful outlines of bodies with raised fists around the flagpole and write in a semicircle:

is e f c n o a t r s i e s v e e r r

then they paint some more of those bodies at main mall where "the fence" has been last week and where so many of us got pepper-sprayed and arrested. they also spray-painted:

manila chiapas occupied

jakarta ubc salish land


all this while a campus cowboy contacted the mounties and wrote down descriptions of these evil students who dared to beautify their campus.

the evil students were happy with their art and proceeded to southwest marine drive to start another art project at a place where many people sitting peacefully on the street on november twenty-fifth were treated brutally by the corporate armed forces.

shortly before they arrived, a couple of mounties came and started to arrest some of the people who were involved in the arts project at the flagpole.

meanwhile about six poeple walked on for about fifty more metres where two of them spraypainted four more bodies with raised fists and names of various regions and cities. unfortunately they could not finish their project, because a mounty finally came over asking them if they had painted on or around the flagpole (painting on southwest marine drive seems to be no big deal) and arrested them.

while being driven to the police station, some of them were asked what jonathan (another person working with us and apec alert) thought about this, suggesting that jonothan would not like what we just did. this made the three prisoners burst out into laughter. how often do we have to tell these mounties that we do not have any leaders.

the mischievous folks will have to go to court in january. that's what they were told after being behind bars for a couple of hours, and after getting comments, such as "you looked at lot happier then" when i showed them my student id. well, i wasn't in a police station then, and i guess i look a lot happier again now and this coming sunday when those anarchists, rebels and others who don't fit into the corporate system will meet once again to get together and work together in order to improve this world, to make it worthwhile living in ...

(the meeting is this sunday, dec 7th, at 10:30 in the grad centre at 6371 crescent rd, ubc)


-- the following is the text of the pamphlet that we handed out on dec. 1st

The APEC leaders have left Vancouver but the policies that are being designed and applied through APEC remain. Such policies serve to legitimize the governmental repression of democracy and free speech as well as the appropriation and exploitation of land and lives. APEC is just one of a growing number of mechanisms, including the World Trade Organization, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment which are backed up by institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The Washington-based lending agencies use the artificially created debt crisis as leverage to push 'developing' nations deeper and deeper into an international monetary system that by its very nature benefits rich people in rich countries at the expense of the majority of the world's population. After 500 years of colonial exploitation, how does it make sense that the colonized peoples owe their oppressors anything?

At UBC on November 25th, thousands of students were exposed to the violence which underpins this system of domination and exploitation. While our privilege allows us to return to our normal lives, others (workers and students in Manila, peasants in Chiapas, sex trade workers in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, indigenous people across Canada and around the world) have to deal with this kind of overt repression as well as the more systemic forms of violence (poverty, cultural appropriation and commodification, wage slavery, indoctrination) everyday.

Today, December 1st, university students here at UBC and across Canada are creating permanent monuments symbolizing our commitment to continued resistance. This is also an action of solidarity between Canadian students and those struggling around the world for self-determination, genuine democracy and social justice.

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