VANCOUVER YIPPIE! put the "International" in Youth International Party. Besides turning the city upside down in the early 1970s, the group would have an enduring impact on the anarchist movement. Vancouver Yippies combined a witty, imaginative protest style, with creative day-to-day organizing, while producing flashy, ground-breaking publications. Along the way, they did everything from invade the USA, to bring down a right-wing mayor, to build a people's park, to play a considerable role in politicizing the counter-culture and punk rock.Click here for photos
Video of Blaine Invasion! - here
Video of Gastown Police Riot -
Yippies In Love – a musical about Vancouver Yippies. Coming to Vancouver in early 2011. A Theatre In The Raw productionwww.theatreintheraw.ca
Quotes From Yippie Admirers
The Vancouver Yippie Story
The Yippie Legacy
Vancouver Yippie and Anarchism
Recollections of the Blaine Invasion
Yippie Writings From the Yellow Journal
More Vancouver Yippie Recollections
Quotes from Vancouver Yippie admirers;
* One of the saddest and most degrading incidents suffered by the people of this country since the Alamo.
From the Blaine Journal, describing the Vancouver Yippie invasion of the United States at Blaine WA - 1970
* Bound and determined to overthrow all recognized authority.
Vancouver City Police on Yippie organizers of Gastown Smoke-in 1971
* All you are doing here is tearing apart this institution.
Vancouver City College dean, to two Yippies expelled for political activity - 1971
* Your offenses, in light of other similar recent disturbances, pose a grave threat to the whole community.
Vancouver judge to a Yippie sentenced to 2 1/2 years following the Bay Sip-In riot - 1970
* It's a sad weekend in Vancouver's history .
Vancouver mayor Tom Campbell on the opening weekend of a Yippie-organized people's park - 1971 OB
Vancouver Yippie! put the “International” in the Youth International Party.
Besides turning the Canadian city upside down in the early 1970s, this Yippie group would have an enduring impact on the international anarchist movement. Vancouver Yippies combined a witty, imaginative protest style with creative day-to-day organizing, while producing flashy, ground-breaking publications. And along the way, they did everything from invade America, to bring down a right-wing mayor, to build a people’s park, to play a considerable role in politicizing the counter-culture and punk rock.
How It All Began
In the spring of 1970, a number of students from Simon Fraser University Industrial Workers of the World branch met with a group of hippie radicals from the East Vancouver and Kitsilano neighborhoods. Their shared perspective was a rejection of the rigid, old-style Marxism that had dominated the left for decades, and an openness to the new anti-authoritarian, mind-expanding possibilities spawned by the Sixties. From this meeting came Vancouver Yippie! (also known as the Northern Lunatic Fringe of the Youth International Party or NLF/YIP).
Yippies were organized in about half a dozen autonomous communes with humorous names like The Dog House or the Charley Mansion. The activist core of Yippie! was about 60 to 70 people, but the group had about 300-500 supporters who would come out to actions. The first action was a mock smoke-in. After that came the levitation of Vancouver police headquarters. But these actions were minor compared to what would follow.(1)
The Bay Sip-In (May 8, 1970)
Vancouver YIP staged its first major event — “The Bay Sip-In" to protest the discrimination against hippies by The Bay department store. The Bay Sip-In turned into a riot when demonstrators moved from the store and took to the street. The American consulate was attacked, entered and trashed in the process. Someone even stole the Great Seal of the United States and the U.S. flag was taken outside and burned. There were several arrests. One of the Yippies, convicted of freeing a prisoner and assaulting a cop, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years by a judge who denounced rioters as “modern savages.” The judge told him: “Your offenses, in light of other similar recent disturbances, pose a grave threat to the whole community.”(2)
The Blaine Invasion (May 9, 1970)
The day after the Bay Sip-In, Vancouver Yippie! invaded the United States. The Yippies were protesting Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia and the shooting of unarmed students at Kent State. Yippie!, the May 4th Movement or M4M, and the Vancouver Liberation Front (a more self-consciously Marxist-Leninist faction) marched across the Canada-U.S. border, crossing at the town of Blaine, Wash.(3) Neo-Nazis attacked the demonstration at one point, but were soundly thrashed. “The Blaine Invasion” involved some 600 people and created an international incident as the town suffered some minor damage and a trainload of new automobiles was stoned causing $50,000 damage (1970 dollars).(4) Blaine’s newspaper, The Journal, called the invasion “one of the saddest and most degrading incidents suffered by the people of this country since the Alamo.” As with other YIP-initiated actions, Yippie organizers didn’t specifically call for property damage or violence, but participants took the opportunity of the actions to vent their anger at the system.
Yippie! Is Everywhere
Another highlight among the many YIP actions that summer was an anti-prison “Be-Out,” where Yippies tore down a 100-yard section of wire fence during a protest at Oakalla Prison and invaded the prison grounds before being pushed back by the riot squad.(5) Yippie activity both inspired and reflected a concurrent revolt of hippie street youth (as throughout the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Vancouver was host to a huge transient youth population) and there were a number of youth riots that summer unconnected with the group, but based on the anger generated by police harassment and the insane pot law.(6) Vancouver was one of the capitals of the hippie world. Besides the transient hippies, the city had a large home-grown counter-culture (mostly in the Kitsilano neighbourhood), providing a sizable base for Yippie organizing, which had a two-point program: turn straights into hippies; turn hippies into revolutionaries.
Militant action was not the only Yippie tactic. There was a spirit of theatricality and fun, with props ranging from gorilla suits to toy machine guns to giant marijuana joints. An irreverent, colorful Yippie newspaper, “The Yellow Journal,” published nine issues. The Yippie! People's Defense Fund provided lawyers and other legal help to the city's often-harassed counter-culture community. Zaria, a young single mother, ran as Yippie candidate for mayor, vowing to repeal the law of gravity, and received a surprising 848 votes.(7) The Kommie Kids collective showed movies for a small donation. A food co-op was set up and another collective put on a very popular series of Yippie dances with Vancouver bands such as Uncle Slug and The Burner Boys.
There was also an autonomous Yippie group at Vancouver City College (also known as the Vancouver Silly College Youth International Party), which gained a majority on student council and editorial control of the student newspaper The Tower.(8) Two members of this campus YIP group were expelled for their political activity in 1971.(9) The college dean told them: “All you’re doing here is tearing apart this institution.” Meanwhile, a group calling themselves the White-Collar Yippies, all of them reporters for the mainstream Vancouver Sun newspaper, obtained a quantity of rubella vaccine from sympathetic doctors, and staged a guerrilla clinic for the public, immunizing the health minster in effigy for his refusal to provide the vaccine to pregnant women. (He finally relented.)
The Gastown Smoke-In (August 7, 1971)
In 1971 came the “Gastown Smoke-in” (also known as the Grasstown Smoke-In), a Yippie street party to promote marijuana legalization that quickly turned into a police riot. The smoke-in was a response (“Operation Whirlwind”) to a sustained campaign of police harassment (known as “Operation Dustpan”) of hippies in the city’s Gastown area. Riot police, including some on horseback, charged the smoke-in crowd of about 2,000 people, knocking over a baby carriage and beating up tourists. The confrontation between police and demonstrators lasted more than two hours, with 79 people arrested, many of them pummeled with riot sticks. (10) With the aid of a Yippie media campaign afterwards, this brutality became a national scandal and was the beginning of the end for the far-right city government, with the mayor leaving office in disgrace the following year. At a heavily publicized public inquiry into the riot, police charged it was the result of a “conspiracy” among members of the Youth International Party who, they suggested, “are bound and determined to overthrow all recognized authority.”(11) (The presiding judge denounced two of the Yippie organizers as “intelligent and dangerous young men.”) Yippies, and most everyone else, charged it was a police riot.
All Seasons Park (May 29, 1971)
Yippie! organized an occupation of the proposed site of the Four Seasons Hotel next to Stanley Park.(12) “It’s a sad weekend in Vancouver’s history,” the mayor said when the park/tent city went up. “This is a breakdown of society.”(13) Dubbed All Season’s Park (also known as People's Park in honour of a similar action in Berkeley, Calif.), it attracted overwhelming community support, with hundreds of people coming to the site each day to help build the park.(14) All Seasons Park persisted for over a year until the government relented and scrapped the hotel development.
How It All Continued
Spent by this frenzy of activity, Vancouver Yippie! finally arrived at the end of its (anti-)organizational life after a couple of years. The broadening anti-authoritarian movement in Vancouver offered numerous paths for involvement, and individuals were absorbed into environmental, women’s, community and other activities. The process was hastened by political differences typical of an era marked by conflicting political tendencies ranging from Joan Baez-type pacifism to the armed struggle of the Weather Underground.
After this, many Yippies became ideological anarchists. In the late 1970s, this produced two innovative publishing projects. One was B.C. Blackout (the last Vancouver project started under the YIP name), which became a template for anti-authoritarian community zines across North America.(15) The other was The Open Road, the internationally respected journal, founded by a core of Vancouver Yippies, that reported news of indigenous struggles and anarchist history and theory in the pop-culture packaging of commercial youth magazines such as Rolling Stone.(16) (Vancouver Yippies had enough of a fraternal relationship with their U.S. counterparts that the New York-based Yipster Times provided its mailing list to Open Road, an invaluable act of solidarity that ensured the first issue's wide distribution.)
Vancouver Yippies were active in new anti-authoritarian groups that formed in the city in the 1970s, most notably the Anarchist Party of Canada (Groucho Marxist). In the late ‘70s, Groucho Marxists pied several notables, were involved in street protests and organized cultural events, including the legendary "Anarchy in Canada" punk-rock concert on July 1, 1978 in Stanley Park. Canada's two most notorious political punk bands, Vancouver's DOA and The Subhumans, were managed by onetime Vancouver Yippies.(17)
One legacy of Vancouver Yippie! is the ongoing Vancouver anarchist movement. The wider anti-authoritarian movement in the new millennium can also trace some of its key attitudes and methods to those first Vancouver Yippies.
1 Robert Sarti, “Yippies behind rash of street actions here,” The Vancouver Sun, June 27, 1970
2 “Judge reads the ‘riot’ act,” The Vancouver Province, Aug. 5, 1970
3 David Spaner, “Invade Amerika!” in Blacklisted News: Secret Histories from Chicago to 1984, by the New Yippie Book Collective, 1983
4 “Canadian mob invades Blaine,” Vancouver Express, May 12, 1970
5 Paul Manning, “Yippies tear down fence at Oakalla,” The Vancouver Province, July 13, 1970
6 Paul Musgrove, “Third street clash erupts in West End,” The Vancouver Sun, July 15, 1970
7 John Griffiths, “Lippy Yippies irk mayor,” The Vancouver Province, Dec. 2, 1970
8 Lorne & Betsy, “Yippies Burn School,” The Georgia Straight, Oct. 29, 1971
9 “Students Expelled and Beaten,” The Georgia Straight, Dec. 16, 1971
10 “Campbell orders Gastown probe,” The Vancouver Province, Aug. 9, 1971
11 Jes Odam, “Police charge yippie plot,” The Vancouver Sun, Oct. 1, 1971
12 “4 Seasons protested,” The Vancouver Sun, May 29, 1971
13 “Fence-builders go to work at 4 Seasons instant park,” The Vancouver Sun, May 31, 1971
14 “All Seasons Park Lives On!” The Tower, Dec. 5, 1971
15 “B.O. (the smell of freedom) is produced by the Youth International Party,” B.C. Blackout, June 23, 1978
16 Bob Sarti, “Open Road,” in Only A Beginning, edited by Allan Antliff, 2004
17 Neal Hall, “Punk’s Alive (and spitting),” The Vancouver Sun, Nov. 20, 1981
"Sixties History; Days of Rage and English Bay Riots and Vancouver Anarchist Invasion of the United States" at http://www.geocities.com/emithsilas/sixtieshistory.html
"Cannabis Culture: Grasstown"
This article was written and produced by the New Old Yippie Collective August 8 2006
The Vancouver Yippie Experience.
The Yippie! Legacy
The core people in Vancouver Yippie were about 60 to 70 people. Up to 500 others identified themselves with Yippie enough to take part in actions. These actions had a number of significant results. One was to create an international incident around the Cambodian invasion (Blaine) But perhaps of more lasting importance were the two events in Vancouver. All Seasons Park stopped a major development dead in its tracks. Up till this time the developers tended to get away with anything. People would grumble, then watch their houses being bulldozed for an expressway or a favorite grove of trees cut down for a shopping mall but not do anything. Yippie was one of the first attempts to stop the bullying developers using civil disobedience. From this time on, it became the norm for people to protest developments harmful to the community or environment and to engage in blockades and occupations.
Yippies understood the authoritarian personality. By systematically taunting, teasing and ridiculing the authorities, but never engaging in actual violence, we were able to drive the police and city government to over-react. The over-reaction of the authorities made them look as stupid and brutal as they actually were. Much public sympathy shifted toward the counter-culture. The end result was the demise of the traditional Vancouver civic right wing, a group noted for its uncultured cloddishness, racism, bigotry and dirty-minded puritanism.(1) Some years later, the right would re-design itself in a more sophisticated guise, but never again would they have complete domination of City Hall. Civic politics now alternated between left and right-wing governments.
Yippie thus helped to transform politics in Vancouver. It was able to help reform civic politics by revolutionary means. I should add that at the time, reform of civic politics was not our goal, what we wanted was to end the repression of youth, the actual outcome was an unforeseen result. Of course it would be wrong to take all the credit for these changes, and in retrospect the Ancien Regime was rotten and ready to fall. The Gastown Police Riot was Vancouver's equivalent of the storming of the Bastille. It should also be noted that the police did ease up a bit on the youth and pot possession charges were reduced to relatively small fines after Gastown.
What can contemporary anarchists and anti-authoritarian activists gain from the Yippie experience?
You wouldn't want to get the authorities to over-react today. Back then, over-reaction meant a beating. Today it could result in death. In 1970, protesters or radical leftists were a small and largely despised minority. Over-reaction was need to swing a section of the population in our direction. Today, as a result of the new left, feminist, Aboriginal and ecological movements, a very large segment of the population are open to progressive and liberatory ideas, and are quick to make their views known through protests and demonstrations. We need to find new, imaginative ways to weaken the hold the authorities have over the remainder of the population.
Humour remains the best means of doing this. Yes, people ought to point out the cruelty and brutality of the rulers, but more is needed than that. The reality is, the people in charge are a pathetic lot, most of them quite plainly mentally ill, and adhering to some of the most absurd beliefs that misguided humans have ever concocted. We must implant the idea in people's minds that anyone who seeks to have power over you is seriously nuts, with the long term goal that people will reject power-seekers and start acting autonomously.
There are literally endless possibilities for ridicule. All that is needed is a little imagination. As but one example, I have long thought that rather than protesting against a right-winger like Harper, we ought to “support” him instead. Imagine wherever he went, being met by hundreds of bogus “tin-foil hat” right-wing loonies carrying placards with ludicrous and offensive slogans, but done with enough sophistication to be seen as real by TV audiences. (2)
We need reforms. People can't wait out their lives for “The Revolution.” But there is a way that combines reform and revolution. That is direct action. If you ask for a reform, send around petitions, run for office, a generation later and you still won't have that reform. Yippie stopped All Seasons and helped change Vancouver politics in 18 months by direct action. When people see that direct action can be successful (not all the time, of course) they tend to adopt it. By doing things for themselves, in a self-managed way, people are engaged in a mini-revolution. When enough people adopt direct action, reject the authorities, and start self-governing themselves, that will be “The Revolution.”
Vancouver Yippie also showed you don't need a lot of people to make waves. Remember about 60-70 people inspired all this action. A small group of people, if connected with the sensibility of a larger group, whether that group is students, workers, or minorities, can give rise to mass action. This form of exemplary leadership – for we of the 70 "core" Yippies would have gone into the streets whether anyone else did - is not the same as authoritarian leadership. Yippies never bossed anyone, or told anybody what to do. Hence Yippie talked of "non-leaders" and "each member as a leader." Nor was Yippie internally structured in an authoritarian manner. Decisions were made at meetings to which everyone except obvious cops could attend and a rough consensus was arrived at. Yippies who disagreed with an action, simply didn't show up at that action, and no hard feelings ensued. This is not to imply that a structure and ideology as loose as Yippie is something to replicate. That is not my point. My point is, that contrary to Leninist ideology, hierarchy is not a necessary for an organization and authoritarianism is not intrinsic to true leadership.
Larry Gambone 24 July 2006
An even better representative of this species than the boorish, semi-literate Mayor Tom Campbell, was Judge Les Bewley. This despicable excuse for a human being delighted in degrading the people brought before him and imposed the harshest punishment legally available. An inveterate racist who supported Ian Smith's white Rhodesia, later as a columnist for the Vancouver Sun, could be depended upon to take the most authoritarian and retrogressive position possible on every issue.
The Rev. Phelps of Godhatesfags.org, the Moonbat prince David Horowitz and his lugubrious mascot, Stephen Schwartz, do more damage to the right wing than a thousand angry liberals. Of course, Phelps, Horowitz, and Schwartz are for real, but they should be “aided” by hundreds of spurious right-wing nuts.
Vancouver Yippie and Anarchism
The Yippie Movement, while anti-authoritarian, was not overtly or ideologically anarchist. However, over the course of two years of militant action, many members began to consider themselves part of a distinctly anarchist tendency. The roots of the Vancouver Anarchist Movement can be traced back to those Yippies. To see how anarchist ideology developed within this (non) organization, it is necessary to examine one of the three original founding groups, the Simon Fraser IWW.
The Simon Fraser IWW and How It Came To Be
SFU IWW was a very loose grouping of about a dozen people disatisfied with the direction the student power movement called SDU (Students for a Democratic University) was taking. SDU had lost its sense of humour, lost the free and open ways of the early New Left and was drifting into Maoism. Some disgruntled members ran a slate in the student elections called the Fart Party, slogan Fart Now! and cut into the SDU vote. Fart Party and IWW memberships overlapped.
So how did the SFU IWW come about? You have to go back to the summer of 1968. Up till that time, I had been a fairly conventional New Leftist, like so many others, was drifting over to Marxist-Leninism, out of a lack of anything better to do. Then a friend of mine, Willy E., who has a talent for digging up the most interesting books you can imagine, handed me a copy of George Orwell's "Homage To Catalonia" and said, "You gotta read this!"
So I did, and couldn't put it down. I had met people who called themselves anarchists before, in the Ban the Bomb movement, they were nice enough, said they were anarchist-pacifists, but seemed rather vague. Certainly not the sort to start a revolution, and anyway they dropped out and became hippies a year later. Wanting something with teeth, I drifted over to the Trots and the Maoists for influence.
Well, as you can imagine, "Homage" floored me. Here were anarchists – several million of them in fact, who created a true form of socialism, based upon worker-controlled collectives. And to top it off, they were stabbed in the back by the Stalinists, the ideological forebarers of the Maoism to which I had been attracted.
The let down was, there didn't seem to be any anarchists around any more. I though that the movement was dead and wandered around in a political quandery for a couple of months. Then, one day in late September I happened to glance at the bulletin board in the SFU quadrangle. Pinned to the bulletin board was a smudgy, badly typed leaflet full of spelling and punctuation errors. It exhorted the reader to build the One Big Union, join the IWW and provided a phone number and address. I tore the leaflet down, reading it over several times. The IWW still existed! The very same sort of people who made the revolution in Spain were present in Vancouver.
That evening Willy E. and I went to the address and were met at the door of a Kitsilano basement suite by a strongly build old man who suffered the effects of a stroke. This was "Old John" McAndrew, IWW delegate for Vancouver. We joined the IWW on the spot. Since I lived only a few blocks away, I often drifted over to see him in the evenings. I would return with armloads of anarchist and syndicalist books, pamphlets and newspapers which I read until my eyes gave out.. All of this was vastly more interesting than my course work.
Not only did the IWW still exist, but there were anarchist groups in a number of different countries. Soon, London's "Freedom Weekly", London "Solidarity" and the Chicago "Rebel Worker" were tumbling through my mail-slot. I tore through the SFU library, reading every book on anarchism and syndicalism there. With the exception of Jim Harding and a couple of my friends, no one else seemed to have the slightest knowledge of anarchism and how important it was. Indeed, the radical students seemed to be pulled ever deeper into the Marxist-Leninist mire. I had to do something to get the truth out.
I had a part time job as printer for the SFU student society, which gave me the ability to self-publish. With Old John's manual type writer I pecked out an article on the the Spanish collectives based on information taken from an eye-witness account from a Wob who was in Spain. This had been written up in a 1936 edition of OBU Monthly, the IWW magazine. Bob M. drew a cover, and "Solidarity Magazine" of the SFU IWW was born in June of 1969. This must have been one of the earliest zines in Canada, the only one I know that preceded it was Art Bartell's "Libertarian" which came out of Toronto in 1968. I also reprinted half a dozen libertarian socialist pamphlets, most of which were copies of the British Solidarity Group. Hundreds of pamphlets and zines were given away on campus. But the effect on other student radicals was absolutly zilch.
In the meantime, this little group of dissidents who joined the Wobs, only a couple of whom considered themselves anarchists, felt a sense of comradeship. When the Yippie founding meeting was called by Kitsilano and East Side radical hippies, we joined as a block.
The Yippie newspaper,"The Yellow Journal", first published in April of 1970, was mainly in the hands of former SFU dissident radicals. Bob M. was editor and Willy E. did as series of articles examining the Russian Revolution from an anarchist perspective. Once I got to know the other Yippies a bit better, I quietly suggested that they should check out anarchism. But I was not the only overt anarchist, as Bill F. was also associated with the Yippies. Bill was one of the pioneer anarchists in Vancouver, having been involved in the League for Total Disarmament back in the early 1960's. They put on a number of anti-war actions and I believe Doug W. of Sooke – an old friend of George Woodcock's – was instrumental in setting up the League.
The energy that fueled Yippie began to peter out in the fall of 1971. Some of the members sought a new direction. I found Eric S. increasingly interested in my anarchist ideas and I gave him articles to read. Soon we were meeting on a regular basis. I remember that Bob S., Peter P. , Ken L. and David S. were there as well. I was all fired up about Murray Bookchin's writings published in a copy of Colin Ward's "Anarchy." magazine. Soon after, Ramparts published Bookchin's "Post Scarcity Anarchism" and the whole group started reading it. The upshot was, early in 1972, a handful of us formed an anarchist ecology group with the unfortunate name of "Volunteers" after the Jefferson Airplane Album. (The name was Eric's idea, not mine!) Volunteers never got off the ground, folding eight months later after a couple of small actions. Ken, who did not join the the collective, set up an anarchist study group. People I had never seen before networked and became active anarchists. The one important thing Volunteers did do was to bring Murray Bookchin to the University of BC where he spoke to several hundred people.
In 1975, Ken got the idea of publishing a high-quality anarchist tabloid, modelled in part on Akwasasne Notes and Rolling Stone, and David proposed the name "Open Road". Yippie anarchists and some new people (also anarchists) got together to form the Open Road Collective. The first issue of Open Road was published in the spring of 1976. It is from this point that an overt and permanent anarchist tendency exists in Vancouver.
Larry Gambone July 28 2006
Recollections of the Blaine Invasion
by Usor O'Toole
Being the first Canadian invasion of the United States since 1814 when
Tecumseh¹s warriors allied with Canadian Quebecois and United Empire
Loyalist troops, with the help of the British navy, burned Washington DC to
the ground. This was in retaliation for the Americans having burned and
looted Toronto on the same day in 1813, inspiring some to suggest it should
be declared a holiday on both sides of the border. (July 6th, I believe)
In 1970, at the height of the hippy-yippie revival, some hippy draft-dodger with a yen to see a demo at the Peace Arch on the day Canadians and Americans celebrated their 4000-mile undefended border, picked up a couple of Vancouver yippies hitching down Hastings Street in Vancouver BC. They invited him to a meeting at an old house in the East End. Several long-haired activists were sitting in a circle, discussing how to end war. The Viet Nam one, in particular.
The hippy drank his tea and suggested his idea. Invade the fuckers onCanada-US lovey-dovy day. Someone else asked when that would occur. He said it had just happened a couple months before. The activists looked at each other rather briefly, then one went to a phone and dialed the Seattle
Liberation Front HQ, a similar house outside Seattle. Whoever got on the
line agreed that another 10 months is too long to wait. They'd spread the
word for the invasion to go the next week-end.
Word traveled quickly through the activist peace community. Nixon had
just expanded the Viet Nam war into Cambodia to take the Ho Chi Minh trail
that was supplying the Viet Cong. He knew he had to get his troops out,
because the Democrats of that day had gained control of the US Congress, and had refused him funds to continue. And they didn't ask him for a timetable to end the war. They gave him a timetable. (At the risk of offendingHillary, that Congress had balls).
The invading force that descended on the Peace Arch included at least
300 anarchists, yippies, war veterans, draft dodgers, religious activists,
Canadian and American patriots, pacifists, Quakers, communists and
socialists of every description and some of the most beautiful liberated
women in the known universe. On marching into the town of Blain, they
spotted a flag flying in front of the post office, climbed the pole and cut
it down. This caused some American patriots to take note, especially a bunch of US Navy personnel on leave hanging out at the local pool hall.
After the capture of the flag, some of the invaders declared the
invasion a victory and recommended the group head back to Canada. A bunch of
guys from Portland and points south who were facing the US draft showed up,
and also suggested a strategic retreat, which they joined. Quite a few
American visitors decided to cross into Canada that day. Some are still
People streamed back across the border, with a Blain city policeman and
a bunch of sailors and assorted town toughguys coming along behind the
stragglers who, on looking back, began to hop to it.
Someone got the idea to close the gate at the peace arch. (It has little
metal gates on the inside that are wired open). Some other people thought
that would send a negative message. There was some argument between
longhairs, as the more active disassembled the wires holding the gates to
the walls of the arch. The Yank poolhall patriots saw the commotion and
decided to intervene against both factions. One husky Canadian truck-driver
with a guitar saw a fist coming in the direction of one of his friends, spun
the guitar into the oncoming fist so hard the back popped right out with a
crash like heavy-metal punk-rock. In the ensuing melee he managed to
distribute several pieces of it among the yankees. But mostly it was raw
knuckles against noses and eye-brows.
And someone did indeed say, "I didn't know hippies could fight."
The Blain cop waded into the melee when he saw some of his guys in
trouble. And a crowd of maybe 200 longhairs was suddenly surrounding him. He
got scared and pulled his club as he unsnapped the holster of his 357
A yippie standing next to the cop threw his arms in the air and backed
away into the crowd, which dutifully made a path for his mop of curly hair,
leaving a straight corridor between himself and the cop of perhaps 6 or 8
metres. He yelled "Baseball!", wound up and threw an imaginary ball at the
cop. The cop smiled an evil grin and swatted the air with his billyclub.
The yippie reached in his hip pocket and yanked out a paper, (you
wouldn't want to do that today), waved it in the air and announced he¹d just
got a message from the Mayor of Blain, USA, thanking us for coming and
inviting us to visit again ³for a shit and a shower.² I think he was
embellishing a tourist brochure he¹d grabbed at the Blain post office. The
cop looked uncertain. The mayor was his boss.
The hippy pulled another paper from his pocket, announced, "I just got
this telegram direct from the White House, from Richard Nixon in Washington
DC. It says "Oink, oink, oink, oink, oink..."
About which time the highway patrol cruised onto the hill, using the
incoming lane to park their cars in a row beside the US border station.
About 20 strong, they formed a skirmish line, white helmets gleaming,
thumping their big night-sticks into their gloves. They watched for a few
minutes as the city cop rounded up his hooligans and suggested they might
want to go home and leave it to the big guys.
As some ten or twenty guys on both sides settled down to nursing their
bruises the patrolmen suddenly marched toward us about ten steps. They were
still a good 40 metres away, but it was definitely time for another
strategic retreat. As the yankee¹s limped off the field back toward Blain,
the invaders began to spread out across the Canadian side of the park. And
the tight group of patrolmen suddenly didn¹t have a target, as they had when
we¹d been bunched up by the arch.
As they pondered their next move, a train came around the curve on the
ocean side of the park. The first cars were flat-decks with auto-carrier
transport trailers on them, and a load of maybe 60 or 80 of Detroit's finest
cars, fresh off the assembly line. Economic imperialism and gas-hog
commercialism all tied in with the war-profits industry.
Somebody yelled "Get the cars." But there were already people picking up
the nice smooth beach rocks lining the rail bed and hurling them. One guy
with a heavy-duty sling shot was firing fist-sized rocks at the rate of one
every five or ten seconds from so close to the tracks that ricochet's from
some of the other rockers were whistling past his head.
The train proceeded around the bend into Canada at a leisurely pace. And
we prepared to retreat again. We were safe on the Canadian side of the park,
and the Highway Patrol had apparently decided not to invade Canada. Now we
were a problem for the Mounties, who were represented by two officers parked
on a hillside above the flower garden, filming us with a long-lensed video
camera. I often wonder where that film is today.
Then suddenly and inexplicably, the train lurched to a halt. Perhaps
some American had got on a radio to the engineer and told him a band of
anarchists were destroying his load. Better get back to the safety of the
USA. He dutifully brought the whole load back through for a second round of
rocks. And there were rockers on both sides of the track now.
I suspect the physical damage was some bigger than $50,000, even in 1969
dollars. But the damage to the American war effort in Viet Nam was severe.
As we¹ve learned from 9/11, Americans take actions against their home ground
very seriously. The vast majority of Americans wouldn¹t be allowed inside
either the World Trade Centre or the Pentagon, yet they get all bent out of
shape when either is attacked.
Fortunately, the government there has been given over to incompetent
religious and greedy reactionaries who have managed to bungle even the
actions of their very professional military. It doesn¹t take long for a
system based on exploitation to begin eating itself.
Experience from China, India, Persia, Egypt, Rome, Aztlan, Peru, among
others, indicate the barbarians from the north always fulfill their
historical duty to clean up the rotten decadent civilizations people create
and become dependent upon. The Blaine invasion will stand as an early
important skirmish in that historical process.
Yippie Writings from the YellowJournal
HEAVY PART 1
This was a column that appeared for a number of issues in the Yellow Journal, the Yippie-VLF newspaper. We believe it was written by the mysterious Vancouver Yippie! theoretician, Lester A. Rodgers.
"We have been more than once accused of having substituted for the dictatorship of the soviets the dictatorship of our own Party ... In this substitution of the power of the Party for the power of the working class there is nothing accidental, and in reality there is no substitution at all. The Communists express the fundamental interests of the working class.... " (Leon Trotsky, Terrorism and Communism)
"Revolts by workers and peasants have shown that their patience has come to an end. The uprising of the workers is near at hand. The time has come to overthrow the bureaucracy ... Kronstadt has raised for the first time the banner of the Third Revolution of the toilers ... The autocracy has fallen. The Constituent Assembly has departed to the region of' the damned. The bureaucracy is crumbling... At Kronstadt all power is in the hands of revolutionary sailors, of red soldiers and of workers. “ALL POWER TO SOVIETS, .NOT TO THE PARTY!" (The Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt , March 19211
In this column we are going to show that both "official" versions of Russian history from 1917 to the early 1920's are full of lies, distortions, and intentional ignorance. That in 1917 there was a revolution of, by and for the Russian people, embodying a communist spirit of equal wealth for all, and control by people of their own environments. That this revolution was not represented by the Bolsheviks (at least not by the Bolshevik leadership) but rather crushed by them. That Stalinism was a perfectly consistent outgrowth of Leninism-Trotskyism.
The Bolshevik Party's takeover of the Russian Revolution did not go unopposed. In 1917 the sailors of the Kronstadt Naval Base had been one of the leading forces of the Revolution. In 1921, they again revolted, only this time the revolt was directed not against the monarchy of the Czar nor the Constituent Assembly of Kerensky and his fellow liberals, but against the new ruling group in Russia, the Bolshevik Party of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.
In 1917 the Bolsheviks had been the Party of the Revolution. All Power to the Soviets was Lenin's cry, and the masses of working people took him at his word. Yet by 1921 the Soviets, the local organs of the people, were futilely struggling against the centralized power of the Party. The egalitarian Red Army of 1917 had been transformed into a model of bourgeois discipline by Trotsky. Shop committees of workers in the factories were being replaced by a uniform system of one-man management. Soviet Power had been replaced by Party Power.
There are few people around today who would argue with the statement that the Soviet Union is one of the most authoritarian states on earth. The non-Communist Party left is in total agreement on this. Yet its contention is that conditions in the USSR today are a product of the policies of Stalin, and that there is a fundamental break between the period of Lenin and Trotsky and that of Stalin.
Capitalist critics, on the other hand, argue that the repressive nature of the Soviet Union is a result of "Marxism" and "Communism." The rise of a bureaucratic elite and the regimentation of the people, they say, are an inevitable result of revolutions against property and the uneven distribution of wealth. To them, the history of the Russian Revolution is one of bloodshed and the death of the individual.
Our primary purpose in laying down this argument is to relate it to the revolutionary gestalt of North American youth today. Our argument is one that has been suppressed throughout the world. Perhaps only in the French Marxist-Anarchist movement of Cohn-Bendit et al is it widely believed. So read what we say, and spread the message. The truth shall set us free, if we act upon it. Elitism is elitism, no matter who practices it. The revolution resides in all of us. Let it live in yourself, right now. ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Yellow Journal 23 April 1970
HEAVY, PART 2
On February 23, 1921 the workers of Petrograd went on strike against hunger, poverty and unchanged working conditions. For them the revolution of 1917 had promised much and resulted in little. A Tsarate which had made quite clear whose side it was on had been replaced by a Party-led state which claimed it was on the side of the people but didn't change their daily lives worth a damn.
The Bolshevik Party of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin lost no time in suppressing the strike. Military law was declared, and Petrograd was put under a state of siege. Strike leaders were arrested. The Party, presumably the Party of the people, showed itself to define "the people" as those who were willing to go along with the party line.
The naval garrison of Kronstadt, just outside Pctrograd, had been one of the spawning grounds of the revolution in 1917. its sailors, always in the vanguard of the revolt, never lost sight of the original meaning of the revolution. On February 28 they passed a resolution supporting the strike which was to become the manifesto of the Kronstadt insurrection, it demanded among other things: immediate new elections to the Soviets ("The present Soviets no longer e::press the wishes of the workers and peasants"); freedom of speech and press for all workers, peasants and parties of the left; liberation of all political prisoners of the Socialist parties, and of all imprisoned workers and peasants; equalisation of rations for all workers; and the institution of mobile workers' control groups.
The insurrection accelerated when it met with extremely hostile and aggressive reactions from the local representatives of the Party. On May 2, a Provisional Revolutionary Committee was formed by general assembly of 16,000 sailors and workers. Later that day, the inhabitants of Kronstadt occupied all strategic points in the town. The Izvestia printshops were occupied.
The response from Moscow was immediate. The Kronstadt Revolt, claimed the Party, was a counter-revolutionary plot led by a White Guard General named Kozlovsky. On March 6 Trotsky issued the following radio appeal:
The Workers' and Peasants' Government has decided to reassert its authority without delay, both over Kronstadt and over the mutinous battleships, and put them at the disposal of the Soviet Republic. I therefore order all those who have raised a hand against the Socialist Fatherland, immediately to lay down their weapons ... Only those who surrender unconditionally will be able to count on the clemency of the Soviet Republic. I am meanwhile giving orders that everything be prepared to smash the revolt and the rebels by force of arms. The responsibility for the disasters which wilt affect the civilian population must fall squarely on the heads of the White Guard insurgents.
It is an historical irony that Trotsky would use the same type of slander against the Kronstadt sailors that Stalin was later to use against him. In 1928-29, Trotsky was accused of conspiring with the Wrangel officer. Both charges were utter fabrications.
The "White Guard" slander wasn't the only one used against the Kronstadt rebels. In 1938, Trotsky, when writing about the events, claimed that "the men of Kronstadt wanted privileges, while the country was hungry." This accusation is quite clearly untrue, for Point 9 of the manifesto of February 26 stated "(We demand) the equalisation of rations for all workers, except those engaged in dangerous or unhealthy jobs." The "official" Party version of the revolt maintains that the Kronstadt revolt was led by elements who had recently joined the Navy, and therefore had nothing to do with the heroic sailors of 1917-1919. But an examination of the makeup of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee shows clearly that a majority were sailors with long service.
Apologists for Lenin and Trotsky always claim that there was a decisive break between the policies of Lenin and Trotsky and the policies of Stalin. But this interpretation must be rejected on two counts. First, social structures are social structures: the Bolshevik Party was not the domain of three individuals, but an organization which exhibited different tendencies. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin represented different tendencies in the Party. If Stalin was to become leader of it, it was because he had more support within it than did Trotsky. And since there was no wholesale break in Party membership between the two periods, it is obvious that a sizable proportion of those "Stalinists" of the later period were active in the Party in the earlier period. In other words, there is historical continuity between the two periods. The "decisive break" theory is closely allied to the "cult of the individual" theory which its proponents generally reject vehemently.
On the other hand, a close examination of what actually happened shows that the policies of Lenin and Trotsky in regard to political opposition did not differ greatly from those of Stalin. The slanders, the willingness to falsify historical truth, the vicious We have been more than once accused of having substituted for the dictatorship of' the soviets the dictatorship of our own Party ... In this substitution of the power of the Party for the power of the working class there is nothing accidental, and in reality there is no substitution at all. The Communists express the fundamental interests of the working class.... " (Leon Trotsky, Terrorism and Communism)
-Revolts by workers and peasants have shown that their patience has come to an end. The uprising of the workers is near at hand. The time has come to overthrow the bureaucracy ... Kronstadt has raised for the first time the banner of the Third Revolution of the toilers ... The autocracy has fallen. The Constituent Assembly has departed to the region of the damned. The bureaucracy i.e. crumbling. .. At Kronstadt all power is in the hands of revolutionary sailors, of red soldiers and of workers. ALL POWER TO THE SOVIETS, NOT TO THE PARTY !" (The Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Kronstadt . March 1921)
In this column we are going to show that both "official" versions of Russian history from 1917 to the early 1920's are full of lies, distortions, and intentional ignorance. That in 1917 there u,as a revolution of, by and for the Russian people, embodying a communist spirit of equal wealth for all, and control by people of their own environments. That this revolution was not represented by the Bolsheviks (at least not by the Bolshevik leadership) but rather crushed by them. That Stalinism was a perfectly consistent outgrowth of Leninism-Trotskyism.
Yellow Journal 28 April 1970
HEAVY, PART 3
When the Russian working class made the revolution of October 1917, it saw its actions as an advance toward "socialism." To it, socialism was the opposite of what was: freedom instead of slavery. Translated into practical terms, this meant "the dictatorship of the proletariat", i.e. political power in the hands of the toilers. Factories were to be controlled by those who worked in them, not by bosses and managers who never dirtied their hands but told everyone else how and when to dirty theirs. The huge Russian Army, which was as much an everyday reality for Russians then as the American Army is for Americans now, was to be run by its soldiers, and not by its infamous officer caste. And the organs of political power were to be reorganized in such a way as to form a government that was truly of, by and for the people, in which no one class of people ruled, but everyone ran their own lives.
In the first years of the revolution the dreams of the workers seemed to come true. Shop committees sprang up in the factories, the owners and their managers were kicked out, and a truly collective form of management arose, in which the workers themselves decided what to do, and stopped taking orders from their self-styled superiors. The army rose up and overthrew its masters,, imprisoning most of its officers and shooting many others. The common soldiers, instead of being cannon fodder for the Imperial Purpose, became people again, with real needs, and the power to satisfy them. And the "democratic" Constituent Assembly of Kerensky and his fellow liberals, which had replaced the Czar and his Cabinet, and was in truth a front group for the industrial giants and their fellow capitalists, was replaced by the Soviets, the assemblies of the common people, in which workers, peasants and soldiers became the new rulers of Russia.
When the people of Russia had made this revolution, this was what they had made: collective management in the factories, a soldier's army, and the Soviets of the people. And in making it, they had put their support behind an organization which had promised them this and much more: The Bolshevik Party of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. In the factories, the rule of the Soviets. The people had faith in the Party. It was their Party. It did what they wanted it to do.
But the people soon found their faith to be misguided. The Red Army, under Trotsky, reverted to a slightly more progressive version of its former self. Iron discipline and rigid hierarchy were renewed. Many of the former Czarist officers got their jobs back. The Bolsheviks' justification for the return to a bourgeois army was that since war was obviously non-communist, it could only be fought by bourgeois methods. (Exactly how accurate this justification is can be seen by comparison with China, where rank has been abolished, and the army's prime function is to serve the people.)
But Trotsky was not satisfied with a "re-militarization" of the army. He also desired a "militarization of labour." "The militarization of labour," he declared in 1920, "is the indispensable basic method for the organization of our labour forces." Furthermore, he added that "coercion, regimentation, and militarization of labour were no mere emergency measures and that the workers state normally had the right to coerce any citizen to perform any work at any place of its choosing." And what did such ominous words mean in the factory situation? Let us quote Lenin:
Large-scale machine industry - which is the material productive source and foundation of socialism - calls for absolute and strict unity of will ... How can strict unity of will be ensured? By thousands subordinating their will to the will of one .... The revolution demands in the interests of socialism that the masses unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of the labour process .... (There is to be) unquestioning obedience to the orders of individual representatives of the Soviet government during work time ... iron discipline while at work, with unquestioning obedience to the will of a single person, the Soviet leader.
So much for collective management and the rule of the workers in the factories!
And what of the Soviets? Here too, the power of the people was being replaced by the power of the Party. The Soviets were becoming "Bolshevized." Opposing left-wing parties were suppressed, and many of their members sent to prison and concentration camps. Freedom of speech and press was made possible only for members and supporters of the Bolshevik Party.
The calumny (for that is what it was) of the Bolshevik Party was not met without resistance, including some from within the Party itself. In future HEAVY's we are going to talk about this resistance and the ways in which it was met by the Party, Next time, the Kronstadt Revolt.
Remember, elitism is for pigs. Or, as Dylan should have said, “Don't follow leaders, burn the parking meters.” The revolution is becoming, LET IT BE!
Yellow Journal May 2 1970
HEAVY PART 4
Socialism and socialist organization must be set up by the proletariat itself, or they will not be set up at all, something else will be set up: state capitalism.
A right-on quote, you say. Made by Trotsky, perhaps, during his battles with Stalin? Maybe from one of Lenin's theoretical works? Wrong. the Above statement was made by the "left" communist Osinski, in the paper Kommounist, during April 1918, as a protest against the treatment of the Russian working class hv the Bolshevik leadership itself; i.e. Lenin and Trotsky.
In the last HEAVY we described the Kronstadt revolt, the 1921 uprising of sailors against the rule of the Bolshevik Party. We now want to begin a series of articles dealing with the opposition that developed within the Party itself'.
The key question around which this opposition was centered was that of workers' control. The left opposition within the Party consistently took the position that the factories must be run collectively, by the workers themselves. "Workers' control" had been one of the major promises made by the Bolshevik leadership previous to the October Revolution, and immediately afterwards there was widespread collectivization throughout the factories.
But as early as the Spring of 1918, Lenin began the campaign that was to result in a disenchanted working class, and paved the way for much of bureaucracy and authoritarianism that plagues the Soviet Union today. In an article, "The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government," he called for a policy of one-man management in the factories: There must be] unquestioning obedience to the orders of individual representatives of the Soviet government during work time ... iron discipline while at work, with unquestioning obedience to the will of a single person, the Soviet leader.
It has been our repeated contention in HEAVY that the policies of Lenin laid the foundations for "Stalinism", and that in fact, there is very little to distinguish between them in their internal policies (although Lenin's international policies were far superior). Quotations from Kommounist do much to back this thesis up, for its editors predicted that Lenin's policies would lead to a Russia very similar to the one that exists today. The first issue of Kommounist made the following far-sighted warning:
The introduction of Labour discipline in connection with the restoration of capitalist management o f industry cannot really increase the productivity of labour, but it will diminish the class initiative, activity and organization of the proletariat. It threatens to enslave the working class ... In order to introduce this system in the face of the hatred prevailing at present among the proletariat against the 'capitalist saboteurs; the Communist Party would have to rely on the petty-bourgeoisie, as against the workers, and in this way it would ruin itself as the party of the proletariat.
The reference to the "petty-bourgeoisie" is an anticipation of the present rule of the bureaucratic class in the Soviet Union. A further quote from Kornmounist can clarify this: [The logical outcome] of management based on an important participation of capitalists and on the principle of bureaucratic centralization is the institution of a labour policy which would seek to re-establish regimentation of workers under the pretext of voluntary discipline. Governmental forms would then evolve towards bureaucratic centralization, the rule of all sorts of commissars, loss of independence of local Soviets and, in practice, the abandonment of government from below.
It can be seen that it was possible then, during the period of Lenin and Trotsky, to predict on the basis of their policies, the type of state Russia would be today.
In the next columns, we will examine in detail the history of a group known as the "Workers' Opposition", and a very important document written in 1921 by one of its members, Alexandra Kollontai, which analyzes in depth the problem of government-from-below vs. government-from-above in Russia at the time. Until then, remember states tended to be static. INDIVIDUALISM (i.e. elitism) BREEDS CONTEMPT (i.e. elitism). Or, as Diane di Prima says in her Revolutionary Letters:
endless as the sea, not separate, we die
a million times a day, we are born
a million times, each breath life and death: get up, put on your shoes, get started, someone will finish
More Yippie Recollections
* A Band Is A Beautiful Thing, by David Jenneson The story of the Burner Boys, a favorite band of the Vancouver Yippies. Mentions Yippie! in Chapter 12, See
* Georgia Straight Staffers, Many of Whom were Yippies http://www.rickmcgrath.com/georgia_straight/staffers.html
* Edmonton Yippie (plus lotsa info on Edmonton anarchy)
Pierre Trudeau Incites A Riot by Theo Rosen (Willy E.)
Pierre Eliot Trudeau is given a $50 a plate dinner at the Seaforth Armories by his party. The LSA/YS old-line Trotskyists organize a demonstration with the slogan. "End Canada's Complicity In Viet-Nam". (1) PET grants the Trots their wish and promises to speak to the demonstrators outside the Armories before his dinner. But the peoples mood at the Armory, he is to find, revolves not around the Viet-Nam War, but rather the presence of a goodly portion of the local bourgeoisie at the dinner.
This presence became evident when the (paying) guests started arriving at the side gates of the Armories. The emphasis was on big, expensive European cars: Rolls Royces, Bentlys, Mercedes. Most of the people were seeing the bourgeoisie in person for the first time in their lives. While the LSA/YS stayed around front with their sound truck, reciting bad poetry and enacting worse "guerrilla theatre" , the militants, a non-sectarian grouping of student radicals, Wobblies and street people, gathered around the gates. Everybody did their thing – The Womens' Caucus handed pamphlets on women's liberation to the young debutants in the cars. A woman from the Voice of Women, very prim, very middle class-looking, calmly stopped cars, making sure each one got her leaflet on chemical and biological warfare. The Feed-in people came with a free dinner of hot dogs and bananas, while the bourgeoisie ate God knows what. (Except that it cost $50) The huge automobiles lack of manoeuverability in the crowd, which led to several collisions, provided entertainment.
The hassling (for a change, it was the bourgeoisie that was getting hasseled) at the gates ended when Trudeau arrived around front. Trudeau had promised the Committee to End the War in VietNam (An LSA/YS front) a speech. Hilda Thomas, representing the Committee, gave a melodramatic, liberal speech on the "tragedy" of VietNam. Trudeau was supposed to respond to this. He was about to do so when a woman walked over to him wearing a sign saying "Hustle Wheat, Not Women" . Trudeau blew his male chauvinist cool and ripped the sign off her. Someone in the audience replied by grazing the back of his head with a banana peel. Trudeau jumped off stage and headed toward the front door of the Armory. A very interesting thing happened; Trudeau's security guards lost contact, momentarily, with Trudeau. If the people in the crowd had realized this, Trudeau would have been totally isolated from his security in the midst of the crowd. The ineptness of this guard became further evident in the ensuing scuffle at the door. Trudeau was able to take a swing at a couple of the demonstrators before they could stop him.
The front of the Seaforth Armories consists of two massive-garage size wooden doors plus a side door with a barred window. The crowd now detested Trudeau for his arrogance and male chauvinism. One group attempted to batter the door down. One brother found to his delight that the wrought iron door handles came off if twisted and pulled enough. This resulted in people banging on the doors with handles, placard sticks, boots, anything available.
Then the militancy of the crowd established itself in the most serious political act that can be undertaken in capitalist society. Property was destroyed. Some brother smashed the window to the side door with one of the handles. Others finished the job with placard sticks. This act transformed the demonstration into a combination of insurrection, festival and brotherhood, the crowd into a tribe. The smashing of the property hang-up (the ruling class defines violence in terms of damage to property rather than human life) was a liberating experience that led people to new levels of militancy. (2)
Now we must turn to the single most important element in the demonstration, without which the night's events could not have coccurred. One group of street people brought four drums. Throughout the night, in the crowd when Trudeau assaulted the demonstrators, in front of the cops when the festival took place, to the side of the gates when the bourgeoisie left the Armories, the drums maintained their rythmic tribal beat. Energy flowed into the people from the drums. They sustained people and kept their militancy at a high level. They helped make the demonstration a groovy thing, a high.
With the drums beating and leading them on, people started burning placards up against the main door. This rather innocuous act was later interpreted by the media to be an attempt to burn the Armories down. Symbolically, it probably was. The fire was what finally brought the pigs onto the scene. About fourteen cops, one of them carrying what some people identified as a container of MACE, took their places in front of the Armories doors. It was about this time that people started noticing plainclothsmen and photographers throughout the crowd.
The cops appearance set everyone in a festive mood. A tribal chant began around the drums. People grabbed up the fragments of placard sticks that had been used to break the windows and turned them into musical instruments, and a wooden clattering was added to the beat of the drums. Two large flags, one red and one black, became very effective props. Brothers and sisters took turns waving them in the cop's faces, in time with the beat. The flags, the chanting, the sticks, the drums, the dancing must have exercised a tremendously hypnotizing effect upon the pigs (it went on for two hours). The most effective chant (because it best combined street politics with musicality) was "Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers".
The people showed their creativity and spontenaiety by changing the mood of their militancy to suit the occasion, from one of militant anger after Trudeau showed his pig character, to one of joyousness when the cops came upon the scene (this was the most effective way top hassel them) and back to militant anger later on in the night after the first bust. This ability to change moods was also an asset in that it greatly added to people's staying power, to their ability to last through five hours of militant demonstration. Militancy is tremendously energy consuming. BY shifting the mood and character of the demonstration throughout the night, the militants in the crowd kept the fringes of the crowd from getting bored and leaving.
Perhaps the most noticable and promising aspect of the night's action was the collective nature of the crowd. When people moved top something new, they did it on a collective basis; when people did something dangerous (i.e., something that could lead to arrest) they did it collectively, so that the pigs found
Solidarity #2 July 1969
1. The LSA/YS (League for Socialist Action – Young Socialists influence on the left in Vancouver had been all but smashed in April, when a coalitionof radicals had formed an explicitly anti-imperialist VietNam march, distinct from the moralistically liberal Trotskyist march. The slogans for the militant march had been"Smash Yankee Imperialism", "Victory to the NLF", "Their Fight Is Our Fight"; for the LSA march, "End Canada's Complicity in VietNam" and "Bring the GI's Home Now". The Trots had been previously crippled when their most respected members, those closest to the student movement, had left the organization over policy conflicts. These two factors, coupled with the LSA/YS's very revealing activity at the Trudeau demonstration, have probably destroyed the organizations relevance to Vancouver politics in the immediate future.
2. In regards to the people, it is both interesting and important to note that as soon as the demonstration became militant, the "democratic centralist" groups left the scene. In addition, the "heavies" of the student movement, with a couple of exceptions, either did not stick around long or stayed at the edge of the crowd, uninvolved. This demonstration was truly the action of the people, i.e., the rank and file of the movement.
A Festival Of Life by George Metesky (Larry Gambone)
For 12 hours on October 7th, Montreal became the first semi-liberated territory in Canada as the Montreal Police withdrew their services in a strike for wage parity with Toronto. All the fears that the bourgeoisie have came true. Without the forces of “Law and Ordure” , “criminal anarchy” prevailed.
The masses freed at last from the repression of the state had a joyous festival. Consumer goods, so long out of reach for the poorer sectors of the population became free for the taking as the large department stores were liberated. Given this chance at freedom, the people began to regain some of the wealth that the rich had robbed them of.
Quebecois long burning with bitter anger at their English and American Masters, vented their rage upon the symbols of their oppression. Birks, Eatons, McGill University, radio stations, became the targets of massive “loot-ins” and fire-bombings. Special attention was paid to the Murray Hill Taxi Company which holds a monopoly over airport limousine services. For years a thorn in the side of independent taxi men as well as an example of Anglais imperialism, many buses and limousines were overturned and burned.
The FLQ resumed operations in a big way, by virtually declaring all-out war on the imperialists, as one bombing incident an hour was reported. Many gun shops had their stocks removed. One need not have much imagination to know what became of those weapons.
Like the Paris Commune, where the Communards remained drunk for two weeks on looted wine, liberated Montreal seemed from all reports, to have the air of a festival. People were happy! Power was in their hand for once. It was a festival – a festival of life – a prelude to revolution!
As during the revolt in France last May, the hold the rulers had over the population was extremely tenuous. Without the police to protect their stolen property, they had to call in the army. This is the first time the army has been called to police a city since the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. Claude Wagner, former Liberal attorney general said that the events in Montreal showed that Quebec is on “the verge of revolution” m and added, “ There is discontent in all strata of society and this discontent is only beginning to be expressed in a violent way.”
However much the bourgeoisie may whine about law and order or the Sacred Rights of Private Property, however much they try to repress the population, their time is limited. The revolt this October will be nothing in comparison to the festival of life that will be held in the future by an organized and conscious Quebec population.
Solidarity #3, November 1969
STALIN DID NOT DIE, HE IS ALIVE AND WELL WITHIN SDS!
By Larry Gambone
SDS seems to be freaking out, at least some of the major factions within that movement. The "Weatherman " faction is noted for such well designed organizational tactics as running through highschools yelling "Jailbreak!" and expecting the masses to follow. They are also noted for beating up their opponents and those they see as "anti-Communist" such as Quaker grandmothers. (See National Guardian, Sept. 13, 1969) With actions such as these one begins to wonder if there is some truth to the label, "left-wing fascist." RYM 2, the other major faction, though not as juvenile in its approach, seems to exhibit an unhealthy fondness for vanguardism, in particular the type practiced by Stalin.
Stalin and Stalinist tactics are now "in" among many SDS members, which started when the Progressive Labor Party joined SDS to use the organization to recruit members. The SDS leadership, rather than confronting the PLP's Maoism with a concrete analysis of neo-capitalism and a libertarian organizational form, tried to out-Stalin the Stalinists. Third Worldist rhetoric was substituted for analysis. Hence we are left with the two so- called Revolutionary Youth Movement factions that are trying to control SDS. These two groups are noted for seeing the support of Albania as one of the most crucial factors in any revolutionary movement. The fact that most SDS members have never heard of Albania, or that it has one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world, does not matter.
The material base of the Stalinism within SDS is quite appearant. The absorbtion of the labor movement within capitalism and the failure to create even a mildly reformist working class party in the US has done much to create the obscession with Third Worldism. There is no historical continuity from the Socialism of Debs, Deleon and the IWW to the present SDS.
American youth seem to believe the bourgeois lie that radicalism is Anti-American. They fail to realize that America had a long tradition of indigenous radicalism debased by the Stalinism of the 1920's. Rather than importing Mao and Guevara from the peasant societies, why don't they build on the bones of Eugene Debs and Big Bill Haywood?
The problem of Stalinism has not yet begun to plague the Canadian [student] movement as our social democratic tradition has always directed us toward European thinkers like Andre Gortz. Hopefully we will avoid the mistakes of SDS and develop theories, strategies and platforms applicable to our situation and not be diverted to adventurism and rhetorical radicalism.
Solidarity # 2 July 1969
THE MYTH OF SYPHILIS by Lester A. Rodgers and the Lunatic Fringe Research Staff. (Willy E.)
Why are young people afraid to fuck? What's behind the modern craze for celebacy and virginity? How can you safeguard YOUR CHILDREN from the dangers of SEXUAL FRUSTRATION?
Millions of young girls are afraid of "losing their honor" . Untold magnitudes of growing youths spend the best years of their young lives jacking off instead of indulging their healthy adolescent instincts. Again we ask, why? What has gone wrong with Society?
The old answer of "unwanted pregnancy" can no longer be accepted in this age of birth control pills and safe, healthy abortions. The reason behind this monstrous plague besetting our young people can now be told. Our young generation is AFRAID of sex because they have been told that sex is DANGEROUS! Yes, dangerous! And what is behind this sickly fear on the part of today's youth?
"THE MYTH OF SYPHILIS"
SYPHILIS, yes, syphilis! What is this mysterious, supposedly death-dealing bogey-man that strikes fear into the hearts of the best of our youth? Now, at last, the TRUTH behind this monstrous PLOT to corrupt the youth and henceforth the whole FABRIC of our SOCIETY, can be told! The Lunatic Fringe Resaerch Staff after many painstaking weeks of back-breaking, down-to-earth work, using its meagre resources to the best of its many talents, has uncovered one of the best-hidden and most revolting PLOTS AGAINST HUMANITY in the history of the human race.
"Do Your Job and Do it Right"
The evil but cunning capitalist class has used every means at its disposal to make us DO WHAT IT WANTS US TO DO! It has repeatedly lied to us, THE PEOPLE, about the nature of the glorious world we live in. It has subjected us to its ruthless machine, making us SLAVES OF PIECES OF PAPER! But what has been the basis of our SLAVERY? What has kept usd from taking our lives into our OWN HANDS?
"Your Knee-bone's Connected to Your Rib Cage"
At the root of our slavery is FEAR OF SEX! The capitalist class has made us afraid of OUR OWN BODIES by grisly stories about painful diseases like syphilis. Unaware of the tremendous potentialities and FULFILMENT in FUCKING, we have been forced to look elsewhere for a purpose in life. And where do the capitalists tell us to look? To a STERILE, BORINGH INHUMAN job which AT BEST leaves us UNFULFILLED and UNHAPPY.
"BACK TO THE BODY"
The TIME HAS COME for a back-to-the-body movement to SWEEP our nation and return to us our rightful property, WITHOUT WHICH WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS!
Solidarity #2 July 1969
INTERESTED IN YIPPIES OR ANARCHISM? CHECK THESE LINKS!
Stew Albert's Yippie Reading Room - http://stewalbert.com
The Pie Man - http://www.pieman.org/
Yippie Museum Project - http://www.thevillager.com/villager_144/museumwillhave.html
The Fugs - http://www.thefugs.com/home.html
Wikipedia on Yippies - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_International_Party
Yippie Flag - http://www.fotw.net/flags/us}yip.html
A.J. Weberman's Acid Trip http://www.acidtrip.com/
Yippies Invade Disneyland http://www.studiolo.org/Email/DISNEY.htm
The Realist http://www.ep.tc/realist/
Milwaukee Yippies - http://www.geocities.com/mikelzet/TEXTS/Sentinel.html
Abbie Hoffman Web Site - http://www.theaction.com/Abbie/
Paul Krassner's Web site - paulkrassner.com
A History Of Yippie! Video - http://youtube.com/watch?v=xSNH4IcI7aY&mode=related&search=
English Yippies http://www.arsydd.btinternet.co.uk/frostpranks.html
Blogs By Former Yippies
Anarchism AND FRIENDS
Robert Anton Wilson's Homepage - http://www.rawilson.com/main.shtml
A-Infos – worldwide anarchist news - http://www.ainfos.ca/en/indiez.html
Anarchist Archives - http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/archivehome.html
Anarchist Yellow Pages - http://ayp.subvert.info/
Any time Now Zine - http://www.atnzine.net/
Jello Biafra http://www.progressive.org/mag_intvbiafra/
SDS is back! http://www.studentsforademocraticsociety.org/