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Beyond Left And Right

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Free Wiebo Ludwig and Richard Boonstra, political prisoners in Alberta, Canada!

Welcome to Beyond Left and Right. This site is located in Vancouver, in the Cascadian Bio-Region, (Canada).

Vancouver is located amidst a temperate rain forest which is, to a large extent being cut down to meet the needs of American and Japanese house builders.

My purpose in assembling this site is to counteract some of what has been written about our city and to call for change. While Vancouver has many worthwhile attributes, the quality of reporting leaves much to be desired. The daily newspapers are both controlled by a foreign resident, (who controls the majority of daily newspapers in Canada) and display a right wing bias.

Our municipal government is largely controlled by business interests. One result of this control is an increasing callousness at our city's council. Recent bylaws limit buskers to one per block, one hour at a particular location, and require the puchase of a licence, at a price which is beyond the means of nearly all of the local buskers. Also from our council is a bylaw to limit panhandlers by, for example, forbidding them from sitting on the sidewalk.

These iniatives have been implemented at the behest of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, some of whose members operate night clubs and trendy restauraunts in the downtown core to the detriment of local residents, who have complained of difficulty sleeping when the bars and clubs disgorge their drunken (and frequently loud) suburban customers at two a.m.

These changes come in a time of hardship for many in Vancouver. An increasing number of people are seen picking cigarette butts from the sidewalks, picking thrown-out items from trash cans, (these items are unlawfully sold by sidewalk vendors), panhandling, and illegally offering bus transfers for sale. "Squeegee kids", who wash the windows of passing cars for a donation of a dollar or two, abound. With the exception of panhandlers these occupations have made their appearance within the last couple of years.

The war on the poor continues on different fronts. The Downtown Eastside, which is the poorest urban neighborhood in Canada, has the highest rates of HIV disease of any of Vancouver's neighborhoods.The criminalization of drug use, which, despite ample evidence that prohibition causes the very symptoms it is supposed to cure, also has made it difficult to prevent the spread of HIV. Prostitutes are sometimes reluctant to use condoms, easily being pressured by customers who frequently do not want them,and the difficulty in obtaining syringes can make it hard for drug users to avoid sharing needles.The war on drugs- a war on the poor- goes on, despite dissenting voices from within the academic community, many of the police, and the community at large.

Legal protest is under threat in Vancouver, in November, 1997, during the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) held here protesters were attacked by police for having diplayed signs which read FREE SPEECH.Display of signs had been limited to a small area where they could not be seen by the press, nor by the world leaders in attendance. Protesters were arrested and released only after agreeing not to protest again during the conference. During the conference,our city looked very much as if a coup d'etat had taken place.There were armed police almost everywhere, helicopters flying overhead at all times and cameras on top of buildings looking down on our citizens.Some of these cameras are still in place and helicopters have since been seen doing search patterns over Vancouver.

More recently, the organizers of protests which occurred on International Women's Day, received a invoice fom the police for the provision of policing during the protests. The bill came to $6,600.00, which the organizers apparently don't have. This calls into doubt the right of anyone other than the wealthier classes to protest acts of government.

And our provincial government has been of little help. Elected as socialists, the New Democratic Party Has turned out to be the banker's best freind. Cuts to health care, education and welfare as well, have taken their toll on our social structures. Now they even speak of cutting corporate taxes!

Our experiences differ little from those of our neighbors in other places. We call for order! We call for the right to walk down our streets unmolested, for the security of our homes, our families and our jobs. We seek a social strucure which will encourage each of us to cooperate, one with the other, rather than engage in the destructive competition that requires so many of us to prey upon our neighbors. The current system, in which a citizen's rights are proportionate to his wealth is a sure sign of disorder.

For 5,000 years governments have promised law and order, and yet in all that time they have brought nothing more than laws. Some of us have drawn the conclusion that governments are, by their nature, unable to bring the order we seek.The answers to our social difficulties lie therefore, not in the political process, but in social action. The call, not for political, but rather social, activism places us squarely beyond both left and right.

A photo of a private security guard chasing a busker from the sidewalk in front of Duthie's Bookstore, on Granville street in Vancouver


















This Photo Was Published in a Small Circulation Paper,
THE WESTENDER,   October 2, 1997.
To Read The Accompanying Article, Click On The Picture.


Links

Anti-Globalization.

  • The Council of Canadians

  • The M.A.I: What Does it Mean for Tobacco? Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada

  • Apec Alert

  • Mai-Not

  • Notes On Nafta
    By Noam Chomsky

    Organic food

  • The Pure Food Campaign

  • The Save Organic Foundation


  • Shell Oil International
  • VeganismNaughty Folks
  • Earthsave Canada
  • These people have been naughty! To tell them what you really think of their policies, click on their names.
  • Earthsave International
  • The Southam Press The owner of most of Canada's daily newspapers
  • Vegan Village
  • The Canadian Bankers Association

  • The Fraser InstituteA Right Wing "Think Tank" Which is Really Just a Propaganda Outfit.Financed in Part, By the Owners of our National Newspaper Monopoly.
  • The Vegan Society
  • The White House
  • Shell Oil International
  • Civil Liberties
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Amnesty International
  • Vancouver Sun Editorials
  • British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  • The Premier of British Columbia
  • Banned Books
  • The Prime Minister of Canada
  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association

  • Nike Sportswear


  • Imasco, Imperial Tobacco's Canadian Subsidiary

  • If you have suggestions for this list, please make them below.

    Police Brutality

  • The Pepper Spray Victim's Homepage

  • Statement On the Use of Pepper Spray In CaliforniaAmnesty International

  • Refuse and Resist A site From Seattle Concerned With Police Brutality

    Nudism

  • Western Canada Association for Nude Recreation

  • Clothing Optional British Columbria

  • Patti Logan's Page
    A nice site aimed at women who might be reluctant to try nudism,
    but applicable to body-consious men as well.

    A photo of Jello Matt

  • The Naturist Society

  • The Wreck Beach Preservation society

  • American Association for Nude Recreation

    Humanism

  • Humanist Association of Canada

  • Free Inquiry

  • The Humanist

  • Internet Infidels

    One of the colourful characters at Wreck Beach,
    Jello Matt sells "Electric Jello",
    a mixture of plain gelatin with various liquors

    Anarchism

  • The Progressive Clearinghouse

  • Food, not bombs, San Fransisco

  • Food not bombs, Edmonton

  • Food Not Bombs, Directory

  • Food not Bombs History
  • Escape Links

  • Documents on Methods of Anarchist Organization

  • AK Press

  • Anarchism FAQ

    Free Radio

    The U.S. government has been limiting ownership of radio stations to the rich for 25 years. Find out how ordinary people are fighting back by defying Uncle Sam!
  • Free Radio

  • Association of Clandestine Enthusiasts

  • Radio Free Network

  • Radio4All

    Breastfeeding

  • La Leche LeagueA Very Well Designed Site

  • Breastfeeding A Journey of Discovery

  • Interesting Links From The Page Above

  • More Links on Breastfeeding

    Misc

  • The World Wide Web Consortium

  • Boycott Shell Oil

  • Project Underground
    Exposing Corporate Enviromental and Human Rights Abuses

  • The Garlic Lovers HomePage

  • The Bike The Bridge Coalition

  • Radio for Peace International
    This is a shortwave station staffed almost exclusively by Americans, aimed largely at an American audience and covering mostly American topics. Why must this be done from Costa Rica? Ask Uncle SAM!

  • Counterspin
    A RFPI program which takes a look at the news headlines seeking censorship, hidden agendas, and disinformation.

  • Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada

  • National Organization to Halt The Routine Abuse and Mutilation of Males

  • Anti Nike Sites

    Local Links

  • Vancouver Progressive Pages

  • Peacewire

  • Adbusters

  • The Citizens Handbook

  • Dera

  • Vancouver Community Net

  • Airspace

    Last updated October 9, 1998.

    This site has been compiled by Kurt, a professional beer vendor at Wreck Beach, Canada's first legal nude beach, the most free place in Canada (apart from the woods). I appreciate both comments and questions, so feel free to click on the button

    kurt@roberts.vsb.bc.ca
    P.S. I want my foreskin back!
    Beyond left and Right ©copyright 1998 No one. Use freely, but please do not quote me out of context, nor plagiarize my words!
    Would you like to see the site for my little business?

    In The News

    From Vancouver, Canada

    I've been away from these pages far too long. After working hard all summer and having gone back to school now I've been pretty busy. Also I recently purchased a new computer. As it's my first I'm quite excited.Anyway,I apologize for the delay and will try to do better in the next little while, Kurt.

    October 9, 1998 It seems that British Columbia will soon return to the conditions of the seventies when roadsides were covered with empty beverage containers of every stripe. The government here has rolled back deposits on a variety of containers, both glass and plastic. New regulations took effect on October 1st. An element of theft occurred as well; containers for which consumers had paid ten cents on Sept 30th were worth only a nickel the next day. This will mainly affect the poorest members of our community, those who pick up cans and bottles for the deposit. These changes were made without public debate.

    October 9, 1998 Nearly a year after the Asia Pacific Economic Conference held here last year, police memos of the period give a view of tyranny not usually seen. The memos, along with transcripts of police radio conversations made at the time, paint a clear view of a police state in action. Police infiltrated peaceful protest groups, planned and executed the arrest, on bizare* charges, of one protest leader with a goal of preventing him from making speeches, removed lawful signs (reading: FREE SPEACH )and sprayed protesters with large quantities of hot pepper extract. There is now a considerable call for the resignation of prime minister Jean Cretien who, when first asked about the pepper spraying responded, "Pepper, I put it on my food!" Police actions are the subject of a hearing, conducted by the police themselves. The hearing looks like a cover-up, large sums having been allocated for the legal bills of police members.

    * He has been charged with assault after yelling, allegedly too loud, into a mega phone. A security guard claims his ear hurt afterward.

    August 5, 1998. The government of British Columbia signed a treaty yesterday, at the town of New Aiyansh, with the governing body of the Nis'ga aboriginal people. The treaty marks an end to 100 years of foot dragging on behalf of the governments of British Columbia and Canada. The Nis'ga people's requests for a treaty have been falling on deaf ears since the last century. The deal provides for recognition of Nis'ga title to some of their traditional lands and a cash settlement to compensate for the loss of other lands.The agreement raises concerns from a variety of quarters. Many of the Nis'ga who live outside the reserve, object to the treaty as they may be excluded from benefitting from their ancestral lands. Another concern comes from neighbouring tribes, many of whom have traditionally shared fishing grounds with the Nis'ga. A few weeks ago, on the day the agreement was announced, members of the Nis'ga nation approached members of a neighbouring tribe, who were fishing at a common fishing ground within the new boundarys recognized by the agreement and ordered them to leave. Traditionally, aboriginal peoples often shared resources, such as fishing grounds,a custom which has led to 105 per cent of British Columbia being subject to overlapping land claims. Some native groups are afraid that the deal will divide them in their negotiations with the governments.

    July 30, 1998. The British Columbia government, led by Glen Clarke, will implement retroactive legislation prohibiting citizens from suing it to recover monies which the government stole from area charities. The move is to derail a lawsuit launched by a number of charities in B.C. aiming to recover 100 million dollars. The suit was recently heard in B.C. Supreme Court, which ruled that the government had been siphoning money from local charities for years in violation of the criminal code. the bill is retroactive for twelve years. Some legal experts have been quoted as saying that such tyranny is quite legal.

    July 20, 1998. Local politicians have finally come to an agreement on the installation of cameras at intersections in British Columbia. The stumbling block has not been the morality of spying on the citizenry, but the distribution of the loot. The cameras are, they say, to be placed at intersections with high accident rates. At several intersections in Vancouver,(particularly along Granville street) motorists routinely run red lights, stopping on the crosswalks, stealing the right of way of pedestrians.There is no word yet on whether cameras will prevent these crimes.

    July 20, 1998. Yesterday Marked the aniversary of the day on which Gwen Jacobs took her stroll down the hot, summery streets of Guelph, Ontario. Jacbs beat the summer heat several years ago in the same fashion as the men around her; She took off her shirt. She was charged and then acquitted at a trial which found that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of her gender. Women in Canada celebrate the day by walking topless through the streets of the larger cities. Women who choose to go topless as individuals however are still subject to arrest.

    June17, 1998. Police in Edmonton, Canada wiretapped the phones of three area journalists. This was in an attempt to discover the source of a leaked police department document. The wiretaps were approved by a Justice of the Peace and has brought a cry (no doubt temporary) for a review of the powers of a J.P.

    June 17, 1998 The Alberta College of Physicians is investigating the participation of several local physicians and at least one hospital in a multi level marketing scheme.They have been selling nutritional products to their patients, according to a report from the society. They then pressure the patients to sell the product themselves, turning a profit for the physicians and hospitals with each sale the patients make.The government of Ralph Klein has promoted a decline in business ethics in recent years, which may have led to these acts.

    June17, 1998. The city of Vancouver is apealing the aquittal of David Malmo-Levine. Malmo-Levine, a cannabis activist, was charged with violating the city's anti-postering bylaw. The case went to court in Febuary, with Malmo-Levine defending himself, and being aquitted. The bylaw, which banned posters from all but a small number of locations, is considered the harshest in Canada, and has a wide variety of critics, having been condemned by civil libertarians as well as community and social activists. Murray Mollard, the policy director of the B.C.Civil Liberties Association, said of the bylaw, "We certainly support postering as a time honored means of freedom of expression and an important way of expressing political and other opinions and it's financially more accessable than mainstream media." Even the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that postering is "a historically and politically significant" form of comunication. Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, a social activist says "posters are an important way of comunicating to people and getting the message out about events." Malmo-Levine plans to again conduct his own defense. No court date has been scheduled as of this date.

    June 16, 1998.  Hockey legend Frank Mahovolich was named to the Canadian Senate today. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Cretian made the annoucement a few days ago. The Senate, an appointed body formerly composed of political hacks, will take a step up in the world as a result of the bruiser's appointment. Mr Mahovolich was quoted as saying that he looked forward to finding out what the Senate does (as do the rest of us). Mahovolich was the Prime Minister'second choice for the vacancy, the first hockey player having turned him down. The practice of reserving legislative seats for sports figures is new in Canada and possibly unique in the world.

    June 16, 1998  The B.C. Law Society has finally issued a citation against John Laxton. A former President of the B.C. New Democratic Party, Laxton then President of the publicly owned electric company B.C.Hydro, admitted 26 momths ago that he and his son in law, Richard Coglin had invested the utility's monies in companies controlled by themselves. When Questions where first asked about the deal Laxton initally denied knowing the identity of the owners of the tax-haven registered companies involved . As it turns out, they were the owners! Coglin remains under investigation.

    June 16, 1998  Authorities here have finally charged former M.P. Dave Stupich, his common-law wife and his daughter in the long running Bingogate scandal. The three stand accused of having extorted vasted sums from area charities through a complicated scheme which benefitted the ruling New Democratic Party by over a million dollars. The party repaid the money as soon as this scandal came to light, but then Premier Mike Harcourt's continued delays in a long promised investigation prompted a loss of confidence, so great, he resigned. His successor, Glen Clarke dragged his feet as long as he could, but finally had to acknowledge the need to investigate, leading to the recent charges.


    This is the text of the article as it appeared in the West Ender of October 2, 1997.

    Security Guards Grilled For Picking On Downtown's Poor

    Business group claims decrease in "incident reports" since patrols began.

    By Tom Zillich


    Security guards who patrol downtown streets are under pressure to stop harrassing those who "might not look right."

    More and more business groups are hiring uniformed security to keep an eye on street activity.

    Increasingly, the guards are being accused of stepping over the line into the realm of policing .

    Community workers in the downtowncore have seen or heard stories of people being shoved, held and harassed by security guards.

    "Vagrancy, loitering and panhandling are not illegal, yet all these acts are treated as crimes,"says Todd Keller, a Gastown resident.

    "These (guards)have no more rights than you or me, but they're acting like police."

    Keller and Barbara Waldern are co-authors of a report which looks at alleged abuses by security guards against mostly low-income people. Both are volunteers with the Main and Hastings Community Development Society.

    "I've seen people who've been badgered to move along-people who might not look right, panhandlers," says Keller.

    "We want to know what businesses are up to by employing security guards. Are they going to run over public rights and section off areas of public land for their own use? I begin to wonder about that. It boils down to who can claim ownership of public property."

    Included in the report are details of an attack on a woman in Chinatown by security guards. They alledgedly kicked her in the back as she walked down a lane, after telling her to leave the area of the night market. In another incident, guards are accused of using pepper spray on people caught using drugs in a Chinatown parkade.

    Business associations in Gastown,Chinatown and the downtown core have hired guards or "ambassadors"to patrol streets.

    In Gastown, 'guards wearing white shirt and black tie'(sic) work the streets seven days a week, noon to eight p.m. for a second year they've been hired through a security company by Gastown Business Improvement Society.

    The society's Roger Bayley says there's been a decrease in "incident reports" in Gastown since the hiring of the guards.

    "We have a lot of visitors in the area, and people who defecate on the street or use inappropiate language or are aggresive in asking for change-we;d rather not have them around and think they should be discouraged from doing such activities."

    Bayley said the guards play an important role in detaining people suspected of crimes such as shoplifting.

    Physical confrotation by guards is not encouraged, he said.

    "We were personally involved in hiring the security people and set standards for how they behave on the street," said Bayley.

    The Vancouver Police Union is concerned that in an effort to do more with less, administrators may be tempted to deploy security forces instead of police officers.

    Of more concern to Keller is the increasing pressure on low-income people to not interfere with shoppers and businesses.

    "Hiring of these guards has very little to do with crime. It has more to do with certain people being bad for business, bad for the look of the area" he says. "These security guards are dealing with nuisance behavior, and the money that goes into it could go into social support or something like that."

    Keller and Waldern are forwarding their report to the attorney generals office in the hopes of creating more awareness.