Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the bay protest and the capitalist reaction

I was at the westin bayshore hotel saturday morning waiting around for clients at the spa when i heard the hotel was on security lock down. No one in, no one out. This was because some angry protesters were coming towards the hotel (which has all the vanoc committee people and dignitaries and fancy pants staying inside it). These were the same protesters who earlier that morning had broken the windows at the bay, splashed red paint and overturned mailboxes.

Being incredibly anti-olmypic I was actually at the time somewhat entertained by this idea. (Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to have to go through airport security and not be able to take my own lunch to work everyday because of the olympics? I work 14 hr shifts until the olympics are over and can only eat at the cafeteria once a day but am still not allowed to bring my water bottle to work because of security. Working in the hotel industry currently my guests are all olympic- competitors, sponsors, families, dignitaries, vanoc members etc etc... not only can i not escape the olympics I cant have an opinion about them at work. and I couldnt take time off work during the olympics because that was cause for termination. oh olympics.... you are not my friend) Having said this I went down to the Bay around 3 pm on saturday to survey the damage. All the paint was washed away by the time my boyfriend and camera showed up at 330 and most of the windows fixed. This lady, however, was there and she was an employee of the Bay as I understood it. Note her sign in regards to the actions of the protesters. (Ironically I feel that VANOC vandalized many of our communities such as DTES let alone the provincal budget but it digress)

Now im still anti-olympic but slightly less grouchy about it. The olympics are here, and so it is too late to make changes for 2010. It is not too late to raise awareness to the issues and change them for the future communities. Because deep down its a beautiful concept but its the manner in which the olympics operate which is the problem they devastate parts of the hosting communities and make other parts of them rich. The "world" is here, its the perfect time to raise the issues and deal with them in a positive and progressive manner. Having those protesters break a bunch of public and corporate property (however much their damn the man methods may have been rebelliously delicious) makes all protesters look like vandalizing "douchebags". And even though deep down a part of me dreams of going "postal" on my vanoc work place in the forms of long soap box style rants about consumerism and corporate propaganda for product placement at the cost of the local communities during the hours and hours im there surrounded by 2010 propaganda I understand that violence like that dosent help the cause, it just makes those protesters and those in opposition for valuable reasons who want to fight for change look like jokes. So from here on out im being a happy protester.

one more note about protesting. Friday there was a big anti-olympic protest at the art gallery. I wasn't able to get any photos but another group came out to protest the protesters. They had these signs that read " You say Protest we say Party!" They were advocating celebrating the 2010 olympics and having a "party" while the world was here, having fun with the games and such. Interestingly enough they were mostly older people, all well dressed, I saw lots of expensive name brand clothing on a majority of the people I saw - they clearly upper middle class. Interesting to look at the ages and demographics of the protesters, it tells you a lot of social values in this city.


  1. Fascinating insider story about what it's like to work amid a VANOC-imposed lock-down, Megan. We must get more details from you post-break.


  2. I think the "You Say Protest! We Say Party!" might be a play on a Vancouver band named "You Say Party! We Say Die!" (who are a pretty great band).