On Monday, December 12th, Occupy Vancouver will stand in solidarity with Occupy movements a…ll across the West Coast of Turtle Island (North America) to occupy the ports and send a strong, clear message to the global 1%: this economy, this world, belongs to ALL of us—not just those who disproportionately control and benefit from the global for-profit system.
In the United States, where this coordinated action was called, Longshoremen are fighting a long and difficult battle for wages and rights in the face of a crushing economic system and attempts to dismantle unions. Why should we stand in solidarity with them here in Canada? The answer is simple: the economy is global, and our neighbour’s fate will soon be our own.
Studies show that the gap between the rich and poor in BC has grown dramatically over the past 30 years, while others note the connection between increasingly liberalized and unregulated “free” trade and income inequality. This gap is growing faster in BC than anywhere else in Canada, and even faster in Canada than in the United States! Locally, the Port of Vancouver trades $75 billion in goods annually and generates $10.5 billion in GDP, making it the largest port in Canada and fifth largest in North America. Further south at the Delta Port there are proposals to triple the port capacity and introduce a “Foreign Trade Zone”, which would threaten worker and environmental regulations by allowing corporations to undemocratically establish their own laws and accelerate their ability to deplete the environment. We are clearly under threat by those dictating corporate for-profit rule of our communities and the environment, and only by standing up now will we have any hope of protecting what we hold dear for generations to come.
From their impact on local ecosystems to their contribution to global climate change, the ports threaten the livelihood of the environment. Burnaby’s Kinder Morgan Westport Facility is proposing an additional expansion that could see an increase in Tar Sands crude oil tanker traffic from 22 vessels a year in 2005 to 288 in 2016. We have already seen local spills leaking over 430,000 litres of crude oil in 2007 and 2009, and further spills will only prove more devastating, as the tankers in our waters carry over 4 times the capacity of the Exxon Valdez spill that destroyed Alaska’s coast in 1989. While the elite use these ports as doors to open this land and its resources for business, those most affected have had their voices silenced. We want to slam those doors shut for a day to stand in solidarity with workers struggling to stay afloat, First Nations communities trying to preserve their way of life, and the environment and all its beautiful inhabitants. We want to send a resounding message of what we can do when we come together as a collective and work towards a more just future.
We are calling out to every individual, community, and organization that believes people should come before profits to join us this Monday in Occupying the Port of Vancouver. We are seeking endorsements from unions, community organizations, prominent individuals, local businesses, policy institutes and other organizations. We are asking groups and individuals to attend the 1:00 pm Special Assembly this Saturday, Dec. 10th in the Woodwards atrium (149 West Hastings) to discuss the Port Action and Occupy’s future. We need your support; this action won’t be successful, nor will our futures be protected, without the entire community involved!
Occupy Vancouver Direct Action Committee
If you or your community or organization would like to speak at this event, or send a letter of endorsement, let us know at email@example.com