OneCity in pole position as Vancouver starts race to the polls
Photo: Vancouver City Hall
The OneCity Dozen: Growing municipal party is the first to nominate a slate of candidates
“OneCity is in a stronger position than ever before. There’s so much energy and enthusiasm around our forward-looking approach to politics, and that’s reflected in the exceptional community leaders who have stepped up to run with us.”
This statement by OneCity co-chair Cara Ng reflects the confidence of an organization that just had over 1000 members vote in its nomination race. On Monday, the party unveiled a 12-person slate of nominees for spots on City Council, School and Parks Board.
In addition to the party’s incumbent councillor Christine Boyle, nominees for spots on city council include Ian Cromwell, Matthew Norris, and Iona Bonamis. With almost all incuments on council running for re-election, it will be difficult for any party to elect newcomers this year - but OneCity seems well positioned to make gains at the polls this October.
OneCity will be going for a majority at School Board, as they nominated four new candidates along with incumbent trustee Jennifer Reddy.
The Vancouver Sun has a report on the slate here.
OneCity first ran candidates in the 2014 municipal elections, after a number of its founding members left the Coalition of Progressive Electors. For its part, COPE has a nomination meeting scheduled for April 10.
Democratic Socialists of Vancouver put out a Call for Candidates
On the Vancouver left, other formations are mobilizing for this year’s elections as well.
Be the politician you want to see in the world. And so it begins for the DSOV, a membership-based organization in Vancouver, who recently voted to do a callout for potential socialist candidates for the 2022 municipal elections taking place in October this year.
"Political office shouldn’t just be for lawyers, business owners, and high-paid professionals," text on the website states. "The DSoV is committed to supporting a new generation of political leaders from the working classes, because we believe in collectively dismantling the barriers to inclusion and participation in electoral democracy and in society at large. We aren’t going to win the world we need without a new kind of politician - maybe you will be one of them! "
Key points for the DSOV's socialist platform, loosely named Vancouver For All, can be found on their website and include issues regarding housing, defunding and detasking the VPD, and transit.
The DSoV general membership has also voted to explore, in consultation with a united front of like-minded socialists, the setting up of an elector organization in order to formally nominate and endorse candidates for the municipal elections. Interested persons are invited to read more on the Vancouver for All pages, or attend Vancouver For All working groups.
PHOTO: Still from video.
Vancouver VPD Recruitment - seriously?
On March 1, 2022, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine and when our feeds were full of images of war, both current and fake, the Vancouver VPD strategically released a recruitment video apparently designed to appeal to Vancouver's largest population group of 25-29 year olds. The colourful video was complete with battle armour, guns, bombs and explosions and all presented in strobing imagery. Who knows, maybe there were even subliminal pictures of Putin hiding within the frames. "What the heck," asked Yvonne Hanson, former NDP candidate in Vancouver-Granville. "Who are they going to war against? The poor? The homeless?"
Meenakshi Mannoe of the Pivot Legal Society is quoted as saying she's concerned about the type of people who might be attracted to the VPD by a video highlighting military-style equipment and lethal weapons.
The video drew substantial public criticism and was taken down quickly, the VPD tweeting, "We apologize if the images were upsetting for some, particularly during current world events."
Daily Hive News has uploaded the video to youtube where it has received almost 2,000 views.
Stranger assaults - oh my
The VPD have been sending out statements to the press regarding the number of 'stranger assaults' happening in Vancouver. A 'stranger assault' is the term used when someone attacks people they don't know. An article in the Vancouver Sun states: Every day the city of Vancouver experiences an average of four stranger assaults.
We thought we would take a look at some statistics to gain perspective. First, there is a statistical relationship between population size and crime - higher populated cities report higher crime rates. As a population grows, so will crime. The population of Vancouver has been growing approximately 1% per year since 2018. It is logical to assume crime rates will increase at a similar rate. And indeed, the number of assault crimes in Strathcona grew from 666 in 2018 to 703 in 2021 which is about 1%. In downtown, they grew from 1590 to 1779, about .89%
Next, four assaults per day in a city with approximately 2.5 million people - just doesn't seem that high. However having said that, we've been looking only at assault. There are many kinds of crime both reported and unreported and Vancouver is definitely not on any of the Safest City in The World top 20 lists.
But does this crime rate warrant terrifying our citizens and militarizing our police force? Pivot Legal Society thinks not and tweets: Militarized police is at odds with our collective wellbeing. The VPD draws $365.1M from the City of Vancouver budget. This money could be redirected to systems of care.
If you are interested in learning more about defunding the VPD and redirecting funds to systems of care, the hard workers with Defund604 have a lot of programs, events, and action. March 15th is International Day Against Police Brutality. From March 15-19 there will be an art show & programming at Gallery Gachet featuring pieces that honour Indigenous people shot and killed by police.
PHOTO: Red Braid Website
Red Braid Dissolves
We make this retreat with eyes still fixed on the horizons of struggle and possibility that ushered Red Braid into being in the first place, and with the faith that new organizational forms will rise from the ashes of this project.
On February 27th 2022, Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism voted to close their doors and dissolve their organization. Following is an excerpt from their official statement:
We have come to the difficult decision to dissolve because we believe Red Braid no longer serves its purpose as an instrument for subaltern community struggle. If a revolutionary organization is not useful to its members and social base, then it needs to be replaced.
In 2021, Red Braid faced a series of organizing challenges and internal crises that left our membership depleted and disorganized. We stopped functioning as an organization and were unable to regroup. Our decision to formally dissolve Red Braid recognizes this already-existing reality.
Our decision to dissolve is not a decision to stop organizing or a repudiation of Red Braid’s defining strategic orientation toward building subaltern power. Members in Surrey, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, and the DTES have plans to continue organizing together within ongoing community struggles, while others are in search of new political homes.
VALU CO-OP joins the world community in condemning the war on Ukraine and its people by the Russian government
In an email this week, Value Co-op called for the immediate end to war and a commitment to peace, stating:
We stand in solidarity with all Ukrainian people and Russian citizens organizing against this war. Thousands of Ukrainian people have already been killed and thousands of Russian citizens have been arrested protesting Russian imperialism and war crimes.
We are watching with increasing concern at the reports that Africans and Asians are being arbitrarily detained, held up at borders, and prevented from fleeing Ukraine into neighbouring countries in Europe. We also join the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) in condemning the racist news coverage that ascribes more importance to some victims of war over others. This coverage and support for only some victims of war is white supremacy.
We call on the Government of Canada to provide immediate aid and support to all those displaced by the war in Ukraine and other wars across the world. We call on all governments to actively contribute to international efforts to bring peace.
The Co-op then announced their series of anti-war campaign materials with 100% of proceeds benefiting organizations supporting the refugees of the war in Ukraine. You can purchase these anti-war materials on the VALU shop.
Vancouver For All Working Group - everyone (including candidates) welcome
Weekly on Thursdays - March 10, March 17. Vancouver For All is a grassroots, participatory platform, initiated by the DSOV, for the municipal election taking place in October 2022. Help us put the needs of the many over the greed of a few.
Day of Action for a Just Transition
11:00 am. Saturday, March 12. Vancouver Public Library Plaza.
Monthly Solidarity Fridge Stock
March 26 Noon
DSOV Monthly General Member Assembly
March 27 4:00 - 6:00 pm (3:30 Happy Hour)
Media Roundup: Ukraine Conflict - Fact Checking
Having trouble discerning truth from disinformation and misinformation? These sites might help:
Fair - https://fair.org
Russia's invasion set to create weapons industry boom ⋆ The Breach - As The Thorn wrote in our most recent issue, Russia’s latest war in Ukraine has been an opportunity for warmongers and weapons industrialists to profiteer. (To this, one might add the oil and gas industry).
The Nation - How an Anti-War Statement Made DSA a Target
Looking for Submissions
The Thorn on Thursday is a bi-weekly e-newsletter, and a first step towards a broader publication blending independent journalism and left commentary from and about Vancouver. If you’re interested in reaching out to prepare a paragraph, an article, or more see our Submission Guidelines on our website at thethorn.ca