Category Archives: politics

bravery [2017]

by request, my resignation from VANDU – august 24 2017

As a board member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, I have a clear responsibility to the members — as a peer organization, given our history and goals, this responsibility is serious, and beautiful.

I mean it when I say that serving at VANDU is the most challenging and meaningful work I have ever done. That is how much it matters. That is how real it is. And members, people, I want you to know how strong you are. And your generosity. I know you’ve told me things you’ve never said to anyone, and your bravery means something and I get it.. I meant it when I said that I wanted to know what you think. I meant it when I said that all of us down here live lives that are realer and more honest and smarter than the people who look down on all of us. The people taking over our neighbourhood. The ones we fight.

I walk up the street, every day, I get the engine revved. I am set for the fight. I love it, I’m good at it. I will fight for all of us every day. All night, any time. Let’s all go fight.

But that is it. Look at the fighting. Look at how the workers are treated, look at how people treat each other. If this was happening at another organization, we’d be outside protesting it.

Today, I am resigning from the board of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. I do not want to hurt the membership – I am resigning to empower the membership; that is my responsibility.

I will not participate in a so-called leadership structure that enables, enforces, and rewards the ongoing and systemic exploitation of human suffering and experience. The raw needs of poverty and addiction makes bullying not only a standard practice, but an actual enforced and rewarded behaviour.

This is deeply, deeply sick.

Everyone, it’s not ok. It’s not ok that we talk about justice and liberation and then learn and see and become forced to believe that the way to express strength is through causing harm. And by making that act of harm a mark of authority, and strength, we become the thing we pretend to fight.

I reject that, and I am confident in that rejection. Months ago, I said that only acts of bravery could end the cycles of death that we are experiencing.

I see such bravery everywhere.

At VANDU, the cowards are in charge on every level. I urge the members to reject that. I urge the workers to strike. Be brave — because you are. It does not have to be this way.

Do no harm. Gentleness is not weakness. Arrogance is not strength. Justice is love.

We must take care of each other, because no one else will.

Above, I said “we become the thing we pretend to fight.”

I am concerned with the actual fight. And what you need to know is that I can’t do that at VANDU.

I’m not a coward.

I have things to do.

Stay safe, be brave. Let’s go.

cowards with power

(btw. i had been asking the BCCSU and the drug checking research team for almost TWO YEARS for the data week-by-week, so that i could confirm the changes in the overall supply and its relation to the economic cycle. [‘evidence’]

i was told that they couldn’t/wouldn’t do that, that that was not what their research was about, that my concern about this was irrelevant, and then they flat-out refused to work with me.

let’s also remember how they were funded with five million dollars in the summer of 2016 by Christy Clark, as the the Drug Users Resource Centre was closing down, after the emergency was declared in April of that year, and what else that money could have done other than build those MFs’ careers out of the deaths of our friends. and never ONCE did they consider using a bit of their institutional and social power to take a real risk for drug users. not fucking once.

nothing worse than cowards with power.)

i made this specifically for the BCCSU two years ago!

Residents Demand Immediate Construction of Huge Towers When Unobstructed View Reveals Mountains To Be Gigantic Heap of Drug User Corpses

“If there isn’t at least the beginnings of two or three dozen 60-storey mixed-income towers all over the place by the end of this month, I’m leaving town and won’t write a heartfelt think-piece about it,” said a guy with a job and home and a stupid hat .

Tourism Vancouver has indicated that many cruise ship passengers, unsure now of what to do and shocked at the un-postcardlike spectacle, can be spotted downtown, spinning in place.

Local attractions have also taken a sudden economic hit. Northbound travel on bridges has virtually ceased.

“Quick,” reads one hastily scrawl letter to council. “How about Temporary Modular Sixty-storey Towers? INCREASE MY PROPERTY TAXES. Whatever you need.”

The sudden awareness of the mountains of drug user corpses looming over the city has resulted, of course, in resentful bitterness among those vying for the title of first-world problem warrior (vancouver 2018).

“I want to look soulfully at mountains when things are tough and I need to put things in perspective,” said a software engineer whose life is totally tough. “I don’t want to be reminded of the epidemic in our midst that illustrates so precisely the scale of the tragic moral and cultural failures of our society.”

“Obviously I never want that.”

unnatural disaster

It is not an opioid crisis! The changes we seek are not about a class of drug. This about prohibition & racist drug policy that justifies its existence by punishing people already suffering under the conditions it has created; its a weapon of the structures that must be unmade.

In fact, saying people died from “opioid-related overdose” has profoundly negative effects on people who are prescribed these medications, pain patients. And it’s another way that the words we all use obstruct access to safe supply.

In any public forum, the comparison with COVID-19 is going to come up. It’s not about the number of deaths: it’s not a competition. Let’s step back and have another look, because these are really different, and here’s how. And i think this is the point that we need to get insistent about.

Contagious viruses like COVID-19 that become epidemics, which in turn become pandemics, are inevitable — they happen again and again throughout human history. They are natural disasters — terrible but natural. What illicit drug users have experienced these last years is an unnatural disaster in every way. It is the result of choices: choices that have been made by governments. And different choices could be made every day.

It is not about opioids. Definitely not anymore. Really never was. Calling it such distorts our goals. I’ve been correcting anyone from the media I speak to, anyone in government, and anyone in health care or drug policy who still speaks to me. I don’t need to speak with them, nor they to me. It’s the public we to talk to, not each other. Really. You may think I’m going too far, but it shocks people when i call it a Prohibition Massacre. And that’s what I want to do: shock people out of complacency, and stop them from saying ¯_(ツ)_/¯ what can we do? It’s the bad rugs! ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Try to shock people, however you can.

And stop saying the same thing again and again. Because it didnt work.