2019 Year in Review

Making revolutionary politics relevant to community survival struggles

A list of activities and statements organized by Alliance Against Displacement (AAD) does not tell the whole story of our 2019. What these actions, taken mostly in defence of communities under pressure from police, politicians, courts, investors, and the hateful public, do show is that AAD’s connections and relations with communities involved in struggles for survival have deepened and grown more intertwined. 

The most important development for AAD in 2019 was the work behind the scenes of this constant community activity: under pressure of demands of these interwoven community relationships, we grew over our old organizational containers and began to develop new institutions for working class and urban Indigenous community power. 

OVERVIEW OF CAMPAIGN WORK

June 8th Network

In June 2019, Alliance Against Displacement held a gathering of homeless leaders from community struggles across southwestern BC that initiated the June 8th Poor People’s Network. At the gathering we reflected on our experiences establishing and defending tent cities, and charted a path forward, from local homeless survival struggles towards a broader and more ambitious, BC-wide poor people’s movement.

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Jun 8

Gathering in Victoria

Sixty delegates from eight different tent city struggles across southwestern BC gather in Victoria, marking the beginning of the province-wide June 8th Network

Nov 4 – 14

Tent City Tour

Homeless leaders and activists tour the Okanagan and Kootenays, visiting communities in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna, Grand Forks, Penticton, and Merrit

Nov 12

Residents of Kelowna’s Leon Strip call for improvements to their living conditions

Nov 20

Press Conference

Homeless residents and supporters in Grand Forks call for a winter shelter

Nov 29

Tour Reportback

Members of the June 8th Network meet in Coquitlam to debrief the Tent City Tour and plan next steps

Maple Ridge

In 2019, newly elected Mayor Mike Morden led a vicious campaign against homeless people, who he described as “raping and pillaging” Maple Ridge. After taking control over the camp with a court and fire order in February, the City of Maple Ridge finally shut down Anita Place, the longest-standing tent city in Canada, in September. But the leaders that emerged out the two-year long tent city struggle are continuing to organize for homeless survival and power as leaders and initiators of the June 8th Network and by fighting for an overdose prevention site in Maple Ridge.

Murray Bush/flux photos
Murray Bush/flux photos

Jan 14 – 15

Tent city residents fight back against Maple Ridge’s faux-fire-safety court application to demolish their shelters

Feb 9

Tent city residents respond to BC Supreme Judge Grauer’s decision on Maple Ridge’s fire injunction

Feb 23 – 24

Witnessing vigil and rally to defend Anita Place Tent City from police raids; six homeless leaders and supporters arrested

Feb 24

Alliance Against Displacement responds to arrests at Anita Place Tent City

Mar 5

Rally to defend Anita Place Tent City and call for homes not prison camps

Mar 22

Anita Place responds to the Province’s modular housing announcement

Apr 14

Anita Place Tent City residents and supporters stand together against anti-homeless hatred

May 18

Two Year Anniversary

Anita Place, the longest-standing tent in Canada, celebrates its two year anniversary

Jun 5

Homeless leaders and supports launch the unsanctioned Ridge Meadows Overdose Prevention Site, which is immediately broken up by police

Jul 11

Fraser Health Office Occupation

Homeless leaders and supporters occupy the Fraser Health headquarters in Surrey to demand an overdose prevention site in Maple Ridge

Jun 13

BC Supreme Court

Anita Place in court to clarify Judge Grauer’s order

Jul 30

Founding resident of Anita Place Tent City announces plans to refuse eviction

Sep 16   

Former residents of Anita Place Tent City speak out against Maple Ridge’s supposed good news story about the end of the camp and the creation of a city park

Sep 16   

Former residents of Anita Place Tent City speak out against Maple Ridge’s supposed good news story about the end of the camp and the creation of a city park

Surrey

June 2019 marked the one-year anniversary of the clearance of the Surrey Strip. In the wake of the Strip, dozens of homeless people pitched their tents in a wooded area known as Sanctuary Tent City, which was catapulted into the headlines in early July when the City of Surrey threatened to displace the camp. Campers fought to defend their home, but the City of Surrey finally dismantled the camp in December. Homeless leaders living modular housing, in shelters, and on the streets of Surrey continue to organize as part of the June 8th Network.

Nov 19 2019 press conference - bylaw clear billboards encampment

Jun 21

Former residents of 135A Street speak on the anniversary of the clearance of the Surrey Strip

Jul 7

The Surrey Strip community gathers to share food, music, and memories of loved ones who are no longer with us – the fallen friends of 135A Street

Jul 9

Residents of Sanctuary Tent City defend their home from bylaw displacement

Jul 10

Sanctuary Tent City residents mobilize supporters to speak out against displacement

Jul 22

Surrey residents unite against efforts to expel drug users and homeless people from our neighbourhoods

Jul 25

Sanctuary Tent City calls for Fire Department to support their efforts to improve fire safety

Jul 26

All-Camp Potluck

The Sanctuary Tent City community shares a meal

Jul 29

High School Visit

Surrey high school students tour Sanctuary Tent City

Oct 21

Alliance Against Displacement opposes a motion to ban sleeping in vehicles

Jun 21

Former residents of 135A Street speak on the anniversary of the clearance of the Surrey Strip

Nov 19

Sanctuary Tent City residents say they will not allow the City of Surrey to use the opening of a new shelter as an excuse to shut down the camp

Nov 23

Supporters rally to defend residents of Sanctuary Tent City from displacement

Dec 2

Homeless leaders speak out about the displacement of Sanctuary Tent City

Tri-Cities

In 2019, homeless people in the Tri-Cities shattered the myth that, in the words of Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, “We don’t have any chronically homeless people living on our streets.” While our efforts to launch a tent city were blocked by police repression, homeless leaders in the Tri-Cities continue to organize as part of the June 8th Network.

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Jun 13

Homeless leaders and supporter launch the ‘We Exist’ tent city, which the City of Coquitlam orders police to break up immediately

Jul 5

Homeless activists and supporters storm the Homelessness and Housing Task Force meeting

Stop Demovictions Burnaby

For first half of 2019, Metrotown residents reaped the limited reward of their years of anti-eviction struggles as the new Mayor Mike Hurley carried out his campaign promise of placing a moratorium on demoviction rezonings. But the year was bookended by the end of his 6-month moratorium, and Council’s adoption of recommendations from his developer-friendly Housing Task Force that ensure 2020 will bring Stop Demovictions Burnaby’s fight to stop the demolition of 3,000 apartment units back to the front burner of tenant struggles in Burnaby.

Nov 19 2019 - Public hearing of rezonings in Metrotown

Monthly

Town Halls

Metrotown residents meet to discuss and strategize the fight against demovictions

Jan 28

SDB speaks out against the developer-heavy Housing Task Force

Apr 6

Renters take to the streets for the international day of action against evictions and outrageous rents 

May 21

Activists say the Housing Task Force fails to protect renters by normalizing displacement

Jul 6

Renters celebrate our community as we continue to fight for our homes and our neighbourhood

Nov 19

SDB rallies against mass rezoning and the end of the moratorium on demovictions

Bread, Roses & Hormones

Bread, Roses & Hormones (BRH) is a campaign led by working class trans women and gender non-conforming people. In 2019, BRH held political education classes and community events for transmisogyny-affected people in Surrey and Vancouver, building the foundation for trans women’s leadership of struggles in and alongside movements against colonialism and capitalism in 2020.

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Bi-weekly

Political Education

Reading and discussion series on trans and sex worker liberation

Bi-weekly

Community Building

Consciousness-raising and resource-sharing meetings in Vancouver and Surrey

Feb 27

Movie Night

BRH screens Major!

May – Aug

Reading Revolting Prostitutes

Reading and discussion series on Revolting Prostitutes by Juno Mac and Molly Smith

May 29

One Year Anniversary

Organizers hold a picnic to celebrate the one year anniversary of BRH

Jun 9

Red Umbrella March

BRH carries a banner in the Red Umbrella March for sex worker liberation

Aug 2

Trans March

BRH members give a speech on building working class trans power outside the mainstream of Pride politics

Sep – Jan

Reading Caliban and the Witch

Reading and discussion series on Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici

Oct 10

Movie Night

BRH screens Tangerine

Anti-Police Power Surrey

In 2019, Anti-Police Power Surrey (APPS) held community events and launched a new youth workshop in high schools on criminalization, policing, and abolition.

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Jan 26

Gathering at the Progressive Cultural Centre

Feb 16

Youth Workshops

APPS visits a Surrey high school to facilitate a workshop on policing and abolition

Apr 7

Gathering at the City Centre Library

Apr 12

Youth Workshops

Workshops at a Surrey high school

Apr 23

Teachers Convention

APPS delivers a workshop for educators at the Surrey Teachers Association Convention

May 3

Youth Workshops

Workshops at a Surrey high school

May 7

APPS calls for justice for Nona McEwan and Randy Crosson, who were killed by the Surrey RCMP on March 29

May 11

Community outreach table to oppose to expanding police budgets and challenge the conflation of increased policing with public safety

Jun 21

Youth Workshops

Workshops at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Jul 11 – 12

Youth Workshops

Workshops at a Surrey high school

Jul 17 – 18

Youth Workshops

Workshops at a Surrey high school

Sep 11

Panel about the history of policing sex work and labour movements

Sep 25

Rally against the Maxime Bernier, the leader of the far-right People’s Party of Canada

Wet’suwet’en Solidarity

In 2019, Alliance Against Displacement helped organize actions in a coalition of groups and people in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en struggle to block the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline through their territories.

Murray Bush/flux photos
Murray Bush/flux photos

Jan 9

Activists march from the Downtown Eastside to Hastings and Clark, blocking access to the port

Jan 16

One hundred Indigenous and non-Indigenous fighters shut down Vancouver’s main railway line to the port

Feb 5

Rally at MLA Office

Rally at MLA George Heyman’s office

Jun 14

Rally in solidarity with Unist’ot’en

Justice for Kyaw Din

In August 2019, the Ridge-Meadows RCMP murdered Kyaw Din, a Burmese immigrant living with schizophrenia. Alliance Against Displacement supported the Din family in their fight for justice.

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Oct 5

Family members, friends, and supporters gather to demand justice for Kyaw Din

Oct 15

The Din family and Alliance Against Displacement launch a petition with three demands:

  1. Fire Jennifer Hyland, Ridge Meadows RCMP Officer in Charge
  2. Charge the officers responsible for Kyaw’s death with murder
  3. Stop sending police to mental health calls

OVERVIEW OF ORGANIZATIONAL WORK

Public Statements

Internal Education: Conditions of Struggle

In 2019 Alliance Against Displacement held education classes on political problems and theoretical methods for members. The reading lists for these internal discussion classes are available on our website, and the summaries of the outcomes of these these discussions will be uploaded in the new year as our discussion classes continue.

Feb – Apr

Fascism and How to Fight It

Jul – Aug

Gender Power

Sep – Nov

Encountering Dialectics

Nov – Dec

The Organization Question

Work with Other Groups

In 2019, Alliance Against Displacement had the opportunity to speak at several local events and attend three international conferences.

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Jan 28

Ivan Drury speaks at Un/tenable: A Panel Discussion on Housing in Vancouver hosted by Green College

Mar 8

Laura Paul speaks at International Women’s Day panel organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party in Surrey

May 3

Dave Diewert and Sasha Mannequin speak at VANDU’s Drug War, Imperialism, War on the Poor

May 4

Listen Chen speaks at the May Day Billionaire’s Bash organized by the May Day Collective

Jun 23 – 27

Three members attend the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) 6th International Assembly in Hong Kong

Jun 25

Karina F. Castro speaks at CCAP’s Cut the Police Budget Townhall

Jul 2 – 5

Two members attend the Socialism 2019 Conference in Chicago

Sep 6 – 8

Three members attend the Red Nation’s Native Liberation Conference in Gallup, New Mexico