How Occupy Vancouver – and the Occupy Movement – Could Improve its Democratic Process AND Address Heroin Overdoses

“On the question of organization, or any other question, opportunism knows only one principle: the absence of principle. Opportunism chooses its means of action with the aim of suiting the given circumstances at hand, provided these means appear to lead toward the ends in view. … Historically, the errors committed by a truly revolutionary movement are infinitely more fruitful than the infallibility of the cleverest Central Committee.”
– Rosa Luxemburg, Organizational Questions of the Russian Social Democracy

“Up there is like, um, where the college hipsters that live in Brooklyn go and try and rule the park from. Down here is more of the poor people’s encampment…”
– A person from Occupy Wall St. being interviewed in Zuccotti Park by Samantha Bee of the Daily Show, Nov 16, 2011

Let me stress that after all I’ve experienced, I still believe in the Occupy Movement. I still believe in Occupy Vancouver. I still believe in consensus decision-making. I still believe in the power of the General Assembly. The following is not a condemnation of what is but should not be, rather it’s guidance on how to improve something that should exist.

The fact of the matter: there are people within Occupy Vancouver who are spoiling it for everyone else. I’m not talking about the poor homeless kids overdosing and/or dying from hard drugs. I’m actually talking about the “leadership” elements who moderate the discussion forums, control the website, and run the media committee.

These people are well-educated and familiar with some economic, societal and environmental issues. But their knowledge of harm-reduction and drug policy – and their faith in the democratic process – is somewhat lacking. I have observed that from late October to early November, they continually thwarted the will of the General Assembly.

I was asked to speak by organizers of Occupy Vancouver on the first big day of protest, October 15. My speech about creating a world without rulers and with drug peace was well-received by the crowd. I began to participate in the general assembly committee that day, and by the end of the week I had formed a “come up with a rough draft of the demands” working group, with permission from the general assembly to post our rough draft on the website – as long as it was labeled as such.

The proof of this permission can be found on the page where the General Assembly decisions are kept:

“18) A rough draft list of Occupy Vancouver’s demands should be compiled and uploaded onto the website.”

The main reason to put it up on the website was not to publicize it, but rather to get input on it. Some people were against involving the rest of the 99% in creating it, but I was OK with that too. I really didn’t care if the input was from the occupiers, supporters, detractors or the public at large – we’re all 99%ers, right? And a good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from. As long as it says “rough draft” on it, it would educate people on how a democratic organization comes up with ideas for demands and then ratifies them at a General Assembly – Occupy Vancouver was using the 90% “supermajority” system.

The first time the demands were posted, the list was removed shortly afterwards from the website – not by a vote from the General Assembly but by a member of the website committee – because what was ratified by the General Assembly did not make it into the “official” minutes.

Originally those minutes were posted here, but have since been taken down.

It took a whole week, but finally the original minutes were found and it was verified that the General Assembly had agreed to post the rough draft of the demands on the website. The original minutes still haven’t made it into the online minutes.

The second time the demands were posted, they were taken down (again by the website committee) was just a few days later.  It was argued that it wasn’t really taken off the website, it was just taken off the home page. You could still find it if you knew where to look, but you had to know that it was hidden away in the forums and find the tiny link to “forums” and then figure out which forum was hiding the list of demands, as there was no “demands forum”.

The third time it was taken down (taken down completely from where it was already hidden from the general public) was when one of the moderators in the discussion forum complained that I was “flooding” the forum with harm-reduction and pro-drug peace information. What I was really doing was reacting to the “flood” of anti-drug peace activist sentiment, and the wave upon wave of ignorance that came from these “moderators”.

Let me provide you with a sample from just one thread (I will stick to the main thread about demands and spare you the comments from other threads such as the “movement hijacked by marijuana pushers” thread) so you know what I’m talking about. I will focus on the “anti-cannabis” and “anti-heroin prescription” comments – there were supportive comments about these things too, but I think understanding the reasoning and the mentality of those who are against vocally supporting drug policy reform and harm reduction is instructive.

“i admit to having a rather big problem with distributing botanical drugs like coffee beans. decriminalize, sure, but legalizing is a whole other issue.” emily cummings  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: October 27th, 2011, 12:45 am

“…i have a background in pharmaceutical sciences” emily cummings (a moderator who joined the discussion forum the day it was formed) Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: October 27th, 2011, 8:22 pm
“I think we should soften #17. FOR NOW! Suggesting to much of the 99% that heroin and cocaine should be given out by pharmacists will alienate them.”  Skipatrol  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: October 31st, 2011, 11:43 am

“Not a big fan of decriminalizing hard drugs.” emily cummings  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 1st, 2011, 9:11 pm?”19. Repeal the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. All synthetic drugs and hard drugs (including cocaine and heroin) should be distributed by prescription through a pharmacist.” – Although I agree with this in theory, I think it should be removed from the list. Presenting it as a demand is going to get nothing but bad publicity and negative feedback from a public brainwashed by decades of anti-drug propaganda” Hrichards  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 1st, 2011, 10:14 pm

“i am very worried though that comments re: #19 and #20 are falling on deaf ears as David Malmo-Levine is a cannabis activist and is by own admission, using OVan movement to advance his personal agenda. since he himself doesn’t seem to have any problem with that, i would like to see comments from other people involved with the movement qualifying this behavior as unacceptable. it is admirable what he’s done so far but the time has come to put greater interest before his own if he really wants to help this movement.” emily cummings  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 2nd, 2011, 1:04 am

“you did put in a lot of work, that i can see and i appreciate that. however your work remains biased and you seem to not know that wikipedia is not an acceptable reference (wiki is just a search engine which takes you to real references) and neither are some obscure cannabis blogs which are heavily biased as they are pushing to promote personal agenda too. at the same time, you completely dismissed my source (american academy of pediatricians) as pill-pushers. at this point i will agree to strongly disagree. you show a ton of zest and energy but very little prudence and science and i cannot align myself with your demands.” emily cummings  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 2nd, 2011, 8:48 am

“I agree with Emily regarding David’s list. The emphasis on drugs is an attempt to hijack the occupy movement.” just_me  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 2nd, 2011, 9:45 am

“David — I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, and actually have done some of the same research. I’m just saying that the inclusion of these type of specific, highly radical proposals dilutes the power of the overall document.” Stewart  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 2nd, 2011, 12:32 pm

“I think maybe of the people who can relate to the movement will be turned away if its morphs into a drug & hemp campaign rather than sticking to its roots as an economic struggle, and yes I realize the potential effect of drug legalization/hemp production on the economy. But it definitely isn’t a major issue and shouldn’t be made into one. If you want to promote this kind of thing then I’m sure you’ll get the chance at the 4/20 assembly and the annual protests in May. Bringing drugs into this is just going to get rid of supporters, simple as that.” Hrichards  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 2nd, 2011, 5:22 pm

Nov. 3nd was the day of the first overdose – this one non-fatal. Instead of thinking for a moment about the only real solution to most overdoses – heroin prescription – the focus was instead on the controversy, and how to avoid it. Contempt was shown for the public, who were seen as unable to understand the facts, so the facts became less important than the “optics” (or what the “leadership” thought would be the optics):

“any “legalize drugs” demand is going to look just wonderful(e-sarcasm) after this: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/11/03/bc-occupy-vancouver-drug-overdose.html” Hrichards  Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 3rd, 2011, 7:20 pm

“David, for the sake of discussion quality in this thread which seems to have severely deteriorated since cannabis issue became a source of disagreement, I will move all your posts to General Assembly subforum where you can discuss the cannabis agenda in more detail while leaving room for other demands to be discussed here. Pls don’t bring the cannabis discussion back to this part of the forum unless you get an OK from Tom A. (he is the main forum admin).” Administrator Post subject: Re: WORKING DRAFT – LIST OF DEMANDS Posted: November 3rd, 2011, 11:51 pm

On November 5th, 2011, some time around 4pm, a 23 year old woman named Ashlie Gough died at Occupy Vancouver.

A subsequent coroners report revealed the death to be caused by an overdose of heroin and cocaine.
 
According to an Occupy Vancouver member named “”MichAel MadloVe” who posted on Facebook, the camp had received “an official bad smack notice 4 hrs later from city health”.

The fact of the matter is that cannabis helps people get off hard drugs, and heroin prescription prevents “bad smack” from killing people. The relevancy of these drug-policy related demands to Occupy Vancouver is not simply on a ‘corporations make loads of money selling cannabis substitutes’ level or a ‘corporations make loads of money selling the chemicals required to create cocaine and heroin’ level or a ‘governments prevent independent movements or nations from cutting corporations out of markets by waging secret wars financed by CIA drug deals or overt wars justified by fighting narco-terrorism’ level, but also on a ‘these drug laws are to blame for the deaths of innocent people including our own protesters’ level.

Had we had a list of demands that included heroin prescription and legal cannabis, we could have pointed to these demands when refusing to be vacated from the Art Gallery, and Vancouver’s vast network of drug peace activists would no doubt have joined the battle to resist removal.

Instead, this became the headline:

List of Occupy Vancouver demands ‘not official’
ctvbc.ca
Date: Saturday Nov. 5, 2011 8:27 PM PT
 
A draft list of “demands” has emerged on the Occupy Vancouver website, with 60 items ranging from the closure of tax loopholes for the wealthy to the release of non-violent prisoners.

The authors of the list, which was posted Friday on the website’s message board, are not named, but it is said to have been compiled over the course of several days by members of the Occupy general assembly.

Occupy Vancouver press liaison Sarah Beuhler told ctvbc.ca that the list is “definitely not official,” and was formed by a group of about six individuals.

“Certain people found it very important that a list of demands be generated, though others disagreed,” Beuhler said.

“I have personally heard a lot of discontentment with this particular list, in that it’s not particularly well-crafted and it seemed to have some people’s pet issues on it.”

Beuhler confirmed that the list was written by members of the general assembly, but said that body includes anyone who chooses to protest at the site. She estimated between 200 and 300 people show up on a daily basis.

I was even called an “agent provocateur” on You Tube by the famous environmental rights activist Betty Krawczyk for attempting to provide people with a rough draft of the list of demands and for daring to suggest that prescription heroin was a good demand!

Had Ms. Krawczyk and OV press liaison Sarah Beuhler bothered to look into it, they would have discovered the evidence for heroin prescription resulting in positive health outcomes (including but not limited to a reduction in overdose deaths) is overwhelming:

The data, which was collected from 251 participants at sites in Vancouver and Montreal, demonstrate that a combination of optimized methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) and heroin assisted treatment (HAT) can attract and retain the most difficult-to-reach and the hardest-to-treat individuals who have not been well served by the existing treatment system. Key findings at the 12-month point of the treatment-phase of the study showed that HAT and MMT achieved high retention rates: 88 per cent and 54 per cent respectively. Illicit heroin use fell by almost 70 per cent. The proportion of participants involved in illegal activity fell by almost half from just over 70 per cent to approximately 36 per cent. Similarly, the number of days of illegal activity and the amount spent on drugs both decreased by almost half. In fact, participants once spending on average $1,500 per month on drugs reported spending between $300-$500 per month by the end of the treatment phase. Marked improvements were also seen in participants’ medical status with scores improving by 27 per cent.

When the Swiss government decided to issue heroin prescriptions on a trial basis throughout the country in 1994, the social advantages of keeping people on heroin were amply demonstrated. The results were as follows: a 60% reduction in criminal offences; a 60% drop in revenue from illegal or semi-legal activities; a spectacular reduction in heroin and cocaine use; a 14% to 32% increase in the number of participants holding down a steady job; a considerable increase in their physical health and, in most cases, a noticeable drop in links maintained with the drug world; no deaths attributable to overdoses and no prescription drug sold on the black market; a net economic benefit of $30 per patient, per day, largely because of the reduction in costs related to health care and the administration of the criminal justice system.

More evidence:

Heroin prescription ‘cuts costs’
There are strong reasons to support the practice of prescribing heroin to drug misusers, researchers claim.
A University of Amsterdam team says the treatment is cost-effective, even though it is expensive. The British Medical Journal study found the cost to health services was offset by savings linked to crime reduction.

and

Prescription heroin helps addicts off street drugs
(Reuters Health) – Prescribing heroin to addicts who can’t kick their habit helps them stay off street drugs, British researchers said Friday.

So far, doctors have had little hope of treating the 10 percent or more of heroin users who don’t respond to methadone, the standard anti-addiction medication. Fueled by drug cravings, those users often spiral downward into crime and diseases spread by dirty needles and unhealthy living.

Short of actually getting addicts off the drug, “heroin clinics” can at least get them off the streets.

“What we are dealing with here is a very severe group of heroin addicts, where all of the treatments have been tried and have failed,” said Dr. John Strang, an addiction expert at King’s College London, who led the new study.

“They are like oil tankers heading for disaster,” he added. “The question we were asking was, ‘Can we change the trajectory of these tankers?’ And the answer was, ‘Yes we can.'”

To test how prescription heroin would work for this group, Strang and his colleagues invited 127 addicts into supervised injecting clinics. The researchers then randomly chose who would get heroin, injected methadone or typical swallowed methadone.

After six months, 101 addicts had stuck with their treatment. More than two-thirds of those on heroin had no sign of street heroin in their urine at least half the time they were tested; before the study, they had been using the street drug almost every day.

and

Prescription heroin might dent the illegal drug trade

While Insite, Vancouver’s supervised injection site, continues to serve an important and necessary function, the evidence is mounting that what we really need is to provide prescription opiate and stimulant substitutes to heroin and cocaine/amphetamine addicts.

and here:

In our two trials supervised medical coprescription of heroin to treatment resistant heroin addicts was more effective than and probably just as safe as methadone alone. We saw considerable improvements in physical and mental condition and social functioning and few serious adverse events. The observed positive effects were not dependent on the route of administration of the coprescribed heroin. Our results also indicate that medical coprescription of heroin should be long lasting to obtain stable positive outcomes.

here:

Less than a month after a Canadian team found that prescribing heroin to addicts works where other treatments have failed, scientists in the UK reported the same thing. That stacks more evidence in favour of heroin prescription on top of existing good reports from Switzerland, Spain and Germany.

The point of my little rant is that there’s an opportunity to create something here that could grow to replace the death culture that 99% of us want replaced.

“What’s new with this movement is that it’s not just protesting, but creating a small replica of what we want society to be,”
said one protester from Occupy Wall St.

This “replica” is only worth replicating if it can avoid the major faults of the society we are attempting to replace, the hierarchical society where the few make decisions for the many and fool the many into believing they have the power.

If the movement is based upon a series of demands, the demands become the ultimate defining authority of the movement and its public face. If there are no demands, the ultimate defining authority becomes the media committee and the website committee, the defacto public face in lieu of demands. By preventing demands from being issued, the media and website committees have created an invisible throne to replace the other invisible throne (which has recently become slightly more visible) – corporations.

There is a reason demands were issued in all the Arab Spring revolts and in every major occupation, sit-in, and sit-down strike of the last 100 years. It unifies the movement and prevents opportunists from re-shaping the group into their own narrowly perceived interests. I will leave you with some quotes by some important people about why it is important to have demands:

“I believe the Occupy movement could be absolutely historic but we won’t know for years from now. I believe what it is is a demand for open dialog. … We demand social justice, especially for the first peoples of this nation.” – David Suzuki, at the Vancouver Occupation, Oct. 23, 2011

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – MLK Jr.,
Letter from a Birmingham Jail

“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” – Peter Marshall (1902–67) Senate chaplain, prayer offered at the opening of the session, April 18, 1947 Prayers Offered by the Chaplain, the Rev. Peter Marshall … 1947–1948, p. 20 (1949). Senate Doc. 80–170.

“We ought to have Parliament this very day. We are quite fit for it. We shall, therefore, get it on demand. It rests with us to define “this very day”.” – Mahatma Gandhi, Speech At Gujarati Political Conference I, Nov. 3rd, 1917

“Don’t ask for rights. Take them. And don’t let any one give them to you. A right that is handed to you for nothing has something the matter with it. It’s more than likely, it is only a wrong turned inside out.” –
Jail Note Book of Shahid Bhagat Singh, quoting Finley Peter Dunne’s Mr. Dooley

“As a Maxan Lake Bear Clan family, we are elders advisors to Occupy Vancouver. We stand as indigenous peoples defending our lands and rights. We know that every occupation has a list of demands. That’s purpose of occupations – to get answers for demands.” – Frank & Helen Martin, Bear Clan, Maxan Lake

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass

David Malmo-Levine

Comments

37 Comments

  1. DML on

    … I seek to alert people to their responsibilities.

    And I’m not afraid to use my real name.

    Of course, if I was writing the type of things you’re writing I would quite understandably be too ashamed to use my real name.

  2. DML on

    This is what Christiania looks like:

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&cp=11&gs_id=1k&xhr=t&q=christiania&safe=off&biw=1633&bih=901&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi

    This is George Orwell’s book on the Spanish Revolution:

    http://www.george-orwell.org/Homage_to_Catalonia/index.html

    Neither appear to be the work of “cruel angry retards”. Christiania is the second most popular tourist attraction in all of Denmark, and as for the Spanish Revolution:

    “Despite the critics clamoring for “maximum efficiency” rather than revolutionary methods, anarchist collectives often produced more than before the collectivization. In Aragon, for instance, the productivity increased by 20%.[8]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Revolution

  3. Anonymous on

    two roadkill anarchist mini malls- the dollar store end by the dumpster
    both goner towns of cruel angry retards– reminds me of those experimental underwater
    colonies from the 60s.. leaky and wet with dolphins jerking off against the windows
    the idea look great in the sci fi comic books but it went nowhere in the real world, unless you like the idea of a contained zoo for idiots who are so alternative they can;t relate to anybody else in their species

  4. Anonymous on

    at least you are weighing the possibility of being bully as you seek power and influence over others. thats a start

  5. DML on

    … why not try and find one example of me giving punks like you the last word.

    I’ll never stop trying to hold Occupy Vancouver accountable to it’s promises of opportunity … and I don’t have to come to the circle to do it. Furthermore, the circle doesn’t require an invite to attend.

    Being assertive is not the same as being a bully … but what you’re attempting to do qualifies … even if you’re not very good at it.

  6. DML on

    … because I won’t stop until you address them.

    1) The Occupy Vancouver statement of unity explicitly states that it is inclusive – why should I not hold them to it?

    2) You sound like a cop or a COINTELPRO agent. Why should anyone listen to someone who isn’t even able to share their real name, offering advice about how not to make a movement inclusive and democratic?

    3) I’ve been insulted with better insults by wittier people than you – I’m immune to insults. I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool.

  7. DML on

    … because I won’t stop until you address them.

    1) The Occupy Vancouver statement of unity explicitly states that it is inclusive – why should I not hold them to it.

    2) You sound like a cop or a COINTELPRO agent. Why should anyone listen to someone who isn’t even able to share their real name, offering advice about how not to make a movement inclusive and democratic?

    3) I’ve been insulted with better insults by wittier people than you – I’m immune to insults. I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool.

  8. Anonymous on

    Dave, we`re scoring goal after goal into your wide open mouth while you are still skating up talking shit.-You come off as a tired old man in a bathrobe telling the kids to do what you say.. – well go back in the house and finish your Noam Chomsky large print edition..check the OD obits in the paper and leave the work of rational action to people with workable social skills. Take a hint DML & get over yourself.

  9. Anonymous on

    Noam Cmomsky is a vague putz and your no better breathing his farts. I can quote anybody too, but thats just more puffy rhetoric in the wa6y of action. Face it Dave your a mondo dope focus anarchist bully and have been shunned by people who are actually trying to move past the 90s and into a sustainable world. Yo didn`t make the curé Don`t come back to the circle until you are invited.
    Go hitchhike across Canada or something.

  10. DML on

    “what would an anarchist know about democracy?”

    There’s a lot of over-lap. In fact, they are synonyms:

    “an” = “without” and “archos” = “ruler”
    “demos” = the people and “kratia” = “authority”

    When the people are without a ruler, they have the authority themselves.

    Therefore, the only real democracy is an anarchy.

    “and how would they know I was committed to it-”

    I don’t know … but I’m quickly finding out.

    “I argued my point well, but you were not convinced”

    That first part of your sentence is arguable. You didn’t address any of my concerns.

    “to which i add, and which is supported by so many others
    and that is so what? You lost the toss by a considerable margin
    that Dave, is democracy in action.”

    Democracy also involves education, which is what my reaction is all about. I may have lost the vote but I can still teach others not to make the same mistake that Occupy Vancouver made. This article is also what democracy looks like.

  11. DML on

    “It is the responsibility of intellectuals to tell the truth and expose lies.” – Noam Chomsky.

    So at what age did you become irresponsible? Or were you always irresponsible?

  12. DML on

    I don’t take orders from police or military people, let alone some anon who can’t put a rational argument together.

  13. DML on

    “Can u please go post on some right-wing, pro-military website and leave us alone. pleeeeeeeeeez???”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought his admittedly long rant was anti-war and anti-drug war.

    If you need evidence that the drug war is used to fund secret wars, I think Iran Contra is instructive:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYOVQezWaCY

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm#1

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/pktstmny.htm

    http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/9712/

  14. Anonymous on

    you’re too old for this nyah nyah stuff Dave, way too old.

  15. Anonymous on

    and will rephrase that as ” please ” fuck off and ” thank you ” for fucking off

  16. Anonymous on

    what would an anarchist know about democracy?
    and how would they know I was committed to it-
    I argued my point well, but you were not convinced
    to which i add, and which is supported by so many others
    and that is so what? You lost the toss by a considerable margin
    that Dave, is democracy in action.

  17. Anonymous on

    rhetoric is all anarchy can ever achieve
    pretty mush the same success ratio of contributing to social advance as daytime TV

  18. David on

    Have u nothing else to do other than spew? Really, take a look at your life, tapping away for free on the keyboard, alone and egoic, with your bizarre theories that have nothing to do with this website. You are likely not a marijuana smoker or grower, and your fake name (a play off of a serial killer’s name along with a corrupt corporate pig) is offensive.
    Can u please go post on some right-wing, pro-military website and leave us alone. pleeeeeeeeeez???

  19. Son of Sam Walton on

    I know ‘Occupy’ has its roots in fixing corporate greed for the fairness of the workers, but it also addresses government’s willingness to state ‘corporate’ entities are individual human beings with rights, which saturates politician’s pockets with corporate money for agendas, thus destroying individual citizens chances of influencing politics . . . it also has ties to healthcare, education and other government projects, such as infrastructure and police and housing and agriculture. David, if the American government didn’t spend the proven and estimated total of $383,000,000 to $384,000,000 a day to keep drugs illegal –how would this ‘Occupy’ movement look like . . . what would be the demands? David: do you believe the CIA are real and if you do –do you believe Iran-Contra was real and if you do –do you believe Russia invaded Afghanistan and if you do, do you not concede that 9/11 was financed by drug money . . . was the 93’ WTC an inside job and Kenya and Tanzania –or was it drug money. What about Gulbuddin Hekmatyar? Osama’s job was that of a military hero/leader. He was cut off from his family due to his anti-American views (bad for business) and he only inherited $30million from his family and his Al Qaeda operations only used $10million a year to conduct operations as estimated. His operations were global, including the large war in Algeria, which would have broken his piggy bank . . . he used dope money to invest in legal money and to open up other non-drug black-market shops . . . The Taliban cutback opium production from 75% of the world’s opium to much less after the year 2000’ –jacking the price in just that area . . . most Taliban fighters came from the Pakistani Army and The United Front –a nation steeped in Opium. This means 9/11 came out of drug money financing (well over half). 9/11 created two wars America and Canada joined in. No dope gets you no 9/11 and no 9/11 gets you know $2billion a week war, where half or more of the enemy’s funding comes from dope, thus meaning the U.S. spends $383 million a day to keep drugs illegal . . . Blowback is a CIA term for operation gone to shit and is hitting you in the face . . . the act of keeping drugs illegal and customizing your own agenda via financing, military and diplomacy through dope has a blowback problem for the U.S. and the CIA. So David, where would the ‘Occupy’ movements of Canada and the U.S. be if we didn’t have drug laws creating a black market propelling an enemy to go to war with us –a war where tax dollars are used . . . a war where tax dollars go to also aid contract workers (War for Hire)? Every known terrorist network funnels dope money to insurgents and terrorists whom fight us –though belonging to other networks, while the insurgents and terrorists themselves funnel dope money from their very own networks to their fighters . . . since Afghanistan is known as the Silicone-Valley of the East for all the $billions in computer making minerals, it behooves other nations to send dope money to keep us at war so we can extract the minerals with a Afghan/pro-American government and not the Taliban-Paki government . . . China who has America by the financial balls and who is helping pay off our debt would benefit if America contracted out the minerals to China . . . China has money tied to the Regan Doctrine as you well know –the part aiding the defense of the Afghan people from Russia . . . China has dope fields as well and it behooves them to make sure America/Coalition stays fighting us for the purpose of maintaining contract workers and contracts in a war zone –contracts to set up a mining operation . . . who owns the minerals owns the computers and who owns the computes owns the world –or can help keep the world in the dark, which would be a Taliban wet-dream . . . Iran has lots of dope and dope users and it behooves Iran and Russia to control the computer minerals of Afghanistan, hoping America will give up or just leave if we keep getting attacked or keeping us in another region like Iraq, which divides our war efforts. So David –remind those ‘Occupy’ folk in your city how much the U.S. spends each day and year to keep drugs illegal . . . if you think I’m wrong, then try using arguments to disprove Iran-Contra and Charlie Wilson’s War . . . not all the funding of the 80’s was dope mind you –but dope money goes a long way in a 3rd world nation . . . try disproving that cocaine isn’t illegal and sold illegally . . . try proving the Overdose cases came from legal heroin bought from a pharmacy . . . or should we concede that dope money brought about 9/11 (which created agendas and gave the U.S. global permission to go) and 9/11 brought about the two wars costing us in America $2billion a week. Maybe no one in Canada remembers 9/11, which could have happened to them, like it happened to Spain and England (though on a smaller scale) . . . in the Hunter S. Thompson novel “Generation of Swine”, Hunter quoted for the record that the year 2000 or the 21st century will be the year of the Muslim and you can read that for yourself . . . and if Hunter wrote it and it can be proven by doing a whole lot of fact finding on government websites etc –why would this not be significant to the ‘Occupy’ movement . . . how are your tax dollars being used? How is a proven $283 million dollar day prohibition habit a pet project? Maybe Sarah doesn’t know how to read and has never traveled to a war like I have . . . learning how to read will allow one to do years worth of research.

  20. DML on

    “take a hint and fuck off”

    Never. I think I’ll stick around and remind everyone of the inclusivity element within Occupy Vancouver’s “statement of unity” (which you should probably read at some time):

    “We are committed to an inclusive and welcoming space, to addressing issues of oppression and discrimination, and to creating an environment where all the 99% can be heard and can meaningfully participate.”

    http://occupyvancouver.com/statement_of_unity.php

    Now … are you a member of Occupy Vancouver? If you are, do you agree with the above part of the statement of unity? If not, how can you claim to be a part of Occupy Vancouver? If so, how do you reconcile with telling me to “fuck off”?

  21. DML on

    “If DML had decided to try to work with people, and hear them, rather than try and ride rough shot over the movement. He might have found some support.”

    I spent three weeks trying to work with people. In that time I saw the GA’s decision be subverted three times. I was compared to NAMBLA and called a “marijuana pusher” and had my issues dismissed as “pet projects”. Never once in this time did I make personal attacks. I wasn’t going to get any support regardless of my actions because the media and website committees don’t want to give up their power to define the movement and will never let a list of demands form, period.

    “But, like many others, when his pet cause did not become the movement’s priority in the first few weeks…. He got angry and left.”

    I didn’t get angry, but I was a little saddened by the wasted potential. When mistakes are made in a movement, it’s good that someone pays attention and attempts to teach others what happened so those mistakes are not repeated. You mistake that for anger, I guess.

    I find it interesting that not a single member of Occupy Vancouver has been at all concerned with the obvious subversion of the will of the GA. This proves to me that these people are opportunists and their commitment to democracy is a sham – window dressing for the media.

  22. DML on

    “David has a sordid history in the hemp movement–which he lies about in his/this rebuttal…”

    I missed the part where I lie … perhaps you can quote me and then prove I lied.

    “I do agree with his right to have only white males talking about how HEMP can save the world from the NWO,”

    Where do I say that? I think everyone should be talking about this, not just white males.

    “…yet he remains one of the most disruptive voices in the cannabis-hemp movement.”

    If by “disruptive” you mean “exposing lies on a regular basis”, it’s true.

    “I don’t support the cult of Marc Emery;”

    There is no cult of Marc Emery – he and I disagree from time to time but still work together. That wouldn’t happen in a cult. There is a legalize cannabis movement, and he and I are both in it.

  23. DML on

    “but you really should do something about being an asshole”

    You’re cool with the will of the GA being subverted by the media and website committees, but if someone calls them on it they’re an asshole?

    Your commitment to democracy is as strong as your ability to argue your point convincingly.

  24. DML on

    “This may explain why anarchy is constant state of struggle,and never achieving anything because it never gets beyond rhetoric”

    Anarchy is where there are no rulers. The web and media committees rule Occupy Vancouver by subverting decisions made in the General Assembly, by preventing any demands from being issued in order to control how Occupy Vancouver defines itself and is seen by the rest of the world.

    Anarchy works great as long as people stick to principled arguments and do what they say they’re gonna do.

    Anarchy has been working in Christiania for the last 40 years, because people make decisions and stand for things.

  25. DML on

    “I think the strength in the Occupy movement is the fact that it has no leader.”

    It is ruled by the web and media committees, as I pointed out in my article.

    “Trying to shoehorn this movement into committees and creating lists of demands will never work.”

    What isn’t working is having no demands, appearing disorganized and unfocused as a result, and having people resent the media and website committees attempting to run things covertly, as the Daily Show interview quote at the top of the article points out.

  26. Son of Sam Walton on

    By the time you read a few hundred pages on the whole cause and effect of Iran-Contra, it will lead you to know that such drug connections (Iran-Contra) and cocaine depots in Africa destined for Europe etc (Guinea-Bissau) brought about 9/11 and 9/11 brought about two large American Wars. Remind the Occupy movement that the war on terror, costing $2billion a week was caused by drug money . . . 9/11 has its roots in the 1961 U.N. Single Convention and if the war is happening at $2bill a week and America for the record spent $36 odd billion in 2010 on keeping drugs illegal added to the $2bill a week war on Narco-Terror –we get Drug Enforcement costing America in 2010: $140 billion dollars . . . if we had no illegal drugs –we would have no 9/11. The dope black market is the golden goose for gangs and cartels since drug users use drugs and need more drugs often . . . people buying stolen cars and stolen electronics and blood diamonds and pirated DVD’s only buy a few and thus don’t need more and more the way people need more and more dope. So logically speaking: from 9/11 2001 to 9/11 2011, the U.S. has spent well over a trillion dollars just keeping drugs illegal. I understand Canada had troops in Afghanistan . . . how much did that cost? It’s logical to assume all the money spent by Canada for its war on Terror effort was also its drug enforcement bill of sales as well. Why would people call your ‘stopping (For America that is –I don’t know the Canadian costs) over a $140 Billion a year on drug enforcement’ your pet project? Your best defense is to prove that drugs are illegal and if you can prove drugs are illegal, then try to prove drugs are illegal in Europe and if you can prove this, then try to prove that people buy drugs in Europe and if you can prove this, then you can prove 9/11 was from drug money (Iran-Contra giving the Muslims cocaine deals to buy weapons to kill Russians in Afghanistan since objects requiring money for purchase often use money –a concept most Americans and Canadians don’t understand) . . . With all the red tape of drug laws and its costs, its logical to assume that the American War on Drugs from 9/11, 2001 to 9/11, 2011 cost America $1.4 trillion or more since drugs need to be illegal for terrorists to make the kind of money to organized and pay for hijackers living in America for over a year to a few months . . . DML, you should also try to prove that Americans use money to buy food and use money to pay for rent and use money to move around the country or neighborhoods . . . Most Americans don’t realize rent and food and bills costs money and where I’m getting at is that drug money finances terrorist networks worldwide . . . some cocaine in Europe helped pay some hijacker’s plane ticket and flight training and food and rent . . . this dope not only came from opium sales, but weed/hash sales as well and MDMA sales (Cambodian tree oils) and the cocaine offered at 1980’s handshakes between Iran and Contras –introduced by CIA members at secrete meetings.

    If America didn’t spend over $1.4 trillion (added the cost of cleaning up 9/11 itself, which was caused by drug money) on keeping drugs illegal in less than a decade –would there be an occupy movement? If industrial hemp creates between 25,000-50,000 products (Popular Mechanics) and if we can prove there are more than one Wal-Mart and more than one McDonalds and more than one Ford Car Dealership and if we can prove all these businesses hire more than just 250 workers and if we can prove K-Mart and Target also exist, whom are similar to Wal-Mart and if we can prove Taco Bell and Burger King exists, whom sell food like McDonalds do and if we can prove Dodge and Chevy exists, whom sell vehicles similar to Ford, then we can assume at least 250 workers from farmer to truck driver to factory worker to sales clerk (and all the little jobs create by them such as farming supplies and tires for trucks etc) per hemp commodity will create a whole lot of jobs. Introducing another commodity/resource will drive down the cost of about everything and if everything was cheaper, then would the Occupy movement still be existent? If hemp plastics are stronger than the plastics found in cars, it would make drivers safer (and cheaper since it doesn’t come from oil) and thus drive down the price of car insurance and medical costs and if hemp wood for homes is fire-resistant, it would drive down the costs of home/renters insurance as well and it would drive down the cost of everything containing plastics or packaged in plastics/paper since its renewable. It would drive down the cost of living world wide and in a hemp world of the future, a $10 dollar an hour job will make more money than a $12 dollar an hour job in a non-hemp world . . . snowball effect. If Insurance and health costs cost less overall, then more jobs would be created if jobs had to pay less for benefits etc.

  27. Anonymous on

    take a hint and fuck off

  28. OccupyMedic on

    If DML had decided to try to work with people, and hear them, rather than try and ride rough shot over the movement. He might have found some support. But, like many others, when his pet cause did not become the movement’s priority in the first few weeks…. He got angry and left.

    Good luck to you.

  29. Eddie Rothschild on

    I really like this article. Neither my knowledge or opinions around these issues and ideas are very strong but this strikes me as a well-argued piece.
    While it is important to grow our support base this should not come at the expense of softening our demands to what can be easily digested by a public that is still under the spell of corporate controlled and fear-mongering mainstream media.
    With respect to improving our democratic processes, handling of demands and our media team, I would like to see folks working for the movement here in Vancouver to do more research into the best practices of movements during the Arab Spring and from other cities that are making much faster progress with their “occupations” – and see how these might be successfully applied here. I will bring this up with Ms. Cummings and others who seem to be reaching out blindly – formulating opinions and making decision based on past knowledge and experiences rather than with evidence-based study of the movement’s recent successes.
    Thank you.

  30. Anonymous on

    but you really should do something about being an asshole

  31. Ray Christl THC Ministry Asia on

    Dear Sarah; David has a sordid history in the hemp movement–which he lies about in his/this rebuttal…I do agree with his right to have only white males talking about how HEMP can save the world from the NWO,yet he remains one of the most disruptive voices in the cannabis-hemp movement.

    I don’t support the cult of Marc Emery;nevertheless,this website is very informative,and Marc-Jodie have done more than most anyone for the advancement of Cannabis-Hemp science. DML is a part of that cult of Marc’s revolutionary backdrop that enables MOST Canadians to remain anonymous. Hide & they will come for you in your secret prayer gardens. DML does stand his ground & has gone to jail in lenient BC.

  32. DML on

    “Your assumption that the people who disagree with your PR tactics “don’t understand” your argument are disingenuous at best.”

    It’s impossible to make someone understand something when all their power and prestige stem from them not understanding it. I believe you don’t understand because you don’t want to understand – because you’ll lose control over “your” movement if you do understand.

    “I can follow the argument for dispensed cocaine and heroin, thank you.”

    Unlike those who work in the field, and those dying of bad smack, you believe making demands for a rational approach is for some far off undetermined time in the future. The level difference between the public’s ability to see the truth and your faith in the public’s ability to see the truth is vast.

    “I even happen to agree with it. But I most strongly protest your continued attempts to bully the general assembly and individual committees into taking up your position.”

    You define “bully” as anyone attempting anything that you and your media/web committee friends disagree with.

    “When I was the press liaison, everything I said in that interview was absolutely true. I attended two of your demands meetings. To my dismay I found them small, populated exclusively by white men, and dominated by talk of hemp legalization and preventing a “new world order”.”

    Maybe the reason that they were small was because your buddies continually thwarted the GA’s decision to have the rough draft available on the website. And maybe the reason that it was white men doing the work was because the non-white and non-men were busy working on other things – the rough draft of demands were not just about the concerns of white men, and lord knows I did my best to encourage others to participate.

    “There was and remains serious disagreement about the movement’s ability to formulate demands democratically the benefits of doing so.”

    The disagreement comes mainly from the media and press committee – the two committees that get to define what Occupy Vancouver stands for if there are no demands to refer to. You’re blind to that conflict of interest. The GA itself was mostly pro-demands, including those doing the occupying and the First Nations community. Furthermore, the GA was fine with the rough draft going up on the website, so the media and web committees did everything in their power to thwart the will of the GA including 1) not posting the real minutes, 2) hiding the rough draft of the demands list in the forums, 3) taking them off the website completely twice, and 4) putting in a “one day delay” to allow time to marshal resistance to any other demands-related proposals so that the GA’s #18 decision would never be repeated.

    “I was there the night you had a temper tantrum at the GA because you couldn’t get your proposal passed. That’s the night you quit.”

    “My “tantrum” consisted of saying “good luck”. And I haven’t quit the battle to empower the 99%, I’ve just given up on the web/press committee-controlled part of it.

    “Your temper, your bullying techniques and your absolute inability to understand and work with other people who don’t agree with you means that you continually failed to impose your will on the GA and when you couldn’t, you quit.”

    I don’t have this problem within the pot community – but the pot community isn’t controlled by some cabal of power-hungry people who constantly thwart the will of the desires of the whole.

    “So please spare me the condescending attitude that I “don’t get it”. What I don’t get is how someone could imagine that, without educating people slowly and leading them to a conclusion, you could expect to recommend free heroin and cocaine to the public and not expect the corporate media to have a field day with it while alienating citizens of all classes.”

    I’m guessing you only read the part of the above article that pertains to you and skipped over the many, many examples of where heroin prescription was advocated IN THE CORPORATE MEDIA with no negative responses. And how would offering practical solutions alienate anyone? Doesn’t more dead bodies showing up at the occupation alienate people more than any rational solution? And when did Occupy Vancouver determine that we should only adopt solutions, strategies, goals and demands that the corporate media approve of?

    “Free cocaine and heroin is step 35 of an education process. We’re currently around step 10 in the public consciousness.”

    It doesn’t have to be free. It could just be affordable. If you’re arguing we have to have 25 more dead bodies found in 25 more Occupy Vancouver tents before we can argue the truth out loud, I’d have to disagree.

    “To blame that on the Occupy movement is laughable.”

    I don’t blame the movement. Just the 11% in the media and website committees who have taken control of the movement.

  33. Sarah Beuhler on

    David, your continued blindness around this topic should surprise me but doesn’t. Your assumption that the people who disagree with your PR tactics “don’t understand” your argument are disingenuous at best. I can follow the argument for dispensed cocaine and heroin, thank you. I even happen to agree with it. But I most strongly protest your continued attempts to bully the general assembly and individual committees into taking up your position. When I was the press liaison, everything I said in that interview was absolutely true. I attended two of your demands meetings. To my dismay I found them small, populated exclusively by white men, and dominated by talk of hemp legalization and preventing a “new world order”. There was and remains serious disagreement about the movement’s ability to formulate demands democratically the benefits of doing so. I was there the night you had a temper tantrum at the GA because you couldn’t get your proposal passed. That’s the night you quit.

    Your temper, your bullying techniques and your absolute inability to understand and work with other people who don’t agree with you means that you continually failed to impose your will on the GA and when you couldn’t, you quit. So please spare me the condescending attitude that I “don’t get it”. What I don’t get is how someone could imagine that, without educating people slowly and leading them to a conclusion, you could expect to recommend free heroin and cocaine to the public and not expect the corporate media to have a field day with it while alienating citizens of all classes. Free cocaine and heroin is step 35 of an education process. We’re currently around step 10 in the public consciousness.

    To blame that on the Occupy movement is laughable.

  34. Anonymous on

    why is it that Indigenous people have chiefs ,elders and shamans to weigh & shape tribal activity and policy but anarchists don’t want anybody to take actual full time responsibility for this? 500,000 years of indigenous tribal life worked smoothly enough with leaders put into position by consent , and democracy is its natural heir. This may explain why anarchy is constant state of struggle,and never achieving anything because it never gets beyond rhetoric

  35. Anonymous on

    I think the strength in the Occupy movement is the fact that it has no leader. Trying to shoehorn this movement into committees and creating lists of demands will never work.

    So what do we do?

    KBO – keep buggering on (to quote Churchill)