The People's Library of Occupy Vancouver

Equity, Access and Openness (@OccVanLibrary)

This teach-in on capitalism was sent to me by one of our lovely librarians. With our eviction a few months behind us, the significance of what we did is coming into greater focus. This is one of the first of many retrospectives by various groups, and we look forward to seeing you this Friday, and at the number of events to follow!


We’re excited to announce the first in our series of teach-ins on capitalism, what it is, and how it works.  Our first event, Capitalism and You, will be held at the Vancouver Public Library on March 23rd.  Are you curious about exactly what it is that we Occupiers mean when we say that we’re protesting against “capitalism?” Or maybe you are an Occupier, and want to gain a clearer understanding of how we all got into this mess, and what some strategies might be for getting ourselves out.  How do all the diverse issues that the 99% are facing tie together, and what can we do about it?  How are we all effected by our economic system, and how can we stand together to make it more just, equitable, and sustainable?  Come on down to the VPL on March 23rd and let’s figure it out together!

Capitalism and You

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Photos: The Library at UBC

One of our lovely community members sent us some lovely shots of our lovely cataloguing session at UBC from two weeks ago. We enjoyed a delicious by-donation lunch, shared some great books and had some amazing conversations. We also got around to cataloguing a few books. Mostly we just nerded out, though.

In short, if you haven’t been to our Friday Library at UBC, you’re missing out! Consider these photos further enticement to join us next week.

Your librarian loves you.

While some have made given attention to the tent as symbol, but I really love how books have been used to protest student evictions and police brutality.

You can’t form a fist with a book in your hand.

Sin Bibliotecas No Hay Paraíso

Porras contra libros – Books against police brutality

Fotos de las manifestaciones en repudio a las cargas policiales contra los alumnos del IES Luis Vives de Valencia. –
Pics of the manifestation against police brutality on teenage students from the Luis Vives Highschool at Valencia. Spain.

“Me podréis romper la mano pero no la voz”

“You may break my arm but not my voice”

“Teo no va a la escuela”
“Teo isn’t going to school”

“Cuidado, tenemos libros”

“Watchout, we have books”

“Officer, say hello to your family, you are on Youtube”

“Our turn to be the ‘new’ revolution”

“Soy nieta-flauta”

“Nosotros también somos el enemigo”

“We are the enemy too”

Libros contra las porras en la marcha en solidaridad con el instituto de enseñanza media Luis Vives de Valencia. Books against police brutality


Libros contra porras.

“Aquí está la madre que parió a tu enemigo”

“Here`s the mother…

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Consensus on the High Seas: Lessons from 18th-Century Pirate Democracy

It’s been a while since our last recommended reading, but this one is a goodie.

There have been a lot of discussions recently regarding the needs of governance at Occupy. Community members (including self-professed anarchists) have appealed to the police or taken independent and divisive action that the rest of the group didn’t agree with.

But if we don’t agree on the actions of other individuals, and if we can’t agree on a common framework, then what is Occupy? And what is the hope that we will ever re-converge as a “mass” movement, if we have nothing in common to bring us together?

The challenges of governance within the Occupy movement are complex, and new and innovative solutions must be invented to deal with the needs of our complex, globalised movement. While we may idolize Wall Street’s GA or the Paris Commune of yesteryear, different geographies call for different solutions.

Like other Occupies, Vancouver has been challenged to govern itself. More mainstream activists have often advocated a very different type of radical action than the anarchist-leaning community, while “new” activists advocate reinventing governance structures based on everything from corporate organization to computer logic.

In that spirit, I’d like to throw this article into the mix. Peter Leeson of George Mason University offers this analysis of Pirate democracy on the High Seas. It is a story of independence, self-determination, direct democracy and, yes, booty.


Click to access an-arrgh-chy.pdf

This weekend’s events

We have a full calendar for this weekend!


1pm – The People’s Library Occupies UBC Sprouts for Community Eats! (Bring your own bowl!)


4pm – Leonard Peltier Solidarity Rally outside the US Consulate


1130 am – TPL’s regular meeting. We’re going to be talking about you. Don’t you want to know what we’re saying?

We’ll be at UBC on Feb 1st to demand affordable education! Join us!

Tuition fees in Canada are rising faster than the cost of transportation, food or rent. Come join The People’s Library in sending a message that education is a right, not a luxury. We’ll be holding space at the SUB, starting at 1pm. Please join us.

A Dream Revisioned

Words, sounds, links and images curated by Sharkoo

On this day, in these times, I honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. The “negroes” of yesteryear are the “people” of today. The dream is a live. Thank you Dr. King.

[I Have A Dream Speech, 1963]

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.

This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice.

In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”.

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations.

Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.

You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!,_Jr

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” – Dr. MLK, Jr.

The Oka Crisis: Colonialism in the late 20th Century

I feel it necessary and appropriate, in light of the recent pipeline negotiations, to honor the 20th anniversary of the Oka Crisis in Quebec, and to draw attention to the fact that colonialism is not our historical legacy, but a continuing process in Canada.  I’d like to recommend the following documentary on The Oka Crisis. If you can’t commit to the time to watching it, or if you’d like more background, you can learn more on Wikipedia.

The Sign Tour reaches the South-West

As you may have heard, our sandwich board is on a tour of the West Coast. We’re very excited to see that its having such a good time, spreading the love and the knowledge. Enjoy the pictures, and check out more on our wiki/website!

Occupy Wall Street Library

Melissa Gira Grant has written an excellent account of the People’s Library and is currently in the final 48 hours of a Kickstarter campaign to pay for design, printing, and postage. (She plans to donate it to occupations around the country.) Melissa has been a wonderful advocate of the library—please help support her project!

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