Vancouver's Anti-Olympics Movement Falters as Local Activist Hero David Eby Gets Pie in Face From Black Bloc Supporters
"You're a traitor," someone in the group of sixty activists shouted out, after lobbing a pie at David Eby. It landed squarely in his face.
British Columbia Civil Liberties executive director Eby was on the panel Wednesday night at a meeting for anti-Olympics activists. Called by media cooperative, VIVO, the meeting was called "Safe Assembly. There were about sixty people in the room, and many expressed support for the actions of Black Bloc-affiliated protestors on Saturday, individuals the Vancouver Police Department called "thugs" for breaking the windows and attacking people.
The panel featured Eby, Chris Shaw, author of Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games, and several other people. The last thing Shaw said he expected was one of the most vocal and effective advocates for justice to have a pie smashed into his face. "He was pied and the first video of the night was about Eby being a traitor. And then he got to speak," Shaw said.
Eby had denounced the smashing of the Hudson Bay Company window on Granville by Black Bloc protesters the previous Saturday.
"You're a disgrace to your profession," shouted the man who threw the pie according to Shaw.
"He got dragged out of the room kicking and screaming and that set the tone for the whole evening," Shaw said. "David was very calm about it. He wiped the pie off his face."
Shaw said he got "collateral pie-ing," as the pie exploded onto Eby and caught the people around him in the crossfire. "It just got more nasty from there," Shaw said.
Shaw said that many people have worked for over seven years building a political movement around Olympic opposition they had hoped would bring about positive change in Vancouver. He expressed concern in "the turn of events and the negative reactions of many of those on the left brought on by the actions of the Black Bloc on Saturday."
"You just watch seven years of organizing evaporate. It was as if I just watched two chairs through a store window destroy a lot of what lots of people have been trying to do for a long time. There still is that potential to build something bigger. We were on the cusp of grasping something different. We might still, but in my view it took a drubbing on Saturday and it took a worse drubbing on Wednesday. It set such a nasty tone for everything that followed.
"The left in Vancouver is famous for this and there was beginning to be change. That coalition was looking like it could be powerful and change Vancouver's social justice scene. And then a day later, it faltered. Wednesday's meeting was one of the nastiest things I've ever seen in Vancouver's political scene."
Eby didn't want to discuss the pie. "It's not even worth discussing," he said.
"It was a really important discussion within the community about what we will and won't tolerate in the movement for a just society. The really important aspect of that evening was that we were all there to discuss the issues and that happened."