Like many of today’s major cities, Vancouver is a city of slum-landlords – owners of substandard housing where building maintenance codes are ignored, tenants are dispensable, and legislation around rental housing, like the BC Residential Tenancy Act, is rarely followed. This year, far more than any previous election, Vision Vancouver is being financed by those slumlords.

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Today The Mainlander and the SFU Institute for Humanities are co-hosting a panel discussion with Chris Dixon, a longtime writer, educator and non-hierarchical/anarchist organizer. Dixon will be discussing his new book Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements, followed by responses from Harjap Grewal, Lisa Freeman and Gary Kinsman. The following interview was originally conducted In August 2014 for The Annares Project. See here for a link to tonight’s event.

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When they are pressed to comment on social housing and homelessness, most civic politicians pass the buck. It’s a Federal and Provincial responsibility, they say. Cities have the smallest tax base of all governments,they complain. The fact is: there is a lot that cities can do to fight the housing crisis in British Columbia even within their current jurisdictions, legal powers and budgets. If they are willing to face up to the depth and severity of the housing crisis in BC and to take appropriately drastic actions, challenging these limits, they can do even more.

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The Downtown Eastside faces a complete lack of advanced voting stations, making voting and being represented even more challenging. “I have to wonder if this is intentional given that people here are the most impacted and hurt by the city’s policies on housing, poverty, immigrant, policing, gentrification and transit,” says Pedersen.

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Often, we liken cafés to living rooms due to their hospitable decorum. To apply that comparison to a concert floor, however, is much less precedented. On an overcast summer evening, I arrived at Sunset Terrace, an independently operated gallery in East Vancouver, to find an impressive makeshift tent fashioned from tarps, rope and planks of wood. Beneath the tent was a selection of inviting armchairs, stools, and ottomans stationed upon Mexican blankets strewn like area rugs where audiences could sit crossed-legged for the evening’s lineup.