This is about context. And in the current context where there is no housing for unhoused people, calls to clean up the streets mean violence – displacement, dispossession, banishment, death.
On July 25, 2022, the Vancouver Fire Service issued an order to decamp the newly-formed tent city of people sheltering outside on Hastings Street. Every year the tent cities continue to grow as the housing crisis worsens. Unhoused people and low-income SRO tenants are now creating an alternative community of survival and mutual support on Hastings Street. Earlier this week the City and VPD began enforcing the Fire Order, with events on Tuesday (August 9) that can only be described as a police riot.
On January 13th, 2022, the tent city at C.R.A.B. Park beat the Vancouver Parks Board in the B.C. provincial court. Their historic win is precedent-setting. Two General Orders that the Parks Board passed banning overnight sheltering in the park were also nullified. How did we get here? What is the violent history of state repression and the counter-resistance that has led to this monumental victory? And where do we go from here?
The legalization of public drinking was top-of-mind for many in Vancouver in the wake of COVID-19 – but don’t be fooled. These “progressive” policies won’t be made available to everyone, especially not people who need an end to alcohol criminalization the most.