By: Charlie Nada, a Supporter of MER-RSM Vancouver
Beginning on the morning of February 15th, a handful of supporters of the Vancouver cell of the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) joined self-described “Urban Indigenous Sovereigntists and their supporters” to block the CN rail line in East Vancouver at Renfrew Street. The blockade held for roughly 10 hours until an injunction was served by the RCMP Saturday evening, a few hours after the RSM supporters departed, as we were not equipped to spend the night, and it was considered a real possibility that this could go on for multiple days, as the previous blockades had. Even over the course of this one day, however, the blockade did massive economic damage to the illegitimate Canadian state, even forcing trains coming from Washington to turn back. This action was highly commendable in virtually all respects, from its militant use of collective power, to its control over liberal tendencies in the crowd, to its correct tactical decisions.
The single greatest thing that this Canada-wide wave of actions in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation has achieved (even beyond what I believe will be its eventual success in defending indigenous people’s right to self-determination) is that it is tangible proof that we have the power to weaken and soon destroy even very large evil entities such as the Canadian state. The blockade of the rail line at Renfrew Street, in this spirit, did something that was completely illegal, neither asking for permission nor forgiveness from the pigs, who were forced to watch powerlessly until the injunction was served. This stands in stark contrast with liberal actions such as the climate strike and even the pathetic attempt at a blockade at UBC, where the organizers worked directly with the police and effectively dissuade the masses from exercising power. By showing that when we work together we can do serious damage to our enemies, these blockades are setting the stage for colonized nations and the working class to finally obliterate capitalism, imperialism, and settler-colonialism.
Another incredible aspect of the rail blockade is that, despite a clear liberal character of many of the attendees, the organizers maintained the militant character of the action as a whole. The best example of this was that the organizers made announcements stating clearly that the police are never on our side, and that under no circumstances should we talk to them, which stopped all but a few liberals who arrived late and exchanged a few words with the pigs on their way into the action. The organizers of this event, by issuing directions like these, proved themselves to be a shining example of what it looks like when radicals are able to take leadership of the masses and guide them to victory.
Even the way the action was brought to a close deserves recognition. Chairman Mao teaches us to “fight no battle you are not sure of winning,” and, as Vancouver’s progressive forces are not yet organized enough to fight off the full force of the pigs, when the injunction was served, the organizers made the correct decision to leave. By making an organized collective retreat, preserving our forces instead of walking into a situation where many would have been arrested or worse, the organizers have set the stage for these actions to continue until either Wet’suwet’en sovereignty is respected or Canada’s chickens come home to roost.
Death to Canada!
Workers of all nations, unite!