A death on the Downtown East Side does not spawn calls from the mayor to fix that particular neighbourhood. Fatal traffic accidents do not produce calls to keep cars off the roads.The death of a woman taking part in the Occupy Vancouver protest at the city's art gallery has led the city's mayor to announce the protest movement's tent city will be cleared. "I have directed the city manager to expedite the appropriate steps to end the encampment as soon as possible with a safe resolution being absolutely critical to that," Mayor Gregor Robertson said Saturday night. Police said a woman in her 20s was found unresponsive inside a tent at the encampment at about 4:30 p.m. PT Saturday."Tragically, she could not be revived," Vancouver police Const. Jana McGuinness told reporters. "She was transported to hospital and pronounced deceased at hospital.
Ashley's tragic death must not be abused by the state as excuse to shut down the encampment. This is a serious test for the movement as there are likely to be more untimely deaths and injuries if it really starts to challenge the status quo and entrenched interests. This is likely a sobering moment for some as the business of reorganising society and disrupting power is a very serious one. In other places, monks self-immolate, troops are deployed for massacre, villages are razed, and people are disappeared, yet they people don't stop resisting. Indeed it is because of these measures that the resistance often continues.
If the police move in, the Occupation can resist. If they manage to clear it, the Occupation can reform elsewhere in Vancouver, maybe in the nice heated space of Vancouver City Hall. The major strength of the movement is perseverance. People do not come out for a day of protest, but a protest of days, weeks, or even years, growing in number until the call for change cannot be ignored or overturned.
The whole point of all this is the transgressive rejection of the coercive and impoverishing influence of the state and private capital on our lives. This most definitely includes resistance to the state in all instances where it seeks to clear the Occupiers. It works like this: