Archive for the ‘Statements’ Category

Kasper Learn, “In the Courts or in the Streets”

Kasper Learn, “In the Courts or in the Streets”, Woodsquat (2004): 38.

The freezing of the social housing budget is only one example of the sweeping cuts to public infrastructure implemented by the BC Liberal government. With the coming winter, the struggle for social housing, in particular, has become a life or death struggle. Behind the rhetoric of a balanced budget, the war of state and capital against the poor and working class has been escalated. Evictions of senior citizens from long-term care have taken place. Long welfare waits have been imposed. Health care and education have suffered. With the creation of these neo-liberal policies, the brutal nature of capitalist economics has been laid bare, and a movement of opposition has begun. The fight for social housing is also a fight for social justice. The squat in the Woodwards building is only one example of actions that will be taken to ensure and restore the integrity of public services like social housing BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Nor should it be thought that we intend only to oppose the excesses of capitalism while leaving its daily, grinding brutality intact. With the state’s threat to end our non-violent occupation of an abandoned building, we are forced to examine the police and what consequences have resulted from the violent control of our communities. It would seem that they, too, have a role to play in the social forces that have led to this occupation. The struggle against police brutality, harassment and racism has also become central to the conflict between the powerful and the powerless. With the threat of police force, it is apparent that to demand social housing and to begin to take back our communities are one and the same. In closing, I would like to state that we are tired of begging for token concessions. The daily rule of capital over our lives must end. We will continue to fight the BC Liberal regime with whatever tools make themselves available, be it in the courts or in the streets. We will continue to do so until basic human rights have been established for all, until the spectres of exposure, scarcity and police brutality no longer haunt our streets. We are fighting to win. Thank you all for your time and support.

Interview with Kasper:

Timothy Learn (November 20, 1984 – May 13, 2010)

LEARN, Timothy (Kasper) On May 13, 2010 Kasper of Edmonton passed away suddenly at the age of 25. He is lovingly remembered as a devoted husband and father by his wife Kaileigh and his daughter Dahlia, his parents Sheryl Douville (Christian) and Ross Learn (Corinne), his brothers Jason, Kyle, Bradley and Alex, and his sister Celine, his paternal grandfather William Ashby and his maternal grandmother Ann Colburn, grandparents Rachel & Pierre Douville as well numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Kasper was predeceased by his grandparents Annie Ashby and Jeffrey Foley and his cousin Stephen Pulleyblank. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at Glenwood Funeral Home, south of Wye Road on Range Road 232, Sherwood Park. A interment a and reception will follow at Glenwood Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to the family for the future care of Dahlia. To sign the book of condolences, please visit GLENWOOD 780-467-3337 Funeral Home, Cemetery, Cremation Ctr. Serving Edmonton – Sherwood Park & Area

RIP Timothy Learn AKA Kasper:

Bruce Gongola: “Frances to Woody”

Bruce Gongola, “Frances to Woody”, Woodsquat (2004): 206-207.

Bruce Gongola

The first thing we did at the Frances Street Squats was tear down all the fences between the houses. The first thing I did at Woodsquat was climb the ladder. At Frances it was more individualized while at Woodsquat the lights never went off. Everybody was always doing something with somebody. Frances Street was more of a homey kind of thing while Woodsquat was more like bubbling, shitting revolution. It didn’t know where it was going or what it was about but 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. It just never ended. It was always happening. Somebody might go to bed but 40 people at least might be up. At Frances Street people were comfortable with the people they lived with. They knew who they were. They knew who they could trust. Woodsquatters didn’t have a fucking clue who they were with, who they could trust, or if they could even trust themselves. You know what I mean? I don’t want to call it anarchy. But it functioned as chaos. Frances Street was anarchy in action but Woodsquat was total chaos. Woodsquat was different from Frances in that it was a street scene with people who never had a place to live. People that never had a sense of political power or never had some sense of community love or organization. Woodsquat was like the gases in a solar system. Energy that takes a long time to come together, to form a planet. That energy was Woodsquat. The Frances Street Squats were like stars. Frances Street had a coalition. Woodsquat was the gases of the universe, spiraling and whirling around, not worried if it was gonna happen or not. Frances Street functioned politically while Woodsquat was manipulated. For all the manipulation I think people really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot. For all the manipulation that happened on all the levels, it didn’t make a goddamn bit of difference. If it wasn’t for Oka, Frances Street would kind of just have petered along. Oka gave it a hard definition. Woodsquat was primordial energy. It didn’t matter what happens. Something was happening. It was all new. It was all heavy, heavy, heavy power. Even though it had manipulation to it, on a political level, it didn’t even fuckin matter. Because it was the people and the energy that was pulsating. It was more people than politics. There was no spokesperson at Frances Street. We all had respect for each other. There was no Jimmy Leyden. There was no PHS in the background. There are some examples of squatters camps in Vancouver but this Woodsquat thing was unique. It was a page of history that stands on its own even though it was manipulated and used by Jim and Jim and Campbell and Campbell. That’s fine. As a people’s action the Woodsquat goes down in history on its own. It was not the electoral politics, the  PR, but the people who were living it. That’s what I was impressed with. I have no qualm with Larry Campbell. But I have no love for the other Campbell. He’ll get elected one more time. Then he’ll get unelected because they don’t want to pick up the pieces. They may knock that goddamn building down. Whatever happens, the struggle goes on. The struggle is about our land. It is not about a particular building or a particular way to live. It is about the changing nature of capitalism and poverty, so that people have a happy life and that everybody is well fed. We’ve got to make life more fun and be creative enough to not only survive but prosper and not get taken down in their power game. At the end of Frances, Ian woke up and they were taking his socks to the street. We took everything out of the houses to the barricade because we didn’t want a little sweet ending. Squeege rips her mask off and she starts crying. The movie is beautiful. At Woodsquat PHS hired some VANDU people and ex-squatter types to take it down. At 7:30am I woke up and they were there. It was a sweet and sour ending. The sauce was too thin. No substance. No meat on the bone. No bone. No dog. And at the end of both squats there were the same false statements issued in the press about weapons being there. After Frances some of us went into a shared house on Adanac Street then the Broadway Squats started. After Woodsquat some of us went into the Dominion Hotel and all of a sudden everything was behind closed doors. That was a drag. It broke people up even more. There were no kitchen facilities. For a while I talked about taking all the doors off. But I’ll save that story for another occasion.