Reportback: Actions to Oppose the SPP!

Posted by admin on Aug 27th, 2007

spp14.jpgOn August 20th between 300-400 people marched through downtown Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territory, to resist and reject the colonial and capitalist agenda of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The march was part of a continental day of action to resist the SPP and the meeting of Bush, Harper, and Calderon in Montebello, Quebec at a SPP Summit. The march sought to draw attention to the Canadian government’s active involvement in the SPP’s creation, as well as the role of the Canadian government and corporations in colonial projects both at home and abroad.

[Click here for audio from the “Resist SPP” panel on August 16th. Speakers include: Kat Norris, Garth Mullins, Cecily Nicholson, Fred Muzin, Erika Del Carmen Fuchs, Sean Parlan. Filmed and recorded by Pumpkinhead Production Company.]

Organized by a network of individual and groups from various communities, the march targeted governmental offices of each of the three signatory states of the SPP (the US, Canada and Mexico). As well, three Canadian corporations (Manulife, Scotia Bank and Bell) were included among the targets to highlight the direct role these corporations play in spearheading the SPP as members of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). The NACC is the only advisory body to the SPP, comprised of 30 corporate representatives.


At 3pm at Canada Place speakers kicked the march off. The march honoured a diversity of tactics, while maintaining a safe zone for Elders, children, parents, non-status people, and others.

The first target of the march, the Mexican Consulate, was covered with stickers demanding the abolition of NAFTA, the scrapping of the SPP, the release of all Mexican political prisoners, and marking the unceded Indigenous territory upon which the Consulate sits.

spp16.jpgA street-theatre piece was also performed at the Mexican consulate. This piece depicted the struggle of Mexican farmers against free trade agreements like NAFTA and SPP, which result in corporate theft of land and the displacement of millions of Mexican farmers was performed. This street-theatre was also later performed at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


spp131.jpgDuring the entire march, streets and intersections in the downtown core and business district were blocked and rush-hour traffic stalled for over two hours. Chants rang loud: “Down! Down! with the SPP!”/”No security without justice. No prosperity without  dignity” / “Occupation is a crime, from BC to Palestine!,” while thousands of leaflets were distributed to onlookers.

spp22.jpgThe Manulife tower was the next target along the march. Here a group of people attempted to enter into the lobby with a “gift” of blood money. Marchers managed to open the doors to the building despite the presence of security and RCMP, who attempted to push people out, including by punching one woman repeatedly in the head, punching another woman in the arm, choking another woman with her own sweatshirt, and shoving people back with extreme force.

spp23.jpgThe march then continued past the US Consulate and rallied outside of Scotia Bank where an affinity group had released stink gas prior to the arrival of the march in an attempt to simply stop business from continuing as usual. As the march arrived at Scotiabank, people witnessed the evacuation of the bank.



At the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), a small group unrolled 2 black cut-outs of human bodies, representing those who have been murdered by the CAF. Red paint symbolizing the blood of those murdered was splattered on the cut-outs, on the ground, and onto the doors and windows of the Recruitment Centre.


spp181.jpgA brief stand-off took place with the police, as people pasted facts outlining the CAF’s horrifying involvement in Afghanistan and Haiti onto the building. Here the RCMP aggressively pushed those lined-up in front of the building, including one Elder, with their bicycles.

During the march police called for the arrest of those involved in the action at the Recruitment Centre. At approximately 8pm that evening one man was arrested on two counts of mischeif and held until the morning of the 21st. Legal support is now ongoing.

Throughout the march, speakers including Myriam Hernandez, Garth Mullins and representatives from No One is Illegal, La Otra Campana, Kalayaan Centre, Industrial Workers of the World, Bus Riders Union, and John Graham Defense Committee highlighted the devastating impacts the SPP will have on immigrant and refugee communities through restrictive border policies; on poor and working people through privatization policies that will result in the loss of social services, unionized jobs, and lower health and environmental standards; on indigenous communities by expediting corporate exploitation of land and resources particularly bulk water transfers in BC and development of the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta; on the people of Mexico and Mexican farmers who are already suffering the consequences of NAFTA; on global struggles for self-determination by increasing policies of militarization, war, and occupation; and on resistance movements who will be increasingly repressed under the guise of ‘national security’.

spp112.jpgAs the march approached Bell Canada, store officials quickly shut down the store and effectively shut down their own business operations! March participants did, however, manage to paste messages onto the doors and windows of the store.



spp42.jpgOnce finished an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist contingent of the march- approximately 200 people- joined an already 200-strong rally organized by, the Vancouver District Labour Council and the Council of Canadians at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Together, participants listened to several rally speakers standing beside an effigy of George Bush dangling a puppet of Stephen Harper behind a mock security-perimeter.

spp152.jpgAs the march progressed, police and security presence increased. Police video surveillance also increased, although effectively blocked by cop-watching groups. Growing groups of VPD and RCMP attempted to figure out the route of the march, but were unable to. Frustrated, police officials were dispatched to warn a series of corporate enterprises in the downtown core that they maybe targeted.

 The struggle against the SPP and against imperialism did not start on August 20th, nor will it end on August 20th. The continental day of action was simply one manifestation of a larger ongoing movement for justice and self-determination as we resist the ravages of capitalism and colonialism through our daily struggles.

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