Chapter 10 – Resistance in the Streets
From August through October, resistance continued and took on many forms – some unsanctioned by Operation Solidarity or the Solidarity Coalition.
BCTF Streetcorner Schoolhouses, Ken Novakowski
The BC Teachers’ Federation [BCTF] Summer Conference set up “street corner schoolhouses” to educate the public. Women Against the Budget organized a “Stone Soup Luncheon” complete with musical guests outside Minister Grace McCarthy’s front lawn on August 27.
Stone Soup Rally, Lorri Rudland (Women Against the Budget), Marion Pollack (Women Against the Budget, postal worker), Marcy Toms (teacher, community activist), Ken Novakowski
Petition blitzes began across B.C., and the Solidarity Coalition planned candlelight vigils in Vancouver and Victoria on September 9th and 10th.
Some workers were punished for attending local rallies or even wearing Solidarity buttons, as was the case with Pacific Coach workers in Nanaimo. Their suspensions were reversed when the majority of staff came to work with similar buttons.
On September 16th, 87 people, including unionists, community and tenants’ rights activists and representatives of faith organizations, occupied the provincial cabinet offices in Robson Square in Vancouver for twenty-seven hours to take the province-wide demand for withdrawal of the twenty-six pieces of legislation directly to the government.
The occupiers emerged to boisterous support from more than 2,000 people who had been staging a demonstration against cutbacks at the Ministry of Human Resources several blocks away.
A “Picnic Against the Budget” for Women & Children’s Week was organized on September 25th; A “Tenants Tent-In” was pitched in Vancouver October 1.
On October 15th, the first issue of the Solidarity Times was published – the movement’s own newspaper to report on province-wide activities. The creativity of Solidarity activism was endless.
Resistance in the Streets, Jackie Larkin (Women Against the Budget), Mervyn Van Steinberg (Unemployment Action Centre coordinator), and Stuart Alcock (Representative for Gay Men, Solidarity Coalition)