Category Archives: Legal Battles

Angry libertarian dudes are trying to shut down this website and ban me from writing about their bad behaviour (or anything else they object to). Granted, they’re barking mad and their court documents prove it, but mad dogs are dangerous. I’m defending myself in BC Supreme Court and speaking out about the case as a public service.

To Save a Rainforest

CathedralGrove save walbran
“I’m in love. With salmon, with trees outside my window, with baby lampreys living in sandy streambottoms, with slender salamanders crawling through the duff. And if you love, you act to defend your beloved.” — Derrick Jensen

Pacific Coast people have always defended the places we love. Most of British Columbia is unceded indigenous land, because native peoples never abandoned, sold, or traded their land away. Many fought fiercely against the power of the British Empire. Cannonballs are sometimes still found embedded in centuries-old trees along the shore – leftovers from the gunboats that tried to suppress indigenous uprisings in the late 1800s.

Photo: Nuu-chah-nulth war canoes by Edward Curtis, BC Historical Society

Nuu-chah-nulth war canoes (Edward Curtis, BC Historical Society)

A century later, descendants of the settlers have joined forces to battle corporate raiders. In the 1980s and 1990s, a groundswell of eco-organizing brought thousands of people together to stop clearcut logging in the cathedral forests of Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast, where timber companies were busy converting ten-thousand-year-old ecosystems into barren stumpfields and pulp for paper.

During those years, police arrested hundreds in Clayoquot Sound and the Walbran Valley at mass civil disobedience protests. Young and old alike sat in the middle of the logging roads and linked arms. The resistance went far beyond the peaceful and symbolic: unknown individuals spiked thousands of trees to make the timber dangerous to sawmills. Shadowy figures burned logging bridges and vandalized equipment. The skirmishes went on for over a decade.

Clayoquot Sound, 1993

Clayoquot Sound, 1993

We won a few battles. Several coastal valleys are protected as parks. But many of them have been logged. And now the logging companies are coming back for the valleys that remain unprotected.

One of the worst corporate offenders is Teal Jones, the company currently bulldozing the majestic Walbran Valley, two hours west of Victoria, BC. They are laying waste to a vibrant rainforest for short-term profit, without the consent of the Pacheedaht First Nation, the Qwa-ba-diwa people, or anyone else outside of government and industry. Teal Jones does not even own the land; it was taken from indigenous people in the name of the BC government sixty years ago.

Pacheedaht territory

Pacheedaht territory, Vancouver Island BC

This year, the elected leadership of the Pacheedaht First Nation threw its support behind building a longhouse in the contested valley, on the land that has sustained them for countless generations. At the same time, locals are pushing back against the logging by occupying roads and logging sites. This in spite of the company’s court order telling police to arrest anyone who blocks their work. Forest defenders are regrouping, but the destruction continues.

Women for the Walbran and Forest Action Network are ramping up to break the deadlock. We’re hosting direct action trainings to share skills and develop strategies for defending ecosystems. The agenda includes tactics like non-violent civil disobedience, occupying tree-tops, and backcountry stealth. We’ll have info on legal rights, indigenous solidarity, and more.

Tree-sit occupation, Langford BC. (Photo: Ingmar Lee)

Our adversary, Teal Jones, is a relatively small company. Its owners are relying on the police to protect their “right” to strip public forests on Pacheedaht traditional territory. Profit margins are slim, and lawyers are expensive. The forest defenders are poor, but we have community support and a wide array of strategies for beating Teal Jones at its own game. Every tool in the box: we can launch a mass civil disobedience campaign, carry out hit-and-run raids on costly machines, coordinate a knockout legal strategy, or deliver the tried-and-true “death by a thousand cuts” with a combination of tactics.

However it plays out, Teal Jones is on borrowed time in the Walbran. But that’s cold comfort when the machines are mowing down thousand-year-old forests like grass.

Photo: Walbran Central

The forest defenders do have certain advantages. On the practical side, we’re investing in the gear and training that will provide the leverage to win. We have a legal defense fund that’s both a war chest for litigation and a safety net for those who risk their freedom on the front lines. But our best defense is the thousands of people who love this land like life itself. Many live nearby and visit every chance they get, others came once and fell in love, and untold numbers have yet to see the Walbran’s wildlife firsthand, but they hold it in their hearts.

Photo: Stasher BC

Those who love the land are a community. We are the organizers, sponsors, and volunteers who drive this movement forward. Everyone who shares these values can be a part of it; no contribution is too small. We’re going all-out to defend the forests, rivers, bears, cougars, otters, and eagles of the Walbran Valley. They sustain us and we give back by fighting to protect them.

Walbran River, the heart of the Walbran Valley, spring 2016. (Photo: Walbran Central)

Remember: Forest Defenders Are Heroes! 

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Filed under Animals, Derrick Jensen, Environment, Legal Battles, Love Letters, Politics

The Courage to Speak Truth to Power

The more we challenge the status quo, the more those with power attack us. Fortunately, social change is not a popularity contest.

Activism is a path to healing from trauma. It’s taking back our power to protect ourselves and our future.

From a spoken-word presentation in Victoria BC, 2009

Thank you for the opportunity to launch my speaking career. Some of you may know me as a writer and an advocate for social and environmental justice. Others may know me as a cat-sitter, odd-jobber, and temp slave. (Laughter)

I knew when I started out as an activist that I would never be a millionaire and I was right. But I have a certain freedom and flexibility that your average millionaire might envy.

The market demand for social justice advocates is huge right now. It’s a growth industry. And the job security is fantastic – there is no shortage of urgent issues demanding our attention. Experience is not necessary, people come to activism at every age and stage in their lives. It’s that easy!

OK, it’s not actually that easy. (Laughter) But it is a fascinating time to be a “radical.”

There is a great tradition of courage and action here on Vancouver Island. There is potential for even greater future action, so we are doing everything we can to nurture that potential. Building community, linking up networks, teaching, learning, coming together, healing – this is all part of the movement.

For most of my adult life, I suffered from social phobia. I was afraid of authority, filled with self-doubt, paralyzed by anxiety. Getting interviewed live on national TV doesn’t make that go away. But hiding under the covers doesn’t cure it either. So my insecurities and I just have to get out there and do our best.

What compels me is the knowledge that we’re rewriting the script – the one that says, “You don’t make a difference. It is what it is, you can’t fight city hall, the big guys always win.” We can remember that we are not powerless. And when we choose to stand up, it is a huge adrenaline rush – bigger than national TV or swinging from a tree top. That’s the reward – that flood of excitement that comes from taking back our power and using it effectively, for the collective good.

It helps to get love letters from friends and strangers who want to thank me for standing up for what’s important, and who get inspired to take action themselves.

But it’s not all warm fuzzies and celebratory toasts. We face backlash and punishment and threats to our lives and safety.

I led a workshop for new activists this year, and I asked them, “Who are your heroes?”

They named a dozen. Gandhi. Martin Luther King. Tommy Douglas. Rosa Parks. These folks led amazing, heroic movements, but our discussion focused on the ferocious backlash they faced. British media reports on Gandhi when he was challenging the monarchy had the same tone as white Southerners responding to Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. It was vicious. “Uppity and no-good” were some of the polite terms. They were targeted with hate speech and death threats. We hear the same now about whistleblowers. And feminists and environmentalists. It can be terrifying.

The more we challenge the status quo, the more the entrenched powers attack us. The more effective we are, the more they attack us. As Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

The fight for justice and liberation won’t be won by popularity contests.

Every “hero” finds her own way of dealing with the counter-attacks. Some laugh it off. Some pray, some cry on their friends shoulders. Some go on the counter-offensive, some compose songs, some write long academic papers deconstructing their opponents’ logic. The important thing is, they deal with it, and they don’t give up.

We take care of each other as a community. Because we are all so fragile. Because there is so much trauma and despair everywhere and it affects everyone. But inside that despair, in all of us, there is a solid core of love for the earth and the knowledge that we can act in self-defense. That’s where we find strength.

It’s humbling to note that the economic downturn has done more to preserve habitat and stop climate change than all of our conservation efforts of the past years combined. We take responsibility for recycling and turning down the thermostat, but who is responsible for the scale of destruction from the Tar Sands? That project is the equivalent of burning all of Vancouver Island to the ground. It negates everything we could hope to do as individuals to fight climate change.

How do we deal with that horrible reality? I couldn’t, for the first year of the campaign. I didn’t want to look at the pictures and hear the news stories about the water and air pollution and the rates of illness among the Lubicon Cree people. The scale and the horror of it were too great.

I’ve worked on toxics campaigns and I dread them. Old-growth campaigns are inspiring, because where the action is, the forest is still standing – it’s beautiful and magical and we’re defending nature’s cathedral from the bulldozers and chainsaws. The good earth is here, and the evil destructive forces are over there. It’s clearcut, so to speak. But when a toxics campaign is underway, the damage has been done. The landscape is poisoned and people have cancer and spontaneous abortions, and the birds, the fish, the animals, are dead and dying. It is a scene of despair.

If it sounds traumatizing, it is. And we are all traumatized.

Look at this landscape – concrete, pavement, bricks and mortar, toxic chemicals, but underneath, the earth is still there. We have whole ecosystems slashed and burned without so much as a by-your-leave. We’ve lost whole communities of spruce, marmots, murrelets, arbutus, sea otters, and geoducks. These are terrible losses.

And we humans suffer on every level. Is there anyone here who doesn’t know someone who’s had cancer? Who hasn’t seen the damage caused by diseases of civilization? Who here hasn’t been forced to do without for lack of money? Are there any women here who have never been sexually harassed or raped or assaulted?

(Silence)

Something fundamental has been taken from us here. How do we deal with these losses?

I consider myself fortunate because after a lifetime of abuse from my family and male partners, I participated in six months of Trauma Recovery and Empowerment at the Battered Women’s Support Centre in Vancouver.

And I got to know the stages of trauma recovery:
Acknowledge the loss, understand the loss, grieve the loss.

And the stages of grief:
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

These steps are a natural and necessary response to the loss of a loved one, and also to the loss of our humanity and the places we love.

There are people living in national sacrifice zones, people who burn with determination to make change. They are angry, and they have a right to be. I am angry because I’m not dead inside, in spite of all they’ve done to me. Anger is part of the process of grief, and it’s useful. It grabs us by the heart when people are hurting the ones we love.

For me, part of the process is taking action – rejecting helplessness and taking back power. Stopping the bleeding and comforting the wounded.

I fall in love with places and I want to protect them. I fell in love with the Elaho Valley and some of the world’s biggest Douglas Firs in 1997. That forest campaign was a pitched battle, far from the urban centers, against one of the biggest logging companies on the coast at that time.

In the third year of the campaign, I walked into my favourite campsite shaded by majestic cedars. I saw the flagging tape and the clearcut boundaries laid out, and I realized it was all doomed. I could see the end result in my mind’s eye: stumps and slash piles as far as the eye could see, muddy wrecked creeks, a smoldering ruin.

I realized no one was going to come and save this place – not Greenpeace or the Sierra Club, no MP’s private member’s bill, or whatever petition or rally was being planned back in the city. It was as good as gone. All we had to do was stand aside and do nothing, and this incredible, irreplaceable forest would be just a sad memory.

But after that realization, and after the despair that followed, I had a profound sense of liberation. If it is all doomed, then anything we do to resist is positive, right? Anything that stops the logging, even for a minute, or slows it down, or costs the company money, or exposes it to public embarrassment and hurts its market share, is positive – it keeps the future alive for that one more minute, one more hour, one more day. It was a revelation.

Acceptance, for me, meant being able to act to defend the place I loved. It meant standing up to the bullies and refusing to let them take anything more from me.

In the third year of the Elaho campaign, it was just a handful of people rebuilding the blockades, defying the court orders and continuing the resistance. We didn’t quit when the police came, or when we were called “terrorists” and “enemies of BC.” We didn’t quit even after 100 loggers came and burned our camp to the ground and put three people in the hospital.

The attack was a horror show. People were in shock. But a crew was back with a new camp five days later. By then, the raid was national news. And our enemies had nothing left to throw at us. The loggers didn’t know what to do next. Short of killing us, what more could they do?

We had called their bluff.

We didn’t know about the negotiations going on behind the scenes. We didn’t realize that we had already cost the loggers more than they could hope to recoup by logging the entire rest of the valley. (They were operating on very slim profit margins.) We found out when the announcement came that the logging would stop. And it never started again. We won. Now the Elaho Valley is protected by the Squamish Nation — and by provincial legislation — as a Wild Spirit Place.

The violence of the mob showed the level of fear and desperation of the losing side. It was their weapon of last resort and it didn’t work. And they lost.

In the fourth year of the stand for SPAET – the campaign to stop the development and protect the caves, the garry oaks, and the wetlands on Skirt Mountain. We faced the same tactics – we were called “terrorists,” and in 2007, the developers sent 100 goons to rough up people at a small rally. And again, most of our comrades are still in shock. There’s only handful of us still bashing away at the next phase of development.

We are winning. The other side has thrown everything they have at us and they have nothing left.

There are still sacred sites on SPAET. The cave is still there, buried under concrete.

Meanwhile, the developer’s little empire fell apart, either because of our boycott campaign, bad karma, or because it was operating on the slimmest of shady margins. We took the next phase of development to court. Our campaign, and the economic downturn, turned out to be enough to scare off investors and cancel the project, at least for now.

This work is difficult, painful, and traumatic. So the first step to courage is to acknowledge that pain and loss. We need to name what has been taken from us. Then we can cry, and rage, and grieve. We can name the ones who are doing the damage. We can reach down inside and find our core strength and our truth, and use it. That’s where courage comes from.

Martin Luther King said, “Justice shall roll down like waters, righteousness like a mighty stream.” But I’m impatient. I want to see that mighty stream now – what’s the hold-up? What’s holding us back, when there’s so much to do?

We’re not heroes, actually – none of us is smart enough, or tough enough, or connected enough, to take this on alone. We’re don’t have superpowers. We are only human, we struggle and suffer and sometimes, we win.

Some folks assume I have some unique privilege or special power that gives me an edge. Nope. I have material analysis and long-range vision, but sill I’m mostly flailing around on the political landscape, taking potshots when I see an opening. Sometimes it’s intuition, and it pays off. When we are right, it is amazing. When we win, it sets a precedent for the future.

In order for evil to prevail, all that’s required is for good people to do nothing. Don’t be one of those good people.

Activism is part of the healing. It’s taking back our power to protect ourselves and our future.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell these stories today.

(Applause)

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Filed under Environment, Feminism, Hate Mail, Legal Battles, Love Letters, Misogyny, Politics, Zoe Blunt

The Return of the Wingnut

The Wingnut Lawsuit at the House of Solidarity

The Wingnut Lawsuit at the House of Solidarity

Heads up! After a year and a half of sulking, the wingnut is back and stupider than before. I’m in court this month because this Libertarian dude is still trying to sue me for things I wrote on this blog three years ago. He’s not doing a very good job of it.

It started in 2012 when the wingnut and his buddies invited a well-known white supremacist to speak at a rally at the BC Legislature. We showed up to counterprotest. A few of the nuts confronted us and their feelings got hurt.

Now this dude is trying to sue me for libel in Supreme Court. For this round, he’s filed over one thousand pages of documents, plus a half dozen DVDs and minidiscs. Everything I’ve published in the last ten years, my blog, Twitter, everything other people have written about me, private messages hacked from a friend’s email account (luckily mine was more secure), and police reports from all the times he tried to get them to arrest me.

This guy also claims the police should arrest me for “hate crimes” against him as a white male.  I wasn’t aware he had made police complaints until he brought them to the court. It’s astounding.

I’m in court tomorrow. Stay tuned for the report back about the hearing. If the court won’t strike his claim, I will have to go to trial with the loon. I’m representing myself.

—-

UPDATE August 4: the hearing was only half-finished in June. The wingnut has the opportunity to present his side next but so far he won’t confirm a date to do that. My next trick would be compelling him to meet his date with destiny.

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Filed under Feminism, Greg Hill, Legal Battles, Racism, Ryan Elson, Wingnuts

Battleground BC

Protect the land and each other when push comes to shove

In every part of the province, industry is laying waste to huge areas of wilderness – unceded indigenous land – for mining, fracking, oil, and hydroelectric projects. This frenzy of extraction is funneling down to the port cities of the Pacific and west to China.

BC's gas projects

BC’s gas projects. Click for a full-size image. Courtesy of Watershed Sentinel.

In 2014, Prime Minister Harper stripped away all legal recourse for environmental defense by signing a new resource trade agreement with China that trumps Canadian and local laws and indigenous rights. Not even a new government has the power to change this agreement for 31 years.

For mainstream environmental groups (and my lawyers, who were in the middle of a Supreme Court challenge to the trade agreement when Harper pre-empted them), it is a total rout. We are used to losing, but not like this.

The only light on the horizon is the rise of direct resistance. BC’s long history of large-scale grassroots action (and effective covert sabotage) is the foundation of this radical resurgence.

But the question hangs over us like smoke from an approaching wildfire. How to stop it? The courts are hogtied. The law has no power. The people have no agency. This government simply brushes them aside and carries on. We get it. We’ve had our faces rubbed in it.

no%20access%20skull%20sign.png

This is activist failure. The phase of the movement when most of the public is already on side, when we have filed all the lawsuits, taken to the streets in every city, overflowed every public hearing, and uttered every legal threat we can muster – and the end result is they are bulldozing this province from the tarsands straight to the coast.

This is the moment when we can expect activists, especially mainstream enviros, to become demoralized and quit. Or start on a campaign of self-delusion: Green groups are casting about for a strategy that will allow their donors to maintain false hope in a democratic solution. Election campaigns, for example. Some are still trying to raise money for legal challenges that were overruled by the treaty with China.

unistoten%20rise%20for%20tomorrow%20.jpg

But small cadres are preparing the second phase of the resistance. Indigenous groups are reclaiming territory and blocking development at remote river crossings, on strategic access roads, and in crucial mountain passes. Urban cells are locking down to gates, vandalizing corporate offices, and organizing street takeovers.

It’s a good start. But now we have to look at how to be effective against powerful adversaries with the full weight of the law and the police on their side. How will we protect the land and each other, when push comes to shove?

The new rules don’t change our strategy to bring down the enemy: kick them in the bottom line. The resource sector will wind tighter as competition to feed China intensifies. Or conversely, we expect the industry will become even more desperate as demand and prices fall. Profits are slim enough to start with – made up in volume – and investors are jittery already.

Either way, it’s a fight to the death.

We urge our allies to heed the lessons of history. We don’t win by giving in or turning on each other. Tenacity, focus, flexibility, and diversity of tactics will turn back the invaders.

Celebrate the warriors. Raise that banner now, and we’ll find out soon enough who’s with us, and who’s looking to appease our new dictators.

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Filed under Environment, Legal Battles, Politics, Zoe Blunt

Turfing out the Racists

Originally published in the People’s Voice January 2013

VICTORIA BC – Anti-racist organizers report they have won several skirmishes with a "conspiracy cult" linked to US patriot and militia organizations. Anti-Racist Action says members of a group called We Are Change Victoria (WAC) began sparring with social justice activists and the People's Assembly (Occupy Victoria) over a year ago.

WAC is part of a North American network loosely connected to US radio host Alex Jones, the Libertarian Party, the militia movement and patriot groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group promotes conspiracy theories about 9/11, chemtrails, gun control, human rights law, climate-change denial, and Holocaust denial.

In Victoria, WAC members joined the Occupy movement soon after it began, but they split over angry disagreements about the camp's stance on social justice and indigenous rights. Later, WAC members disrupted meetings, denounced the movement, and launched an online harassment campaign targeting women and trans activists, and anyone they considered an organizer.

A year later, in October 2012, WAC “activist” Josh Steffler announced that Doug Christie, Canada's best-known white supremacist, would address their rally on the BC Legislature lawn. Anti-Racist Action called for a counter-protest and blew the whistle on the event. Ultimately, Christie didn't show and some of the other speakers stayed away as well. Fewer than a dozen people attended the rally.

It was not a proud day for WAC. As volunteers set up the sound system for the speakers, three angry "free speech advocates" crossed the Legislature lawn to confront the counter-protestors picketing on the sidewalk 150 meters away. The shouting match that ensued drew the attention of nearby police officers. The WACkos demanded the arrest of the counter-protestors, but instead the cops sent the wingnuts scurrying back to the stage with their tails between their legs. The counter-protestors spent the rest of the afternoon handing flyers to passers-by and explaining why they were protesting WAC's racism and sexism.

A month later, ARA confronted WAC at its hangout, a downtown diner where the group held well-advertised but poorly-attended weekly meetings. ARA called for a meetup at the same diner and dozens responded. They filled every table and the wingnuts were turfed out before they could get in the door.

Since then, WAC no longer advertises its events or meeting locations. Its only response to the controversy is a Youtube video. Speaking for the group, Steffler, a failed Esquimalt city council candidate, blames the conflict on "Bolsheviks" who are the "real racists."

More recently, members of WAC were harassing a Victoria environmental activist in an effort to suppress photos of the October confrontation and take down her websites. Now one WACko is embroiled in an ugly Supreme Court battle that he is bound to lose.

Anti-Racist Action has four points of unity:

1. We go where they go. Whenever fascists are organizing or active in public, we're there. We don't believe in ignoring them or staying away from them. Never let the Nazis have the street!

2. We don't rely on the cops or courts to do our work for us. This doesn't mean we never go to court, but the cops uphold white supremacy and the status quo. They attack us and everyone who resists oppression. We must rely on ourselves to protect ourselves and stop the fascists.

3. Non-sectarian defence of other anti-fascists. In ARA, we have a lot of different groups and individuals. We don't agree about everything and we have a right to differ openly. But in this movement an attack on one is an attack on us all. We stand behind each other.

4. We support abortion rights and reproductive freedom. ARA intends to do the hard work necessary to build a broad, strong movement against racism, sexism, anti-immigrant, anti-indigenous sovereignty, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest, and the most oppressed people. We want a classless, free society. We intend to win!

Anti-Racist Action Victoria's Facebook page.

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Filed under Feminism, Hate Mail, Josh Steffler, Legal Battles, Misogyny, Politics, Racism, Ryan Elson, transphobia, We Are Change Victoria, Wingnuts, Zoe Blunt

A wingnut’s guide to the legal process

Affidavit by Greg Hill: "I did not feel it was satire"

Affidavit by Greg Hill, young entrepreneur and We Are Change wingnut, in Park vs. Elson, BC Supreme Court (2012). Source: Court documents. Tracie Park is my legal name.

Maybe you know a nutter freedom fighter battling the tyranny of fluoride, Agenda 21, and being called a “racist” “sexist” “idiot” all the time. Maybe that is you! Either way, good news: this handy legal guide is here to help.*

Did someone call you a name? Take a photo of you in public? Or even worse, publish it? Use this guide to get justice and/or revenge in civil court.

BEFORE THE CASE

1) Give your opponents fair warning about your complaint. Threaten them with lawsuits and arrest at every opportunity. That will establish your credibility as a wingnut man to be feared. Send threatening messages and get all your friends to join in. Note: This doesn’t always work – sometimes people call your bluff.

2) Combine threats and demands. Demand your adversary “debate” you, for example, and threaten to “expose” them with thousands of posters naming them as criminals if they don’t. Judges call this “extortion” and it will look good on you in court, if it comes to that.

IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A CIVIL CASE

1) Remember the law is always evolving, so it can be whatever you make it. You can redefine words and legal concepts to reflect your libertarian values.

2) Lawyers will try to take all your money and your rights. Don’t bother consulting them. Your Freemen friends will give you plenty of tips.

3) The rules of the court are designed to confuse you and take away your freedom. Don’t bother reading them. You will automatically get points for doing it your own way, bringing a fresh perspective and figuring it out as you go along.

4) Remember the judge has great power in the courtroom. So you have to be very firm to get what you want. For example, you want someone arrested, but the police won’t take a report? Get the judge to arrest them instead. (Remind the judge that the police are biased in favour of women, people of colour, and Bolsheviks. Show him the proof on Infowars.com.)

PLEADINGS

Examples of pleadings include a notice of claim (to start a court case) or a counterclaim (to retaliate). Pleadings are supposed to be straightforward, but you can make them very very complicated if you want. That will impress the judge.

1) Don’t limit yourself to facts. Gossip, speculation, and innuendo will broaden the scope of your complaint. Put it all in your pleading as evidence.

2) Reporting about events you didn’t witness is called “hearsay” and it’s the best kind of evidence. Put it in your pleading.

3) Not sure what to accuse your enemy of? Use whatever sounds best to you. “Blasphemous Libel” is a good one. “Malicious Prosecution” is even better. Or make something up. You can always define your legal terms for the judge later.

FOR LIBEL CLAIMS

1) Get your hands dirty. Well before the case starts, you should be pummeling your adversaries in the court of public opinion. So if they call you out for being “racist” and you reply that they are the “real racists,” and then you call them “Bolsheviks” and “terrorists” and “mass murderers,” and then you make blogs and videos about it, and then you sue them for calling you “racist,” your position is unbeatable.

2) Republish the offending material. It’s best if you publish your enemy’s insults over and over, word for word, in their entirety. Make sure the whole world knows exactly how your feelings got hurt. When you get to court, explain to the judge that it’s only libel when someone else says it, and consent doesn’t matter.

3) Don’t worry about free speech, the Charter of Rights or the Constitution. Granted, this can be tricky for those who say they value free speech and personal liberty and so on. But remember, the Charter and the Constitution were designed to protect men of liberty and punish everyone else. So you can – and should – demand that the judge shut your enemies down and forbid them from speaking or writing about you again, ever, or else.

Go forth and conquer!

* Note: we are not here to help – we’re actually here to laugh at you.

Disclaimer: This guide is provided without warranty and does not constitute actual legal advice. Information contained here may not apply outside the Province of British Oolumbia, or inside of it, either.

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Filed under Legal Battles, Politics, Ryan Elson, Wingnuts

The judge should arrest me for calling this dingbat a racist

Original artwork (c) 2013 Zoe Blunt

Ryan Elson of We Are Change Victoria
Original artwork (c) 2013 Zoe Blunt

You remember this dude, the one who was stealing my copyrighted work and trying to blackmail me? The idiot has been telling anyone who will listen that I’m a “reverse racist,” a “feminazi,” part of a sinister New World Order conspiracy, and so on. Now he’s asking a BC Supreme Court judge to have me arrested for calling him a white supremacist jerk on Facebook and on this blog. (Spoiler: He is a white supremacist jerk.)

The wingnut, who obviously does not have the benefit of legal counsel, has filed a bizarre pile of claims on behalf of himself, a group called We Are Change Victoria, and neo-Nazi sympathizer Doug Christie. Ryan Elson defends Christie’s views as free speech, while insisting that my speech is a crime.  Yes, really.

The oddball demands are part of the jerk’s counterclaim to my civil action to stop the wingnut republishing my photos and articles. Note: this is not how you’re supposed to make a claim in court – unless you’re a libertarian nutbar, in which case the rules do not apply to you.

STATEMENT OF FACTS
1) On October 14, 2012, Plaintiff [Zoe Blunt] targeted Defendant [Ryan Elson] labelling him and other members of WAC Victoria as “white supremacists” and “racists” in a Facebook event posting. Doug Christy [sic] was labelled this as well … Here we establish the Plaintiff’s Vendetta towards the Defendant.

RELIEF SOUGHT

3) Civil restitution AND court order for criminal investigation and prosecution be brought fourth [sic] on the Plaintiff for Criminal malicious prosecution, Criminal harassment, Conspiracy.

4) Criminal charges be brought fourth [sic] on the Plaintiff for Perjury in association with her claims of “perjury” within her statement of facts on civil claim 12-4008.

5) Injunction to restrain the plaintiff from further harassment of the defendant and his family/friends.

The wingnut claims to own copyright on photos I took of him October 20, 2012 at a counterprotest near a Victoria rally where Christie and other nutters were scheduled to speak. I photographed Elson and two buddies threatening me and the police intervening. He republished the photos and the entire article a dozen times to harass me. Now he claims it is libelous. (Legal tip: This case is a non-starter. Consent is a full defence to libel.)

What will the nutjob do next?? Stay tuned.

(Answer: Predictably, the dude went apeshit about being mocked. Tsk! Some folks can’t handle criticism. In May and June 2013, Elson tried to get a court injunction to take down this website. He failed, of course – he has no case and doesn’t know the first thing about the justice system. He did manage to get an order preventing me (@blunt1) tweeting anything with his Twitter handle (@fixx_revolution) to avoid losing any more arguments on Twitter.

Read the wingnut’s claim against me:

Cover page

Page 2: Statement of Facts

Page 3: Relief Sought

Related:

Wingnuts’ guide to the legal process

So I’m suing this local wingnut

Turfing out the racists

Hate Mail from Haters – the post that started it all

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Filed under Hate Mail, Legal Battles, Ryan Elson, We Are Change Victoria, Wingnuts

Hate mail from haters (now with more hate!)

What can you do with obnoxious racists? Reason doesn’t work, and even baseball bats can’t knock sense into a bonehead. But we can expose and mock them.

Ryan Elson (John Pettit), right, at BC Supreme Court in Victoria, BC

Ryan Elson (John Pettit), right, at BC Supreme Court in Victoria, BC. Photo (c) 2012 Times Colonist.

In October 2012, members of the conspiracy cult and Occupy splinter group We Are Crazy Victoria announced that lawyer and white supremacist Doug Christie would be speaking at a rally at the BC Legislature in Victoria BC.

No way. That’s not okay. I’d never met any of these nutbars, but we all knew their reputation for harassing women and people of colour. Clearly, we needed to call a counterprotest.

Friends and allies helpfully contacted all the other speakers to inform them they were sharing a stage with Canada’s best-known racist. They had no idea Christie was coming. Five speakers – including the keynote – immediately canceled. In a panic, the organizers dropped Christie from the event – and then blamed me for “censoring” him. Ryan Elson and Josh Steffler scrambled to cast themselves as advocates for “free speech” while vilifying me for infringing Christie’s “rights.” Among other threats, Elson said they would sue me for criticizing WeAreCrazyVictoria, and have me arrested if I showed up for the counterprotest.

That didn’t happen, but it was a hilarious day nonetheless.

Half an hour before the haters’ rally was set to begin, we set up a couple signs at the Cenotaph on the corner of the Legislature lawn, 200 meters from the wingnuts’ stage, and handed out leaflets explaining we were counterprotesting against racism, bullying, and hate speech.

Just before noon, the “free speech advocates” came over to shut us down. Ha! Fat chance.

Tough guys coming for us. Ooh, scary.

Photo by Zoe Blunt

Left: Certifiable lunatic and white supremacist Ryan Elson (alias John Pettitt, StealthC, XtoFury, Fixx_Revolution). Centre: Conspiracy freak and amateur astrologist Philip Livingston (aka Adam Evan Livingston), allegedly a fourth-year psych student at UVic. Right: Slimeball creep “Henry Tudor,” who is dumb as a sack of poop.

They came straight for me, ignoring the rest of the group. Elson got right up in my face screaming abuse. That’s when I got out the megaphone. Elson was trying to get nose-to-nose with me, but with the bullhorn deployed, he got a face full of “Back off racist scum” with the volume cranked to 11.

Trying to get in my face and failing

Photo by Zoe Blunt

Naturally, this tough guy was more interested in picking on me (I’m 5 feet and 110 pounds) than the linebacker-sized ex-bouncers standing around me with the signs. Any one of them could pick Elson up with one hand and break him like a twig, and they were ready in case he laid a hand on any of us.

The “back off racist scum” commotion drew two police officers from their post at the Legislature Building. As they approached, Elson pointed and hollered: “Officer, arrest her! She doesn’t have a permit to be here!” The cops said, “Step over here son, we’re gonna explain something to you.” Here’s the little bully, getting TOLD.

Free speech for me, but not for thee? Nope, doesn't work that way

Photo by Zoe Blunt

The nutjobs had no choice but to slink back to their “rally,” which consisted of fewer than a dozen people on the Legislature steps. We serenaded them with rousing chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, racists have got to go!” and handed out hundreds of flyers. The wackjobs got schooled. It was a fine day.

Racist got told

Photo by Zoe Blunt

But it’s not over yet – the haters are setting themselves on fire in a desperate grab for attention. In a long, incoherent blog post, Elson proclaims he’s a “victim” of homophobia and accuses me of somehow outing him as gay, which is news to everyone but his boyfriends, apparently. So now Elson is Canada’s version of the gay conservative who beat himself up. Except that Elson claims he was in the closet before he announced that he’s gay and that makes it all my fault, or something.

Well played, haters! Looking forward to next time.

—– UPDATE November 1 —–

It seems I have hurt the racists’ feelings. So they are calling me a terrorist and howling for my arrest on charges of “criminal defamation.” Funny! I thought they were opposed to censorship. Anyway — bring it, boys. The publicity would be worth the price of admission.

I mentioned that these wingnuts are setting themselves on fire. Here’s an example: According to Elson, this video is irrefutable proof that PAOV (People’s Assembly of Victoria) and I secretly control Facebook. The video was recorded at an October 2012 meeting of WeAreCrazy, and we get to eavesdrop as Josh Steffler and other members discuss things like dealing with the “Zionist-controlled world government” and being called “Holocaust deniers.” Which they certainly are NOT, because you can’t deny something that never happened, amirite?

While you’re at it, check out this video (also from October 2012) of Elson trying to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about an imaginary future “genocide against white people.”

And take a look at this image Elson posted on the Occupy Victoria B.C. page on Facebook around the same time. It’s a swastika with a photo of Hitler and the text “Last time it was the JEWS, this time it’s white men.”

Of course, just a couple weeks ago, WeAreCrazyVictoria was proud to feature a video of Doug Christie speaking at their 2011 rally — until they realized their racism was showing, and purged him. What a shame! Especially since they were so pleased with themselves for inviting him to speak as a surprise guest at their rally last year. Where is your “white pride” now?

But wait, there’s more. Josh Steffler has made his own video to show us he and WAC are not really racist at all. That’s because there are no “races,” there is ONLY ONE RACE. So that makes us the real racists, because we keep talking about race and racism. DUH. (Bonus: BOLSHEVIKS!)

It’s easy to mock their ignorance, but these idiots are trying to recruit new members and launch new assaults on our friends, fellow activists and “the left” in general.

So IT’S ON, assholes.

Related:
So I filed a lawsuit against this local wingnut

The Judge Should Arrest Me for Calling this Dingbat a Racist

Turfing Out the Racists

How to Oppress Men

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Filed under Hate Mail, Josh Steffler, Legal Battles, Ryan Elson, We Are Change Victoria, Wingnuts, Zoe Blunt

Earth Day Mini-Riot

Earth walk 2008
Earth Walk 2008, Victoria, BC. Photo: Pete Rockwell

On April 19, 2008, Victoria police attacked the city’s annual Earth Day parade because the parade leaders went “the wrong way” on the parade route. A friend of mine (we’ll call him John) was thrown to the ground, arrested and handcuffed by motorcycle cops when he and two others tried to carry the Earth Walk banner past the BC Legislature Building.

“They didn’t give me any warning at all,” John says. “We were having a great time marching with the samba band, and I wanted to go a little further around the block. I just didn’t want it to end yet.”

The cops had John down and cuffed, but seconds later half a dozen people piled on to un-arrest him. Twenty minutes of confusion followed as five hundred parade spectators crowded around trying to see what was happening. The motorcycle cops did not have a squad car to put John into, and instead of marching him away to a secure location, they stayed put — surrounded by a mob demanding his release.

A standoff ensued. I waded into the middle of the milling crowd. Raccoons were piled on top of each other with arms linked and the officers were telling the crowd to disperse.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked one. “We have a permit for this march.” The cop just glared at me. “How about trying to de-escalate this? You can end it right now by letting him go.” The cop turned away.

When the cops realized they were not going to be able to take John away, they said, “OK, if he just gives us his name we’ll let him go.” Someone in the crowd yelled “HIS NAME IS JUSTICE!” (He’ll always be Johnny Justice to us!)

I wiggled back out of the crush and ran up the steps of the Legislature Building to the stage. The musicians and welcome speakers were huddled off to the side, peering at the boiling mass of people on the street.

“Let him go! Let him go! Let him go! Let him go!” It was a great sound system. Some in the crowd were chanting along and clapping.

Some weren’t. Back in the street, one woman was yelling at the puppy-pile of eco-anarchists. “I hope you’re happy. You people ruined Earth Day just to make trouble and get in the news, didn’t you?”

Another woman ran up on the stage and tried to grab my arm. “You’re not telling the whole story, here,” she complained. “I’m sure the police have a reason for arresting him.”

“Why don’t you go talk the police and find out?” the sound man growled. He set up a second mike and we kept the chant going.

“Let him go! Let him go! Let him go! Let him go!”

Then a cheer went up from the street. The mass of people came streaming up the walkway toward us, led by our friend John running and leaping across the grass.

More cheers, and the festival began. No one was charged and John was not hurt. The sun came out, the drums came out, the speakers spoke, folks danced to live music, and we all pledged to care for the earth – and each other.

Photos by Pete Rockwell

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