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DINER: Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council Calls For An End To PiDGiN Protest

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  • PiDGiN | Makoto Ono
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When anti-gentrification protesters began their picket in front of Gastown’s fledgling Pidgin restaurant back in February, their leaders were closely tied to the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council (DNC). That same organisation has just released the following statement on its website:

The DNC shares many of the goals of the anti-gentrification protesters, but feels that the specific actions in front of 350 Carrall St. have served their purpose. The DNC therefor [sic] disagrees with the continuation of this action, and calls on the protesters to move on.

Though the unsubtle hint is four months late, it’s nevertheless encouraging to see the DNC – an organisation that has real work to do – finally making sense (however sheepishly) on the Pidgin protest. Attacking a local, independent business – a restaurant – was lazy scapegoating for effect, which is to say the least imaginative and most unhelpful form of dissent in the arsenal of those who would do this sort of thing for a living and the cause of right. There are honest to goodness fights to be had on (and for) the Downtown Eastside. This one was an embarrassing distraction from the beginning.

But will it end?

There are 5 comments

  1. There’s more to it than mere sheepishness. They were losing money.

    The DENC pulled its support from the pointless Pidgin picket because Vancity threatened to pull its money from the DENC.

    The verbal violence and recent arrests embarrassed Vancity. Their money supports DENC. The “leadership” of the DENC regularly appeared on the Pidgin picket line, attacking Vancity customers.

    But there’s more. Wendy Pedersen was removed from the staff of the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), also sponsored by Vancity. The Carnegie Board denied having anything to do with the picket, although Pedersen was busy organizing it. But on June 6th Pedersen was elected to the Board of Carnegie — the group that controls CCAP.

    Not to matter. It’s all the same people. Same faces. Different labels.

    Check out the DENC website if you doubt the connection, and the sellout. Immediately below the announcement that DENC is officially pulling its support from the Pidgin picket, we see the Vancity logo.

    Below that, the DENC thanks Vancity for a “recent welcome infusion of money”. Surely a coincidence.

  2. One correction that we would like to make to the above comment is that the DNC was never involved in the Pidgin protest. The organizers at CCAP (the Carnegie Centre) deliberately spread this rumor because they have recently lost control of the DNC. The DNC is a democratically elected residents association in the DTES and was previously dominated by the paid organizers at CCAP. CCAP is not a society, has no board, has no elections, and no AGM, yet they receive more than 10 times the money of the DNC. One can not vote for their activist direction, and thus no one, including the membership of the DNC, could stop them from initiating damaging and counterproductive protests like the one at Pigdin restaurant. Just to say again, the DNC was never involved in the Pidgin protest, and never supported the Pidgin protest.

  3. We accept and welcome the correction from the DNC. It is good to know that they and their members understand the tremendous damage that was being done by the Pidgin Picket to the people of the DTES.

    That picket had total support from CCAP from the beginning. We all saw Wendy, Jean and Ivan on TV defending it, and folding it into their agitprop.

    When Vancity became embarrassed, Wendy & Ivan & Jean had to pretend to withdraw from their own protest, in order to protect the flow of Vancity money — about $60,000 a year — to CCAP.

    It’s time for the DNC to step up and offer positive solutions, and build real housing, in the DTES. Whining about pickles just doesn’t cut it. And the new leadership knows it.

    Otherwise, we’ll get the impression that Ivan & Wendy & Jean run everything in the DTES. And everyone knows how much good that has done.

    Thanks for the correction. We’re happy to read it.

  4. NOTE TO EDITOR: on re-reading, my use of ‘we’ may appear more editorial than communal. I would appreciate if you would run my reply as follows:
    —————-

    I accept and welcome the correction from the DNC. It is good to know that they and their members understand the tremendous damage that was being done by the Pidgin Picket to the people of the DTES.

    That picket had total support from CCAP from the beginning. We all saw Wendy, Jean and Ivan on TV defending it, and folding it into their agitprop.
    When Vancity became embarrassed, Wendy & Ivan & Jean had to pretend to withdraw from their own protest, in order to protect the flow of Vancity money — about $60,000 a year — to CCAP.

    It’s time for the DNC to step up and offer positive solutions, and build real housing, in the DTES. Whining about pickles just doesn’t cut it. And the new leadership knows it.

    Otherwise, we’ll get the impression that Ivan & Wendy & Jean run everything in the DTES. And everyone knows how much good that has done.

    Thanks for the correction. I’m happy to read it.

  5. I knew this would happen…
    The Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council now has a board that doesn’t consult the members.
    We used to have monthly members meetings where every action and statement issued was discussed and voted on before it went public.
    We have a new board that meets in secret, kicks out members without notice and issues public statements without consulting the membership. The last members meeting was April 6 so the statement about the Pidgin Picket is not coming from the members.
    Any statement that comes from the so-called “DNC” at this point is only coming from a handful of people and does not have the backing of the membership. The DNC has now become just another example of the struggle for power and control in a community that has neither.

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