Sunday, October 29, 2006

Look For The UTE-SEI Union Label At The Peace Protest (But Don't Take Its Picture)

Elhaz Inverted: There may be hidden danger waiting to ensnare you. Hasty and ill-considered actions will plunge you into serious problems. There is the danger of being swallowed up by archetypal forces, which you think to shape to your will with inadequate knowledge or preparation. This can result in damage to both spiritual and physical health.

Alerted by Darcey on my morning blog rounds that yesterday was A Day Of Protests, I checked and sure enough there was one in London. I went out to document yesterday's Troops Out Now! protest here in London, at Victoria Park, on a miserable, rainy afternoon. I had no intention of talking to anyone -- just of taking pictures and recording a publicly announced demonstration in a public place.

I got to Victoria Park just as people started arriving. At that point, the Jack Layton signs were front and foremost on RIchmond Street (the main vantage point to that part of the park). Indeed, it was a largely NDP and union affair. Not precisely a grass roots outpouring of megaphone-synchronized support-our-troops bring-them-homage.

I tried to find some good shots. Entering the park, which held perhaps 80 people, I passed an older man with a handful of pamphlets, questioning a yet older man sitting on a pillar bearing a poppy on his lapel:
Old man: Excuse me, I see you're wearing a poppy -- do you support the war?
Older man: Oh, no, I... (some explanation)
Old man: (relaxing) Well, OK... you never know...

I wanted a picture of the CAW flag to the left: WOMEN UNITE. As the Taliban are renowned for stoning women to death for indulging in the slightest tinge of reproductive freedom, this was a particularly jarring motto. Do -- do you intend to climb into the stoning hole too, in the spirit of sisterhood, or what? If hypocrisy carried its own physical weight then there'd be no way any ten people could manage to lift that flag off the ground.

As I clicked my inept fingers around the camera to try to capture the text of the flag as the winds ruffled it, I was peremptorily approached by this man:

Seeing me photographing while wearing a poppy on my overcoat, he demanded to know whether I "support the war". At my polite, generally affirmative answer, this guy demanded my name, some ID, and to know who I was with: CSIS, or the Conservatives? As he saw it, the problem was me taking pictures of people demonstrating in a public park without asking permission -- during a protest presumably staged and advertised for publicity's sake! Worse yet I wouldn't identify myself to this power tripping union security guard, so he started blocking my shots. No diversity activists within earshot seemed to care enough about this to help stop him. So, I started recording.
Union Thug: You didn't ask to record me, turn it off.
Mike: Why do you care who I am?
UT: You didn't ask, turn it off.
Mike: I don't have to ask, this is a public place.
UT: Well, then, I'm not talking to you.
Mike: Well, that's fine!
UT: I want some ID from you.
(More.) Little did I know that this unhinged representative of Canada's public service would insist on standing in front of my camera for the next fifteen minutes. As you may have suspected, Blaganovich's Fundamental Constant of Bullying held; he was bigger than me and I was alone. I trust the UTE-SEI do not endorse their members doing this so as to prevent other Canadians from photographing public union members engaging in political activity? Don't get me wrong, this guy made it a memorable protest and I found his behaviour more comical (and instructive to open-minded observers) than threatening to me -- but it sure puts a bad light on the UTE-SEI public relations department, to utter racist slurs and thuggish demands for ID into a microphone. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but funny, funny, funny.

But -- what did he believe they had to hide? Perhaps CSIS has reason to be concerned about the activities of the UTE-SEI. Why would a UTE-SEI member be so concerned about someone photographing their activities in a public park to which the public (including me) is welcome?

This fruitjob kept following me around, moving his body around to block me every time I raised my camera, announcing to passers by that "this guy supports the war! he's a spy! he works for CSIS!" To their credit, most everyone recognized his paranoia, if not quite defending my right to take pictures unmolested even without showing this Stasi-in-his-own-mind my papers. I look too much like a spy to be a spy, and I would have a better camera if I were.

Three or four young and, as it turned out, intellectually honest NDP supporters in their orange toques gathered around us as I tried to get away from him to take pictures. The union representative wasn't exactly endearing himself to his young fellow travellers by going after my race, of all things: Check this out:
Union Thug: You said "I support killing the Taliban."
Mike: I do.
UT: Yep, you're a killer. What a typical killer too -- blue eyes, blond hair, very, very...
Mike: What the hell's that? What's this blue eyes -- you have a problem with my race?

The funniest part was when he ended up blocking an A-Channel interview shot, as he was trying to block my shots using his amazing People Power. Well, in the end he pretty much did end up preventing me from taking pictures of anything but his face, though the A-Channel ended up filming his meltdown.

NDP candidate Stephen Maynard passed by around this point. Apparently I was the first person ever to inform him that the Taliban made a practice of stoning "adulteresses" to death. Don't the NDP brief their reps on the subject of the protest beforehand? I'd been getting nowhere asking the union goon to tell me what he thought of stoning people, so I turned to Stephen Maynard. (Audio)
Mike: Stephen Maynard, you object to taking women and burying them in the sand and throwing rocks at their heads, right?
NDP Candidate Stephen Maynard: What? Do you have reports of this happening?

The UTE-SEI thug finally buzzed off when A-Channel came up to interview me. I was feeling gregarious after such interesting conversation, so I agreed against my better judgment. I don't watch TV, so I'm afraid but don't know whether I was slotted into the story as some kind of counter-demonstrator, which I absolutely was not. Just a citizen photographer hassled by the Man, folks.

If anyone wants me to post the whole recording (15 minutes), ask in comments.

By the way, I then had a very good conversation with several of the young NDP. I was impressed by their inquisitiveness and intellectual honesty enough that it made this a protest of two extremes: UTE-SEI goon, and well-meaning students who've never encountered Bastiat.

Update: Wow, how sad for the NDP London North Centre campaign. As it happens, not quite so much union thug as NDP thug.


The Mayor said...


Mike, please post this on my site.

Just great.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear the whole 15 minutes. F'n traitors. Let me know when the next protest is because I SUPPORT KILLING TERRORISTS.

Sky Captain said...

Yes.Support killing terrorists.
And stalkers too, although they are usually already stoned.

Anonymous said...

last time i checked, the taliban never attacked canada, nor did they attack the u.s.

it was al qeada/bin laden that orchestrated 911 (if you believe the official conspiracy theory)

and canada never had a problem with the taliban from the time they took control in afghanistan 1996, until 2001

therefore it's simple, the taliban are not terrorist

so why are we there?

Anonymous said...

and as far as that guy not liking getting his picture taking, some advise for next time


Anonymous said...

Jac‧o‧bin  /ˈdʒækəbɪn/ –noun
1. (in the French Revolution) a member of a radical society or club of revolutionaries that promoted the Reign of Terror and other extreme measures, active chiefly from 1789 to 1794...

Through the looking glass, and beyond, cheerfully we go.

Sky Captain said...

The guy was clearly experienced and mendacious; it was pretty slick the way he asserted 'admission' of being a supporter, automatically building the burden of shame into the exchange.
You repeated the word 'admission' without challenge, which probably appeased him since he would then believe that he had put one over on you.
And don't necessarily believe that he didn't know you.
He might have had a very good idea, as that kind of persistence is far from casual.

Inverted runes indeed.

Honey Pot said...

Well done Mike! I wish I had have known it was going on. I miss all the good stuff. Oh yeah, a CSIS agent is going to be walking around the park wearing a poppy, and taking pictures of taliban supporters. I am just waiting for the ndp to be put on the national terrorist alert list.

Please everyone go down, show your support for our brave men and women soldiers Nov 11 at the Victoria Park cenotaph.

P.S: Ndpers... please feel free to take pictures of us and ask us questions as to why we would fight and die for our freedom, and the freedom of others who live under a cult of death and destruction.

Honey Pot said...

That gestapo like UTE-SEI guy, who is trying to disquise himself, looks very familar. It will come to me later...who he is. If he was so worried about anonymity, why didn't he just wear a burka, or if that was too feminine for him, a ski-mask.

Anonymous said...

This site seems to be full of rich, white bigots. This is the first and the last time I will read your blog.

Anonymous said...

Nice job, very well done. I've added your blog to my regular reading list - keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised that Stephen Maynard, who was wanted to represent us in London North Centre, is totally clueless about the reality of Taliban era Afghanistan?

Since he threw away his nomination to a person who was unqualified (by his party's own rules, natch), I would be curious to know if the new and undemocratically nominated "New Democrat" is equally ignorent of what is going on in the world around us. Based on this report, and other first hand accounts from friends here and across Canada, I would suggest the answer in every riding is: NO!

Anonymous said...

Elaine, here's a clue for you...

G _ _ W _ _ R _ _

command economy said...

Anonymous, are you saying that the thug was G__ W__r__ -- the freakin v__e p__s___n_ of the __P's __nd_n-N____-_e_t__ R___n_ A_s___i___o_?

Wow! Just let me go check that in the CSIS database. Er, I mean... Uhh, where is the "backspace" key? I got promoted because of this successful mission and I can't find the freaking backspace key on my new mind-control-o-tron. This post is classified. Don't read it. Wait, come back, forget that you saw this.

Oh, shit.

Anonymous said...

I have a right to write this. I do not want anyone to read this. Therefore, you do not have my permission to record this or let people see this. Where are your papers!?!

Er, um. Sorry, had to indulge.

Let's not overlook the obvious. This fucker works for the tax department. He wanted to fuck with your life and, for that purpose, he needs your name.

Fucker. Communist fucker. And, quite probably, KGB (sorry, had to throw that in: meet paranoia with paranoia).

Anonymous said...

Oh, and in case anyone's wondering, I'll bet this idiot is a member of the executive of the union local (he is wearing a union jacket, you'll notice):

Griff said...

Dude, you kicked *ass*. Well done, and keep fighting the good fight.

Anonymous said...

The Jews detested these tax collectors not only on account of their abusive and tyrannical attitude, but because the very taxes that they were forced to collect by the Roman government were a badge of servitude and a constant reminder that God had forsaken His people. The tax collectors were always classed by the people with the harlots, usurers, gamblers, thieves, and dishonest herdsmen, who lived promiscuous, lawless lives. Some of the common terms for the tax collectors were "licensed robbers" and "beasts in human shape."

Anonymous said...

Yes, CSIS is going to give a damn about his sorry a**, paranoia the mind destroyer.

Anonymous said...

These Gestapo like actions are completely in character for the NDP, nationally and provincially.

In 1999 I organized one of B.C.'s 'Have You Had Enough Yet' rallies, which naturally enough did not go over well with the NDP. A sitting NDP Cabinet Minister no less, showed up with a pack of union thugs, taking up the first few rows of seats.

They had a group of anarchist shills from the local university commandeer the stage, shouting down our speakers while unfurling a 15 ft. wide banner and deriding us as 'lackeys and fascists'.

Several of the unionists attempted to pull the fire alarms in the arena, while others disconnected the sound system. Still others tried to intimidate some of the seniors in the crowd. Meanwhile our NDP Cabinet Minister sat amongst it all, smiling smugly.

All in all, it was great. It made the national news, all the major national and provincial papers and endless editorials. The NDP never looked worse, but they are either very slow learners or brown shirt tactics are endemic to their belief system.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to name the union goon.

The name of the goon is .... Mike Chalmers.

He could have done his union a huge favor by leaving his UTE jacket at home.