An Open Letter to Bob Rennie

Dear Bob,
 
On the weekend a large contingent from Occupy Vancouver squatted your coffee shop.
 
The 50 of us who were inside, and the 100 who were outside, were not occupying because you charge $5 for a cup of coffee. No, we were inside your coffee shop, outside the gates of your private art gallery, and banging on the windows of your marketing office, because you have profited unimaginably off the backs of the poor and destitute of this city.
 
You sir, are not an artist. But that won’t stop you for masquerading as one. To re-use a phrase popularized by Occupy Vancouver, your ouevre is real estate speculation and your medium is displacement.
 
We know that you pull the strings in this city, and as the saying goes, no matter who loses in this election, Bob Rennie wins. Above all, we know that Gregor and Vision are an immaculately-conceived vessel for your profit margin.
 
In the conversations we have with you over the past three years, you have escaped by saying you are a victim, even claiming that you ”cry yourself to sleep every night.” You get support from a few middle-class misanthropes by saying that we the citizens of Vancouver detest you. Should we remind you of your worst fears? Yes, we do hate you, we hate you with every ounce of our being every time we are evicted, every time we are stuck in a minimum wage job to pay your monopoly-capital rents, every time an autonomous space is replaced with a dog groomer, and every time we see your wealth and privilege rubbed in the face of the pubic like a mortgage-soaked fire blanket. 
 
You have declared war on the poor across Vancouver — in Chinatown, on the DTES, Mount Pleasant, there is a war everywhere but in your own back yard. You have profited off our backs, and now you use the arts to resuscitate your tainted name.

 
 
Indeed, we no longer have generic aristocrats to sponsor the arts, we have you: Vancouver’s Kondo King. In sponsoring the arts in this city, by buying your way on the Board of Governors at Emily Carr, in purchasing an Honorary Degree in 2008, by sponsoring the visiting artist lectures at UBC, by contributing thousands of dollars to both developer parties (NPA and Vision), you think you can conceal the facts-on-the-ground.
 
Our message is: think again about the plan! People are in doubt of your new empire, and the doubts are growing by leaps and bounds each day the crisis sets in. Against your delusory sense of self, the only remaining people who befriend you in this city are after your money. Whether it is the right wing parties (NPA and Vision) or the silver-spoon, arm-chair marxists from UBC who happily accept your bribes, they are all from the old guard — incompetent, capitulating reactionaries. Sorry, we’re not them.
 
That is why, as you occupy every inch of Vancouver with your luxury condos, we will respond in kind. 
 
See you on the streets Bob,
 
-Artists Against Bob Rennie, Vision Vancouver and the NPA
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