A self-described “old radical from the ’60s” has a message for the people who are spraypainting “No pipelines”—often with the anarchist symbol—up and down Commercial Drive.
“If the world is going downhill in a handbasket, why make it uglier?” Brian Waite said over the phone.
A retired resident of the East Vancouver neighbourhood, Waite told the Georgia Straight that he has no problem with the protest graffiti’s text.
But he’s particularly bothered by the graffiti when it defaces the Drive’s colourful murals.
“It alienates any possible middle-of-the-roaders on this issue,” Waite said. “They’ll say, ‘Ew, look what they’re doing. I’m not going to support that.’”
Waite speculated that anarcho-nihilist activists are behind the graffiti, or that it’s the work of “provocateurs”—with ties to the oil industry or law-enforcement agencies—or “stupid” people influenced by them.
“It’s either somebody who sincerely believes in it but they’re misguided in doing what they’re doing, or somebody who purposely thinks that by doing this they will anger people so that the movement against pipelines will lose some support.”
By speaking out against the graffiti, Waite—who was radicalized by the movement against the Vietnam War and describes his political views as Marxist—hopes to “shame this idiot or expose him”.
“Think a little bit more deeply about what you’re doing,” Waite said. “There’s lots of more positive things you can do.”