To Willing Conflators Of George Orwell And Jeremy Todd (five hundred and twenty sixth letter)

Dear Comrades,
I came to British Columbia with some notion of writing articles about what is happening here, but I’ve immediately joined the militia instead, because at this time and in this atmosphere it seems the only conceivable thing to do. The Anarchists are still in virtual control of Vancouver and the revolution is still in full swing.
To anyone who’s been here since the beginning it probably has seemed as if even in December or January the revolutionary period was ending; but when one comes straight from Toronto the aspect of Vancouver is something startling and overwhelming. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a city where the working class is in the saddle.
Practically every building of any size has been seized by workers and is draped with red flags or with the red and black flags of the Anarchists; every wall is scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties; almost every condo development has been gutted, their advertising images burnt.

Casinos and police stations are being systematically demolished by gangs of workmen.
Every shop and cafe has an inscription saying it has been collectivized. Even the contemporary art galleries are collectivized. Their boxes are being painted red and black.
Waiters and shop-walkers look you in the face and treat you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech have disappeared. Nobody says ‘Officer’ or ‘Sir’ or even ‘Mister’; everyone is calling everyone else ‘Comrade’.
There are no private cars in the streets or boats at the docks, they’ve all been commandeered. The skytrain, buses and taxis are all painted red and black. Revolutionary signs are everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that make the few remaining Olympic Legacy posters look like daubs of mud.
Downtown Robson crowds stream constantly to and fro. The loudspeakers are bellowing revolutionary songs all day and far into the night. It’s the aspect of the crowds that’s the queerest thing of all.
In outward appearance Vancouver is now a city in which the wealthy classes have practically ceased to exist.
Except for a small number of women and foreigners there are no ‘well-dressed’ people at all. Practically everyone wears makeshift working class ensembles liberated from the Hastings Army & Navy or some variant of militia uniform. All this is queer and moving.
There is much in this I don’t understand, in some ways I don’t even like it, but I recognize it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.
Also, I believe that things are as they appear to be, that this really is a workers’ State and that the entire bourgeoisie has either fled, been killed or voluntarily come over to the workers’ side.
I don’t want to believe that there are still great numbers of well-to-do bourgeois simply lying low and disguising themselves as proletarians for the time being…
I’ll write again soon.
jeremy