I was truly excited to see the beginning of the Occupy movement, and eagerly joined on Oct 15th , 2011 with thousands of others in the march around downtown Vancouver, and listening to the speakers outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. I thought, finally, people are so fed up, they’re taking civic action to voice their collective anger at the systemic inequality. The erosion of middle class, and the grand theft from the financial industry of people’s retirements, degradation of environment, failure of capitalism.
I wasn’t there out of anger, even though I feel the stingy bite of this terrible economy everyday. I was overjoyed to see families with their babies and dogs on the march. I was encouraged to see humorous signs and clever quotes young people made because we can still carry on a revolution with a smile.
The speaker stage was a free for all, so anyone could get up there. True democracy at work! Yet, there was an 82 years old lady lobbying for the crowd to vote for her in the upcoming civic election so she can continue her 40 years struggle to protect Stanley Park. Another lady went on and on about the struggle of farmers in Alberta, followed by many people who quoted Martin Luther King Jr, Ghanghi, and many change agents in history.
The feeling was that of a high school pep rally, until a man went up and told us to beware of history repeating itself. The rights of every citizen. Just as I was becoming more attentive to his speech, he finished it by proclaiming that every drug known to man should be legalized.
I was a bit disappointed by the quality of speakers, and the narrow interest demonstrated by each speaker. There wasn’t the feeling of a common goal. As a communicator, seeing the whole movement evolve, all I can say is it’s tragically immature. It seems that people were truly concerned, about a number of issues including globalization, environmental degradation, genetically mutated farming practice, unfair distribution of wealth/resource in society, etc. I recently attended a W2 documentary showing “Occupy Love” by Velcrow Ripper and Ian MacKenzie. It was a beautifully shot documentary showcasing the thinkers articulating the movement on camera, and showcasing the formation of community, and even cheeky humour of the occupiers playing tricks on cops on Wall Street. It featured Charles Eisenstein who wrote “Ascend of Humanity and Sacred Economics”. www.charleseisenstein.net
Watching the occupy movement, I was reminded of hearing Steven Pinker, a Harvard Psychology professor who has written extensively on the subject of “Psycholinguistics” from his RSA YouTube video stating that language, not only communicates the message, but also negotiates the relationship between the speaker and listener. He does point out that in a general assembly, once everyone knows that everyone else is on the same page, there is a power in the collective to challenge the authority for change, instead of facing the authority picking off the protestors one at a time.
I recently watched the documentary “Inside Job”, where I was shocked to learn that President Obama actually hired the very people who created the economic crisis from Wall Street to help him run the country. It is this level of social inequality and injustice that infuriated me enough to take action. Normally I detest politics, because I feel like it’s a game that only the rich and corporations with power have access to. We’re now standing at the tipping point. The next stage will be in the hands of every citizen, not just the 1%.
Halloween @ The Wardolf Hotel