In the United States, a group of concerned citizens have taken to the streets. What began on Wall Street became a nationwide movement that has mobilized thousands, attracting a diverse variety of citizens in numbers so great that law enforcement officers are now cautious to take action.
While there are problems inherent to the protests, few would criticize the OWS movement. Even Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, a former Goldman and Sachs employee called the protests ‘constructive.’ There can be no doubt that the American populace genuinely have cause to feel betrayed. The movement is indicative of a flawed economic system, a stagnant political landscape and general frustration with the direction of the United States.
Trillions of dollars in debt, America continues to wage wars that the people do not support, with no end in sight to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The citizens question why they should care about the state of a middle eastern country when their homeland is experiencing financial crisis. Obama, once hailed as a saviour, has become indesicive and impotent in the face of the countries difficulties.
As Occupations spread across the States, they quickly began to spread to Canada, as any trend is sure to. Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria, Montreal, Halifax and London all soon sprouted their own protests. Vancouver grew quicker then any other, and also soon became the most contreversial. While attended by considerably less then their American counterparts, the protests quickly captured media attention and are now discussed with considerable fervour.
In many arguments, opposition to the movement is hailed as ‘mindless drooling vitriol, hate, ignorance, small mindedness, and right wing propoganda.’ The proponents of the protests are literally shocked and confused that any member of Canadian society could oppose their leftist agenda.
In response, this is a simple explanation of the reasons why many Canadians have reacted poorly to the Occupy Movement.
1. Your self identification. It raises the ire of many to see a small crowd of people standing on the street corner, waving signs that read ‘We are the 99%.’
Of course, many occupiers respond that the number is symbolic, but this does little to change the fact that the claim rankles many other members of society. It seems almost as if the protestors are speaking for others who choose to remain silent.
Furthermore, in Canada this number is impossible. 40 per cent of the active electorate chose to vote conservative. This would make the protestors something along the lines of the 65% at most, assuming that every person who declined to vote was in opposition to the Harper government but felt little inclination to show it.
2. Lack of a coherent message. It is remarkable to see the diversity within the movement. This applies not only to the members, but the content of their demands. Scrolling through one of their sites reveals a stunning variety of personal agendas. It appears as though the supporters of the movement have taken the oppurtunity provided by the legitimate OWS protestors and piggy-backed their own pet cause onto it.
Topics that are posted show that the Occupy Canada movement is adrift, sailing through the online seas without purpose. One supporter tweets against the illegal occupation of Palestine by Isreal. Another chimes in against the fighter jets purchase. Still more advocate raw milk, alternative energy, the Wheat Board, Climate Change, Homo-sexual rights and more.
Occupy Vancouver produced a list of demands, seen here.
There is everything from the legalization of Cocaine to the withdrawal of Canada from NATO. Of course, other members of the movement were quick to denounce this as unofficial, further highlighting the internal discord.
3. Lack of a solution. If the protestors, in a singular moment of genius, do manage to agree on any particular problem, they are stopped instantly at the next step: solutions.
It is all well and good to complain about the state of the economy, corrupt politicians and corporate greed. However, it is another thing entirely to provide a fix for these issues. Many supporters have openly admitted that they have no hard answers, and those that do present solutions completely infeasible for a variety of reasons.
The average Canadian recognizes that there are flaws within the system, but are willing to trust the government to fix them; in other words they see more hope for a solution from a minister of the caucus then a university student on the street with a sign.
4. Comparing yourselves to the States. As mentioned above, there is a legitimate complaint to be made by the Americans. However, these complaints do not translate well when applied to Canada. Occupiers have called for an end to bank bailouts (which has never happened in Canada) and demanded that banks be nationalized. Little do they know that the Bank of Canada already controls regulations for all banks. Police brutality is mentioned, while the law enforcement agencies in Canada have taken extremely (some would say too) lenient stance regarding the occupations. The economy in general is questioned, while Canada is recognized as being an example of how to deal with a recession, is still experiencing GDP growth (although slow) and is close to balancing the budget.
5. Harper Hate. Admittedly the curent Prime Minister was not selected by the majority of all Canadian citizens. However he still holds a majority government and was lawfully elected. Nevertheless, the left wing have proven themselves to be remarkably poor losers.
Brigette Depape and her ilk have become inextricably entangled with the movement, ensuring that the so called ninety nine percent put all of the blame on the Prime Ministers head. The anti-Harper faction once again speak for everyone, claiming that his agenda is anti-Canadian, that he is a criminal and that it is his goal to destroy the environment and social services, and turn Canada into a fascist military state. The sheer amount of evil they attribute to one man makes their cause laughable to begin with.
6. Communism. The protestors are quick to shy away from the C word, perhaps aware of the damage it could do to the public perception of wealth. Instead they embrace words like ‘progressive socialism,’ and ‘redistribution of the wealth.’ Regardless of the names they choose to use, the very core values of the movement are blatantly Marxist. As Micheal Moore suggested ‘why don’t every one of the richest 400 give us a million of their money?’
Setting aside that he is himself a millionaire (as well as an obese hypocrite) the concept of redistribution of wealth is essential to the Marxist theory. Furthermore, while claiming that they despise the government, the movement would require a massive expansion of government, in order to facilitate and enforce the distribution of funds.
In this video –
you see left wing congressman John Lewis attempt to address the crowd. He is turned away because the members, using a bizarre method of repitition and hand signals, are unable to reach a consensus. The entire video is almost surreal, and demonstrates without a doubt both the complete ineffectiveness of their system and the danger in ‘crowd-think.’
It is all very animal farm.
7. Occupy Vancouver. What started as a beacon for the movement has quickly spiralled out of control and degenerated into a PR liability that even some supporters have disowned. Now largely populated with homeless drug addicts and home to a supposed element of ‘black bloc’ the largest Occupy Site has suffered from the death of a member and the assault of two police officers that suffered bites from one of the protestors. While the only site that is likely to be capable of surviving the Canadian winter, due to the Pacific warmth, Occupy Vancouver may very well be in its death throes.
The future for the Occupy movement does not appear promising in Canada. While representing only a small cross section of the Canadian society, it has become an irritant in many instances, and will not likely manage to survive the winter. By spring, a new novelty will most likely have sprung up to replace it.