OWS is growing up (OV: not so much)

Last week was a busy one for Occupy Wall Street in NYC.  Protesters were viciously “de-camped” early on before rallying to mark the protest’s 2-month anniversary with a “day of action” on Thursday that culminated in a pretty amazing march of 10,000 or so (and some awesome guerrilla projection art).

Sure, there were moments of Utter Dumbness as things got underway. Whoever decided it would be a good idea to physically prevent financial workers — who are, you know, part of the “99%” — from getting to their desks on Thursday morning should be slapped in the head with a New York City phone book. Deserving of a follow-up slap is the bright light who initiated an anemic effort to “shut down” the Stock Exchange, as counterproductive an idea as I can imagine for a protest that claims unemployment is among their major beefs. (It doesn’t take a genius to imagine the frenzied panic selling during the last 2 hours of the European session if the NYSE’s opening bell was inexplicably silent at 9:30am Eastern… and sell-offs mean layoffs.  Oops!)

Those little misfires aside, something that impressed the hell out of me on Thursday morning was CNBC’s interview with an Occupy Wall Street organizer. This young man was everything we usually don’t see in media depictions of OWS: intelligent and articulate and even savvy enough to dress for the occasion.  I was doubly impressed that CNBC, Wall Street TV, would even deign to interview him, and overcome the challenges that smuggling him into the Stock Exchange must surely have presented on that particular day.  Watch this:

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Occupy Wall Street is growing up.

But like that old Seinfeld episode about “good naked” and “bad naked”, there’s “good Occupy” and “bad Occupy”.

Which brings me to Occupy Vancouver.

I can’t speak to how the rest of the country’s occupiers are doing in the wake of being swept out of encampments, but Occupy Vancouver seems to have pushed its luck and public sympathy to the breaking point.  What may have started as a populist movement articulating the justifiable rage of an impossibly-squeezed middle class has clearly devolved into something far less sympathetic. Contrast the CNBC interview above with this video from an Occupy Vancouver protest last week:

“Play with us”?  Arrgh.  That brainless little diatribe is, as RT says, a revealing “tell” that goes a long way to explaining why OV has lost much of the public support it once had. The vast majority of “the 99%” don’t want to run and play all their lives, or be told that their work ethic is “bullshit”.

Occupy Vancouver is currently on the move again — according to their live chat, they and their tents and tarps are heading for Commercial Drive because it’s perceived as more Occupy-friendly.  Just don’t tell them that settling into an area that welcomes them with open arms (and maybe candy and flowers) makes it less of an “occupation” and more of an “open-ended visit”.

2 Responses to “OWS is growing up (OV: not so much)”


  1. 1 Dana Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    The Canadian iteration of this US phenomenon is fascinating on so many levels.

    Not many of the issues that justifiably animate the US movement have the same real world traction as Canada specific issues. Banks here are lending and not failing, real estate here still sells, mortgages here are still attainable (real estate prices remaining high here is a really good sign of our relative economic health- irrespective of your personal feelings about real estate prices in isolation from everything else – I have a US$1,000,000 house in Topanga Canyon on sale for $625,000 if you’re interested – SERIOUSLY!! Part of an estate. Make me an offer.

    We have our own versions of income inequality and they are not to be sneezed at but they are not to the extremes of the US.

    And we have that damned socialized medicine that Stevie hasn’t figured out how to kill yet. That fucks up everything. If the cops in NY beat the shite out of someone, that someone is on the hook for the care they need. Here, they’re not. Not yet anyway. Sometime really early in his second majority I expect the fat little fuck to start dismantling health care. Just after the CBC is sold to Quebecor.

    But I digress…

    That’s some of the reasons that the Occupy movement hasn’t been able to get the traction here that it has in the US.

    *If* in 2015 there are 5 more years of Harper majority, and *if* the traditional idea of Canada still has any life at all left in it, then the movement *might* have a chance to gain a real toe hold. Right now there are way too many passive Canadians who think none of this could happen here.

    But the wider problem, the critical problem, the potentially fatal problem is that the 60% of Canadians who didn’t vote for Harper are not being mobilized under a single banner.

    How stupid is that?

  2. 2 JJ Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    But the wider problem, the critical problem, the potentially fatal problem is that the 60% of Canadians who didn’t vote for Harper are not being mobilized under a single banner.

    How stupid is that?

    Really stupid. Unspeakably stupid.
    You’d think that the lesson of the Reform Party would have been learned by everyone in our political system.

    But peoples’ memories are vague… everyone seems to think the Liberal majorities of the prosperous 90s were the result of good times and the LPC being so much more in tune with our Canadian Values. Nobody remembers that one of the things Chretien did with his (first or 2nd?) majority was to slash the shit out of EI. (A move which would eventually prompt the famous “Shawinigan Handshake” 😆 .)


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