Bad Form

I understand it’s considered bad form for rank and file progressives to criticize the Canadian Occupy protests in any way, even while being supportive of the American ones.  But if anyone is in a position to do so, it would be the malcontent responsible for setting off the entire movement with that first #occupywallstreet hashtag.   That’s right… as impressed as Adbusters’ Kalle Lasn is with the American protests, it seems he’s somewhat less so with their Canadian counterparts:

Protesters hail it as a life-changing experience while pundits acknowledge it as a driving force in the national conversation, but the man who helped launch the Canadian incarnation of the “Occupy” movement says his adopted home country didn’t execute his vision the way he hoped.

Kalle Lasn, co-founder of the Vancouver-based magazine that touched off the international campaign, said the protest against fiscal imbalance and corporate influence suffered from media misrepresentation and a comparative lack of energy during its first month on Canadian soil. […]

While the site attracted its share of energized, politically engaged youth who the Estonian-born Lasn describes as “the new left,” he also noted a stronger presence from fringe elements that has given left wing movements a bad name in the past, he said.

“I just had a feeling that there was a little bit too much of the loony left there,” Lasn said. “I had a feeling that we needed more of the young, new-left spunk that I felt was happening in Zuccotti Park. I didn’t see all that much of it here in Vancouver.”

What an Angry Old Person… what a… Teabagger!

The loony left?? Who could that possibly be? (For starters, maybe the dingbats who came up with Occupy Vancouver’s infamous list of demands, a few decent ideas wrapped in a crazyquilt of dumb ones — because we must be inclusive of every voice, no matter how deranged.)

Besides the Loony Left, Lasn also blames the media, and rightly so, for focusing on the negative aspects of the protests.  As always, sensationalism sells, so the homeless, addicted and otherwise dysfunctional members of the encampments received media attention vastly disproportionate to their numbers.  (I hope.)

Finally, Lasn points out one lasting positive impact of the protests: young people who were previously apathetic about politics suddenly became furiously engaged.  While some may drift back into political ennui, others will certainly remain engaged, maybe for life, and even if that was all the occupy protests accomplished it would be a profound success.

2 Responses to “Bad Form”


  1. 1 deBeauxOs Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Where are you’re getting this “It’s bad form” stuff – there’s been a wide range of opinions and discussions between the various folks who are located on the left of the political spectrum about the various Occupy Movements in Canada and the US.

    We feel a bit like parents watching a room full of toddlers making their way around the space, sometimes proud, sometimes cringing and certainly furious – and protective – in those cases where the *authorities* have stormed in and used brute force against this emerging protest movement.

    There’s a difference between being inclusive and respectful. Not all strategies are appropriate because the’re advanced by the progressive side.

    Perhaps the problem lies with the pungent and extreme mix of opportunistic, libertarian, granola, survivalist, new age and traditionalist energies that converge upon the Wet Coast, expecting to find or build a nirvana of their own.

    I gather Lasn was directing his observations to the Vancouver Occupy since it doesn’t appear he bothered to travel to the other sites.

  2. 2 JJ Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Hi deBeaux

    Heh, well it was a little bit 😉 But there is a corner of Progressiveville that tends to be quite intolerant of opinions that don’t line up with the Official Position on issues, and Occupy is no different. I just thought how ironic that the guy who started it all would end up having the pretty much same opinion about it as I do.

    You could be right, though — if he only visited the coastal Occupies, the worst possible ones to base an opinion on, then it’s an unfair assessment. I was only at OccVancouver once (day one) and it seemed not bad, but I could tell by some of the more vociferous members that it might spiral into dumbness pretty fast. I could see the middle class types being scared away (and in some cases, chased away) from it, and that’s ultimately what happened.

    I have *quietly* high hopes for OWS because I think they’ve got a populist focus that transcends ideology. But I’ve never been able to think of Occupy Canada as much more than an act of solidarity with OWS, particularly after it fell into left/right and playing up more peripheral issues. But that doesn’t mean it can’t reinvent itself. These things sometimes take years.


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