Eye of the Hurricane

I’ve been taking late night visits to Occupy Vancouver 1.0’s camp at the Vancouver Art Gallery(VAG). People have more time to talk at night, so it is a good time to get into more substantial conversations.

Each time I go to the VAG I find something to be different- and today was no exception. Most of the tarps have been removed, a second dome is finished, the fire was not burning. and the demographics have changed beyond recognition.

There was an addict that came to the medical tent while I was speaking with one of the volunteers there. He came for some latex gloves- promised he was walking around the corner, with a buddy, to go shoot up. So, still enabling, but at least they aren’t alone in a tent…

The quiet reminded me of being in the eye of a hurricane- a short reprieve before the next stage of the storm arrives. If only people at the camp could have got their act together before it was too late.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.genuinewitty.com/2011/11/10/eye-of-the-hurricane/

YELLOW CARD: Undemocratic Behaviour?

A serious problem has been resonating in my head since yesterday. I’ve tried to ignore, but it is affecting my ability to sleep…

First, a disclaimer. I have nothing but respect for the people I’m about to criticise – agreeing to facilitate this meeting was a heroic act.

We began our meeting with the agreement we would stick to logistics and planning- not policy.

I was in awe how well we kept to this decision (a major achievement!) Then, right at the finish line, we were led astray with a potentially divisive policy decision – to acknowledge we were standing on land that does not belong to us.

I have some strong views on this issue. It’s my opinion that humanity will never achieve peace until we stop blaming and holding each other liable for the misdeeds of our great grandfather’s. So, it is time to stop blaming each other and to find a way to move on…

I never thought I’d speak in this context- but, I’m left feeling I’ve been oppressed. I’m not angry, only concerned we may have failed here.

The question was thrown at us without warning, there was no opportunity to debate, and I was afraid to speak out- without time to explain my position, I feared being labelled a racist, or that people would mispercieve my intentions.

I’m curious to hear other people’s perception about this incident. Am I over reacting? Did others see the same? If so, how do we avoid such situations in the future?


(Posted on Occupy Vancouver Facebook page on October 9)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.genuinewitty.com/2011/11/09/yellow-card-undemocratic-behaviour/

Activists & Buggy Whips

After spending time watching their antics, defense of violence and other criminal activity, racial/gender based hate, and level of immaturity- spending time amongst ‘professional protesters’ has made one thing clear to me. Many in this community could be dangerous to our cause.

I’ve heard leaders of this community complain that we are not more ‘grateful’ for what they have done; they’ve referred to newcomers as ‘Mactivists’, complained about all of the ‘Yuppies’ joining the cause. They have been actively excluding the masses, responding to public postings on private forums- keeping themselves far from the masses. There is a feeling of exclusivity, of being better than others.

It has taken 6 days of, painful, conversations to people in this crowd to stand-down on the issue of property destruction- and there is great resistance to using the word ‘denounce’ in reference to violence. Rather than listen and discuss logically, many of us have been subjected to abusive language, and race/gender based hate.

I beg of you all to stop for a moment and realize that (to use the words of one of your own) you are about to “typically lefty fuck this up”. This protest is about ALL of the people, not select few- and, regardless of how long you have been fighting, there is no special privilege here.

This is a movement of the people- not of the professional activists. You all need to drop the baggage you’ve been carrying, and quit pushing antiquated ideologies . The world has changed since the 60’s, now it is time for the protestors to change with it.

Tomorrow I will attend, and will push that we hold a resolution to DENOUNCE violence of all types- physical, verbal & property damage. The 99% despise this behavior, and will not tolerate such things- and cannot be held back by a small percentage of the population….

(Posted on Occupy Vancouver’s Facebook page on October 15th)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.genuinewitty.com/2011/11/07/activists-buggy-whips/

Letter to MP’s for Get Money Out Initiative

Dear Political Leader,

I am writing to you as a member of the 99%, and as someone who is participating in the organization of #OCCUPYVANCOUVER (www.occupyvancouver.com).  We are in the early stages of organizing, and not all voices have been heard- so, until we have ratified our ideas, please understand I am not writing for the group as a whole.

Our movement consists of a wide range of people with diverse political opinions.  Our commonality is that we do not believe that our government is proportionately representing 99% of the population.  As a politician, I am sure you are painfully aware how many people have lost trust in the system.   Most people believe our government is, to some extent, captive to corporate interests.

I, personally, take a moderate view on how we got here.  There are both good and bad corporations, just as there are people.  And while it angers me when I see anti-social corporate behaviour, I do not see conspiracy and evil.  I haven’t since that since the day I learned that a CEO could be held criminally and financial responsible if they choose morality over profit.  If it can be said that the lack of Arrests has any relation to Corporate lobbying, it is easy to understand why.  The system is broken.

Many people see an opportunity – one that could quickly resolve this issue without radically interruption to our society.  The idea is simple- Get Money Out of Politics.  There is a similar movement in the US who have been the inspiration for this letter: www.getmoneyout.com

This ‘big idea’ has the potential to change the fabric of our society.  After time, more people will trust their government- there is the potential to cure the cancer of apathy.  Once complete, we can safely leave the people’s demands in the hands of a participative democracy.

We are cognisant that there are many sides to every issue, and are open to your opinion and alternative viewpoints.  If you agree with our proposal, we welcome you to join and/or speak to us at the VAG anytime from October 15th.

We understand how it will take great courage for a politician to support this movement- and that you may have to swim upstream against your party. That said; please visualize a world where the majority of your constituents trust you.  Just think of the things you could accomplish.  The first political leaders to join have the opportunity to join the pantheon of great Canadians.

(Posted on Occupy Vancouver Facebook page on October 8th)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.genuinewitty.com/2011/11/07/letter-to-mps-for-get-money-out-initiative/

The Battle is Our’s to Lose!

I understand the history and complexities of the relationship between traditional activists and the police.  And, I can in many cases, understand why these methods are important.  If you are protecting a virgin forest from a fleet of chainsaws, a simple hug may not be the answer.  However, this protest is different:

1.) The general public don’t understand the complexity of the G20, nor do they really care (as a result of not knowing – feedback loop of silence).  They loved the Olympics- and had a very hard time understanding why anyone would protest them.

2.) This new issue is understandable by all – 99% of the population are under-represented in government compared to 1%. Once they understand us, I find it hard to believe that more than a handful of the 99% would be tolerant if the police used violence.

3.) Government employees and the police are most probably not happy with the future of their investments and pension fund(s). They are feeling the same pain, as are their families, as are all the 99%.

4.) For the G20 & Olympics, the world was watching Toronto & Vancouver- any negative incident would quickly affect the city’s population.  Our event is not a focus of world attention- in fact, the same event is happening across the continent.  So, there is less reason for the city to repress us- quite the opposite.

5.) Canada has treaties with other countries that require the government to protect foreign dignitaries from harm.  To my knowledge, there will be no foreign dignitaries attending our event.  (but you are welcome!)

6.) The city of Vancouver is spending enormous amounts of money on building a reputation as a Green, and Socially Conscious city.  The local government understands that it would seriously damage this reputation if they were to start pepper spraying people at a non-violent protest.

7.) The people of Vancouver are still in-shock about the hockey riot.  This event cast a shadow over city, a real buzz kill after the Olympics (we’ve only just started paying the bill for it!).  It will only take one smashed window on the 15th and many will see us as a threat. Conversely, if we can show the world that the people of Vancouver have passion for an important issue, and that we led the most peaceful of all occupations-   we can redeem our city’s reputation.

This protest is real, and if we communicate well with ALL of the 99%, our only deterrent to success will be ourselves.

(Posted on the Occupy Vancouver Facebook page on October 11)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.genuinewitty.com/2011/11/07/the-battle-is-ours-to-lose/

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