Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and #Toronto

The mother of all Occupy occupations, namely Occupy Wall Street in New York, continues, as does #OccupyToronto. My brother, Joe Hamilton, is in New York covering the city and he has sent in a few photos of the New York occupation movement and assorted New York Scenes including the Brooklyn Bridge at night.

The Occupy peaceful protests call for something, maybe fairness, maybe arithmetic with some percentage distribution. People agree with the math, agree that fairness is good, rock on, life is good. The Occupy focus group can't focus and that lack of focus is focused on - it is a badge of courage that seems to suggest that there is really no point to the occupy movement.
Lego Occupy Wall Street diarama

Within the rough campsites, full of tents and lack-of-focus groups, the 99% seem to be settling into their own distribution of 1% and the 98%. Yeah, apparently they don't like the homeless that invade their space and eat their protest food as told in The Blaze "It looks like the grub served to the Wall Street Occupiers will go from gourmet to gruel tomorrow in an effort to shoo away “professional homeless” people who have been feasting on the Occupiers’ donated dimes." In Toronto there are reports that the police won't enter the park and that the appointed St James Park protest marshals act like bullies. The Toronto Sun says "But the rules don’t apply in there. It’s their park and they will run it however they choose because as Const. Marshall said, Toronto Police don’t go in there."
guitars and gatherings

Some of the occupiers intend to control media coverage and bully reporters. It doesn't take long for any small society to break into their own society-reflecting society. What they need to do is tax each other and put in their own professional police force, farmers, cleaners and whatever else a rule creating and rule enforcing sustainable society needs to do. The protest people that organize and run these new groups shall be called the 99's-1%. The first step is to start setting up the rules which the Occupy Toronto General Assembly seems to have under control. As noted in some of their minutes they identify a number of points and items of concern including "Walk Safe Marshals, Anti-oppression — let’s bring in outside exp. In Anti o – this is a place for people ready to change, Abuse and Violence is not always physical; SAFE SPACE, More Police? Mechanisms for Accountability deal with causes, but start with symptoms. Incl. Physical and sexual violence."

Anywho, with no focus and for as long as the protest population can stand each other (because of anti-social behaviour, such as theft and violence along with drug and alcohol abuse, are the biggest dangers to the movement from within) the movement will continue as a small group, occasionally growing or temporarily joining other groups. The Globe and Mail notes "Occupy Toronto’s open-arms policy has meant some of the homeless and drug-addicted park regulars have joined the protest" and although St James Park is "not quite the same as the B.C. site’s problems with hard drugs rumoured to have caused the death of a young woman there on the weekend and an overdose two days earlier. But Toronto organizers say there was an incident this weekend when one resident became drunk and belligerent."
Super MJ at the Occupy Toronto protest, photo by James

The substance abuse and homeless population, often with associated mental illness issues as reported by the Mental Illness Awareness Week MIAW website which quotes "86% had either a mental illness or an addiction", causes untold harm in large and small cities countries, let alone a small population of campers in close proximity, and can lead to external or political reasons to attempt to decamp the protesters from the outside. Huffington Post claims that Mayor Rob Ford is already looking to shut down the St James Park based protest. I am not sure if it is a taxation or (damaged) grass issue.

Will the 1%, or even the rest of society, allow a never ending protest where the rule of law is abandoned in a discrete section of the city? In most cases the politicians have decided that the protesters must go and in some cases much violence ensues, which galvanizes the public into the occupy movement. The Occupy protest is a perfect life form, either viral or more probably Vulcan, where the stated objective is protest for the sake of protest. The protest only has to last so long before the protesters are battled, which increases the amount of protesters who protest the action against the protesters.

The coming Canadian winter is a formidable enemy to the outside, tent based protest, which will thin out the participants but I see no reason why a small minority wouldn't remain in the park, waiting for the coming of spring or the advance of the police and fueling, no doubt, cries of police brutality. This YouTube video from Press TV is titled "Occupy Oakland grows despite police violence". Both will result in more protesters so it looks like the movement has no end in sight - it really is a never ending protest that will one day see a break away protest group, protesting smack dab in the middle of an Occupy site with signs that say "Protesting for a reason".

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