And just like that, it’s over.
After two months, the Occupy movement appears to be falling apart. The Toronto, Vancouver, and Wall Street protests have all received eviction notices, and many of the protesters have packed their things and left. In New York, free standing structures have been banned from Zuccotti Park (aka Liberty Plaza Park), literally leaving supporters of the movement out in the cold.
At UC Davis, students were pepper-sprayed for conducting a peaceful sit-in. The Vancouver prostesters are being booted from one site to the next on an almost daily basis.
Here in Toronto, a fraction of the protesters originally stationed in St. James Park await the arrival of police to dismantle the last tents and officially evict the remaining residents.
It’s easy to blame Rob Ford, or overzealous police officers, or the ever-referenced “one per cent”. All are logical targets.
If this is really the end of the Occupy movement, some of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of everyone who asked for it to be simplified, who asked for the protesters to get to the point, who couldn’t be bothered to Google the reasons behind the protest. (Type in “Occupy Wall Street Adbusters”. First page).
This is about more than Occupy, which will live on past people in tents because it means something. At the core of the movement is a simple desire to have things be better for our children than they were for us. Our parents failed. Will we?
No, this is about a willingness to learn, to expand horizons and absorb new information. You know, the thing you came to York to do.
You can disagree with the methods behind the movement (camping isn’t for everyone), or their objectives (too many people are calling for the end of capitalism; slightly unrealistic), or the people getting the most publicity (the whole thing is still focused on white people with enough money to afford urban campouts), but can anyone really be opposed to the idea behind it?
Can anyone say, with complete conviction, that the current fiscal power structure in North America specifically and the world generally is without flaw? Many of us will graduate and be unable to find new jobs in our field. When OSAP comes calling, we’ll need to earn some sort of cash, so we’ll aim for whatever jobs are available.
Except, because of record layoff rates, we’ll be competing for entry-level positions with people decades our senior. The deck is stacked in a way that it has never been before, and we, as a society, can either accept this as reality and continue to eat each other alive to make ends meet, or we can make noise until someone takes notice.
That’s what the Occupy movement is, at this point: noise. It’s not quite articulated, and it’s not packaged for your easy consumption, but it’s the collective noise of people who want change. Who the hell are you to tell them that their request isn’t concise, compelling, or collected enough for you to be concerned?
Just because a topic is bigger and more confusing than you would prefer it to be, that doesn’t give you free reign to completely disregard it. Down that path lies ignorance, and if you’re reading this Editorial, you’re far too intelligent and good-looking to be ignorant.