Duck! and Gather

Occupy Us and Canada

Posted on: October 6, 2011

I just finished up a weekly play-date between my daughter and my neighbor’s daughter. My neighbor, Mike, and I do an hour of Yoga during the play-date, and follow that with an hour of conversation. Over the years, our conversations have covered just about every topic.

Tonight’s topic was Occupy Wall Street. I asked him whether he knew from what country the idea for occupying Wall Street came. He didn’t. I told him it came from a source outside of America. That piqued his interest. So I invited him to guess.

Now Mike is a world traveller. Been to six of the seven continents of the world. After we eliminated Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, South America (and Central America), and Antartica from the answer pool, he was still stumped. The conversation must have dragged on for over 5 minutes.

Finally, when I said “North America”, Mike paused, and said: “Canada?” He acted like it was a trick question. When I affirmed that Canada was the source, he said what almost all Americans would say: “But I kind of see Canada as just part of America”.

Now, I was born and raised in Canada. Left that country at the age of 25 to attend law school in California. Never went back. Growing up in Canada, you know you’re different than the Americans. You’re just not sure how.

I’ve lived in America now for almost half my life. I think I have a pretty clear picture of the differences between the countries. But rather than me give you my theories, why not just describe the circumstances behind the Canadian entity that proposed occupying Wall Street.

Well, the entity is the Vancouver-based magazine AdBusters. Here is their July 2011 blog post titled “#OCCUPYWALLSTREET: A shift in revolutionary tactics”.

Notice that that blog post is written by a Canadian looking out at recent events in Spain and Egypt, and suggesting that those events are models for Americans to pursue on Wall Street.

Now think about that for a second. What American — what American media organization, what American politician, what American think tank — would ever look around the world, at “second-rate” democracies and “third world” countries no less, and argue that we Americans ought to heed their lessons?

None!, I tell you. America is the most myopic nation on the planet. Now, of course, I am a citizen of only three countries on two continents (my American passport is my favorite one). So how I can say that?

I can say that because America’s navel-gazing is 100%. A country can’t get any more myopic than America. Hell, I bet even closed North Korea is more “world aware” than the average American. If there are any hunter-gatherer clans still in existence in 2011, then maybe, just maybe, those clans might rival America on the score of insularity.

Back to Occupy Wall Street. If you’re uncomfortable with this epochal national movement having its origin in Canada, then the next fact should really bother you. The group most responsible for picking up on AdBuster’s July blog post and instantiating those abstract ideas as reality on the streets of lower Manhattan is the shadowy international group known as “Anonymous“.

Anonymous is truly an international group. It’s members span the globe.

So there you have it. Our national struggle against the Corporations, which is being led by our youth, was conceived in Canada, and magnified by shadowy figures from the entire world.

This is all very interesting to me.

And I must say I’m just a little bit proud that my nice and friendly “homeland” played the “birth-giving” role to this crucial American movement.

11 Responses to "Occupy Us and Canada"

“where are the canadian protests?” Canadians don’t need no stinking protests, Tom!

Actually, it’s been 23 years since I lived in Canada so maybe I shouldn’t opine on that place. But hey, incomplete info never stopped me before …

I see Canada as a poor photocopy of the US. That sounds like a slag of Canada, but it’s not. Consider for example serial murder, school shootings, obesity, and the crimes of bankers. Like the US, Canada has these too. Like I said, Canada is a photocopy.

But the degree to which Canada has these compared to US is much reduced in magnitude and incidence, even normalizing for population disparity. Like I said, Canada is a poor photocopy.

Simple experiment for you. Go to the Toronto airport. Sit there and look at the fat people going by. Then drive 2 hours to the Buffalo airport. Look at all the fat people there.

Know what you’ll find? The Buffalo fat people are more than twice as fat as the Toronto fat people.

So I come back to the crimes of the bankers and other Corporations in Canada. Canada certainly has these. But I’m betting anything that these crimes pale in comparison with the analogous ones in the US.

Last proof: spend some time on that tumblr page “We are the 99%”. Desperate story after desperate story. A great many of these stories recite crushing debit from astronomical medical bills.

You won’t find that in Canada, buddy boy. Not with Canada’s “socialized medicine”.

check out what the Canadian Xerox’s are doing:

Bill said that he was watching the news and the Occupy Us version in Vancouver has cost the city $500,000.00 on just policing alone. Great. So people like me, who are working hard to support my family may have taxes raised because of activity like this.

There has to come a time when the anti-establishment people (after having brought awareness to the issues like they have), start taking action to become part of the establishment so that change can occur.

The only way Bill and I see that change will occur, is by working with the establishment, not against it. Or maybe they should just create their own political party. Being the “99%”, surely they would get voted in (yeah right). Me thinks the 99% is more like less than 5%, but they are so loud, that it seems like 99%.

I say to these people: take your passion, your endurance and your focus in order to take action and create what it is that you want. Volunteering to help people may be a good place to start while exploring employment or becoming part of a grass roots political party that does something other than sit and attract media attention.

Winter will not be pleasant for the diehards.

Cops over-reacting to peaceful protestors. In America, provoking and attacking them. My sympathies aren’t with the people who give orders to the cops.

These people are raising and keeping in the news issues that the media — left and right — ignore or minimize. Big Media are Corporations too.

#OWS cleverly realizes that marching does nothing. But camping does.

You sound like the sort of people who complained when blacks did their “sit-in” in white-only restaurants in the early 1960s.

Why didn’t these black folks just form a political party? Because they had no political power. Only moral power.

Moral power that broke through with the Civil RIghts Act of 1964, and the Voter Rights Act of 1965.

I know you can’t imagine yourself — through your comment — as being historically in line with the South that resisted the civil rights revolution of the 1960s.

But then again I’d bet that most of those people in the South back in the early 1960s never imagined themselves as dinosaur reactionaries, standing in the path of justice and history.

I disagree. You are comparing the clear moral anti-racist ideology of black America, to a multitude of people who have no clear unified focus (I’ll bet there will be a percentage of people partaking in the Occupy Us movement that didn’t even read the details of the mission of this movement).

To compare the black sit-in in white-only restaurants (public places where people eat), to throngs of people sitting in private or public places, where this activity is causing potential threat to public safety and possible economic loss to businesses in the surrounding vicinity, is unfounded.

What you are comparing is the moral right of a certain race to sit wherever they want to, to the moral right a group of people have to peacefully protest, where safety has been shown to be a concern in some countries already (did you see Occupy Rome?).

Increased policing is not only to ensure the deterrence to crime, but it is there to also help prevent the loss of business to those small businesses that are in the Occupy Us vicinity by increasing the manpower of the police force to direct traffic. I found that in itself, highly ironic regarding the economic mandate of this group.

I’m hoping that these protests continue to be peaceful. But crowds of people, and the potential increase of frustration that many feel, many of whom are already homeless, cramped together for weeks on end – well, I hope that no one gets killed.

How comfortable would you be if your child was a young adult and attended Occupy Wall Street? My guess is less than 100% comfortable.

Yes, I suppose that with all lasting and valuable change in the world, there are people that will become “martyrs” of the cause, or that “collateral damage” happens with any important process.

I don’t consider myself a dinosaur reactionary. I consider myself a person that believes in safety, life, and the quality of life for all people – protesters and bystanders alike. I don’t believe in martyrdom, and I abhor collateral damage, but I suppose that is the price society must pay for change sometimes. Certainly there has been too many martyrs and too much collateral damage during the civil rights movement. But maybe necessary? I don’t know.

If there is no loss of life or limb to anyone, then the price of this movement may well be worth it. That answer lies in the future. If harm does come to even one person, I am one who would say that it was not only not worth it, but there may be other ways to accomplish what is being asked by governments around the world by these anti-establishment protestors. I don’t know. I don’t know politics well enough to comment intelligently if there are any other viable solutions.

If this (non)-activity of these peaceful protestors was the cause of even one person being harmed, in my mind, it would not be worth the price. (?Blackstone principle?)

You compared my response with the Southern attitude during the civil rights movement.

A more accurate analogy would be that my response is that of a parent that doesn’t want to see some of her children potentially harmed (physically or economically), by her many other children who are frustrated and may or may not reach a violent boiling point, being cramped together for weeks and months on end.

I’m glad awareness has been raised. Is this doing anything? Perhaps it’s too early to tell yet. Then again, this might just fissile out with the approaching cold weather.

One more comment.

I can understand the frustration that the youth in America have, and thus the onset of the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have every right to complain and protest (though hopefully very safely).

But what the hell is Canada’s problem? Canada is a weak photocopy of the US only in some areas. However, unlike the US, Canada has a great socialized medical system where everybody is cared for, and has had a solid banking system for years. It has none of this blatant corruption that has plunged America into a deep economic hole.

Unfortunately, Canada does rely on the US for much of it’s economic sustenance, and that is pretty scary, unless resources start being exported off-shore. If Canada descends into an economic hole, it will be following America for this reason, and not for any other reason.

Maybe the Bay street gang in Toronto and the gang in Vancouver and in the rest of this maple leaf country should support their neighbours and go camp out on Wall Street.

KG — Thanks for your comments. Maybe our disconnect is Canada vs. U.S.

I haven’t lived in Canada since 1988. But I’ll venture to say re Canadian protestors: “What’s your problem?”

Take two issues: healthcare and university tuition.

In America, people don’t have the first unless they have a good job. So many kids are without. No so in Canada.

Also, tuition in America is way higher than in Canada. I know it was in 1988 when I went to law school in the U.S. I doubt that that huge gap has been closed in the intervening years.

Without knowing more about the situation in Canada, I guess I’d lean toward your view on Canadian protestors.

But in America, this is the start of the People vs. Corporations war to save America. If the People lose this war, there will be no more America.

From that perspective, I couldn’t be happier that this “war” has started with hippy-chicks sleeping in parks.

You gotta understand, I’m talking to people counseling me to buy a shotgun and where to get the shells for it. You know, for when the war really starts.

But me, I’m just hoping this #OWS stuff keeps going the way it’s going. A big messy peaceful movement that picks up more and more supporters over time.

No guns. No fighting. No mob rage.

Revolution … Canadian style.

From that perspective yes, we are in total agreement.

In Canada there is no second amendment to the constitution. When you hear people arguing for gun rights, it’s because they want to be able to catch their quota of moose for the winter, or at worse, shoot a deer just to adorn their truck hoods with the antlers. I’ve not heard Canadians argue for the right to own guns in order to protect themselves.

So yes, it’s a much scarier place to live, if you’re living in America with the second amendment securely in place. Sure, there are wacko serial killers and other nut jobs here too, but I think what you’re talking about is the climate of the present problems, and the ability and method for their resolution.

From that perspective, I’m all for the OWS movement. It’s just a little nerve-wracking to know that the second amendment is there as a potential last resort.


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for the money has gone too far

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