Don’t you know, they’re talking ’bout a revolution, It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know, they’re talking ’bout a revolution It sounds like a whisper
While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time, in the unemployment lines
Sitting around, waiting for a promotion
Don’t you know, they’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution It sounds like a whisper
Poor people gonna rise up and get their share
Poor people gonna rise up and take what’s theirs
Tracy Chapman, Revolution
I have to admit I don’t fully understand this. I agree with the basic premise that they are protesting. The economic divide is worse than it has ever been. In the United States right now 99% of the nation’s wealth is held by 1% of the population. (In Canada the divide is not as great but it’s growing.) It’s okay to be wealthy in a capitalist society but when that wealth is gained by kicking other people down it’s not okay. I understand bailing out big banks so they don’t collapse but think of how different the situation would be if the same amount of money had been given to the home owners who were losing everything. Or perhaps, the bonuses that were still given to the CEO’s could have been paid into a fund for people who were losing their jobs.
If the people who were the other 99% were doing okay then it wouldn’t be as big of deal. However, the middle class is disappearing, soon there will only be upper and lower class and where do you think you and I will land? This movement has been growing for years as I think John Q, a 2002 movie starring Denzel Washington, showed how the average Joe (or John Q. Public as our title character) can lose everything so easily. Don’t think we’re immune in Canada just because our hospital care is paid for. Prescriptions aren’t, medical supplies aren’t. I know people who have to choose between food and prescription drugs or rent. The protests make sense to me.
However, I don’t really get the whole occupation. Originally it was a novel idea that brought attention to an issue in North America that would have continued to be ignored otherwise but now it is bringing out more attitudes. We have issues with police using excessive force and pepper spray. We have people upset that their public spaces are not accessible. And we have people that want nothing to do with outright civil disobedience and I think that’s where I find myself.
A better idea to me is for the movement to continue general assemblies and teach-in’s but to go home at night. That way there is some visibility but no built in excuse for people to hate it. It just seems like the illegal occupation has stopped the conversation.