Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why the Occupy Movement Can't Fail

I went down to the Occupy Toronto campground yesterday, just as the protesters were setting off on a march to City Hall. So naturally I followed them, and had a great time.

Only to discover later, much to my surprise, that according to some in the MSM I was marching with a dying movement.

Miserable weather for camping and public apathy appears to be taking a toll on the "occupy" movement in Canada, even as protesters in Toronto took to the streets for a march and rally at City Hall on Saturday.

Which sort of echoes what the old Con Andrew "Silver Spoon" Coyne had to say the other day, when he dismissed the movement saying more people had lined up for the latest i-phone.

Now it's true that the core group is still a small one. A coming together of young and old activists, community groups, the poor, and the marginalized.

But what Coyne and the other cons don't seem to understand is that this movement has spread all over the world in a matter of weeks. Its message is resonating with millions, and framing a new debate. The global consensus has finally been broken.

These people have not come to protest just against a bad law or a single issue, but the system itself. They are putting capitalism in the dock. The photograph powerfully captures this moment because it so vividly shows the symbols of the order of things that inhabitants of western economies have up to now accepted.

The monster finally exposed.

Occupy Wall Street and the global movement it is inspiring may yet prove to be an effective call for change, or a flash in the pan. That is not the point. Nor does it even matter if the protest is right or wrong. What matters is that unfettered capitalism, a force for economic dynamism that seemed unassailable, beyond reproach or reform, a monster we learned to be grateful for, suddenly finds its ugliness widely commented on, exposed among the lights of Times Square. The emperor of economics has no clothes.

Yup. The Occupy movement can't fail, because it has already won.

And an idea doesn't need a campground to continue to grow, until it eventually changes the world...

As this one must. For unless the capitalist monster is tamed, or replaced by a better system, it will destroy us ALL.

The writing is on the wall...

As economic conditions deteriorate more people will understand that, and more will join the movement.

So even if the campgrounds go down, the light will burn on. It may be necessary to occupy a physical space right now, as Alice Klein says here.

As long as Occupy Toronto manages to sustain its presence in the park, it will have that vital ingredient of time to work through the kinks. Time is needed to get the logistics together, to build community, to forge links with the larger community of supporters, to develop even more powerful means of communication and group process. And finally, time is needed to coalesce around more specific messages and bigger, even more inclusive actions.

But one way or the other, time is on our side.

And the struggle will continue...


  1. Anonymous2:47 PM

    There is no better system than regulated capitalism, period.

  2. Anonymous4:08 AM

    Anonymous is right about regulated capitalism. Sadly, Ronald Reagan,George Bush I and II decided to turn it into casino crap-shoot capitalism.

    And speaking of crap, look where America's economy is headed!

    Don't those Americans ever learn?

  3. Anonymous12:30 PM

    The "Occupy Movement" has won?! Does this mean I can stop making my mortgage payments to the bank?

  4. hi may be right, but it's also true that there is no worse system than the one we have now.
    Once, as Adam Smith preached, capitalism had a social contract with its workers, now it's just greedy, it exports jobs to other countries, creates mass misery. and despoils the planet.
    If you know how to tame it go ahead. But as the old saying goes, it's easy to jump on the back of a savage beast, but not so easy to get off it...

  5. hi I told anonymous that may be true, and you're right too when you say that people like Reagan, Thatcher, and Bush turned it into a casino crap shoot.
    But was it just their fault or is it the nature of the beast?
    Also, we should remember that at the height of their power the Mayans and the Romans thought their system was the best. And we know what happened to them.
    It's easy to be trapped in our own times, but history is a long river and who knows what lies ahead?
    I'm not a fan of any -isms, all I want is a more just system that works for all people, and saves our planet for future generations...

  6. hi way way up... I didn't mean that the struggle for a fairer less greedy world has been won. What I'm saying is that our blind faith in the present system has been shaken, and the way is open for reform and new ideas.
    New ideas are always good, and the human drive for survival will always prevail sooner or later.
    Which I suppose means dare to believe in a better future, but in the meantime don't stop making those payments... ;)