Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The Occupy Movement and The Revolution
This sign in the Occupy Toronto campsite still stands defiantly. But of course the occupiers will be moved eventually. Because the power has the police. Just not tonight.
Occupy Toronto protesters will not be evicted tonight following a last-minute court injunction against the city’s plans to forcibly remove them...Full arguments for and against eviction will be heard Friday, with a decision delivered on Saturday.
Which is great eh? Because I can't make it down to the camp tonight, but I sure will be there on Saturday. And so will thousands of others.
In the meantime, everyone should know this: the reason The Power, and the Pig Mayor, want to evict Occupy Toronto has nothing to do with claims that it is damaging businesses in the area, or that the camp is dirty, or that the city can't winterize the sprinkler system, or that nearby residents can't use the park, or walk their dogs in it.
Because I have seen plenty of rich people quaffing fine wines and lobster at the fancy restaurant across the street as if nothing was happening. The campsite is a tourist attraction, so it's attracting more potential customers into the area.
And the camp may be humble, but it's not dirty.
The occupiers are making sure of that...
Furthermore, if the city wants to winterize the sprinkler system NOBODY is stopping them. And there is still plenty of green space in the park, for people and dogs.
No. The real reason The Power wants to evict the occupiers is because they are scared stiff of their message. It sounds too much like REVOLUTION. And they are right about that.
The historian Crane Brinton in his book “Anatomy of a Revolution” laid out the common route to revolution. The preconditions for successful revolution, Brinton argued, are discontent that affects nearly all social classes, widespread feelings of entrapment and despair, unfulfilled expectations, a unified solidarity in opposition to a tiny power elite, a refusal by scholars and thinkers to continue to defend the actions of the ruling class, an inability of government to respond to the basic needs of citizens, a steady loss of will within the power elite itself and defections from the inner circle, a crippling isolation that leaves the power elite without any allies or outside support and, finally, a financial crisis. Our corporate elite, as far as Brinton was concerned, has amply fulfilled these preconditions.
But it is Brinton’s next observation that is most worth remembering. Revolutions always begin, he wrote, by making impossible demands that if the government met would mean the end of the old configurations of power. The second stage, the one we have entered now, is the unsuccessful attempt by the power elite to quell the unrest and discontent through physical acts of repression.
It is a revolution. For how else are we to curb the power of the robber barons, or save the planet from destruction?
In my post last night I said that losing the camps would not necessarily be a disaster because too much energy is being consumed running them.
So a crackdown might actually help us.
“We poured a tremendous amount of resources into defending a park that was nearly symbolic,” said Han Shan, an Occupy Wall Street activist in New York. “I think the movement has shown it transcends geography.”
On Monday, Adbusters, the Canadian anti-corporate magazine that conceived of the movement, indicated that the protesters should “declare victory” and head indoors to strategize.
But every real progressive in the world should be grateful for those camps, for that's where the greatest movement for economic and social change we've ever seen was born...
And every real progressive Canadian in this old and tired country full of democratic slackers, should be grateful to the occupiers for setting up those camps, and taking their message of change to the streets. Instead of just staying at home and humping their computers.
Are you afraid of a revolution to save the planet from the brutish barons and greedsters who would destroy it? I'm not.
You can demolish a campsite, you can arrest the peaceful occupiers, or beat them, or pepper spray them. Or worse.
But you can't arrest an idea, or kill a movement, or a REVOLUTION.
Whose time has finally come...