Occupy protesters speaking for more than just themselves

Occupy Nova Scotia’s campers will decamp—temporarily—from Grand Parade so Remembrance Day ceremonies can take place there next week.

Given the respectful, peaceful tenor of the protest, that’s hardly surprising.

Neither will it come as any surprise—though it will doubtless disappoint Mayor Peter Kelly—that the protesters also intend to rebuild their tent village and continue the occupation outside City Hall after Nov. 11.


The Occupy movement sometimes seems easy for those of us not in its trenches to mock: its endless, participatory, consensual, non-decision-making gatherings; its megaphone-less, speak-and-repeat chanting communications; its occasional unconnected-to-the-larger-group-or-to-reality oddball conspiracy theorist accosting passers by with their truths—“Read ‘The Creation of First Corporation’ on my web page,” one older man in a wheel chair, who bills himself as Truth Soldier, urges me. “It explains everything about everything”—and, of course, with its conspicuous lack of the standard laundry list of easily answerable concrete complaints or demands.

That—and the fact local Occupiers have been so peaceful—may explain why the mayor underestimates its strength.

He does.

His paternalistic thanks-for-coming-you’ve-had-your-say-now-go-away mantra misses the fact the protesters are tapping a deep worldwide well of frustration and anger. Even among those of us who don’t camp out.

Corporate greed

The rich get even richer, the poor get poorer and everyone else stagnates. More than 40 per cent of the world’s income is now gobbled up by the already wealthiest 10 per cent; the poorest 10 per cent get the one per cent crumbs. In Canada, federal corporate taxes get sliced in half and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says it’s pointless to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. The rest of us will have to tighten our belts.

In Cape Breton, a single mother of two had her power cut off last week because of an electrical bill provincial social assistance refuses to cover.

Her problem?

Unlike the bankers or the auto industry, she is not too big to fail.

And so it goes.

The problems haven’t disappeared; neither will the protesters. Good.

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