A letter I wrote to “Occupy Canada”

Nov 6, 2011 by

Some of you may have read what I and others have written the past few days on Occupy Canada. Not speaking just for myself but in relation to what others have said more succinctly than I, it is disheartening as each day passes that some participants and organizers in this particular portion of the movement will not engage us in intellectual debate. If anything it is as if our words are purposely glossed over or outright ignored, as if our politics are not congruent. Nothing could be further than the truth; we are on the same page in the basic essential ideas, and isn’t it the essential ideas of the movement that are most important?

It is fascinating as a 100% supporter of the OWS/99% movement that while this movement is “supposed” to be a movement by the people for the people, there seems to be a locking-out of those of us who may offer some contrary views of what is happening in terms of affiliation, organization, and general statements made to the public.

I tried to point out yesterday that while many were bemoaning the introduction of imbedded chips being implanted into people’s bodies this was completely peripheral to the OWS/99% movement and regardless of whether the implantation was imminent or not it is completely divergent to the core principles of the movement. As an aside to some of you younger readers, I’m 42 years old and when I was 13 years old the implantation idea was in major media stories at that time as being imminent – that is just about 30 years ago now; some people’s idea of imminent is obviously different than others. As many have pointed out, if and when the day comes that this technology is rolled out en masse to the general public, it is much different than legislating a bank bailout where one doesn’t seem to have a personal choice. You would have to choose whether you and your children were to have a surgically implanted chip. I think this pretty much sums up the foolishness of this original post by Occupy Canada.

Getting back to the basic idea of intellectual engagement, while the groups in the U.S.A are slowly starting to respect and understand the absolute necessity of a globally orchestrated movement, the Canadian groups are continually undermining these efforts.

What disturbs me and many others who would actually like to be a part of this discussion, which I believe would best be served by an open debate with the operators of these sites, is that they continually ignore us. Why is this? Anyone can see by going to my website, oddbloke.ca, that I have written over 150K words of support of this movement – one would be hard-pressed to characterize me as a right-wing plant.

Later yesterday I saw a post by Occupy Canada stating the literal definition of “occupy” on the sites page. I had to fight the urge to post the definition of “siege” in retort to this. Not because I like what is happening but to point out what I and many, many others have been saying for weeks: Get Organized, Get Organized, and Get Organized. Yet there is this strange vacuum of thought when these words are uttered. Most often you will see comments like, “I love it when people try to tell us what to do, etc, etc, etc.”

What most of the Canadian occupiers don’t seem to understand is the establishment is quite literally laying siege (globally) to their encampments and ideas. The same is happening in the U.S.. Garbage collection facilities, portable toilets, and medical care are being withheld. These denials of essential services are part of the strategies and tactics of your right wing overlords. This allows them to produce the soundbites that are needed for the next portion of their siege-laying, in the form of factually inaccurate criticisms about the individual encampments: “Filth, public urination, defecation, drugs” and so on.

Obviously the right-wing media fails to point out in their limited coverage of the various occupying sites that these services were actually denied to you by the governing bodies of the cities which you are occupying.

In a speech to Occupy Boston, the lifelong activist many of you should have read or be reading, Noam Chomsky, said:

“build and educate first and strike later” 

Very good advice. When he says”later” he doesn’t mean years, decades – it could be a matter of months.

What do you think he means by “build?” I won’t cite references here as those of you who are better critical thinkers will look for yourselves and see that what he is referring to indirectly in this speech is the “spokes councils” that are forming. I will admit that I don’t know 100% for sure the level of involvement of the Canadian side of the movement in this, but I infer by the massive divergence and incoherent messages we are getting from the individual groups that participation is being actively resisted or they have a minimal involvement in the very least.

I have read on mainstream networks, Aljazeera, blogs, etc. that currently there is 33% support by the U.S. general public of the OWS/99% movement – I think this number is fairly accurate. Where are the rest of the 99%? You need to use critical thinking and ask yourself this question before spouting off more emotional, passionate, sophist rhetoric. Where are they indeed? Why aren’t they putting pressure on our public officials to quit laying siege to the individual encampments? Why are larger groups not forming, as miraculously happened in Oakland?

As I and many others have said, the protesters are missing many unifying points that would resonate with the general public. While many of their “demands” may actually be founded in sound social theory and indeed are prescient, progressive ideas, if the public isn’t ready for some of these ideas yet they truly are best left on the backburner – for now.

I do believe that there is a massive group of people out there that are ready to come closer to center and support this movement. But they will not come out of hiding until a coherent, organized group is assembled internationally. This international amalgamation, while introducing some of the bureaucracy that many of you abhor, which will indeed slow some aspects of the movement down, is exactly what we need. In fact this “slowing down” will allow us to work en masse to formulate a coherent message that will convey to the masses the changes that need to be made to the heavily entrenched institutionalized modes of thought that are prevalent in our society today.

One idea I continue to point out which many who are intellectually superior to me seem to miss is the following: the movement needs to formulate their messages to the public in such a way that they resonate with the huge group of our society known as the “baby boomers.” The effects of failing to recognize the massive political power of this group cannot be underestimated. In Canada alone, boomers represent 30% of the population; when you subtract those who are too young to vote, those who are imprisoned, and the massive group of you who have lost all faith in the political process, this leaves the boomers with undeniable political control of every facet of our lives. I shouldn’t need to point out that while all the boomers are not ideologically right leaning, the basic fact of the matter is that statistically speaking, the majority of them are, without doubt, right of center. You cannot directly attack the institutional ideas that this group believes in and still hope to bring them closer to center, and bringing some of them closer to center is of paramount importance in having this movement resonate globally. This requires some careful deliberation of how entrenched ideas are attacked. I would point out as a long time strategist that the key is to attack structures that have lesser importance but in fact are part of the bedrock of the first objective. This is known as peripheral engagement –it’s sneaky.

In reference to the Vancouver site, unfortunately at this point because of the absolutely idiotic list of demands they released to the public, and this very unfortunate death, they have lost any credibility or currency they may have had with the general public. The very best thing that the Vancouver protesters can do now is pack up their camp, and as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and many others have said, build and educate.

If the momentum and energy that accumulated in the opening weeks of this movement had been put into creating and joining a massive organized coalition, as is happening now in the U.S., then this occupying would actually continue to make sense, and I believe would resonate with the general public. Unfortunately, when even people like me, who are in fact 100% behind the movement, believe that Vancouver, for now, has lost credibility with the general public, a continued occupation would actually be detrimental to the movement. It is truly time to build and educate, and strike later.

It seems to me now that the protesters should be using their online public forum to make use of the momentum and public awareness that still exist to join and become active members of the spokes councils. They need to find some credible sociologists, political scientists, and economic professionals who are sympathetic to the cause to help craft their statements to the public so that they sound like they are coming from a coherent and organized body.

You have the chance to change the world for ourselves, children and all those who follow. But if you continue to ignore what powerful intellectuals are positing as next steps to take, and fail to organize internationally then we all lose. If the right is at least listening to their experts don’t you think it would be wise that you do as well?

I beg you not to lose this chance and waste the enormous effort, energy and sacrifice so many of you have made. But if you continually cling to dogmatic ideas that are far too radical to resonate with the masses I fear the giant machine you have dared to do battle with will crush you and continue to crush the rest of us – the other part of the 99%.

Peace R.