View From Here

October 16, 2011

Nearly 36 hours after the Occupation Movement began its, errr, occupation of Canada, let me offer up the briefest of views of what’s happening here…

What it is ain’t exactly clear.

With nearly 50 years of historical perspective to to fall back on, we look back at the social movement of the 1960s as some sort of  monolithic event horizon that just sprang into being in one fell swoop. Boom. There was MLK reciting his I Have A Dream speech and we were off and running.

But the truth is much more complicated than that. The explosions that detonated in 1964 and 1967 and 1968 had long, long fuses and many hands holding matches. There were as many diffuse interests in the anti-establishment movement then as there are now; their demands equally as divergent.

WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE WANT?

Is the rhetorical demand of those who know the answer but just don’t want to hear it. Equality of economic opportunity and equal sharing of social responsibility. Yes, there are those among the occupiers with a desire to overthrow the capitalist system just as there are those wanting only a minor tweak of it. Different approaches for attaining similar goals. Equality of economic opportunity and equal sharing of social responsibility. It is that simple and straight forward. If you’re still asking, you’re just not listening.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER! WHERE IS YOUR LEADER?

This seems to be the real stumper for the traditional media and status quo maintainers. We won’t take you seriously until someone steps forward and assumes control. Someone we can focus on. Someone we can hope to discredit in order to throw the whole movement into disrepute and go back to business as usual. Where are the dirty hippies? Where are the high pitched screaming radicals?

By not delivering up a bullet point presentation of demands and a designated list of leaders, the Occupation movement is putting the old guard on notice that they should no longer see themselves in a position to be granting special dispensation or munificently bestowing concessions. This isn’t about negotiations. It’s about a redistribution of power.

This also isn’t a battle of wills waged between two, top down, hierarchical camps. It is about the 1% versus the 99%.  One side is led by the very, very few. The other, the many. Leaders are essential to the former. Leadership is multifaceted with the latter.

Occupation is not about one day or one weekend. Right now, it is a toehold, one foot in the door. It’s just the beginning. You want answers? Ask those who claim to know it all. This is about fundamental change. That takes much longer.

assuredly submitted by Acaphlegmic