It’s been described as a movement of presence rather than a movement of protest.
Occupy Wall Street continues to gather momentum in cities around the world, including downtown Victoria.
While the mantra of this movement is “keep going and do not stop,” the time is coming for this nascent revolution to shift its positive energy into a new manifestation of the cause. We’re not sure exactly what that will look like, but we know what it can’t allow itself to become.
Occupy Wall Street and the hundreds of localized versions happening across the planet are about an inclusive call for change. So far, the swelling protest has avoided the kind of controversy that would sway public opinion against it. In Victoria, one of the biggest concerns is that the occupation of Centennial Square would be co-opted by activists who think camping should be allowed in all public spaces. But whatever side of that argument you’re on, this current “protest” must continue to resist being defined.
The movement is an expression of frustration with how our political and financial system appear to be tilted toward the financial elites. The pendulum has swung too far and there simply is not enough trickle down to keep the masses happy.
That said, if the hope is to empower people, then the Victoria occupiers will soon find themselves in the uncomfortable situation of being seen as the ones forcing their will on the very public they claim to represent.
Centennial Square traditionally becomes a focal point for the community as we get deeper into the fall. An ice rink will offer an opportunity for families to skate for a toonie and annual Christmas celebrations inspire deep feelings of goodwill throughout our community. These are not things the Occupy Wall Street movement wants to protest.
By all means keep going, but don’t stop the people from enjoying what is already a welcoming public space for the 99 per cent.