Occupy Vancouver protesters disrupted the first major mayoral debate of the civic election, shouting down Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Non-Partisan Association Coun. Suzanne Anton
That a movement dedicated not only to shining a spotlight on the economic imbalance in our society but also the restoration of our democratic system would choose as it’s 2nd major target a democratic function is a damn shame and an own goal, in my opinion.
You might feel – with some justification – that both Gregor Robertson and Suzanne Anton unhealthily represent the interests of real estate developers. You might feel – with absolute justification – that debate moderator and Vancouver Sun editor Fazil Mihlar is a mouthpiece for the Fraser Institute. But it’s irrelevant: a candidate’s debate is an exercise in democracy regardless of who the participants are, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that a democratic movement would seek to squash it. It makes is seem you are attempting to suppress what little democracy we have left rather than restore and enhance it.
If it had been any event other than a debate. A speech. A fundraising dinner. And so on. There is, in fact, significant sympathy in the mainstream press. The Globe now has an ongoing series, and just yesterday Pete McMartin had a very sympathetic column. If this is truly a movement “of the 99%”, then don’t piss away some of the 99%’s good will. A truly mass movement will require compromises. For example, secular Egyptians made common cause with the Muslim Brotherhood, and vice versa.
Every #Occupy movement has it’s issues unique to it’s city. Every #Occupy movement seems to be developing it’s own flavour. What are the key issues facing Vancouverites? Homelessness. Housing affordability. Stagnant Wages. A moribund electoral system. Less so some of the issues with the banking sector that, say, New Yorkers righteously have. Let’s face it, Vancouver is not a centre of finance. So while I don’t mind the first action #occupyvancouver took – occupying a TD Bank – I don’t think it will strike a chord here.
They need to choose their targets for maximum relevance and maximum effect. (And hey, maybe the Olympic Village is appropriate here…)
Earlier I worried that #occupyvancouver might simply be an exercise in “the usual suspects”. So far it seems to be playing out that way. Old techniques. Ancient grudges. Same old, same old.
I truly hope to be proved wrong.
UPDATE: A proposed code of conduct for #OccupyVancouver, and it’s not bad!
UPDATE 2: The #OccupyVancouver twitter account (whoever that is) denies this was an official action:
It seems more likely someone from the camp went down with a few Occupiers on their own (this would later be confirmed when a few protesters