Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do the Occupy Protesters REALLY speak for the 99%

I've been following with interest the Occupy Wall Street movement and it's subsequent incarnations in various cities throughout Canada. As I've stated on this blog, I support the Wall Street demonstrators but am continually at a loss to understand the movement here in Canada. Apparently, if you don't fully agree with the entirety of the Occupy movement you are then labelled and dismissed as intellectually inferior. Allow me to demonstrate. Recently, I happened upon the Occupy Vancouver movement at the very time a court ruled that the tents had to be moved. Someone in Vancouver tweeted:
Whether if you are for or against #occupyvancouver you cannot deny the fact that todays ruling is a direct violation of the charter.
to which I responded:
@alexpensato @soyvancouver not so. Upheld right to protest; just no structures on public land. #occupyvancouver
this was then met with the following:
@BSnowsell Sorry. I made a pact w/ myself not to speak to trolls. Pls stay under your bridge. cc @soyvancouver @infil00p @symbi0 #DNFTT
A few days later I was having a prolonged Twitter debate with a good friend of mine who's political leanings are diametrically opposed to mine. We often spar and generally it is good natured and I value his view even though I don't agree with it: that is the nature of a free and open society after all. But our debate was joined by another and I found it interesting that the pro-Occupy folks feel a great deal of liberty to infer motive to my opposition to the Canadian variant of the movement. When I stated my opposition of illegal demonstrations it was characterized as unease over uncomfortable demonstrations.  But, I was not at all uncomfortable walking by the protesters. I've been in many uncomfortable situations, that was not one of them.

When I suggested that, far from being representative of the majority, this movement was a few malcontents yelling loudly, it was assumed that I was afraid of the voice (of the people) and that made me uncomfortable. I again asserted that I was not opposed to free speech but was opposed to the "fringe trying to derail Canada." I was then labelled as paranoid.

For all my life I've watched special interest groups and professional lobbyists make a scene to garner attention...and it works. It's how Greenpeace and PETA stay in existence. They thrive on spectacle and aim to shut the opposition up by making it politically incorrect to speak against them. If you do, well shame on you--you're against [whatever it is they're for] and NO civilized person could ever be against THAT.

This is exactly what is happening with Occupy, only instead of ONE reason for being, they have potentially thousands and no clear idea of how to acheive what they want. And yet, if you point that out--shame on you, you're anti-democracy, you're anti-freedom. There is no logic. And, if you engage the ardent Occupy folks in a discussion, you will be made to believe that you are in a minority, that you just aren't seeing things clearly.

I don't think that's the case. I think most Canadians would agree that, while there are improvements that can be made, there's nothing so wrong that we need a major upheaval or revolution. I also think that the vast majority of people believe that reasonable limits on protests are NOT an infringement on protest. Additionally, I also believe that most folks respect our courts enough to obey their rulings.

However, I could be wrong. Rather than assume I have a pulse on public perception of Occupy, I've put together a short survey to gauge understanding of (or lack thereof) and support for (or lack thereof) the movement. Please take the short survey and if you'd like to leave a comment below, please feel free to do so. This post is now "Up For Discussion."
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

1 comment:

  1. Good post - I agree; silly childish names have no place in discussions of this nature. It's too bad some pro-OV posters can't see past this.