"Occupy Toronto" Part of the Democratic Renaissance?

110 posts / 0 new
Last post
Maysie Maysie's picture

Assuming that these are accurate quotes:

Quote:
"Who gets priority access to sleeping in a yurt?" asked protester Jeff Wong.

Occupy Toronto organizers keep the large yurt under lock and key.

"We have to make sure [the yurts are] policed properly so they don't turn into crack dens," said Antonin Smith, who works on the Occupy Toronto food team.

This is a clear duplication of the society we already have. If anyone doesn't see that this is a huge problem and is steeped in classism, exclusion, lack of solidarity and middle-class ignorance and righteousness, then we will have to agree to disagree.

Other "Occupy" movements deal with the issue of displacing homeless folks in entirely different ways. This is important since most of the Occupy locations across North America are in places where homeless folks usually gather/stay/live. And yeah, some of the homeless folks have issues with substance use. So? So do some of the occupiers. So do some of the bankers. Do you see where I'm going with this?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Thanks Maysie. I'm really wondering about how hard messaging and reaching folks are these days. Reading and observing Ezra Levant and his folk and listening to the chatter around me, it must be difficult for the organizers to balance everything. The narrative by the right is unbelievable and mean-spirited. I don't have faith in the general crowd to sort through it enough, so I have some sympathy with the position taken by the organizers.

Perhaps you could guide me in my confusion? And you already have I see. Just getting my mind around how to get others to see it.

Maysie Maysie's picture

While I reject the mainstream's expected, predictable and rather mundane critiques, it's important to hear critiques from within the movement, the left and other marginalized positions.

Saying that certain spaces are for some people and not others, especially when those "others" are the people who live in the park all year round, and, one could argue, those who feel the effects of class oppression every fucking day, shows a level of disconnection and lack of inclusion that demands comment, critique and change. This is what I mean when I say they are duplicating the society that we're in already.

I support, as an ally, the Occupy, (Re) Occupy and the Decolonize movements across North America and in the rest of the world, but there must be a way to challenge oppressive actions when they happen.

Toronto isn't alone. Occupy Santa Fe did the same thing (look under II, Reports from the Safety Group). 

Unionist

Maysie wrote:

This is a clear duplication of the society we already have. If anyone doesn't see that this is a huge problem and is steeped in classism, exclusion, lack of solidarity and middle-class ignorance and righteousness, then we will have to agree to disagree.

Yeah, we should postpone fighting against the 1% until we have resolved all the contradictions among the 99%.

Quote:
Other "Occupy" movements deal with the issue of displacing homeless folks in entirely different ways. This is important since most of the Occupy locations across North America are in places where homeless folks usually gather/stay/live. And yeah, some of the homeless folks have issues with substance use. So? So do some of the occupiers. So do some of the bankers. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Yup. Raising one significant social concern in opposition to another one. We'll have to agree to disagree.

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

I never said to postpone, Unionist, but thanks for the lack of respect.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Fuck, I hate it when I see both sides. And I agree Maysie. you said you support the movement, your criticism notwithstanding.

Unionist

Maysie wrote:

I never said to postpone, Unionist, but thanks for the lack of respect.

Ok, let me be crystal clear about this:

While the Occupy movement is ongoing, I want to see the allies (you and me and most of the world) hailing and supporting it - unconditionally.

For example, I've spent a lot of time fighting for health and safety in the workplace (and elsewhere). If I hear that someone is trying to dismantle an Occupy encampment on hygiene grounds, I don't even stop to ask whether there's some merit to the concern. I reach for my figurative weapon.

When Lisa Raitt is trying to crush some workers' struggle, I don't want to hear about how one worker made a racist/sexist/homophobic comment about another worker (or manager) on one of the picket lines once somewhere, and how the union isn't taking effective action to stop that. I want to just support them - unconditionally.

When the Afghan people are fighting to expel foreign invaders, I don't want to hear Western so-called allies debating which faction to support or critiquing Afghan attitudes toward women or westerners or foreigners or LGBT folks etc. That's just the way I am.

I recognize that this is a fundamentally different approach from that taken by some others in the left. My approach isn't 100% and universal in all circumstances. I absolutely respect those of good faith who take the other approach. They may even be right for all I know.

But I will introspectively tell you this much. Wherever it comes from - nature, nurture, who knows - I am left at my advanced age with this very stubborn sentiment: That those who are in struggle against the common enemy will enjoy my support and respect, and I will not throw stones from the sidelines. When the focus of the struggle changes, what was stones may need to become boulders.

Hope that explains where I'm coming from.

 

N.R.KISSED

Unionist wrote:

Maysie wrote:

This is a clear duplication of the society we already have. If anyone doesn't see that this is a huge problem and is steeped in classism, exclusion, lack of solidarity and middle-class ignorance and righteousness, then we will have to agree to disagree.

Yeah, we should postpone fighting against the 1% until we have resolved all the contradictions among the 99%.

Quote:
Other "Occupy" movements deal with the issue of displacing homeless folks in entirely different ways. This is important since most of the Occupy locations across North America are in places where homeless folks usually gather/stay/live. And yeah, some of the homeless folks have issues with substance use. So? So do some of the occupiers. So do some of the bankers. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Yup. Raising one significant social concern in opposition to another one. We'll have to agree to disagree.

 

As Masie has said herself she did not suggest postponing anything. What she is suggesting is that any progressive movement needs to be critically reflective to the extent that they have awareness around when they are replicating oppressive behaviours and attitudes that we are opposing. If a movement is doing that then it is not fighting the status quo. Historically we know that we do not just want to replace one heirchal power and exclusionary system with another. The occupy movement has been vocal about being inclusive it needs to walk the talk.

It is important also to note that not only are we are fighting we are building, we are building an alternative and in doing so we have to be open to internal critique, those of us with privilege and power need to be critically aware of when we are operating from that power and privilege. Speaking from personal experience this is not easy but I believe it is necessary. IF something is difficult that is often an indiczation that it is also necessary.

To me the way that we relate to the most marginalized in society is crucial and is not something we need to wait for until the revolution is over, to me it is the revolution.

As Maysie has pointed out the space that is being "occupied" already had occupants (not only in terms of colonial history). Anyone who has done street outreach has an understanding that on the street that is the home of those who are without homes and needs to be respected. If the movement was not aware of this than it is a major oversight.

I am writing this as someone who is a strong supporter of the movement and has been inspired. I have been down there and wish  I actually had more time to help out and also help address this issue.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
For example, I've spent a lot of time fighting for health and safety in the workplace (and elsewhere). If I hear that someone is trying to dismantle an Occupy encampment on hygiene grounds, I don't even stop to ask whether there's some merit to the concern. I reach for my figurative weapon.

And as much as I understand where you are coming from in regard to the issue of certain tactics being employed at demonstrations...I just can't seem to locate any agreement with your position. It seems to me that if you can't unconditionally support the various approaches that might emerge from a crowd representing various types of injustice...why say anything negative at all. Why not take the position that while they don't represent you by employing certain types of actions, the results are understandable. Why this two-tiered clarification?

Unionist

Oh, I understand, SJ. If someone comes along trying to sabotage a struggle, I condemn them as being lined up with the enemy - even if they are shouting slogans more radical than any poet laureate could possibly invent.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
..... even if they are shouting slogans more radical than any poet laureate could possibly invent.

Which helps to explain why you get so worked up over things when the real bricks start flying.

Unionist

No, SJ, in summer 2010, when the real bricks started flying, the real pricks were long gone, their job done.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

C'mon Unionist, forest for the trees? Nobody's trying to sabotage anything. She's bringing awareness. I see no harm in that.

In fact, I need awareness. This is big. It is perhaps the struggle we've all waited for.

Slumberjack

At any rate...a movement of this nature is bound to fail if they insist on making the same mistakes as the society they're arguing against.  They'll become fractured, compartmentalized and isolated.  If they can't walk and chew at the same time with respect to systemic marginalization and oppression, they have no business representing anyone let alone the 99%, when its the 1%'s everyday expectation of us they're actually mirroring.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

See, that's where I'm conflicted and thanks for spelling it out Slumberjack. We need solidarity. Until the 1% are scared, we are a flea.

Slumberjack

RevolutionPlease wrote:
Until the 1% are scared, we are a flea.

Exactly.

Slumberjack

The other thing is that there's bound to be mistakes in that regard.  How could there not be with the level of conditioning that exists.  They have to be corrected in order to move on to the next issue.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..with a diversity of people come a diversity of issues. some observations from the van occupy:

..there is no official leaders. so if something does happens who do you talk to? and if you report something to say security..they have no authority. and they often need to go over to the information tent and have a discussion with someone or ones there. when something threatens the encampment in some way a collective decision gets made..by the assembly if possible but with as many people you can, if not.

..there are work groups and committees that are very approachable and a way of raising your issue. or you can stand where people are gather and say “mic check” 2xs. people will repeat the check and then you can state your case. a 1/2 hr before the assembly is to meet we have a time to add something to the agenda. there are limits but serious issues are not ignored. people here don't shy away from controversy.

..the most repeated word in the camp is patience. yes we have problems. but we didn't come into this prepackaged. there are folks out there who have skills that are very much in demand here in trying to work this all out. more are needed as the workload is heavy. a motion is going to city council today for the removal of occupy van. working in these conditions is not easy but rest assured we are doing our best.

 

Doug

Seems to me like an unavoidable allocation issue. If there isn't enough yurt space for everyone, not everyone can sleep in a yurt and you need some way to figure out who gets to. The assumption that an unattended yurt is going to turn into a crack den is a bit much but they are quite costly and for Occupy Toronto, vital items. I don't blame them for trying to protect them.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Doug wrote:

Seems to me like an unavoidable allocation issue. If there isn't enough yurt space for everyone, not everyone can sleep in a yurt and you need some way to figure out who gets to. The assumption that an unattended yurt is going to turn into a crack den is a bit much but they are quite costly and for Occupy Toronto, vital items. I don't blame them for trying to protect them.

..i disagree. it's a process issue. if you disagree with something going on there needs to be a way to resolve it rather then some folks just taking a dessison. in this case i feel it this needs to come to the assembly and in van there is a way to get it there. i'm sure that is the case in to.

..here we decreed that if you used a mic it was a power position and boundries were established. the same with facilitaters. they facilitated only and if they want to share their opinion they would need to leave the platform and join the rest of the assembly. power is a sensitive issue and must be adressed directly. it doesn't mater who is right or wrong.

edit: and in this encampment the assembly is the closest thing to the ultimate decider. a block vote in the assembly means that someone is so opposed to a position that she or he is prepared to leave the occupy. these are the building blocs of a future where decissions are made in the community and polititions are managers that implement those decisions. and not decission makers.

Unionist

Holy smokes. Did anyone read the article?

Quote:
It remains to be decided how the largest yurt, next to the food station, will be used.

Where does it say that anyone other than the assembly will make the decision? All we know is that the yurt is locked up until they decide.

One person is quoted as saying "We have to make sure [the yurts are] policed properly so they don’t turn into crack dens." That person is identified as being a member of the food team - not the Supreme Chair and Dear Leader. He expressed an opinion when some reporter waltzed along.

Molehill, meet mountain.

 

MegB

I just heard that at 10pm tonight, London, ON police are going into Victoria Park to oust the Occupy London people.  Thank you Mayor Joe Fontana.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

What the hell is this "Democratic Renaissance" in capital letters, btw?  The person who started this thread started at least three others with those words in the title? 

 

 

Unionist

Ken Burch wrote:

What the hell is this "Democratic Renaissance" in capital letters, btw?  The person who started this thread started at least three others with those words in the title? 

 

 

It's Truman. He's hoping for a renaissance of the Democratic Party. Good luck with that.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I didn't think they ran in Canada-wouldn't there be an eligibility issue?

howeird beale

Quote:

booze and drugs have effectively been outlawed. “This territory is a sacred site; no alcohol and drugs because that is spiritual warfare on [native] elders,” one participant said, summarizing the consensus after a week of group flip-flopping over whether it was cool or not to use inside tents.

 

http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=183419

 

In closing, I'd like to remind people that the state is certainly not above pushing drugs, especially to leaders of marginalized communities, in order to stifle dissent, both by clouding the minds of activists and as a pretext for the use of force.

COINTELPRO anyone?

You gotta use? Fine. You want to look after users? Fine. Walk them off the site, look after them while they're on the nod, then bring them back to a tent and a sleeping bag and a meal and clean clothes and a community that gives a shit.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Well said dude.

NDPP

A Proposal From OWS - Spokes Councils

http://occupyto.org/2011/11/02/a-proposal-from-ows-spokes-councils/

"Occupy Wall Street recently proposed Spokes Councils. This is an interesting concept that maybe could be considered by Occupy Toronto to get more people involved and make us more productive as a whole.."

what's up currently at www.occupyto.org

howeird beale

Quote:

Rochdale was originally a refuge for idealists. Ultimately, its cooperative idealism was its downfall. Dedicated to consensus decision making and granting a vote to everyone who lived (or claimed to live) in the building, Rochdale's governing body was unable to reach agreement to expel those who failed to pay their rents or otherwise live up to its ideals. Unable to pay its mortgage to the Canadian government, Rochdale drifted towards insolvency. As nearby Yorkville became gentrified during the late 1960s, much of Toronto's counterculture moved into Rochdale. This included homeless squatters and bikers who dealt hard drugs, along with a substantial number of undercover officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

According to the CBC Archives, by 1971 Rochdale had become known as "'North America's largest drug distribution warehouse.' Hash, pot, and LSD are in large supply. The Rochdale security force includes members of biker gangs".

CBC Archives also describe how "[d]ue to problems with cops and bikers, the governing council set up a paid security force to be on 24-hour alert. Ironically, some of these security people were bikers themselves. As had happened in Yorkville, an unofficial alliance with the Vagabonds outlaw motorcycle club developed." Rochdale's educational focus and student population declined as the drug business increased.

After increased clashes with police, and unable to pay its mortgage, political pressure forced financial foreclosure by the government, and Rochdale closed in 1975. A number of residents refused to leave. On May 30 the last residents were carried from the building by police. The doors to the college had to be welded shut to keep them out.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale_College#Drug_culture

 

I love what's happening. That's why I didnt put in editorial. I just asked "Why? Why not?" This kind of empassioned discussion is exactly what I was looking for.

But just because decisions are hard, doesnt mean we wont have to make them.

Doug

Could they be losing focus a little here? Occupy Toronto walks in solidarity with Tibet

howeird beale

Why? Because they're protesting an imperialist policy of the People's Republic of Wal-Mart, y'know, where our overlords sent our jobs to be done by their slaves?

Doug

Protest everything and you might as well be protesting nothing.

howeird beale

wow. you're deep maaaaaaaaaaaaaan

NDPP

Doug wrote:

Could they be losing focus a little here? Occupy Toronto walks in solidarity with Tibet

NDPP

Occupy Wall Street Protests in Greater China

http://chinastudygroup.net/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-protests-in-greate...

"A group of several hundred individuals in Zhengzhou protested earlier today in support of Occupy Wall Street, I believe earning them the first public action in China related to the occupation..."

well given that they are 'occupying' Missassauga sovereign land, and constitute the citizenry of a settler-state - it does all seem a bit...muddled.

takeitslowly

it seems the occupy toronto movement is more occupied with how to peacefully live in the park while keeping drugs and violence out of their mvoement than about the original message of the occupy toronto. we need to stay focus on our demands, not on the process.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

takeitslowly wrote:
it seems the occupy toronto movement is more occupied with how to peacefully live in the park while keeping drugs and violence out of their mvoement than about the original message of the occupy toronto. we need to stay focus on our demands, not on the process.

They seem to be more taken up with removing or hiding certain conditions that have more or less resulted from economic oppression, along with the people represented within the conditions, anything apparently which might provide the authorities with a pretext to assault the encampment, while missing the point entirely that power is adept at inventing pretext if it is not first handed to it on a platter. In doing so, they protest against the existing economical structure by mimicking the way economy controls and categorizes 'their' society at large. In their outrage against the existing corporatist civilization, the occupy leaders have set about creating their own civilized spaces, from which to register their outrage against a civilization that excels at hiding the problems it has created and magnified...taking lessons from it it seems.  And no littering please....its the environment after all.

Yeah, I think the way to grow the movement is to let people know that drugs, violence, petty crime, spousal abuse, littering, etc. are all welcome in the encampment - oh, and masks and rocks and incendiary bombs too! We're not the well-fed comfortable first-world liberals, ya know - we're embracing the conditions that result from our economic oppression! And the cops won't be happy for an excuse to shut us down... No, they don't need excuses, they just crush us any time they like, so we might as well bring out the heavy weapons - we're not waiting for the revolution, we're losing it today!!

 

Doug

howeird beale wrote:

wow. you're deep maaaaaaaaaaaaaan

 

It wasn't meant to be deep. Nobody achieves any one thing by trying to do everything. It would be like trying to win a tug-of-war by attaching a bunch of strings to the rope, handing them out and telling people to run in all directions.

NDPP

So re the above -  2 more  relevent pieces:

Can Revolutionary Pacifism Deliver Peace?  by Noam Chomsky

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/287-124/8264-can-revolutionary-p...

"The global conquest took a particularly horrifying form in what is sometimes called 'the Anglosphere', England and its offshoots, settler-colonial societies in which the Indigenous  were devastated and their societies dispersed or exterminated..."

Constitutional Democracy V Unconstitutional Empire  -  by W'Lawpsh

http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/09/constitutional-democracy-v-unconstitut...

"There is a real court case pending; or sort of pending except for the fact the Clerk of the Supreme Court of the US is blocking the Courthouse door to prevent the case from entering and being put in a file that will end up before the Justices and require a decision by them, supported by rational reasons for Judgment.

Its name is Mahican Tribe and Rick Vanguilder and Mi'kmaq Tribe and Gary Metallic v Canada, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Russia, United Kingdom and United States.

But the issue it raises amounts to asking the nine Judges of the most powerful court in the world to answer the constitutional question of Constitutional Democracy v Unconstitutional Empire in favor of constitutional democracy over unconstitutional empire.

Since that particular court is the imperial court of the empire, the question is really asking them to do a coup amounting to a counter counter-revolution..."

Wall Street is Mahican Tribal Territory yet despite supporting numerous other issues and causes, OWS or indeed Occupy Toronto, has NOT yet seen fit to march against the threshold issue the original sin of settler-colonialism, genocide and THEIR OWN ILLEGAL OCCUPATION. Some contradictions are never resolved, seldom raised, frequently avoided.

Free Tibet eh?

What about Caledonia?

 

 

howeird beale

Well put unionist.

 

howeird beale

Doug, I'd rather see a solidarity march in support of Chinese workers rights to collective bargaining, benefits, a living wage, proper housing, universal public health care, and the right to see their families more than one weekend a year . Perhaps we might be able to compete as workers if we didn't have to compete with enslaved labour; enslaved labour which serves OUR 1 Percent.

The more time goes by, the clearer the purpose of Nixon's visit becomes.

But Tibet's a disgrace, too, so I have no problem with protesting that imperialism.

 

Slumberjack

Yes, well put Unionist.  "Real" movements are built by assisting capital in the everyday business of hiding the human effect from the view of more decent folk.  Some people are just plain embarrassments to any enterprise....and if we don't do something about it, the cops will lay a thumping on everyone's ass...as if tidying things up and sweeping people away represents a protective barrier between protest and police brutality.  At any rate the domino effect has already begun with Oakland and Vancouver, along with other places.  Instead of play by play....we'll likely be gearing up for post mortems on the entire affair soon enough.

wage zombie

Slumberjack is just throwing tomatoes from the sidelines.  Great work you're doing dude.

Slumberjack

I read your pre-edited comment WZ.  In New Orleans, when people were hungry or needed medical attention, kitchens and medical centres were set up by the people.  They didn't hide the problems away to keep up 'appearances.'  They attended to them from where they stood with whatever resources there were at hand.

wage zombie

That's what I'm seeing in Vancouver.

Are your comments about the situation in Toronto informed by having visited the occupation?

Slumberjack

takeitslowly wrote:
it seems the occupy toronto movement is more occupied with how to peacefully live in the park while keeping drugs and violence out of their mvoement than about the original message of the occupy toronto. we need to stay focus on our demands, not on the process.

They seem to be more taken up with removing or hiding certain conditions that have more or less resulted from economic oppression, along with the people represented within the conditions, anything apparently which might provide the authorities with a pretext to assault the encampment, while missing the point entirely that power is adept at inventing pretext if it is not first handed to it on a platter. In doing so, they protest against the existing economical structure by mimicking the way economy controls and categorizes 'their' society at large. In their outrage against the existing corporatist civilization, the occupy leaders have set about creating their own civilized spaces from which to register their outrage against a civilization that excels at hiding the problems it has created and magnified...taking lessons from it it seems.  And no littering please....its the environment after all.

Slumberjack

Is that the same as saying that one needn't comment on military affairs unless one is a soldier?  I'm not surprised or disappointed by your statement...having seen it employed so often in other contexts.

wage zombie

I'm asking if your opinion is informed.  So, is your opinion informed or not?

Slumberjack

How much capitulation is required before one becomes informed?  The recent statement from Occupy Vancouver in response to the ultimatum to clear the zone is promising.  The same should be said in response to any critique from government at this point.

wage zombie

When you talk about what is going on at Occupy Toronto, is this based on having seen the occupation with your own eyes?  If not, I would say that opinion is not informed.  So have you been down to the site or not?

Slumberjack

If you've never been to Afghanistan...any opinion you might have on the matter would be ill-informed.  The same applies to any war zone.

Pages

Topic locked