On Saturday Oct. 8, OccupyVancouver's first general meeting was held in the Woodward building's atrium. Organizers had originally planned to hold the meeting in the basement conference room, but as more and more people filled the room and staircase, it became clear that a larger space would be needed. I don't know how many people came and went during the meeting, but it was certainly in the hundreds.
In many ways it was like a high school reunion with many of the well known faces of Vancouver's diverse progressive left community present. Notably, there were many new faces, mostly young, and perhaps a sign that indeed the movement has broadened with an infusion of new blood. Also, of equal note, were those who were not there: the pseudo-left of centre Vision Vancouver's municipal candidates. For that matter, I didn't see COPE's council candidates in attendance either, but maybe they were just keeping a low profile.
Given the sometimes fractious nature of left politics in Vancouver, those attending conducted themselves with a great deal of respect for diverse opinions. The lack of an adequate sound system -- replaced by the "human microphone" technique -- may have helped keep commentary brief, focused and civil.
After a prolonged discussion about goals, mission statements, and demands (the latter wisely left for the overall meeting at the occupation on the 15th), the group broke up into committees to tackle everything from food, publicity/outreach, security, medical services and a variety of other things that will be crucial if the occupation is to succeed.
The occupation kicks off on this coming Saturday; timings are flexible. A lot of things will be hashed out on the spot...and on an ongoing basis. Those who critiqued my previous blog for being anti-democratic should come out and join the discussions. After all, this may be the purest form of democracy going and it's your chance to be part of it. Don't say you weren't asked.
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