“Mic check”…”Mic check”…”Mic check”…
The Occupy Toronto-ers have received their eviction notice. Reporters have swarmed the park. An Emergency General Assembly has been called. Random supporters like myself stand around, shy guests at a proletariat cocktail party, conspicuous with our leather gloves or our digital cameras.
Where once has reigned peace and affability is now sizzling tension. Nonetheless, the young women running the Emergency General Assembly demonstrates an astonishing sweetness. Everyone. Take. A. Deep. Breath. she says, after someone with obvious mental health issues takes over the podium for several minutes. That. Didn’t. Take. Up. So. Much. Time. she says. Everyone repeats (it’s The Peoples’ Mic, after all): That. Didn’t. Take. Up. So. Much. Time.
I sit down on a park bench. A demurely-dressed woman in a purple coat and black skirt sits next to me. She’s from Serbia, she knows something about oppressions, and uprisings. She comes to the camp whenever she can. I talk to the young man sitting next to her, who’s been illegally evicted. After trying several legal avenues, he’s homeless. The camp has given him refuge and, more than that, a way to make sense of his anguish, to give political support.
We’ve all been debating the occupation, it’s the topic of dinner party conversations and classroom discussions. I’ve had my doubts, still do. The Poet, who was part of a huge student resistance in Mexico, is unimpressed. Why. Aren’t. They Blockading. Bay. Street. she says. The University Administrator says their discourse is ahistorical, and reminds them of other occupations that preceded theirs.
But back at the occupation, they are organizing themselves into groups — those who will resist, those who won’t. A man tells everyone he’s got cars organized, to help people take their gear to wherever they’re going next.
As I leave, a motion to change the name of Nathan Phillips Square to Jack Layton Square has been passed — but not without a great deal of slow-motion discussion via the Peoples’ Mic.
Neither the mayor, nor the cops, nor the media can stop this conversation.