Notes from the Occupy Toronto’s Town Crier:
Yup, that’s me, as my role has been lovingly described by Occupy Toronto residents and the external community who has come to rely on my coverage. I am of course flattered and will continue to do right by my fellow residents.
You can follow my rabble coverage at @krystalline_k. Sorry that I can’t point out which tent I’m writing this from, but there are some haters/trolls on the #OccupyToronto Twitter stream that I have no desire to meet in real life. rabble has its own dedicated Occupy news and analysis page.
As a journalist, I first need to disclose any bias. For myself, I lost my job three weeks ago (not my journalist/blogger job at rabble.ca but my 9 to 5 job writing in the finance sector). I panicked, cried a bit (OK, a lot) but the same day it happened, I returned to Occupy Toronto and kept up with the good work being done here.
The irony of covering these demonstrations is not lost on me, as I informed my editor that I would now be able to devote a lot more time covering the Occupy movement. As a resident here, I have as much a stake in the community as the person in the tent next to mine.
Therefore, I have fallen into the roll of keeping the camp and outside supporters constantly informed on internal and external news for rabble.ca — hence the title: The Occupy Toronto Virtual Town Crier.
Since beginning my coverage here for rabble.ca a month ago today, I think I have felt every single emotion possible on the human spectrum and have experienced so many new ideas and events that it floors me that this sometimes cynical little brain of mine can absorb it all.
I have been to my first Shabbat celebration ever, went to my first yoga class, sang in my first gospel choir and have been blessed to drum and sing with my First Nations drumming group (thanks Sue!) a few different times.
I have helped cook a community meal, attended to someone with low blood sugar and painted protest signs. I have tarped and re-tarped and re-tarped our tent. I have learned more about politics and political tendencies at the Free Skool than I have ever learned in activism since I first showed up in 1994.
Overall, I am amazed — the kind of emotion that makes you immediately stop what you’re doing — at the hope these occupiers have in the ideas and optimism of the movement.
There have been numerous times over the past three weeks, whether due to the one week of seemingly non-stop rain or personality conflicts or the in-your-face social problems that suburban Torontonians get to blissfully ignore, that it was unclear if Occupy Toronto would survive.
But Occupy Toronto demonstrators seem to surprise even themselves with their resiliency and dedication to the issue of wealth redistribution and anti-poverty that literally, makes people stop what they are doing and look around at what the movement has accomplished.
I’m not sure what’s in store with winter bearing down on us and with Occupy movements across North American skirmishing with local city governments and their police arm.
I realize that this Occupy movement is bigger than all 300-plus of us at St. James Park combined. I strongly advise my loyal (so grateful to you all, more than I can ever say) readership to come down, or check out the Occupy in their area. Today in Toronto, we’re celebrating our one-month anniversary with a (de)Occupy March for Indigenous Solidarity. It’s not the den of sin the right-wing media portrays it to be.
I’m kind of proud that they fear us and demonize us, it means we’re on the right track.
Happy One Month Anniversary Occupy Canada!
So while I can humbly admit that I don’t know what’s in store for us, but that’s just part of the adventure. I do know that I will never be the same kind of activist again.
That’s the audacity of hope, grassroots style.