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Mark McCaw ~ twitter's @bigpicguy

Author of "Insights Inside a Mind" ~ blogging the big picture

Thursday, 10 November 2011

About Occupy Protest Camps

Call them what you will, I prefer to refer to them as protest camps, others call them tent cities, still others call them any number of derogatory names. This is yet another dialogue we need to have.

As always I hope to get my audience to join the discussion, both at home and on social media. Occupy is a very complex topic and to discuss all facets at once would require something the size of War and Peace. So we need to break it down and discuss things in "little boxes" to work on the big picture.

I struggle with this facet of the protest. I wonder if it hurts more than it helps if it can be widely portrayed as it has been. On this issue, I think we're losing the battle to a certain degree. I believe it is vital to retain visibility, I do question if this is the best long term strategy.

Sometimes I like to sit back and ask myself what advice I would offer to supporters of the occupy movement. I guess it is in that vein I will present my thoughts on the encampments that are the visible face of the occupy movement.

I continue to believe we must redouble our efforts to move the movement forward. We have a lot of work to do, fortunately there are a lot of people to do it, but some direction is required.

As for the encampments, I currently believe they're become too much to manage, especially on a public relations front. Before slaughtering me, listen a bit to what I'm going to say and at least think about it.

It is vital for the Occupy Movement to maintain public visibility. I submit, as an alternative to the easy target the camps have become, the various Occupy sites offer to remove the encampments, in exchange for a place of prominence in the community where the movement may freely disseminate information on what it is about, and including a "free speech zone" where the public is able to express their grievances. This deals with those who would portray the entire movement as a bunch of squatters, gives the movement a feel of becoming a serious, cannot be ignored social shift that is not going away. It still provides visibility, it consolidates in a single place the opportunity to express the messages that need to be advanced.

This means smaller sites and less people burning themselves out by being normal people engaging in something our troops train endlessly for. Survival camping, all weather, long term, even with inadequate supplies, they work hard to deal with it even with all the resources they have. The normal individual is not prepared for how physically and psychologically difficult this can be. Thus, turning campsites into official info centres allows people to share the workload, and frees a lot of people to work to get some momentum going so we can change the world.

Now that we've replaced our "squatter" camps with Information Centres & Free Speech Zones, we can concentrate on the organization of large protests at strategic locations or on significant dates. Many of the people in the camps are intelligent and have knowledge and networks regarding different issues that require work. It will free them up to network further to come up with viable alternatives to the problems common in our "so-called" civilized societies.

Large targeted protests with the overall message that Occupy means business as usual will come to an end. That there will no longer be a country to hide in. The world is united in wanting an end to economic injustice and the destruction of the planet in the name of profits. The rape of the poor and the planet must end. Everyone will have to share in the solution, including the rich and global corporations even if they don't like the idea. The permanent location serves the main protests.

If you don't need to be in a tent in the streets 24/7, it's easier to arrange your affairs to ensure you can attend the large, important, coordinated protests. It's easier to devote some of your time to helping your cause, whether it's poverty or decent health care or how the financial system runs, political reform, the environment or any/all/more of the above and move things forward. You free up more time to network through social media and to talk to friends and family and strangers.

I guess you could sum up this train of thought by saying I fully support the visible face of the Occupy Movement, but I'd like to move it forward, to change the face and free resources to work on issues other than survival. We can always do things better, so let's do this better as well.

Thanks to my wonderful Twitter friend @Min_Reyes for suggesting this topic. Can't wait to hear your feedback. She's my Queen of Social Justice.


  1. You lost me when you mentioned Min Reyes. She came on the scene literally out of nowhere(who had heard of her before?)and want to run things HER way. When she didn't get her way she went to the media badmouthing OVAN. She wants to make Bill C-10 and CETA the focus of the occupy. Those are not the reasons people lost their homes and jobs. That looks like a hijacking to me.

  2. Well, I don't always agree with everything everyone says or does, but her heart is in the right place. I can't comment on any of the specifics of what you're talking about as it's the first I'd heard of that.

    Other than me thanking her for the topic, what did you think of the commentary?

  3. Well, Anonymous, just so that you know... WE ARE NOT IN THE US. And the biggest threat to Canadians right now are the two issues i would like to see addressed by ALL CANADIANS, not only Occupy Vancouver. Just so that you know, there are more Canadians concerned about these federal issues than you might think. Perhaps you need to inform yourself better before dismissing these topics... this is why you think it is being hijacked, because you don't seem too aware of what is taking place in Canada.

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  5. Get along. When the common goal is to correct injustice and corruption, there is no room for petty bull shit. btw Mark...some good ideas there...Kim