“Inequality? There’s nothing the city can do about it.”
Whoever said that the Occupy folks have no message and no goals is spinning like there is no tomorrow.
Of course they have a message and goals. They are fed up with the neo-Liberal world that appears to be shoveling every bit of wealth created in one direction. And they want it to stop.
The Occupy folks aren’t expressing themselves perfectly. I guess they can’t afford to hire Rob Ford’s message machine like Suzanne Anton can. But they are expressing themselves and I believe most people understand what they are saying. Worse for the 1%, most people even agree with it, either entirely or to a point.
So why the spin? That’s simple: to put a stop to their message because it harms the status quo.
It works this way. If they have ‘no message’ and no goals then they have no legitimacy. They’re more a festival of the tawdry than a real demonstration. And with no legitimacy they have less right to be where they are.
That seems to be the argument made by Suzanne Anton, the NPA and their mouthpieces at the Sun and Province. Occupy is nothing more than a rabble, they say. And the city should treat them like any other rabble. It should bring the full force of the law to bear and toss them in the slammer if they don’t like it.
Last night Anton said as much when she compared the Occupy group to the Stanley Cup rioters.
Except that it’s a completely false comparison. If anything the Stanley Cup rioters were the anti-thesis of the Occupiers. They were by and large privileged. They had no point except booze filled rioting. And they started the violence.
Occupy is made up of the no hopers in the current order. They aren’t privileged. They have nothing but a point of view. And they are by and large peaceful, no matter what the Police Chief says.
Support for that view of the Occupy group came from an unlikely source yesterday – BC’s Supreme Court, which gave the group’s lawyer a week to muster up his Constitutional arguments based on political expression.
That’s exactly as the City and it’s lawyers predicted a week ago.
Anton’s supporters went ballistic. Ian Mulgrew over at the Sun somehow managed to spin this was all Robertson’s fault, even though city staff predicted this precise legal result.
So here’s what it comes down to. No matter what Anton and her raw meat eating followers say, Occupy is a legitimate political expression. And as the mayor of Calgary says, freedom of expression trumps city by-laws.
That means the only way to resolve this situation is Robertson’s way. Even if Anton ends up as Mayor – and that would be a tragedy for the ages – she’ll have to take Robertson’s path of negotiation and ‘tolerance to a point’ to bring an end to the occupation.
Worse, if she ends up as mayor and implements her plan of ‘no change for the 1%’, Vancouver can expect a lot more tent cities in the future.
A version of this story appears on the Vancouver Observer