A friendly message to the Occupy Edmonton people:
Hello, hearty protesters! Hope it’s not too cold out there for you. I feel for you in my nice, warm house. (My sons say it’s not warm, but to them I say: tough. When you start paying the gas bill, you can crank up the heat to 25C for all I care. Until then, put on a sweater.)
Anyway, I’m guessing you’ve all been wearing sweaters (natural fibers, made by Chilean artisans, I assume) to ward off the chilly nights. Must be tough sitting around doing nothing all day, or at least, sitting around all day without the benefit of a PS3.
Now, let me just say that I sympathize with what you were trying to do. You see, occupiers, I too am a member of the 99%. In fact, in my present economic state, I’m in the lower end of the 99%. And yes, it sucks. I don’t ever expect to be part of the 1%, or even the top 10%. But it does grate on me that so much power and money is in the hands of so few, no matter how perfectly manicured those hands are. And yes, I find it appalling that CEOs of major corporations — even the ones who drive their companies into the ground — make more money is a week than I could make in years of working. And yes, megacorporations have an undue influence on our economy. And sure, the disparity between the haves and the have-nots is growing to Grand Canyon size. We agree on all of these things. Good for you for bringing it to the public’s awareness.
But let’s be blunt, here. It’s time to pack it in. You’ve made your point (I assume; it’s a little hard to pin down your exact points), and it’s time to go home.
As you know, a company named Melcor owns that land you’re squatting on. They own it, and they can do what they like with it. They’ve actually been pretty patient with you in letting you set up your grotty tents on their land. And the people of Edmonton have been pretty patient as well. You’re not going to win any Architectural Digest covers with the shabby little shantytown you’ve set up.
Melcor has very politely asked you to leave, and you’ve said no. That’s not very civil of you. You’ve issued a list of demands that must be met before you’ll leave. I hate to say this, but by issuing demands, you’ve made yourselves into a laughing stock. Consider demand No. 1: That government officials work more closely with the occupy General Assembly. So, you’re demanding that the elected officials of Alberta and Edmonton and Canada include you, the unelected, in their deliberations. That’s a good one. Then there’s “end corporate influence on the government, and cozy relationship with the oil industry”. Sure, no problem. We’ll just reverse the last 100 years of government/industry history. When you like that done? Is tomorrow soon enough?
C’mon, occupiers. Once people were sympathetic with you; now, we’re all just laughing at you. And it doesn’t help you cause when professional protestor Mike Hudema — he of the pointless Greenpeace stunts — is your spokesman.
It’s pretty clear now that you’ve got yourselves in a bind. You’ve invested a lot of your time (which seems to be something you all have lots of to invest), and to what end? You have no demands that anyone can act upon, and the public has grown bored and even antagonistic towards you. It appears that you’ve decided the only way out of this mess is the martyr route — you want to be arrested. Preferably with cameras’ rolling. With any luck, you’ll get pepper sprayed, like those California students. That would be SOOOO cool.
Well, good luck with that. My guess is that Edmonton police will quietly move in around, say 3 or 4 a.m., gently take you away, load up your tents in an Anything to the Dump truck, and by the time the working people of Edmonton start showing up to their jobs, all that will be left of your protest will be a littered, empty lot, indistinguishable from so many others downtown.
So, kids, if I may, a suggestion. Declare victory (hey, it’s no stupider than any of your demands), pack up your tents and leave with your heads held high. But don’t give up the fight. Join a political party, or start your own. Run for office on a platform of Justice for the 99%. “Occupying” a downtown park does nothing to improve the system. But you can make changes if you work within the system. Give it a try. As a bonus, remember — jobs in politics pay really well.