Ok so I’m going to talk about the Occupy Vancouver movement even though I am completely unqualified to do so.

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty well-off. My parents are rich. They pretty much finance my life. I live in my own apartment. I have several jobs. I’m pursuing higher education successfully, thanks, in large, to my cushy upbringing with lots of intellectual support. Etc. So I don’t actually have much to complain about, except for things I’m not happy with in the States.

So I’m a little torn on my opinion on the Occupy movement. Ifeel like a hypocrite supporting it. I feel like a bad person if I don’t.

I guess my general opinion on it comes down to what I always say about Vancouver: it looks so lovely on the outside, but look a little below the surface and you see how fucked up it can get.

> We have an exploding housing market in a beautiful place, but we have a widespread and sickeningly overlooked homelessness problem, with the homeless constantly being shoved out of the way instead of any action being taken to help them.

> Also, it’s really difficult to find and afford a place to live.

> We got InSite, but we’re not allowed to have any more of them/increase the breadth of addictions they provide for (let’s not talk about how I actually feel about InSite, that could get messy).

> We have relatively cheap universities, but it’s beyond a hassle to receive a bursary. Not to mention housing costs/food costs (!!!), etc etc etc.

> Our teachers are underpaid and undervalued. Same for our social workers. Psychologists, on the other hand, are plentiful and absolutely impossible to get to unless you have extended medical. $100 a session? It’s no wonder 3% of Canadians are seeing a psychologist for their mental health problem whereas 25% of them actually need to see one.

The point I’m trying to make here is that even though I’m lucky and I realize it very much, and overall in Vancouver we are lucky to have so much, our city is not perfect, and it’s good that the movements are drawing attention to that.

My friends who went to the protests said they were lame, and nothing happened, and the people that were there seemed unsure as to why they were there. And that’s why I’m ambivalent about the Occupy movement – I was afraid that would happen. Vancouver can pull together some pretty good protests, particularly for issues occurring in other countries, but when it comes to criticizing our own city we’re a little lost. I’m kind of scared that the majority of people who were there on Saturday, and who are there now, are like the Madrid protesters this May – just there for the hell of it. Protesting against everything! Anarchy! Long live the hippies!

And the government’s attitude towards them makes me absolutely SICK: “We don’t mind them going on as long as they don’t affect downtown businesses.” What?!?! You don’t give a fuck about the protesters as long as people keep buying shit? How about ACTUALLY PAYING ATTENTION to the fact that there is a PROTEST going on in your city, AIMED AT YOU!

Ok I have a lot of feelings about this topic and I haven’t really come to a good conclusion about them. I feel like we’re dealing with such diffuse problems here that the only thing to do IS protest, because it’s so hard to break them down into distinctive causes, and the social and psychological and environmental factors that cause those problems. It’s like trying to pinpoint the causes of poverty (which I tried to do in class today and royally failed).

Please share your thoughts with me on the issue, becasue I am clearly kind of lost…


About Varia

Traveler, writer.
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One Response to Occupy?

  1. Alice says:

    I think you’ve raised some really important points here and maybe we’ve come to the same agreement that while the Occupy The World movement is misguided, the intentions are not. I think all the Vancouver-specific issues that you’ve noted are really fucking important and people need to care about these things, while striving to change the society we live in. If only these strong feelings of ‘social change’ could have translated better through the medium of Occupy The World, I think everyone would feel differently.

    Also, I think that engaging in open discussion (and creating forums for discussion) are excellent ways to begin the arduous process of change.

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