Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Message of the Occupy Movement

Occupy was started a year ago as a protest against corporate greed, government bailouts of big banks and corporations and the big banking manipulation and exploitation of the economy. It was a democratic, populous movement encompassing people from all over the political spectrum. In time the Occupy movement seem to fizzle away. They did however reappear yesterday though, at least in Canada, the message has changed. What happened and what is this new message?

In looking at the the Occupy rally in Ottawa yesterday and the Occupy Canada Facebook page we get a good look at what the new message is. There is almost no mention of corporate greed or big banking in the new Occupy message. You will see a lot of people holding signs saying "Stop Harper" which is a reference, not to a billionaire or big banking executive, but to Prime Minister of Canada. The "Stop Harper" sign was first held by former senate page Bridgette DePape who did not like the results of the last Canadian federal election and wanted the election overturned. Ms Depape either hates democracy or does not understand it. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he described democracy as "two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch." In other words, you are never going to make everyone happy.

Others who fall into the sheep category have taken up Ms DePape's message and have taken over the Occupy movement in Canada. Union leaders, mainly public service union leaders, are now calling the shots at Occupy. And though the socialist rhetoric of class warfare still exists the underlying message is opposition to spending  cuts by the government. Specifically spending cuts that involve public service union members. And since part of Stephen Harper's election platform involved government spending cuts he is treated as an enemy by public service union leaders.

A conflict arises though with the original message of Occupy and the new message opposing government spending cuts. Luisa D'Amato says it best in a recent column on a teacher labour dispute that "We taxpayers are not some soulless multinational corporation that outsources as much work as possible and hides the profits in offshore banks. We’re just people. Most of us struggle to pay our bills and put our kids through college and university. Most of us, even those who are just as well educated, qualified and experienced, make less than you do. And frankly, we’re tapped out."

As it stands the Canadian government and most provincial governments are borrowing money to pay union employees. Spending cuts are needed to reduce our debt. By opposing spending cuts the Occupy movement is now advocating an economic policy that sees all of us sink deeper into debt bondage under the thumb of big banking.

In a future post I will introduce you to the blog of an original Occupier who offers some good insight into the who, what, where, when and why of the hijacking of the Occupy movement. In the meantime here is Neil Young song about heroin addiction:

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