Occupied confusion

Large congregations of people have gathered in various cities across Canada and the United States. They live humbly in tents, play djembes and meditate communally. However — aside from their presenting an alternative to conventional lifestyles — what message should I be receiving from members of the Occupy movement?

Undeniably, the police response has been negative at times. Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi of University of California Davis publicly apologized for the actions of two police officers, who doused peaceful protestors with pepper spray. This San Franciscan university, which decrees free speech a cornerstone of its belief system, is totally appalled by the actions of these officials. This is just one example of police brutality, so, is the point of the Occupy movement to display the harsh methods of law enforcement? In my opinion, the police have been using a “move or we will make you move” mentality, is the Occupy movement trying to display the inefficiency of current police practices?

Presently, various groups are seeing eviction notices posted on their tents in cities across the country, including Toronto and Ottawa. These groups are being evicted from the various parks that protesters have been calling home. For me personally, this seems to be the greatest concern of Occupy confusion. The protesters should be banding together and forming a proper NGO. They need a mailing address: a legitimate place to meet and discuss their goals and hopes for society. Furthermore, it is winter in our glorious country. With the exception of a few places, protesters cannot spend the entire winter outdoors. In Winnipeg, for example, protesters were removed from Memorial Park, perhaps thankfully, since –45 C weather is coming and with it the very real threat of someone dying from exposure in the middle of downtown. Is being forced from one place seen as the end of the potentiality of the Occupy movement?

Admittedly, I am aware of the goals of the Occupy movement. They wish to abolish corporate greed, give a voice to the underprivileged and see to the success of the lower class. Most importantly, they wish to see their goals achieved through non-violent protest. This is a remarkable desire; however, the means of accomplishment have shady details. Are the Occupy members protesting the government or big business? Which organization is more problematic for society and what are alternatives? Who are the representatives whom, as a media outlet, I can discuss with?

The aspirations of the Occupy movement are inspirational — the movement itself requires administrative tweaking. If I could talk to the Occupy movement as a whole, I would tell them that, as a storm, your thunder is very loud right now and without proper leadership and organization you run the risk of fading into the horizon.

Chelsea James is a 4th year religions studies student who is wondering if anyone else is confused about the Occupy movement.

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