It’s time for a good ole revolution. Well, sort of. In what is being compared to the Arab Spring, the left in the U.S. have finally begun taking to the streets to protest against . . . something. Okay, it’s not 100 per cent clear what exactly they are protesting against or for, but that is of little importance. Frankly, I think there are plenty of reasons for Americans to be quite angry. From long, drawn-out, expensive wars to a financial crisis that just keeps dragging on, the classic reality of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, the sense corporate entities have more rights than people and a high crime rate and large prison populations are just a few of the grievances Americans could have. All of these ideas and more are represented in this series of rather mish-mashed together and ill-defined protests.
I don’t think this is much different than the Tea Party, the American right wing’s response to disenfranchisement with a system and a reality they feel is not working well. The Tea Party doesn’t have a very clear agenda, and the left now has their Occupy (insert place to occupy here) movement with an equally unclear agenda.
This unclear but noble movement is coming to Canada, in all of its ill-defined glory. The movement’s demands are not known yet. It’s fair to assume it will be largely anti-corporate and pro stuff that isn’t corporate.
It’s important to point out that no matter how anyone wants to look at this, the Arab Spring and Occupy X movements are not the same. We are not seeing the general populace in the streets protesting because the general populace is fairly satisfied. We are seeing the usual suspects protesting. This is not a bad thing. It is perfectly acceptable and I support them 100 per cent.
We need some perspective, though. In Tahrir Square, people were willing to die for their freedom, their beliefs and to throw off the shackles of oppression. In New York, protesters are willing to toss aside sleeping in their beds and eat cold vegan pizza. There has been real bloodshed and real sacrifices made in the Arab world that we will not see in the streets of North America. The reality is we have it good in North America — one could even say very good. Yes, the rich may be getting richer and the poor poorer, but even the poor in North America are likely much better off than the poor in Egypt.
There isn’t a real need to overthrow the U.S. or Canadian government. We aren’t so bad off we have to take it that far. The average Joe and Jane are not going to take part or even pay attention to the movement. I don’t think a single person who shows up at an Occupy X protest in their city is willing to die for their personal or collective cause, and that’s OK. There is no need to die. We’re not in a position where people need to be losing their lives. This isn’t an Arab Spring protest, this is a “first-world, North American, things are pretty good but it could be better” protest.
Chris Hearn thinks we should be fairly pleased with the way things are going.