An Open Letter To Occupy Calgary


We’re 6 weeks into the occupy movement across the first world. What started as a visual call to arms in Adbusters has turned into a series of campsites, microcommunities and protests in public places around the world.

Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, Oakland, New York, Calgary and more are dealing with groups of protestors living in public places making a variety of demands. The core message: things need to change. How things need to change is up for debate.

Dear Occupiers,

When a union goes on strike, we know what they want. Better pensions, shorter hours, safer working conditions, job security, more benefits, etc. There is a point of negotiation from the employer and the union and there is a middle ground that can be arrived at, eventually.

I’m struggling to see the endgame for your movement.

I asked Xeni Jardin of boing boing and one of Twitter’s most frenetic retweeters of posts related to #occupy what the end game is. She’s confused too.

@xeni: “the fascinating part is that none of us know. It’s a social movement, not a political party or a platform. I can’t speak for it.”

The instigators of #occupy, Adbusters, post the following on their website:

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET is a leaderless people powered movement for democracy that began in America on September 17 with an encampment in the financial district of New York City. Inspired by the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising and the Spanish acampadas, we vow to end the monied corruption of our democracy … join your local #OCCUPY!

The Egyptians in Tahrir Square wanted Hosni Mubarak to be overthrown. They wanted the people to have a say in their political system and a regime change. The message was clear.

What, exactly, are you wanting? Free condoms? Maximum wages? The end of banks? Better access to heroin?

What is the point of negotiation? Who do the civic, regional and national leaders negotiate with? Your movement is a self-defined leaderless revolution. So who sits at the table? What is the thing that will cause your movement to say “we’ve made a difference, our voice has been heard, let’s get down to business?”

We’re all confused. We see tent cities in our parks. We see drum circles. We see a comedy of errors that brings no sympathy to your cause.

The peace protests wanted an end to the Vietnam War. The civil rights movement wanted equality for all.

We, the 99% that aren’t camping out, twinkling our fingers in general assemblies, donning bandanas and challenging police and damaging public spaces just want to know – what do you want and how can we stop this madness? Because if we don’t stop the madness, it will just get worse.

Thank you.

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