Sunday, October 16, 2011

The "Occupy Movement" in Canada



"Occupy Wall Street" cartoon
Cartoon courtesy: National Post (Toronto: Oct. 4, 2011)


The wind of the Arab Spring, that started early this year and still going on, is now blowing all over the world – in the East, West, North and South. Thanks to the social media like cellphones, computers, Facebook, Twitter and the like. 

The Arab Spring inspired another movement in the West, first in New York City, called “Occupy Wall Street.” The Wall Street occupiers are common people who have been protesting against the corporate greed, socio-economic injustices, an ever-increasing rich-poor divide, and politico-economic influence peddling. Now many other U.S. cities are following New York’s example. This “occupy movement” is going on in other countries like Britain, Belgium, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and others. The CBC report says that 1,500 cities in the world have its "occupy rallies."

The “Occupy Movement” in Toronto, Canada

Within Canada, the city of Toronto experienced its “Occupy Toronto” yesterday. More than two thousand people participated in it with slogans and speeches carrying placards and banners that, among others, said: “Stop the Hydro Plant,” “Stop the Mega Quarry,” “Stop Ignoring the Youth, We Are Your Tomorrow,” “Don’t Judge Us, Join Us,” “I am the child and I am the mother against the corporate greed.” One placard was interesting; it said on one side: “1989 The Wall Came Down,” – meaning the Berlin Wall, a powerful symbol of communism in Europe. The other side of the same placard said: “Karl Marx Was Wrong.” Fourteen other cities in Canada saw its own version of the "occupy movement."

The gathering of the “occupiers” started on the King and Bay Streets. Later they marched to St. James Park, near St. James Cathedral of the Anglican Church, on the King and Adelaide Streets. The marchers were about two hundred in the beginning, later they swelled to more than two thousand who symbolically occupied St. James Park. Their occupation will continue for days to come. 

Politicians, Businessmen, Industrialists Need to Heed to “Occupy Movement”

We see in the history that disgruntlement, if left alone, creates movements that can be fatal to the country and society. The industrial revolution in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries had brought about an unprecedented impetus and wealth to industries and businesses but, at the same time, it created disgruntlement among the poor, marginalized, and low-paid labourers. Since the capitalism did not pay any heed to these people’s plight, the communism rode high on the shoulders of this disgruntlement and came to create havoc in societies – resulting in death and suffering of millions of people. 

Disgruntlement also caused insurgencies and wars in some societies. The latest example, among others, is the present situation in Libya.

The “occupy movement” may look like a little irritation only, but, if we think deeply, we will see that many of these people are not dumb but thinking people. They are working like a conscience, a kind of weather vane, drawing attention to the real problems in the society and country. 

If these legitimate demands are totally ignored, if these are put under the rug, we do not know what “ism” may rise in future creating more havoc in the societies. 


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