More on the end of Occupy Vancouver

Written by Brian Revel on November 6th, 2011

This entry is a copy of my response I have posted to the Georgia Straight‘s online article about the calls to shut the Occupy Vancouver camp down. It is here so you can post comments directly in response to my own.

If you are here at this site as a result of reading my comment on the Georgia Straight site, Welcome!

The Occupy Wall Street movement is firmly based on protesting the economic and political injustices waged by those at the top of the corporate structures that have corrupted our economics and our politics.

But in Vancouver, it never really seemed to achieve these lofty kinds of goals. Yes, we have a homeless issue. Yes, we have a drug addiction issue. Those facts are painfully obvious to us all already. And we are working on them. There is INSITE- something that Vancouverites are fighting hard to protect and foster. There is more non-market housing being built.

Certainly we have much work to do but Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know.

I so wanted the Occupy Vancouver protest to be successful. Vancouver is, after all, the birthplace of Greenpeace and home to Kalle Lasn’s Adbuster Magazine that called for the Occupy Wall Street movement in the first place.

But right from the start, despite the efforts of some very well intentioned activists, the OV movement has degenerated into a self-destructive shell of what could have been a poignant statement.

Then, the first overdose followed by the second resulting in a death have completely undermined the point of the OV movement. It has lost its vitality, it’s moral stance.

The corporate elite do not speak for me. But neither do those who enable drug addiction and justify it happening at such a protest.

Never mind all the “repressed and marginalized” gibber. Enough of the guilt-ridden ‘sorry you had to do this to yourself to escape this awful, terrible world’ tales of woe to glorify a heroin addict’s untimely passing. She is no martyr. Every person must take responsibility for his and her Self. The choice to come to Vancouver, to take the drugs, was hers and hers alone.

Don’t get me wrong: I am sorry she is gone and I grieve for her friend’s and family’s loss. I hope for her she is in a better place.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

To those who desire a Utopian future… do you think that Che Guevara would have tolerated drug addicts in his ranks? Do you think that Fidel Castro would have welcomed heroin addicts into his revolutionary world?

Would de Robespierre have allowed supporters to nip out for hours to “forget their pain” on the way to Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité? Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin or George Washington, would they have embraced self-indugences like shooting up while encamped against the British on the road to Independence?

A clue to the correct answer: Everybody pulls his or her weight when striving for change. And change certainly doesn’t happen by taking pit-stops along the way to get high for the sake of getting high. I would even gently suggest that drug addicts are the first to be set adrift when serious change is in the offing.

To date, many of the calls for the camp’s removal have been bogus. Rodents. Hygene. Blah Blah Blah. We’ve heard it all before. But sadly, enablement and worse, justification, of drug abuse has undermined everything. Like a cancer, it has reared its ugly head and now the patient is dead.

Respect only comes with respect. Respect for others, respect for Self. By disrespecting themselves, by not being disciplined in their standards regarding drug use on the site, those who are there are dishonouring the movement. They are dishonouring those of us who stand in solidarity but who have not the luxury at this time to be physically present.

Further, by disrespecting the fire crews and those concerned with public safety (and the requests to eliminate fire hazards and to create safe thoroughfares are hardly bogus attempts to de-camp), the OV campers are only getting what is coming to them.

They marginalized themselves and so in the process, marginalized the movement. Making the world a different place means doing- and being- something different.

A very wise man once told me, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got“.

Like it or not, accepting, justifying and enabling drug abuse is a surefire way to undermine any effort towards change. Those hanging on to the OV movement as our saviour moment are now fighting for the wrong kind of humanity.

If the cops have swooped in without provocation as they have in other Occupy sites, hundreds would have come down to protect the camp. I’m sure of that. If I weren’t working, I would have.

But sadly, now it’s different. I wouldn’t cross the street to defend people’s ‘right’ to shoot up there… especially when Vancouver has fought so hard to get and to protect INSITE.

And so the Occupy Vancouver movement, despite its initial ideals, is done. It’s toast.

I continue to support the OWS movement- the one in New York City- but here in Vancouver, it’s time to pack up and go home.

There will be another time.

 

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