the question: is occupy a revolution or a passing protest that will burn out, fade away - move underground or wither?

the answer: i don't know. does it have the ideals, strength and endurance to become a force of sustainable change? occupy might be the largest ‘movement’ of unity and purpose the world has seen but it’s not a revolution in true sense of the word. years from now, we may look at this time as pre-revolution or, if this is a confrontation of ideals, ideas and values rather than bullets and guns, we may look at the tents and the early come-as-you-are communications as the first salvo. history will be examined after history is made

at this point, we can agree occupy is not a revolution. it houses plenty of revolutionary ideas. it may be on the cusp. it may be that there is such a tsunami of genuine anger and disenchantment, that occupy merely has to open a door and watch as people create a blueprint for the future built on true equality, real justice and a bottom line of human concerns not cold profits. we may look back at this as a turning point in the ‘facebook revolution,’ reflecting the central role it has played in galvanising people around the world.

a revolution is a vast or fundamental change in economic, social and political institutions over a relatively short time.  that’s a dictionary definition. we all could have scrambled around and delivered something similar. images of revolutions come quickly to mind: men in army gear with guns, children with guns or, gruesomely, men with machetes.  these are not occupy.

but some revolutions have occurred over longer periods and have dramatically shifted human endeavours and relationships. the industrial revolution is a vivid example. it occurred over such a long time - some argue it wasn’t a true revolution because of this - that we often refer to it, rather vaguely, as an era. probably because we’ve read of seen oliver twist too much.

i see occupy as the latter - a slower, more gradual revolution. that’s neither good nor bad. many rapid strike coups d’état have just as quickly fallen to another coup d’état. other revolutions have lasted decades before that moment of change crystallized. the fall of the apartheid system in south africa took about a half-century and its ‘leader’ nelson mandela was imprisoned for about two decades. while there were riots and people died, it for the most part adhered to a non-violent mandate. apartheid ended with a democratic election, in which every citizen had the right to vote. a new experience for the great majority.  they voted and apartheid was over.


for every revolution that ultimately leads to dramatic change, i imagine there are ten that fail.  this is why occupy is at a crossroads.  with the tent cities being dismantled across canada and around the world, how will occupy move on, remain vital and relevant. will it become a more strident understandable voice of change reaching out to citizens who don’t normally get involved in causes such as this?  gaining the support of the largely inert mass of canadians is vital to continuing. will it be able to sustain the support it already has gathered?  will it abandon the idea of tent cities but organize marches, rallies, concerts and the like?  or will occupy descend into the lord of the flies with special interest groups struggling with one another for  ‘the beast’ of power and control, which, ultimately, leads to the disintegration of occupy as it is today.

many questions that we can’t answer now. but we do have our opinions. mine? i am curious and agree that many issues occupy is talking about are legitimate, urgent, huge and require a great number of people to change.
occupy could be a catalyst for a major reconsideration of how social, economic and political systems work if it makes smart decisions and maintains a united front. i hope for that as a parent.  one thing is clear, occupy has to reach out to gain and maintain the support of the suburbs.  and deliver one, perfectly clear message, occupy is part of the community, not a part from the community. not dividing but uniting.

gaining cross-societal supporters is, perhaps, the most important task occupy faces as it moves forward; if it is to fulfill its potential for positive change.

in any case, buckle up. it could be a wild ride.


 





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