The Occupy camp evictions have taken precedence over the movement. (Photo: Marc Falardeau)

Occupy is losing momentum

The Occupy movement has lost its focus

comments(2)

The Occupy movement is losing steam, and seems to be losing support.

After several weeks, the Occupy protestors are still singing the same song, but the tune sure has changed. "We shall not be moved" has a somewhat different meaning now then when the protestors first took to Wall Street a month and a half ago.

Remember when the people brandished signs referring to themselves as the "99%" and flooded into the financial district of New York? Remember their focus, their message, their goal?

They were targeting corporate greed and the elite "1%", and their message to them was... well, the leaderless movement's message has always been a little unclear. But we know that in the beginning the Occupy protestors were sick and tired of preferential treatment for the elite.

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An Occupy protestor in Toronto brandishes an "Evict Ford" sign (Photo: Danielle Scott)

People are still trying to "occupy," still trying to speak out on behalf of the 99%, but the movement's message has been eclipsed by evictions. Now, along with the signs calling for economic equality, protestors such as those in Toronto are responding to eviction notices by waving signs with phrases like "Evict Ford." And, perhaps unintentionally, the Occupy movement has changed its focus.

It could be because of how the media portrays it, but all we hear about is the evictions. No longer is the main focus about the 99% versus the 1%. What happened to the original, if vague, message?

University students, the ones who have to step out into the bleak job market, were perhaps some of the most willing to support the movement. But now, with the deteriorating focus, indifference is quickly becoming the dominant vibe. Now, if people care, it's mainly about the fact that protestors are being evicted, and the ones who are trying to stay are risking freezing to death in the unforgivingly brutal Canadian winter.

People are getting tired of the Occupy movement, and the movement itself is tired. If it somehow gets rebooted, if the momentum and the passion and the focus can be reignited, then perhaps people will care again. But it's going to take a lot for a protest like this to gain back the public support. Something major would have to happen.

Hopefully the Occupy movement will do something to change the economic divide and leave us with something more than just another word for "camping." At the very least, Occupy has generated discourse. It has people thinking about the economic divide.

At what point will the protesters pack up their tents and head indoors? At what point will they be satisfied? If their goal had been clearer from the start, then perhaps we would know, and perhaps they would know, too.

 

Comments

Hi Catherine, As one of your peers and as an objective journalist it would be nice if you acknowledged what the protesters are actually doing right now. Fighting to acquire legal aid, trying to find a place for the homeless to put their heads down at night, organizing day long teach-ins at Dalhousie and SMU. If anything the evictions have allowed them to completely focus on their message and their goals. The message is incoherent, but only to those who don't realize that what the movement is doing is raising awareness about issues so broad-reaching that a coherent and single-sentence slogan could never be appropriate. The reason the cities are evicting the protesters is exactly so that they would appear to be losing steam. There's media attention on the evictions because, as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is suggesting, the municipal governments are messing with the protesters Charter Rights. In terms of a goal, John Thibeau - one of the protesters at OccupyNS, and one of the 14 who were arrested and held for more than 10 hours - told me that if the powers that be simply came out, admitted their mistakes (we can make up a laundry list later) and apologized then he would pack up and go home. Why is it so hard for the people that govern us to recognize their own failures? And it's not just an economic divide in Canada - they are speaking up for people around the world. That's something that a lot of people seem to casually forget: this is a global movement - the first of its kind. How can anyone, even those completely committed to voicing concerns, ever encapsulate the issues in one slick marketing line? Although the 99% thing comes pretty close. The Occupy movement is gaining momentum, not losing it - and anyone who spends more than 10 minutes with a protester would know this. I don't want to be rude, but have you attended one of their public General Assemblies? The meeting schedule is at occupyns.org - you may change your mind about whether or not they're running out of steam.

Posted by Bill McEwen | Nov 22, 2021 7:49 AM AT

Have you asked a 20 year old what he sees for his future? Have you spoken to a 70 year old and asked if they were satisfied with the world they are leaving their grandchildren? Have you spoken to a single mother & asked her if her children's bellies are full of good healthy food? Have you asked a disabled person how they choose between buying food, medication or heat for their home? Have you asked yourself what changes could be made to make this a better world? Are you satisfied that with the world as it is? “Only infinite patience produces immediate results.”

Posted by Jae | Nov 22, 2021 2:17 PM AT

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