Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Occupy Toronto: St. James Park

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
( Emily Dickinson)

    I’ve always found it interesting that during periods of societal stress and transition people turn to dance. In the 14th century you had the Danse Macabre (fr) or Danza de la Muerte (sp) in Europe which was a cultural reaction to the predations of the Black Death although this was often an allegory for the inevitability of death - a sort of physical memento mori. The 16th century saw the Taki Unquy in the Peruvian Andes in opposition to the predations of the Conquistors and the European diseases which they brought with them. During the 19th century there was the Ghost Dance of the Native Americans in the western United States where the act of the Ghost Dance would mitigate the predations of the white settlers and a prior typhoid epidemic. Now we have the Occupy dances in opposition to the predations of the economic elites.
Announcement board at St. James Park

   As I said in my last post I went to the encampment at St. James Park last Sunday afternoon to deliver garbage bags as well as disposable utensils, cups and plates to the encampment via the public transit because many of the roads downtown were closed due to the Toronto marathon. It was quite a trek to haul all of that stuff by myself but I did.
Meditation group

  I felt that I had done enough meditation in the morning so I gave this group a pass.

Out of town group

    Thomas Walkom, a Toronto Star columnist, walked around the encampment on Wednesday and wrote the following:

In style, the Occupy Toronto protest is almost stereotypically Canadian. Those camping out in a downtown city park are polite and respectful to all, including police. The campsite itself is meticulously tidy, with protest placards lined up for inspection along the pathways.

Free food tent for protestors

  I dropped the supplies at the food tent and it was gratefully received by the folks who were almost out of plates.
Bay street banker jail

   Will the occupation gain traction.  In the following quote from the online version of Atlantic magazine, their so called  “left-wing” policies as outlined are already a current Canadian  reality so the intense demands for change of the American occupiers don’t really exist in this country. There is more a fear here of Canadian society moving in the direction of America.

What binds a large majority of the protesters together--regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education--is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement--no matter the cost.
Robert Gourlay - the original protestor

  Another bit of irony – the statue of Robert Gourlay who protested against the Family Compact, a small group of plutocrats who ran Ontario between the War of 1812 and the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. There are many similarities between the current economic environment and that of the early 19th century including the collusion of the government with the plutocrats. The plaque reads:
Robert Gourlay championed reform
ahead of his time.
In Scotland - a vote for every man
who could read and write
In England - a living wage for workers
In Canada - fair land distribution

One section of the tents in the park

  I believe that on Sunday which was the second day of occupation there were 160 tents distributed around the park.

Media center with donated computers

From Rue89:
Et si l'enrichissement des riches, la paupérisation des pauvres, cessaient d'être perçues comme des fatalités météorologiques ? Et si, et si, et si ? Pourquoi s'interdire de rêver ?

Center of the park

  Addendum October 20:  I couldn’t end this post without saying something about the food since I post restaurant reviews on this blog. The meals at the encampment are donated by many of the local restaurants so you never know what to expect except for the certainty that the food will be good and plentiful. The video below will give you a good impression of the food which is important for overcoming  a down mood from the rainy and windy days which we're currently experiencing.

1 comment:

  1. These are great pictures. Glad you're helping out the Occupy movement. I don't see why people criticize it; I think it's ungenerous even if you fancy yourself a more rigorous leftie than that or whatever.

    Note: you always link to http://northerngaijin/ which doesn't exist. I think you should identify as, your real URL, so more people would find your blog.