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Occupy Toronto???

As thousands of protesters arrived in Toronto today for Occupy Toronto, you might have asked yourself the questions: "What are we mad about?" After all, our banks didn't collapse, our taxation system doesn't have all those nasty unethical loopholes, and our unemployment isn't like theirs right?

I can think of a few reasons why this movement is important....

1. To show solidarity with a global community that has suffered at the hands of a small group of fraudsters. I would highly recommend watching the movie "Inside Job". When the majority are held hostage by a power structure designed to control, manipulate and exploit, our freedoms are chained, and our true opportunity squandered. Don't kid yourself. Our Canadian democracy is not truly representative, and although American corporate lobbyists essentially dictate economic policy in the US, our system is not entirely free of corporate influence from the right, and union influence from the left. We still are in need of reform.

2. Labour rights are literally being destroyed before our very eyes. When Canada Post union workers were denied their legal right to strike, and what looks like to be the same situation for Air Canada employees, our government is making it very clear their intentions to kill the labour movement. Under the false pretence of not affecting the "economy", the Conservative government has made a mockery of their Conservative name. Governments have no business interfering in labour disputes, and they should ensure the process is free from their own bias. (Hmmm... Conservatives get massive support from the corporate sector.... Liberals from labour unions.... Maybe they shouldn't get involved? No no, common sense and politics hardly ever seem to mix these days...) Regardless of what you feel about labour unions, collectively bargaining is the same right we all have to negotiate wages, benefits, etc. Poor form Harper.

3. North America has one of the largest income gaps in the world. In the U.S., the top 1% has an income share of 23.5% (NY TIMES). It might surprise you to know that the top Canadian 1% has an income share of just over 30%. (CCPA) Despite what a deceiving media may have led you to to believe, and the usual anecdotal evidence, wealth does not trickle down from the top, the labour movement has a long way to go, and all is not well in our continent. Power is very concentrated in North America, and meticulously maintained through a vast network of exploiting free trade. It certainly isn't Adam Smith's version of Capitalism (under perfect liberty, we would have perfect equality.) The goal of every sane economic model is simply just that, equality. Or rather, the opportunity for equality. The system we have is simply a joke. What is happening right now will define the future for generations to come. We are at the brink of changing out society, and if the power systems relent, and somehow operate to provide freedom, liberty, and opportunity, we will be better off.

These are just a few of my thoughts.... It is hard to predict what the future will hold in light of the overwhelming anger expressed by a hurting world.

Do not dismiss this movement as petty, or childish, or immature, or misguided. You close your mind every time you coldly deny yourself the empathy to see the larger picture of hurt and anger that thousands upon thousands of people are experiencing. I am also reminded of the deep spiritual void we are living in as human beings. People are exploited, nations are occupied by foreign armies, economies are in shambles and poverty is still as real as ever... And for every attempt at external solution, their is an internal need for personal transformation.

Interesting times. 


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