Occupy Vancouver protest had a peaceful buzz
Yesterday's Occupy Vancouver demonstration differed significantly from most protests held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
One of the most striking aspects was the lack of any hierarchy. The event opened with a speech outlining how people could give their consent for various activities. Later, I observed the crowd being asked if it would prefer to hear more speeches or go on a march through downtown Vancouver.
The unions, for the most part, remained at the back of the crowd, along with the Communists and groups like No One is Illegal. And tucked away on the northwest corner of the site was a meditation group. When I walked by, there were about a dozen people in a circle.
About 100 people, including a few children with parents, camped overnight at the Vancouver Art Gallery. They plan to remain there for the long haul.
Some critics have suggested that these "Occupy" protests around the world will fizzle out, particularly when the weather gets colder.
But I heard an interesting observation on CBC Radio this morning from Linda McQuaig, coauthor of The Trouble With Billionaires. She said that if these demonstrations change public attitudes about greed—and make it far, far less acceptable—that could have profound implications on our society.
Over the past 30 years, she noted that there has been a huge attitudinal shift about homosexuality. McQuaig pointed out that if a transformation of a similar magnitude occurs around greed, there's no telling where this might lead.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.