Is it time for Occupy Vancouver to bring back the tent city?

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      In the fall of 2011, Occupy Wall Street mobilized citizens to stand up for the 99 percent against the richest one percent. Sparked by a call to action from Vancouver's own Adbusters, the movement against economic inequality and corruption spread from New York City to countries around the world.

      Vancouver got in on the action too. Occupy Vancouver grabbed headlines with its controversial tent city at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The local movement drew attention to many issues, particularly homelessness and gentrification. It also took centre stage in that year's civic election.

      Fast-forward to today (April 4), and the global Occupy movement is being resurrected with a Wave of Action lasting until July 4. The Wave of Action website states: "During this three-month cycle, people throughout the world will be protesting corruption, rallying around solutions and taking part in alternative systems." According to the site, protests are planned for Toronto, New York, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, and other cities. But there's nothing listed for Vancouver.

      Why not? It's not as if Vancouver is about to end homelessness or Canada's wealth gap is getting any smaller. Many of the issues promoted by Occupy Vancouver have not been resolved.

      Back in 2011, Occupy Vancouver raised awareness of housing issues.
      Stephen Hui

      Stephen Elliott-Buckley, a blogger at Politics, Re-Spun, is calling for Occupy Vancouver to awake from its slumber and hold a general assembly. (Remember those strange meetings involving hand signals and call and response?) Today, Elliott-Buckley posted:

      So we need to meet for a General Assembly. And we need to plan. And we need to decide if we need to actually occupy some space permanently or temporarily.

      And we need to decide if we need a tent city. And we need to decide a few more things:

      1. Should we meet at the Teamsters 213 picket line at the Richmond IKEA because they’ve been locked out for almost a year as IKEA tries to break their union? Should this be a permanent solidarity occupation? And then when we help the Teamsters make IKEA blink do we help them unionize all the other IKEAs in Canada?
      2. Should we meet/plan/sleep at the Vancouver Art Gallery?
      3. Should we fill up bank lobbies, encouraging people to fire their banks and switch their financial existence to credit unions because Bank Transfer Day can be every/any day?
      4. Should we do a better job this time of developing real alliances with other progressive groups or just tolerate letterhead coalitions of support that has no boots on the ground?
      5. Should we do a better job with our messaging? Occupy is about equality and justice: economic, political, social, environmental. And how that manifests can be wildly different in different communities, cities, states, provinces, regions, countries and the whole world. And that’s OK.
      6. And should we just, you know, meet up soon for a General Assembly?

      Will you answer the call? And, if Occupy Vancouver comes back with a tent city, will you be there?

      Occupy Vancouver activists often complained that mainstream media twisted their many messages in 2011.
      Stephen Hui

      As sleepy commuters headed to work this morning, no Occupy activists were seen on the art gallery grounds. But perhaps Vancouver is just, as Elliott-Buckley puts it, "fashionably late".

      Comments

      11 Comments

      stephen elliott-buckley

      Apr 4, 2014 at 11:03am

      I think tent cities can work well to accomplish many social goals, but Occupy as a concept is so diverse and liberating, we don't need it, either to fixate on, or to define the movement, which I think to a certain extent happened in 2011: occupy WAS/BECAME the tent city for so many or most people.

      I think as we watch the Wave of Action begin its 3-month odyssey around the world we'll see what kind of interest emerges in Vancouver to redefine what Occupy means to us. Jazz hands, and all! :)

      I've written quite a bit lately about what kinds of things Occupy CAN mean to us, at http://politicsrespun.org/category/occupy-vancouver.

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      Zelma

      Apr 4, 2014 at 12:53pm

      Great. Another white male leading the battle charge against other white males. This is why Occupy failed in the first place. History is all about white males in power fighting other white males in power, regardless what side they are on. They play their power games, and keep the rest of us, THE MAJORITY, sidelined.

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      Douglas

      Apr 4, 2014 at 4:59pm

      Hey

      Anyone know how one can get involved with occupy Vancouver?

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      Martin Dunphy

      Apr 4, 2014 at 5:05pm

      Douglas:

      See link in first comment for possible answer.

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      Naturalmystic

      Apr 4, 2014 at 10:34pm

      Enjoy your summer fail protest. Nothing will change. You people are irrelevant.

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      How to Occupy for Dummies?

      Apr 5, 2014 at 12:56pm

      How to Occupy successfully?
      Like anything else the occupy movement can rise to success. Stay focused, don't become disheartened and be glad that you played a part in something meaningful.
      Be creative when telling your story and don't forget not everything is in black and white. It isn't a war but rather a public display of support to motivate change.
      And of course I didn't mean any one was a dummy but it isn't a bad idea to do some research as not to relive past mistakes.

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      OccupyMedic

      Apr 5, 2014 at 2:01pm

      Anyone seriously considering a re-occupation can contact me on twitter: @OccupyMedic.

      I am still Occupy Vancouver's legal representative. To consider another occupation, we must first challenge the injunction granted to the COV by the BC Supreme Court. There is a Lawyer who will do it pro-bono, but we need to cover discovery & court fees. Translation: We need $5,000. Donations welcome.

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      Dave Jones

      Apr 6, 2014 at 5:59pm

      So there goes all the jobs.. you've got to be kidding.

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      power to the people

      Apr 6, 2014 at 11:40pm

      Yes, the people need to be heard.

      I hope people camp at the art gallery for tent city all summer.

      These banks are screwing us over and we need to push back against their miserliness.

      Now what we need are some good chants.

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      RealityCheck

      Apr 7, 2014 at 9:31am

      If you set up another tent city, the public, whose support you hope to gain, will hate you again.

      Grow up.

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