Occupy Canada? Movement moves north where the flame was lit

Oct 14, 2011

Sparked last month by a Canadian anti-consumer group, the “Occupy Wall Street” protest movement is finally making its way north of the border.

The Adbusters Foundation in Vancouver, B.C., is best known in the U.S. for “Buy Nothing Day,” which encourages people to keep their wallets closed on November 25th – the biggest shopping day of the year. Tomorrow, they will also put their forces behind Occupy rallies in Canada, including those in Vancouver and Victoria.

Plans are currently underway for the so-called leaderless movement to start occupying the space in front of Vancouver's Art Gallery this Saturday at 10am. The "People's Assembly of Victoria" will help start "Occupy Victoria" at the same time at Centennial Square, also in the downtown part of that city.

The spark

Adbusters issued what they describe as "a call to action" in the September-October issue of the magazine and in an email to ninety-thousand members of their “culture jammer” network.

Lauren Bercovitch is the Production Manager of Adbusters Magazine and says it has been interesting to see how their idea has developed.

"It’s been an amazing movement to be a part of and to witness. It’s been really fascinating to watch over the last couple of weeks.  It’s really about the people that our out there doing it," Bercovitch said.

Taking it to the streets

Political Scientist Norman Ruff, Professor-Emeritus at the University of Victoria, says during the last provincial election in May of 2009, less than half of those under the age of 44 voted. By contrast, more than 70 percent of those 65 years of age and over voted.

He says the protests show that the missing passion among the young for the electoral process has moved into the streets.

"These kind of protests become part of our democratic process. When we talk about politics, we tend to focus on elections and the political parties and the selection of our representatives. So, politics now become much more than electoral politics, it’s also become the politics of social movements and politics in the streets," Ruff said.

Similar protests continue around the world this weekend. Occupy Wallstreet in New York started September 17th.

On the Web:

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