Occupy Together: It’s About Time!
Here is a Globe and Mail commentary I wrote after attending the wonderful Occupy Toronto protests on the weekend.
The media keep going off about how this movement has no “central demand.”Â Go to a Tea Party event in the U.S. and see if you can find “one central demand.”Â That doesn’t stop them from being politically influential.Â Their power and unity stems fromÂ an implicit common understanding that all problems are caused by “big government,” and hence the solution to all problems is to shrink government.
The similarlyÂ evident common understanding of the Occupy Together protests is empirically rigorous and morally compelling, in contrast:Â Economic and social policy has been designed to favour the 1% at the expense of the 99%, that is wrong, and it needs to change.
There’s plenty of evidence about the truthfulness of this claim (Justin Podur has helpfully assembled several pieces of it here).Â
TheÂ political challenge, to my mind, will not be trying to narrow the protestors’ slogans down to one sound bite: that would be both impossible and misguided.Â The bigger priority will be working carefully to unite this spontaneous outburstÂ with the efforts and resources of other progressive forces, into a movement that lasts and truly makes a difference.
It’s about time the lopsided burden of the crisis and its non-recovery sparked a populist rebellion from the progressive side of the spectrum.Â Let’s use this new momentum to put those who caused the crisis (and profited from it, to boot) on the defensive for a change.