The Drive Occupied

November 23, 2011

The Occupy Vancouver movement pitched up at Grandview Park last night.  After some unpleasantness with a few local residents, they agreed to disperse and gather at the Park today at noon.  I went down to bear witness today.

Three or four dozen people, perhaps, including media, milling around; maybe twenty or twenty-five people actually involved in the meeting. My take was that about half the folks were young, in their teens and early 20s, and the other half were 50 plus years old. Those of us in the second group were probably reliving or at least re-remembering our own protestations in the 1960s.

Over the last few weeks of watching the Occupy movement develop in New York, London, Oakland and elsewhere, I have been particularly fascinated by the new tactics — human mic, hand signs of approval or rejection, semi-formal rules of order — that we didn’t figure out in the 60s (as my wife says, back then we just showed up and threw things).  All these new forms were on view at the Park today — and they really worked.

I saw quite a few Parks Board folks at the meeting (happy to join in the discussion), but no police.  The weather worked out, too, with no rain or high winds. It seemed to me to be a pleasant community experience.

In the end, the movement decided to abandon the tent city strategy that has seen them being pushed from place to place. Instead, they will return to regularly scheduled daily meetings at the Art Gallery, starting tonight.  It was the right decision.