Do Wall Street occupiers not have bosses, families, responsibilities?
I have always felt very sorry for the municipal politician in Caledonia, Ont., who five years ago dared to comment on the illegal Native occupation in the area by suggesting out loud that most of the actual residents had jobs, while many of those occupying the residents’ property didn’t seem to have them.
Golly, the woman was apparently worse than Hitler! Apologize now, resign, have sensitivity training, they yelled.
But why? She was right.
Do these people not have bills, mortgages and rent to pay?
Do they not have employers who might wonder where they are?
Do they not have families to take care of, or responsibilities? Or, perhaps, taxes to pay — taxes that maintain hospitals, provide welfare, fund public education?
What we are seeing on Wall Street and in other American cities, and what we are about to see in Canada, is the usual scenario of the ugly alliance of students, dropouts — a euphemism for parasites — professional protesters and union types who are paid to stand around looking as if they need a job standing around.
There is nothing crass or vulgar about telling someone to get a job.
If they are incapable of working, a civilized culture will take care of them.
But if you look at the mob on Wall Street, you will see a disproportionately middle-class, white, able-bodied section of society.
It’s the ethnic and the less educated who seem to be the ones rushing off to work, often low-paid work, and couldn’t find the time to protest even if they wanted to.
A lot of people have got the Wall Street nonsense wrong. It’s not about politics, but about sociology. It’s not connected to the civil rights marches of the 1960s or even the anti-war gatherings during the Vietnam War.
Rather, it’s the Jack Layton melodrama, the Princess Diana mass neurosis, the Vancouver riots, an episode of Oprah. It’s a happening, something to be part of, something to give meaning and communal significance to otherwise empty and dusty lives.
We used to ask what people had done in the war, when Nazi psychopaths or Japanese fascists threatened to take over the world. Now we sit in overpriced coffee shops and share anecdotes about what the police did to us during the G20. “Hey man, it was like, yeah, like a movie.”
There are myriad stories of people making a little trip to the Wall Street party in the hope of finding a cause. Shopping with politics. I can’t imagine a Syrian demonstrator running between Assad’s bullets, asking himself if it’s environmental decay or animal liberation that pushes his buttons.
Worst of all are the portentous labour and leftist party leaders, who know it’s all garbage but think they can cash in on the whole thing, and so they tell us this is important.
If I hear one more person begin a defence of the occupation with, “What you have to understand,” I’ll turn it into a drinking song.
Actually, what you have to understand is that this is a bourgeois conceit, a mere souffle, and will disappear with a simple breath of clean wind.