With the recent popularization of the Occupy Wall Street movement spreading across the globe, I thought I would write a short personal piece concerning the ways that the Movement changed my perceptions about this planet and humanity. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to witness the Occupy Movement first hand by attending the Occupy camp set up in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Throughout this personal perspective piece, my intentions are not to advocate for any specific side of this movement, rather, I am just telling my story, one of a million others exactly like it.

 

The Occupy Movement, which was set up in Vancouver in early October, started off slow, but gradually pick up momentum. Eventually, the hype surrounding this movement grew and you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about it. It was on everyone’s mind. I bused by the location of the Vancouver camp on a daily basis, so I was able to gain a full perspective of this movement’s evolution in the Vancouver area. At first, I was, for lack of a better word, skeptical. I have been witness and been a part of various protests over the years, so at first this was simply another to add to the list. But as time progresses, and the movement gained more and more international attention, I began to delve deeper and gain a more profound interest into this movement.

 

On one occasion, I visited one of the general assemblies to witness what the true “occupiers” had to say. They all spoke, about various topics concerning societal and economic inequality and disparity. All of the speakers had a message to say, and each was as valid as the last. But the most surprising thing that I witnessed during the extended occupation of the Vancouver Art Gallery, was the vast diversity in terms of occupiers. By this I mean that there was an incredible amount of variety in terms of the people present throughout the demonstrations. There were people from all walks of life, old, young, all types of ethnic groups, cultural groups and social groups seemed to be present. That night, that cold damp night in front of the Art Gallery, it hit me. This movement began because of the need to bring awareness and hopefully change to a global system that is spiraling out of control. Like a run-a-way train, our global economic situation is becoming less and less profitable (in terms of the human and environmental cost; not the dollar value) and more and more destructive. Corporations are using whatever techniques possible to maximize profit and minimize cost; irregardless of the consequences. Granted, there are some corporations striving for positive change and an better, cleaner future; but the global frame of mind, from my perspective, needs to be quickly and substantially changed. This movement speaks to something that will effect everybody living one this planet; the world, as a system, is slowly deterioration as the human race discovers and over-exploits all natural resources. On a generational level, we have to power to change the future, to better the planet for our grand-children, for their grand-children… but mostly for ourselves! We are at a fork in the road, to one side lies the complete and utter destruction and degradation of the planet and its beauty, on the other lies the road to proactive and positive change. It is not going to be easy road, but it can be accomplished.

 

Although the Movement itself has been publicly criticized for lack of organization and lack of any concrete demands and/or solutions, I feel that these issues are simply part of the nature that is this Movement. What these occupiers are trying to accomplish is not an easy task, in fact, what they are attempting may never be accomplished. But nevertheless, these critical issues concerning the unequal distribution of wealth and power must be brought to light. The occupiers are brave enough to put themselves on the line by protesting the system, something I feel like the majority of the population already agrees with (hence the “99%”). These individuals are the bravest of them all, striving for proactive, peaceful and rightful changes that would benefit the entire planet. The Occupy Movement, on a personal level, change my perceptions about humanity and this planet. Never could I have imagined the growing disparity among upper and lower rungs of society. This movement made me realize that change is needed. By becoming more and more interested in the Occupy Movement, I gained valuable insight into the triviality that is our global system. The human race is at a turning point, the question is: Where do we go from here?

 

Now, as time has passed, and most of the Occupy camps have been forcefully evicted, it is easy to forget about the message and move on. But we must never forgot the message and the goals of this movement. I still frequently bus by the Art Gallery, but I will never feel the same way about that specific landscape. I will always be reminded of the Occupation, it has left a lasting impression on me. On an ironic note, the latest feature exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery is proudly sponsored by ScotiaBank; I don’t have anything against ScotiaBank per say, but its funny how quickly a landscape can change. One day it was the proud location of the brave few who battled the cold weather to have their voices heard, speaking against the unjust distribution of wealth an power in our society; the next day it is displaying the logo and name of a big, corporate bank. Makes you think doesn’t it?

 

I invite anyone who would like to share their personal perspective (good or bad) on the Occupy Movement to comment from their point of view.

 9 December 2011  Posted by MMeredith perspectives , , ,  Add comments

  One Response to “The Occupy Movement and How it Changed My View of the World – A Personal Perspective”

  1. This post is incredibly eye-opening in the sense that it is true, this is only one individual telling his story, amongst the millions of others exactly like him. It is interesting to hear about the first hand experiences, and witnessing protests and what the true occupiers were really fighting for in their speeches. I wish I had spent more time at the occupy site to gain more insight and understanding of these issues. What a beautiful way of contrasting how one sees the Vancouver Art Gallery may be changed forever. And to have the newest Exhibition sponsored by Scotiabank? What a contrast of landscapes and an ironic situation. I agree and expressed this in much of my personal reflection post as well: this has brought the strive for proactive changes and the need to educate and understand what is going on around us in our world, despite the publicly criticized lack of organization, demand and solution.