Dr.Dawg

#OccupyOttawa!

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About 1,000 people occupied Ottawa—or Confederation Park, at least—this afternoon. A march took place later, but a couple of hours on my feet standing or walking these days is pushing my recovery.

Obviously I was in activist heaven. I recognized hardly anyone, which is a good sign.

I went there to listen, observe and show solidarity. Besides, I like collective effervescence. The trade unionist in me knows that afterwards the hard work on projects must begin, but these positive crowd moments are energizing.

Well, up to a point. Process dominated: the entire assembly made various decisions by a laborious consensus method. This was enhanced, in a way, by a section of the crowd chanting the words of the various speakers and organizers.

I was struck by this, because it originated in New York with the #OWS crowd, but of necessity, because microphones and bullhorns were forbidden. Hence human “echo chambers” took their place, so that everyone in the crowd could hear the words.

But in Ottawa, sound systems are permitted, and they had one at the gathering. Literally in a matter of days, the original function of the chant had become a Tylorian survival, but actually serving new functions: to build solidarity and to dissolve the boundary between speaker and audience.

My favourite sign: “It’s The Externalities, Stupid.” My second-favourite was this one:

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This is all happening here in Canada and around the globe—protests world-wide, including 100,000 protesters in Rome alone, the only city, incidentally, where violence occurred.

Flash in the pan or just the beginning of a snowballing world-wide revolt? Will the Arab Spring be followed by the Capitalist Fall?

Some more photos of the Ottawa event:

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I can’t wait to see what happens next. And to be a continuing part of it.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on October 15, 2011 3:46 PM.

American "pro-life" legislators: keep the fetus, throw away the mother was the previous entry in this blog.

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