I went down Sunday afternoon to the Occupy Ottawa event being held at Confederation Park. There were, I'd guess, about 300-400 people there: young, old, from many walks of life. The mood was non-confrontational, even festive, but the signs many held up and the words that were spoken tell the story of disaffection and frustration with the way things are.
Much of the initial discussion was centered around process: how decision making was going to take place.
In the absence of a PA system, organizers used the "people's microphone" to broadcast their messages, which at first sounds chaotic, but once everyone got used to it, became quite effective, and very participatory. (The speaker's words are repeated by others in the crowd, until everyone has heard them). This short video clip gives an idea of how it works:
Eventually, it was ascertained that a PA system could legally be used, which made communications a little faster.
I took a number of still photographs of the event, which you can see here.
The issues, as you will be able to see from the various signs, are all over the map, from social justice to corporate greed to, yes, even climate change.
Occupy and Transition
The experience at Confederation Park got me to thinking whether and what might be the resonance between the Occupy movement and the Transition Movement. Both, it seems to me, arise from a deep dissatisfaction -- anger even. The Transition movement tends to be largely apolitical, focussing primarily on the things that can be done, steps that can be taken individually, locally, in small groups, at the community level, to encourage and promote sustainability. The Occupy movement is still inchoate and has yet to find a coherent voice. It wil be interesting to watch the progression as the movement appears to be increasing in numbers and reach.