One Week into Occupy Nanaimo
The weather has turned wet and cool, but it has not dampened the ardor of the people of Occupy Nanaimo. There must be about thirty tents, all of which are occupied, as well as a food area, library and covered area for making placards and posters. A number of homeless have joined this little community.
Today at noon there was a round table discussion which I joined. Occupiers and supporters like myself stood in a circle and took turns voicing our thoughts as how to distill down the vast number of demands into a smaller package and to voice any other opinions that people wished. One man said how student loans had become a kind of debt peonage (my words not his) and how we ought to have free university tuition (like in France or Cuba.) and how a university education ought not be the privilege of a few. A woman said how Occupy Nanaimo was building a community and this sense of community is what we need to develop further. These two sentiments were re-iterated by other speakers. One man recalled how successful direct action was in saving the trees at Cathedral Grove and another of how the 911 coverup had opened his eyes leading him to support actions such as Occupy. Several spoke of the need to support local businesses since the money circulates in the community, whereas with the big box stores, the money is siphoned out.
When my turn came I spoke of the need for democracy, real democracy, not our present elective dictatorship, a democracy of neighborhood assemblies and of the workplace as well. I pointed out how the biggest obstacle to democracy was the corporation and how this institution was a creation of government and thus could be eliminated by government. I spoke of the “four corporate privileges” that ought to be eliminated – corporate personhood, limited liability, patent law and banking law.
More people joined in and were still discussing when I left to get a coffee.
The following is Ken H's comment
Occupy Nanaimo is ongoing. i live more than 20 kilometres away and I drop in only occasionally. Occupy Nanaimo quickly became a gathering place for homeless people, First Nations people well represented among them. On Friday evening i counted 32 tents and at the meeting they were planning to buy more. A woman interviewed today on CHLY was enthusiastic about the impact on homeless people. For the moment they have a place to maintain a tent with sleeping bags and access to regular meals. Homelessness is very much an issue in Nanaimo right now as there is a campaign against the opening of "low-barrier" housing in the north end of Nanaimo. Many of the homeless people do not yet participate in the general assemblies. I would speculate that many of them are not used to having a voice in anything. I am inspired by the success of Occupy Nanaimo and look forward to dropping in on them again