We spent most of Oct. 15th at Occupy Vancouver. Because of commitments on our island (a wood-heated home, pets, and the children's various activities), we won't be camping in Vancouver, but we do intend to spend a day there every week or so. We had a few reservations about the event, because we'd had so many warnings from people re: police violence, black bloc violence, angry protesters, etc. But there was none.
ON TAKING CHILDREN:
A few people commented supportively on the fact that we had our kids with us, and they were far from the only children there (although the children's area wasn't very well-used). It was, I think a fabulous learning experience for the kids, and their level of engagement even surprised me.
ON TAKING HUSBANDS:
Well, you know... when you have such a picturesque husband, you have to expect him to become the focus of others' cameras... On the Occupy Vancouver website (Flickr page that updates with new photos on a regular basis) I found two great portraits of him, neither of which he remembers being taken! Thanks to Mark Kortum for this one:
We were so worried about the post-riot VPD and their new MRAD (Medium Range Acoustic Device, which can be used as a sound-weapon to disperse protesters), that we brought along ear-muffs and plugs for the kids, but there was no need, this Saturday. There was one arrest, which may have been much more harsh than necessary, of a woman who had driven her car up onto the sidewalk. I'm not sure what happened, there, so I'm not going to speculate. What I did see were dozens of police men and women lining the perimeter of the gathering, smiling, talking with each other and with occupiers, nodding at and thumbs-upping various signs, and waving happily at anybody who was nice to them. This reenforced my thoughts that the police, like bankers, lawyers, salesmen, etc. are also members of the 99%. I used to think they might not know it yet. I'm now reminded that many of them actually do.
The group was so diverse. A friend mentioned to me that "the vague people they have on CBC are really discrediting the movement", but that is obviously not for lack of intellect at the gatherings. This crowd of an estimated 5000 seemed to have a high percentage of intellectually inclined people, and there was progressive, productive discourse going on everywhere, between people of all ages, genders, political leanings, and walks of life. Click on the photo above for a closer look.
|Cooperative games abounded!|
|So did less cooperative, but equally thought-provoking games.|
|And we got to spend a little time with our friends, too! We saw at least 15 Bowenites there, though I didn't count. (Yes -- sign-sharing was all part of the process...)|
|Leaving the site? Drop off your sign! Need a new inspiration? Pick one up or make a new one at the sign-making station!!|
LOVE AND INFRASTRUCTURE:
The signs were diverse, and some bordered on threatening; but among the human interactions the message of love and respect was pervasive. Among the efforts to create harmony and happiness were the many committees formed (see a current list, here), and the infrastructure set up, staffed, and maintained by volunteers. There was food donated and distributed, a children's area, various sound-equipment areas, donated port-a-potties (which were sadly already overfull by Saturday evening, awaiting pump-out on Monday), a medical tent, a media tent, etc. etc. Here are some photos:
|And our spiritual needs will of course also be looked after. Click the photo to enlarge and read the signs.|
|This is (a terrible shot of) the media tent. There are people diligently documenting the occupation, and they continue to put in a LOT of work, as is evident just from looking at all the resources at http://occupyvancouver.com|
PROCESS AND PARTICIPATION:
|As the evening got cold we had to head out for the last ferry home to our (cold) wood-heated house and hungry animals. We will not be camping in Vancouver.|
|In fact, after having been actively engaging in the city for 13 hours, we were REALLY grateful to have a warm and soft bed to get home to. But we're also very glad we went, and I think we're all looking forward to our next day, there.|
Thank you, everyone, for this wonderful first day of a beautiful new way of living! We'll be back again in a few days!