My Rx for Occupy Vancouver Success

I hope the REAL Occupy Vancouver movement does not fade away. For MOST of our sakes, it MUST not.

Their message … that the rich must STOP getting richer at the expense of the rest of us … must not die, or be forgotten, or cease to be advocated. promoted and brought to success in our society.

Readers of this blog will know how I  condemned what I saw as the illegitimate seizure of the Occupy site by anarchists, homeless activists and partiers, who ruined the original message and destroyed much of the public support for the movement.

That was unfortunate, but now that the tenters have been moved away, that does NOT mean the original objectives should be forgotten or abandoned.

The Occupy Vancouver movement and protests and demands for fairness and better sharing of the wealth in our society should be continued. But while keeping it real at the same time.

The rich have been getting richer for some time…MANY studies have proved that …  but big business,corporate lobbyists, their conglomerate-based media mouthpieces and the GOVERNMENTS they have financed will only deal the issue when events force them to do so.

The worst thing that can happen to the struggle for fairness and justice is for the real Occupy movement to just go away.

So here’s my prescription how they could succeed:

Revive the protest outside the Vancouver Art Gallery … which IS front and center …in the city, where the action will draw the most attention.  BUT do it only one day a week …. say every Friday.   That’s every Friday, all year round … with featured speakers at Noon, keeping up the message … every Friday, every week.

The single Day of Action will allow thousands of people … underpaid workers, unemployed workers, involuntary part-time workers, struggling single or coupled parents, union supporters, seniors, overpaying renters, aspiring homeowners, and thousands of others who understand and support the true objectives … to show up for an hour or two or for the day and take part, without giving up their entire lives and bedding down in the bushes.

Community leaders, union leaders, even on-side politicians, writers, actors and who knows, even bloggers, could take part in that kind of sustained protest and express their support for the movement.

A sustained, orderly protest…every week … cannot fail to be noticed.  And I submit … it will grow until it’s message cannot be ignored.

And by packing up and leaving at the end of the day….the protests will not be corrupted by the tenters, druggies, anarchists who would want to divert the message and the attention back to themselves.

That’s my Rx:  take it weekly until justice is achieved and you’ll no doubt start feeling … and living …  better.

Harv Oberfeld

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26 Responses to My Rx for Occupy Vancouver Success

  1. frosty says:

    Harve. Do you not think the public who uses these spaces, facilities, roads etc are getting pretty weary of these people? Do you not agree they’d get better results while employed (gasp) and getting active in the political process?

    (Responses: Remember, I’m not talking about those who seemed to take over the art gallery lawn as live-ins. Many of the Occupy supporters DO work, or do try to get jobs etc. The problem is that too many companies…including some very large, money-making ones, do not give out jobs as you and I knew them: 40 hours a week, full benefits. They just hire for part-time, paying poorly and offloading health care and pensions etc to society in general. And even many of those working can barely pay what’s charged for rents these days, even in buildings that were paid off decades ago ….and the dream of buying even a small condo is out of reach. Yes, I hope they get involved polically too …but bringing their cause to the front is a legitimate expression of democracy, even if it ties up ONE of Vancouver’s hundreds of public open spaces. h.o)

  2. Keith says:

    Ayup Harvey,

    an organised protest once per week with a clear concise message would be just the ticket, however it should not just be limited to the art gallery. The Occupy movement in Victoria should coordinate a similar weekly event at the Legislature when the house is sitting, as it seems pointless to have a protest when no-one is there to hear them and the media don’t have a politician handy for comments.

    As you stated, the movement has to seperate itself from the rent – a – crowd that comes out of the woodwork to highjack the soundbites which the MSM media, and Sun news in particular can’t wait to get on the screen. Hopefully the occupy folks can get a focused agenda together , regain the original focus and public sympathy and move on to political action.

    (Response: Good idea about Victoria, if you think they could draw enough people there EVERY week to sustain a prolonged campaign. h.o.)

  3. KWM says:

    Great thinking on this topic! I agree! There is a point to be made and change needs to occur. The simplest labour laws from the last century are not followed and disenfranchised minimum wage workers are too scared to ask for a break or overtime pay even when they are legally entitled. Profits for shareholders and bonuses for CEOs must not be at the expense of workers or tax payers who must pick up the socioeconomic costs of underpaid, under-insured, pensionless workers who have been exploited for entrepreneurial passive income gain. Workers and business owners actually need one another and can thrive when there is a reasonable and symbiotic balance between livelihoods and true spending power. Wages are static for decades and yet consumer prices, taxes, and user fees have exploded. I never complain about prices but I do expect a raise to afford them. The same financial experts and governments who denounce the folly of citizens who are over-extended on credit and not saving for retirement are advocates for a free enterprise system that uses media messaging to create a ‘need’ for questionable consumerism and governments that no longer safeguard workers and consumers from unethical practice. People who can barely feed or educate themselves are tricked into believing that anything that is “good for the economy” justifies reduced levels of service, pay, and benefits. If only these impressionable folks could see how they are being intimidated and exploited by those who legally ‘write-off’ their lavish lifestyles while seldom offering a raise, much less a bonus or profit-share. Even the biggest unions and the BC Fed are pretty toothless in the face of widespread abuse. A general strike should have been called years ago when the government of the day was lauding Sinclair as a ‘statesman.’ Tell that to under-employed, rolled back workers who are so often women and minorities. From my perspective, complacency and complicity abound. Audacity and might have made right in BC for so long now that it may decades of protest to turn back the clock.

    (Response: The truth is nothing will substantively change without sustained protest and pressure. Even a different government here can only do so much without sacaring off existing companies and investment to more friendly and lucrative locations. That’s what’s important about the Occupy movemet (the REAL one) …it is North America wide (with some foreign variations) and the message is the same everyhere… we the middle class and those less well off WANT to work, WANT to participate …but demand those at the top stop being so greedy and taking far too much a share of the results of OUR labour for themselves. This is NOT a message yet heard or acceded to by governments we have elected or, in BC, now have but never elected. h.o)

  4. Gini says:

    I’ve been suggesting that very same thing (protesting at the legislature) for quite some time, but you’re probably right, Harv. The population in Victoria is likely not large enough to sustain a long-term weekly protest.

    We need to have our government brought back to the mainland where it was in the first place. (Like that’s going to happen!)

    Still, I like your plan, Harv. Now, if we can just find someone to organize it. Any takers out there?

  5. Mo says:

    Your idea is sound and sustainable! The pressure must be kept up. Hell even I will join regular weekly protests as would many others.

  6. SharingIsGood says:

    For some weeks, I’ve also announced support for a similar strategy, HO (especially for the winter months!). However, I question whether Friday is the best day for this sort of action; Friday afternoon is the day that government favours to release news that they want to be done with by the Monday morning news cycle. That said, any day that allows he public to contribute/occupy to its fullest is best. Sustained numbers of peaceful and thoughtful occupiers over time will win back some much-needed democracy. The other thing that will change hings most quicly is joiniing co-ops and credit unions, not shopping in big box and franchised stores and restaurants, etc..

  7. mariner says:

    A link that show the contempt that the governments (federal, state, provincial or local) and big corporations have had over the OWS movement. Read it and be shocked at what has been going on and has remained unreported for the most part, in Canada – thanks to a “bought and paid for” Canadian MSM.


  8. Doug Pyper says:


    You may want to alter your prescription slightly after reading this Aljazeera article.
    Making “demands” of the 1% is not the answer, because that legitimizes them. Think about it!

    (Response: Al Jazeera did some first rate reporting of uprisings in Libya and Syria but is VERY selective in which issues it approaches fairly and which it toes the official line of its Qatar masters. Basically in my view it is a biased network funded by the billionaire oil shieks and anti-democratic leaders. And you’re surprised they publish an article tracing the Occupy movement to anarchy? Just think of the implications if the movement ever caught on in Qatar! h.o)

  9. Diverdarren says:

    Your Rx for the occupy movement addresses the organization of the people. I don’t think organization is their problem, far from it. They have proven they can rally people, but they can’t articulate their cause. They are like hostage takers that have no demands.

    Every participant has an issue they want redress to, but their is no focused message. If they want revolution and overthrow of the government, fine. Good luck you’ll need it. If they want to have a sit in, fine. Camp out till somebody makes the world better for you. If they want to start a political movement, fine. They better go sign up voters for their cause.

    They can sit in the mud of the art gallery all they want, but they need to realize that being an eye sore has never effected change. You can revolt (USA circa 1776, French revolution, Russian revolution, Arab Spring) You can engage the political system (CCF/NDP, Reform Party, Tea Party-ers) Or you can sit on your arse (Occupiers)

  10. Doug Pyper says:


    I don’t believe you actually read the article through……otherwise you wouldn’t be spouting the evils of the “poplular misleading definition” of anarchy and continue reiterating your preconceived notions about the Occupy Movement. I hope visitors to your blog actually take the time to read the article that I linked to in my recent comment.

    As far as your views on the journalistc integrity of Al Jazeera ….. it’s totally UNSUBSTANTIATED nonsense. But you are entitled to your opinion.

    With regard to your RX for the Occupy Movement consider this secenario….

    The global rulers and elite reside in a castle, the entrance being a massive inpenatrable iron door. The rest of us have reached a point where we can no longer live with the injustices and destruction they are perpetrating in our world. So we begin to unite and camp outside the metal door, hoping that those inside will take note of our greivances. ….but they pay no attention.

    And since they control all the worldwide information (corporate media) they make a mockery of what we are doing….labelling individuals among us with various negative stereotypes.

    So someone comes up with the bright idea that the world rulers are not acknowledging or listening to us, because we don’t have a “specific list of demands”. So the supposedly more intelligent among us decide we should itemize our grievances and appoint leaders (who the elite will respect) whose job is to now very politely tap on the castle door.

    “They will notice and listen to us now, because we are being reasonable, orderly and polite. And our movement has structure.”

    Inside the castle the elites had been generally unconcerned overall, but are somewhat relieved by this new approach. “It’s about time the ‘serfs’ became civilized and know their place in the grand scheme of things. They were getting a bit bothersome. Now they’re under control…this is manageable”

    The ONLY way to change things is to stop pounding a the door…period!!!

    We have to join together and create a new world among ourselves OUTSIDE the castle door. Let the elites go to hell…they will self-destruct when our new world in the making begins to take shape.

    What about Revolution?…it has worked in the past to restructure ailing societies….when actual countries and geographic empires existed. But there are no more countries, only ecomomies to be managed by ‘bought and paid for’ politicians. You cannot wage a physical revolution against a global economic empire. We must re-create our own world among ourselves…peacefully …little by little.

    Protesting and presenting demands and giving speeches on a scheduled controlled basis (as you suggest Harvey) is useless, because it ACKNOWLEDGES the power of the 1%. And they don’t give a f**k what the rest of us think or desire. They live in a world fueled by greed and self-absorption. This approach CANNOT AND WILL NOT disslove the tower of greed, corruption and control in our world today.

    If you want to ‘Keep It Real’ Harvey…..maybe begin by ‘Recognizing Reality’.

    Perhaps treat yourself to reading a history book now and then.

    And join the “Real” movement.

    (Response: I’m not surprised…your response to my earlier reply to you is exactly what I expect from an Al Jazeera believer: attack the opponent with vituperative denunciation, denial ….several nations, on both sides of the political divide, refuse to carry it or grant credentials to its “reporters” etc etc. and, of course, then you condescendingly suggest that protesting and giving speeches NEVER works. Ever heard of the HST fight???? I DID read through the article…and you may regard as accurate the analysis that Occupy members and supporters “refuse to accept the legitimacy” of our political institutions or thre existing legal order. BULL****. . I just see that contention as a typical Al Jazeera supporter’s failure to keep it real. h.o)

  11. Rick says:

    I have to agree with Doug on this one. Cutting off the money tap is the only thing they’ll understand, anything less is a waste as is seen in the HST as we are still paying it.

  12. Doug Pyper says:

    Labelling me as an “Al Jazeera believer”…as a be all-end all description of who I am and what I do, is a might narrow (and defensive) isn’t it Harvey?

    Have a look at my website. I’m a well-educated, well-travelled and seasoned photojournalist.

    And who BTW is lodging a complaint with the CRTC? (be specific…you’re a journalist). They would be on the right side of the CANADIAN political spectrum I might guess, as would other complaints from “several other nations?????” (osbcure references). Some people (political leaders) don’t want the truth out there…in case you haven’t noticed. It’s called control of the media…and they’re having problems controlling Al Jazeera. It’s that simple!

    And I didn’t say protesting and giving speeches NEVER works. I’ve paticipated in many throughout my lifetime. I was stating that is simply NOT what the Occupy movement is all about.

    Your MSM background and conservative views are often evident in your Blog (which is fine).

    Just don’t try to tell me or anyone else that a news network like Al Jazeera (that tells it like it is… in words and photographs) is irrelavent and illegitimate.

    When was the last time you saw photos of dead child corpses lying in the streets…casualties of oil wars waged by western powers in our North American MSM?

    It’s your blog and you’ll get the last word…and so it should be.

    Hope some of your followers look at both sides of this discourse.

    (Response: Always happy to have several sides of any discussion on here. h.o)

  13. Lew says:

    Doug, your idea of creating a new world outside the castle door would have a lot more credibility if your website didn’t advertise that you are willing to work for those guys inside the castle. Telling them to go to hell and asking them to hire you at the same time seems a bit incongruous.

    (Response: Now why didn’t I think of that! Thanks, Lew. 🙂 h.o.

  14. Doug Pyper says:

    Excuse me Lew and Harvey,

    But just what the hell are you talking about?????

    I don’t do corporate photography nor any corporate/business PR writing in any capacity (NONE),….nor do I advertise on my website that I do so. The reality is …..I often work for global human charity services like NGO’s in underdeveloped countries and for non-profit organizations such as Childen International etc. Often at no charge!

    And as a photojournalist I am actively involved in protecting the environment globally and here in BC through my work. I am a humanitarian in all respects with my work…and my website reflects that.

    Lew….Where on my website does it suggest I cater to the corporate world or offer my services to such???

    What a ridiculous accusation by “who the hell is Lew?”. ….whose unwarranted comments were unbelievably praised by H.O… ..amazing!!

    Can’t believe I’m actually replying to your insane accusations. Jesus wake up guys!!

    You probably won’t publish this Harvey, but I hope you have the morals to do so. You’ll feel more honest within yourself and will show your public that your are credible and open minded …and willing to accept views contrary to your own…. not such a bad thing.

    But if you don’t publish at least you got my message t0 you personally.

    I’ve followed your blog and more often than not agreed with the majority of your views…what’s this personal attack nonsense all about ? And perhaps maybe I initiated the confrontational thread. I accept responsibility for that.

    Everyone who cares about issues has different views on answers about our complicated world. At least those who do care speak their minds…and you are one of them. Hell would freeze over before our beliefs align….which is okay.

    Unfortunately we lost respect for each other in this exchange. Next time we’ll do better.

    Have a nice day!

  15. 13 says:

    I am puzzled as to why or how a protest in front of the VAG will ever effect the inequities that have been dumped on most people in America and Europe. Big banks and big buisness have stolen trillions of dollars and very few if any have been charged with any crime let alone convicted.
    The occupy movement might be the begining of change but somehow until we realize that we have all been deceived and cheated a few protesters will only deflect the focus away from the real problems.

    (Response: Ever heard the term “the squeaking wheel gets the grease”? I think a sustained protest regular protest action would put pressure on governments and companies (speakers could name, emarrass and denounce the worst offenders …. scoundrel of the week?) who make millions but pay low wages, hire mostly part time and pay few benefits, no pensions. And hopefully a sustained campaign would get attention from governments. May or may not work, but the worst thing is to just go away, say no more and then things are guaranteed to continue without change. h.o)

  16. Lew says:

    “Where on my website does it suggest I cater to the corporate world or offer my services to such???”

    Doug, the publishing credits on your website include work featured in publications for Canadian Forest Industries, Business in Vancouver Media Group, Calgary Herald, and Vancouver Sun, to name a few. On which side of your mythical castle door do they operate?

    The “North American MSM” against which you rail is included in your publishing credits. It’s your website and your business, but when you invite Harvey’s “followers” to have a look at the discourse, you are inviting comment on your post, and my comment is that you can’t have it both ways. You dismiss Harvey’s suggestion as unworkable and out of hand, and propose one that includes having nothing to do with the corporate elite. Fair enough. I say your idea would have more credibility if you did truly divorce yourself from that entity and see if it helps it to self-destruct, as you propose it will if we follow your prescription. In that regard, setting your hair on fire and insulting people won’t give your peaceful new world a very good start.

    There is a definite feeling of widespread unrest in what has been labeled the 99%, and in my opinion some event or some individual will eventually provide the spark that will coalesce our efforts. I have no more an idea what that will look like than anybody else. But when it happens, look out. For now, in my opinion, your solution seems more a symptom of the unrest than a workable cure.

  17. Doug Pyper says:


    FYI the articles I did for the Vancouver Sun and and Calgary Herald were published in the Adventure Section…on powder skiing in the British Columbia interior. And for Canadian Forest Industries magazine I wrote a few articles on ‘selective logging’ and ‘prescribed burns’…both major “ENVIRONMENTAL ” issues. I supplied some stock images on local tourism for Kootenay Business magazine . And for Retail Connections an article featuring small retail enteprenuers on Baker Street in Nelson. None of this editorial served big business by any stretch of the one’s imagination…even yours.

    Keep digging, I’m sure you’ll eventually find something to discredit me! Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

    BTW what do you do for a living , since you’re so eagerly dissecting my livelihood? Should be interesting.

  18. Doug Pyper says:

    And further Lew…’s obviously a very comfortable position for you to comment and dissent as an anonymous persona….while you pass judgement on me. Lew who?

    My website and indentity are public domain in this thread…your stating your views, why not disclose your indentity? If you’re not willing to do that…I think people following this will thread will question your credibility…as do I. How about an even playing field?

    And anyone visting my website is probably already questioning your judgement.

  19. Lew says:

    Harvey, I’ll apologize for my part in this dust-up in your living room, but if you’ll indulge one more, I have this message for Doug, and then I’m done. He’s right; I have better things to do with my time.


    Take a look at the comment thread above and tell me if you see a pattern. Notice that the only posts not using an alias are yours. Think about the reasons for that. Then take a look at the arguments and comments and see if you can pull any nasty ones like these out of them:
    Think about it!
    I don’t believe you actually read the article through
    it’s totally UNSUBSTANTIATED nonsense.
    If you want to ‘Keep It Real’ Harvey…..maybe begin by ‘Recognizing Reality’.
    Perhaps treat yourself to reading a history book now and then.
    But just what the hell are you talking about?????
    Can’t believe I’m actually replying to your insane accusations. Jesus wake up guys!!
    any stretch of the one’s imagination…even yours.
    Don’t you have better things to do with your time?
    And anyone visting my website is probably already questioning your judgement.
    I think people following this will thread will question your credibility…as do I.

    Don’t complain about level playing fields; it was your choice to put your profile on here, not mine. It was you who issued a specific invitation to have a look at your website, and in the context of your plan for a new world I observed the corporate connections. My intent was to discuss the merits of your plan, not your character. But if mentioning publishing credits that you advertise on your own website is discrediting you, I apologize.

  20. Canadian Malcontent says:

    Well Harv, the first thing that needs to be done is to wake the sheeple up….Then we can protest and occupy.

    Canada and USA are a nation of sheep lulled to sleep by the so called media and consumerism..As long as people have their big screen tv, fast food to eat while they watch the game (and in debt to their eyeballs) all is well and they do not care.

    (Response: Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses; today it is tv sports, entertainment non-news and techno gadgets. h.o.)

  21. h.o. says:

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    The Christmas Passport is a new 160 page guide book created by Randy Vannatter that showcases great Christmas experiences to celebrate during the holiday season in Vancouver. It combine savings at top Christmas attractions, including the Vancouver Christmas Market and Vancouver Parks Board’s: VanDusen Gardens, Bloedel Conservatory, and Bright Lights in Stanley Park.

    The Christmas Passport is available at the gate at VanDusen Botanical Gardens and includes a free adult ticket ($13.50), or at Bloedel Conservatory (includes family admission; 2 adult, 2 children) starting Friday, Dec.9th. Passport is also available now at the Vancouver Christmas Market & includes a season pass for unlimited entry for 1 adult, 2 children to the close of the market December 24th.

    The Christmas Passport includes 90 pages of feature stories on top Vancouver Christmas attractions, as well as Canada Place; Woodward’s Windows, The Santa Claus Parade, Capilano Bridge’s Canyon Lights, and Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas.

    The guide includes Christmas memories from prominent Vancouverites’ such as Dal Richards & Phil Reimer, and explains the age old mysteries of “why Red & Green at Christmas”, or “Where did Santa come from?”. It also includes a comprehensive Lower Mainland Christmas Light Display listing, and a Christmas calendar of events.

    Other great experiences/participants include: Ballet BC, Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Vancouver Theatresports League, Comedy Mix, Snowshoeing with Natural Trekking, Vancouver Trolley, Britannia Mine Museum, Vancouver Museum, H.R. Macmillan Space Centre, Vancouver Maritime Museum, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver Art Gallery, Bill Reid Gallery, numerous restaurants and all 11 Absolute Spa locations in Metro Vancouver.

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  22. bg says:

    I totally support the OCCUPY movement but would not be able to attend a Friday protest because of work, if it is during the daytime. Hold it during the evening or on a Saturday or Sunday.

  23. 13 says:

    Harvey, I am excited that occupy has targeted the Port of Vancouver. On Monday Dec 12 they will attempt to blockade both Delta Port and the downtown ports.
    The port is the bastion of corporate greed and they exploit workers at every opportunity.
    Once the container is off of the ship it is transported by rail or truck. While the port has even screwed with the rail I would like to coment on the truck side of the buisness.
    The trucks that serve the port are either independant owners or company owned . The port has been closed due to independant truckers refusing to go to work twice 1999 and 2005. Both times were caused by deplorable working conditions. ie very low rates paid to the truckers . In 2005 Vince Ready wrote the Ready Memorandum which is the guidline for rates that the truckers must be paid for their services. Unfortunatley the report did not address future rate increases and after 2006 the truckers have not seen any rate increases. Most rates have gone down due to cheating allowed to happen by non union rate cutting trucking companies. The port allows cheaters because this drags the low rates even lower. As part of the settlement to the 2005 dispute the port instituted a TLS terminal license sysytem. In order to drive your truck on port property you must hold a TLS In order to hold a TLS you must agree to all of the terms of the TLS Needless to say in the terms the truckers have given away all rights to protest on or off of port property. The TLS probably would not survive a charter challenge but no one has the money to fund a court battle with the port.

    So I hope that the occupy movement is succeeds in disrupting the port. I hope they carry on right through xmass. I hope that truckers support them in anyway they can

  24. 13 says:

    Harvey, if you go to the BC Federation Of Labor site you can see why a NDP supporter of many years gave up on the left wing side. Jim Sinclairs fed has come out against the occupy movement. It was fine for him to grandstand infront of the VAG. But now when the rubber hits the road and real protest that could have real results he turtles and hides behind “we do not support any disruption that effects our members livelyhoods” .
    Also the CAW sent a high level union exec down to the VAG. I wonder if they will be present at the port. They represent a sustantial number of truckers.

  25. 13 says:

    Further to my earlier comment.Harvey, if you go to the BC Federation Of Labor site you can see why a NDP supporter of many years gave up on the left wing side. Jim Sinclairs fed has come out against the occupy movement. It was fine for him to grandstand infront of the VAG. But now when the rubber hits the road and real protest that could have real results he turtles and hides behind “we do not support any disruption that effects our members livelyhoods” .
    Also the CAW sent a high level union exec down to the VAG. I wonder if they will be present at the port. They represent a sustantial number of truckers.

  26. Alisa says:

    Remember that in BC the gap beewetn the top 1% and the other 99 is larger and faster-growing than in the US. Remember also that Canada has more billionaires per capita than any other nation, and that Vancouver has more of them than any other city in Canuckistan except possibly Toronto. Stats/facts/links please.

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