Posted by Michael Happy on October 29th, 2011
I’m just going to make it easy and reproduce Heather Mallick‘s column in full. The above clip from Occupy Toronto of young men and women articulating their concerns and priorities once again puts the lie to the conventional wisdom that they do not know what they’re doing or why.
The Occupy Toronto demonstrators don’t have a coherent point? How risible. Our economic system is so skewed that they have too many to articulate easily. Here’s a baker’s dozen to start:
1. You can’t get a degree without sinking into debt, or being told that your degree is worthless because it won’t get you hired, even though you know in your heart that a degree in anything, particularly history, will make you better able to understand, cope with, and vote against the life the 99-percenters are stuck with.
2. You can’t get a job, not one that sounds sane and pays. You want something between tree-planting or freelancing — ooh, you’re an entrepreneur, a sweatpanted typist without benefits — and a job for life.
I read, entranced, about veteran Toronto cop Const. Susan McConnell, who was charged with faking a medical note, getting a job at The Brick after getting the leave, crossing the border off-duty with her gun, getting drunk in public, and altering a salary letter for a mortgage. Demoted for 18 months, she is still a cop with an 11 per cent raise. So you could be a cop. Or you could work at The Brick. People always need furniture. Not at Occupy though. You don’t have furniture, you have tents. So go buy a new tent. There’s probably a sale on. Now Is the Discount of Our Winter Tents. If you got that reference, you have an arts degree, as do I, and I just bought a new coffee table.
3. The federal government is cutting jobs. They’re aiming at fields tracking complex things like ozone depletion or population. It means Canada will have a permanent footnote in the world league tables, *HICK. The clock will tick backward in ultra-conservative Harperland until we vote him out or it’s 1952 again and we are the Mississippi of nations, Mississippi being the state that always saves a grateful Lousiana from coming dead last.
4. Canada will not be attending Expo 2012 in Korea, no pavilion, no nothing, claiming it can’t afford it. What other nation isn’t attending? Greece. Heritage Canada says nobody notices us at these things anyway unless we have Cirque du Soleil. But everyone goes to Expos. It’s how countries get attention and their architects/designers/artists get international commissions. But Harper hates creative people and their show-offy foreign friends — he secretly suspects conventions are where people do the sex — so making other Canadians stay home and watchMurdoch Mysteries is a big win. It is not a CBC show.
5. The CBC is being chipped away by little hatchets. The much-loved CBC, dumbed down and Rex Murphy-ed as it may be, is our only true means of tracking our own country. Also, it might have hired you.
6. Mayor Rob Ford is sitting on Toronto. From transit to libraries to jobs, the man who screams at 911 operators is squishing the living breath out of us. Who is this ridiculous person and why isn’t he selling furniture? I hear there’s a vacancy at a The Brick in Barrie.
7. Retirement isn’t mandatory. Older people won’t leave their jobs to make room for the young. They sit at their desks voting down your pension rights and trying to stuff an entire egg salad sandwich in their mouth at one go, and then getting mad because they can’t get the hang of the neck scarf as worn by the young people, which is sad because it would be a really good look for them. They don’t get enraged at injustice, they just trail away into “the narcissism of minor differences,” as did that last sentence.
8. You have no voice. Nobody speaks for your generation. Take a good look at the newspaper columnists in this country. A bigger bunch of cranky Andy Rooneys you have never seen. Also they never admit that their mug shots are so heavily doctored that they’re unrecognizable in real life. I didn’t mess with mine but then I’m pretty spackled at the best of times.
9. You’ll never be able to vote online. It’s not going to happen. Young people are digitally connected and they won’t let you use that for power till maybe 2068.
10. WikiLeaks is dying from the financial blockade imposed by huge financial firms like Mastercard and Visa. Knowledge is power and you can’t have any. Money is power and you have none. Boycotts are difficult to organize. I would boycott Tim Hortons for one rural outlet’s alleged treatment of lesbians but they won’t miss me. I drink Red Bull full-time.
11. Ottawa — the government voted in by the Angry Pajamas bloc — is killing the Canadian Wheat Board, the national long-gun registry and your right to strike. I won’t get into why you’ll never own your own farm now. I’m just hoping you don’t get shot. But the subtext of all this is the move to destroy your right to do things in groups. Next up for death: parties, healing circles, twin-sets. And face it, Harperites don’t like people with breasts.
12. Sex will be riskier, you fertile youthful types. I don’t mean that you won’t have the means to support your children or a daycare to put them in even if you do. You won’t. I mean that abortion rights are on Harper’s list of To Go items. He has an anti-sex social agenda to mirror his economic one, and it’s pure Tea Party.
13. Never ever judge your moral worth by a dollar. No one is better than you because they earn soccer star salaries or work on Bay Street. You, young person, are lovely (I am whispering this in your personal ear). I’m with you.
And so I say, fight on, young people! Quebec, home of the École Polytechnique massacre, has just told Ottawa to get stuffed on the long-gun registry. Find the fierce prideful Quebec in you and never surrender.