The attacks on the Occupy Calgary movement, specifically the Olympic Plaza camp component, have reached a fevered pitch. Not content with making criticisms of the camp based on ideological differences, the opponents of the camp in City Hall and the media have resorted to increased slander and exaggerations, coupled with downright falsehoods.
The claim has been made that campers have been physically fighting and needed police to pull them apart. That is not true. There have been fights and problems with substance abuse, not on the part of the campers, but on the part of our fellow human being who are suffering from homelessness. A basic reason why the camp was set up was precisely to bring attention to these social ills in the first place. And the campers have been striving to help their sisters and brothers get the help and resources they are so clearly lacking in this city.
There is a basic assumption that the camp attracts these problems. The fact is that camp or no camp, these social ills will continue. They are not an indictment of the camp, but of this city’s and province’s inability to solve them. As to the claim that the camp has cost the city $40,000 in damages, we ask in the name of transparency what the exact costs are and the proof they were caused by members of Occupy Calgary camp.
In our opinion, the city and media are really angry at the attention we have drawn to this city’s growing problem of homelessness. For, if we are removed, will they still raise a hue and cry? Do they really care for their fellow human who will still suffer in the cold, or who will temporarily escape the pain if their conditions through substance abuse?
We said before and we say again: That the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; our social institutions must be organized around the needs of people and the limits of the planet and not be organized around a profit motive. Upon corruption of that system, it is up to us to protect our communities. True democracies derive their power from the people and yet we are living in a time when corporations have alarming influence on our governments, resulting in the valuing of profit over people, self-interest over justice, and resulting in oppression over equality. We are being denied a voice in the democratic process of resource allocation, while corporations extract wealth from the people and the planet without our consent. Our peaceful assembly seeks to spark a discussion of these conditions with the hope of reclaiming power over our communities.