The 4th Reason – James W. Jesso

6 Dec

There have been a lot of people angry at Occupy Calgary and the camp associated with it. This is interesting when you realize we’re part of a global movement attempting to stand up for the downtrodden economic casualties—that most of us will become if we don’t wake up soon—and with the help of more people it would be much more effective. Yet still some people are outright against it.

I addressed a few reasons why this may be happening in my article Why They Don’t Occupy and got some of the angry backlash I as expecting. One of the comments from a user named anon provided a great example of the same under-informed opinions I’ve been hearing since Oct 15

Projection, Apathy, Personal Gain. Interesting ideas, but you forgot number 4. Those of us who think occupiers are a bunch of people with overinflated self esteems who saw the Wall Street occupation and said “Me too! Me too!”. In other words, those of us who think you are a movement made up of idiots.

You will probably mark me as a “personal gain” kind of person, and in a way you’re right. If I thought I could do better under your system, I would swap in a heartbeat. I would jump in with both feet. Instead though, all I see is a group of children sitting around banging drums chanting “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. We want free electricity. We want free heaters. We want a free place to stay”

Maybe your system is better. Maybe it’s the right one. But the groups ability to broadcast any message other than “we’re a bunch of freeloaders” sucks. Face reality, you’re losing in the marketing department.

Well anon you’ve brought up some good points and you’re right, there is a fourth reason. You’ve made a great case for it. Sorry to those of you that prefer brevity but this reason is called Indoctrinated values on behave of the overtly potentate simplification of the mainstream media

Though most of the anger coming from the uninformed public has been expressed with clearly ignorant rhetoric, some of it has a standing reason. People are angry at what they hear about Occupy Calgary. Unfortunately what they are hearing what is seen on the television, read in the newspapers, or heard through friends.  Most of which is based on the media’s ability to take a very small segment of factual information, load it with bias and sell it with sensationalism.

Presenting Occupy Calgary campers as homeless, ignorant, smelly, freeloading hippy-idiots that are stealing from the city and shitting in the park. This same media presents Occupy Calgary as only complaining and having no value by using well-planned and delivered video clips to support their acrimonious claims.

We can see a great example of this in anon’s reply when he says, “If I thought I could do better under your system, I would swap in a heartbeat. I would jump in with both feet.” Occupy Calgary has never claimed to have an alternative system, they are encouraging people to come together in open discussion of the system we have in an effort to find solutions; to admit and address the problems instead of pretending the government will.

Though the media’s claims may present information that is fundamentally inaccurate and untrue, it is still what is being distributed en mass as “news”.  The majority of news-watching people develop their opinion accordingly and I can understand why.

Occupy makes very big claims and addresses very complex problems. In the United States, people don’t need to understand these complexities because they understand they are suffering the social-economic violence being perpetrated against them. It is a different story in Canada because it hasn’t hit us yet, though it is coming.

To recognize the problems, Canadians—Calgarians specifically, as we have it the easiest in Canada—have to look beyond their comforts into the complexity of governmental corruption. So most people choose to look away. It confuses and probably scares them to address the fallacy of a system they have based most of their identity on and it is easier to continue to believe in “happy and polite Canada”.

Though I doubt it, this current fallacy may have once been true. But currently the reality is that we really are the retarded cousin of the United States because we smile and take it when our dad beats us too but ridicule the States for not doing something about it. (Pardon my honest opinion).

So with the emotional and psychological load of accepting the need to address this complicated issue, we search out something easier to settle on. For the deeply apathetic it’s mindless entertainment or superficial social culture. For those who still have an urge to feel informed it’s the news, where they are delivered heavily simplified and sensationalized selective information. You can just eat it up like a bag of potato chips, tasty, quick but just like the potato chips it only pretends nutritional value. “Baked, not fried!”

So ok, the masses are simple because they are overworked and under-nourished in many ways, so why don’t they just simplify honest news? A good question, the long answer has a library of books to explain. The short answer is this: the system of power we currently perpetuate relies on the majority of people to be under-informed bricks, working to hold up the base of a pyramid scheme.

Currently at the top of this pyramid are massive conglomerates like Rogers Communication (telecommunications, media), TELUS (telecommunications, media) and Power Corporation of Canada (media, finance, resource).

Why would the media honestly represent a movement which stands up against a system of corporate corruption of government when it is the same people who own the main-stream media companies that have the most to lose? So anon is right when he says Occupy Calgary is losing in the marketing department, however it’s tough to win when they won’t even let you on the field.

I encourage people who are angry at Occupy Calgary to consider whether or not you have actually talked to anyone at the Occupy Calgary camp or asked yourself why 2,600 towns and cities worldwide and at least 20 in Canada chose to Occupy.

Read more by James W. Jesso


17 Responses to “The 4th Reason – James W. Jesso”

  1. Janet Greenhalgh December 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I am grateful to Occupy Calgary for the awareness they have raised about issues like corruption and the disenfranchised who are not benefitting from the “Alberta Advantage”. Every week they were still down there holding meetings and potlucks I became more and more in awe of their courage and conviction. I can’t help wondering though if they are now in danger of losing ground not literally but more importantly in the hearts of Calgarians. They are operating in their own little bubble now, and from my point of view have lost focus. If I felt they were raising collective consciousness in a positive direction, braking down old paradigms and exploring new ideas for cooperative living, I would participate in that effort, but it just seems to have turned into a struggle with the city, media and majority of Calgarians over the right to camp overnight on public land. I will continue to watch for signs that there is something game changing happening down there, but in the meantime I think it is time to come in from the cold and work out what it will take to attract other Calgarians to your cause.

    • idnami December 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

      Janet, I’m with you there. This movement is a lot bigger than a few tents. I really hope we can all start working together again.

      • Mike Honcho December 7, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

        I hope so too Mandi. It distresses me when I read the Herald today and I see that an appeal is possible. Can you confirm the truth of the article?

        Three things in particular distress me:

        a) You don’t win an appeal on anything other than an error in law or an error in application. I’ve read the decision by Whitmann and can’t see either. And I’m not going to question Ben or anybody down there, but frankly, does anyone have any legal experience to the point where they could question the decision of the Chief Justice?

        b) Derrick Frank is quoted as saying they are scouting locations for a new Occupy. I’ve seen where Occupying community centers of condo developments has been discussed. My concern is if you occupy community centers, do you really think this will help turn the public tide towards Occupy. I can’t see that. And, if you occupy condo developments, then isn’t this a clear point that these physical occupiers have lost their focus. I can buy the argument that we occupy the Plaza cause it’s high a traffic area and you can have access to a lot of people walking, but a condo development? Then the physical occupation becomes more important than the message is what I get out of that.

        c) Why use the money given to Occupy by OWS to hire some lawyer who get’s paid whether he/she wins or not? If I’m a lawyer, I encourage you to appeal because frankly, I get paid whether I win or not. Isn’t there a better use for those funds going forward than to line to pockets of a lawyer. More so, who controls the funds given it’s a leaderless movement? (I assume a GA vote) I mean, you can used the funds for ads, you can use it to print pamplets, you can give it to the homeless or buy mosquito nets as far as I’m concerned, but to give it to a lawyer on a weak case. I really hope not.

        Mandi, you give me a lot of hope that this movement can continue without the tents and refocus to what is was originally meant to be. But, I truly fear that the movement has been hijacked by the physical occupiers and bad decisions are being made. I really hope the movement has alot more people like you then those that have lost their focus but I fear your voice is being drowned out. Please tell me I’m wrong.

        • idnami December 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm #


          I’m all in favour of a graceful retreat. Kinda makes me wish I HAD been camping so I could be more influential in this decision.

          What I’m getting is mainly that some people intend to resist. If they do, you won’t see me racing down there to support as I did during the serving of eviction notices and the midnight raid. Screw that. I’ll get arrested for social justice and human rights if need be, but not tents.

          I believe the appeal would be based an a few untruths in some of the city affidavits. I don’t know much more than that and I really don’t see the point in it.

          I agree that pissing people off even more won’t help us. However this is also why I have worked so hard to lay the foundations for the online occupation. I’ve also joined an inter-city group linking together several occupy groups, including one that never had a camp. Don’t think I’m about to let this thing die just because a few individuals insist on continuing a pointless action.

          Something that has always frustrated me about the GA is the requirement to be physically present at meetings to get a vote. I tried to move some of that online too. I have no idea who is making the financial decisions but I agree a lawyer at this point is a waste of money.

          I don’t know enough at this point to give you solid answers but I’m gonna go do some digging and get back to you on this.

          • Mike Honcho December 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

            Please don’t Mandi. Use your time more wisely then to answer my questions on the physical occupation. I’m tired of it and I don’t care about it anymore and I’ll focus my energies, like you have, on going forward and finding common ground and solutions and making an impact, even if it’s on a micro level. Honestly, no offense, but I don’t care about the campers,

            • idnami December 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

              Hey Mike. I’m hoping you’ve seen the news today. The ultimate resolution offered by occupy in the form of a gorgeous piece of art!

  2. Jami Norms December 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Great article James!

    The thoughts that run through my mind right off the bat are:

    a) Calgary is unique in Canada from the standpoint that in most people’s minds they are “thriving”. Is it worth looking at other ways to raise awareness on top of the occupation down at Olympic Plaza such as finding people that work in the “Corporate World” that are not afraid to share there opinion with co-workers? I know that they are out there. Or what about creating a street team to engage people in down town locations during lunch hours and providing them with intelligent documentation about the things going on in our society?

    b) Would it not be beneficial to provide viable solutions for people like “Anon” that say “they would jump in with both feet” if there was another way? I mean it seems to me that there are enough people that don’t want to live this way any more, so why are we not finding alternative ways to live and doing it? Build something that works so that people can see that it does. You know as well as I do that as long as people live in fear of “anything” they will have a hard time making any type of socially responsible decision. Why would anyone think about helping their fellow man when they are in fear of their own survival?

    On a personal level I have embarked on a journey to get out from underneath the system that we are all holding up but will admit it sure seems like a lonely journey at times. The thing that keeps me strong and pushing forward is the sense of my own greater purpose in life. Now if there was only an easier way to help others realize their own.

    I still believe that it is going to take something huge to shift the majority and I have a strong feeling that it is coming sooner than people might think. A suggestion to everyone is to challenge your purpose on this planet this time around. Food for thought: Do you actually think you chose to come back in these times to sit in an office and fear for your life and all of your material possessions that fill the void of not being true to “Self”? I think not. I have a ton of Love inside me that has been repressed because of our current society and I know that I am not the only one.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and Love. You are a true inspiration to us and I am proud to call you a friend. Much ♥

  3. anon December 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    For the record (this is the same anon that you quote), my opinion was not based on main stream media. It was partially influenced, yes I admit, but the majority of my opinion is based on other sources of information:

    (in no particular order)
    1) going to the occupation and listening.
    2) reading this site
    3) following the facebook group until it was locked.
    4) The website.

    Like I said, you guys suck at the marketing department.

    And in the words of the late Billy Mays “but wait, there’s more!”

    The occupiers in Calgary admit to stealing electricity from the city. One of the actual justifications was “we have cell phones to power”. Really? Cell phones are an excuse to steal now? Or “it’s wind powered, so it’s free”. Do people not understand that yes, the source may be free, but getting the wind converted to a useable form takes money? And equipment that have a limited life span and therefore has per Kw/h cost? Or what about that list of demands that the city pay for things like renting the largest community halls in Calgary so they can hold GA’s once a month? Or a dedicated police presence at Olympic Plaza every night to protect their tents? What support you guys might have had disappeared when you started doing stupid shit like that.

    And then taking the offer from the city and tearing it up? That’s not a negotiation tactic, that’s being a dick. That’s putting your fingers in your ears and saying “nah nah nah we can’t hear you”. The rest of us have to work out compromises in our lives. Stomping your feet and throwing a tantrum? Yeah, I see 5 year olds doing that move. I haven’t seen an adult do that in a very long time.

    Or what about the times when I’ve walked past the tents and seen the Canadian flag lying in the dirt? Free speech is a wonderful thing, and I will support your right to take the flag and desecrate it. What I will not do at that point is listen to you take advantage of the free speech I’m defending for you. Keep on talking all you want, but I’m not listening. Don’t sit there and insult me and then expect me to be nice.

    It doesn’t help that you admit that the occupy movement provides nothing other than a place for people to bitch and moan. “Occupy Calgary has never claimed to have an alternative system”. Word of advice: If you’re going to complain about the current system, have something constructive to talk about as well. You do realize how you come off right?

    Occupiers: “The current system sucks”
    Everyone else: “Agreed. What do you suggest”
    Occupiers: “I don’t have any suggestions on how to fix it. Can you think for me please?”

    Listen, at the end of the day, there really are so many things wrong with this occupation that I could easily spend hours writing about it. I won’t because I have much better things to do with my life than sit here and waste my time trying to convince people to present a solution and not just a list of the problems.

    • raz December 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

      I understand both points. Ive been supporting this occupy movement, and i for one have found countless answers to problems. I am ready to act now, but I have seen more bitching than beneficial talk, and it was frustrating for me to be among that. If you want to talk about poverty, you can start by the actions individuals take that makes their environment rich or poor.

      When i saw an offer from the city, i kept thinking, “these people better take it and cooperate with the city”

      I’ve seen admins boot people, censor filters, lack of active work to create greater inclusion and frameworks for people to contribute. Lack of clarity or place for people to include others in meetings and groups. Trying to get consensus about petty matters. They let themselves get sidetracked with camping issues. The list goes on…

      That being said, I’ve also seen people helping out others. I’ve seen so much care and warmth from people. I’ve seen support. I’ve also seen opportunities for people to contribute. I’ve seen an effort to let people be a part. I’ve seen great things come from people who many people would just disregard as bums or criminals within this movement. I have developed so much compassion and understanding from the experience and hope for a better future. I’ve seen so much good and bad in occupy and diversity that occupy can not be summed up by a simple list of criticisms. Is it the change you were hoping for from a dedicated group right now? No. Could it be if everyone in occupy simply focused on all becoming as great as they could be and if the dominant personalities are abated, and focused on IMPROVEMENT among themselves and their associates more than anything else. I think so. I’ve seen so much good come out of occupy, which encouraged me to continue.

      Occupy has not some organized group of people. It’s been a motley group of whoever wants to be a part. It’s just a bunch of real people assembling and trying something. Mentioning the actions of a few people in occupy can not be accounted to the whole of occupy and is very slanted to one side of the whole picture. Occupy is like the whole of humanity with a lot of it’s good and bad within, united with the wish for a better world and a better life. And for that alone, it’s has been an amazing sight to see.

      • anon December 7, 2011 at 11:12 am #

        @Raz. If there are solutions or answers, then please by all means inform me. But please make sure that the solutions are workable.

        For example, abolish the fiat currency system. Ok, so I’ll need to be convinced on this one, but I’ll listen to solutions. Going to a barter system doesn’t work as an international trading system. Heck, it won’t even work for a national system. If it’s not fiat, than what?

        Local farming: Hey, I go to the farmers market. I want to support local sustainable farming. But the fact is, if the farmers found it to be cheaper to build green houses and grow their own green peppers (an example I saw at another article), than they would have done it already and undercut the market. But it’s not. It’s cheaper for them to import the green peppers from Spain instead.

        I have no doubt that as a social experiment the occupy settings have been good. People working together to make a micro-society where everyone works to help everyone. But then I see things like donations being kept in a tent, which then gets stolen. So the donations get put into a bank account for safekeeping. Or there being enough freeloaders that the meal system has to change to discourage them. Peace and love and universal understanding is a great concept and should be encouraged. Putting your head in the sand and thinking that you can make a better system despite how macroeconomics works is not good and should be stopped as fast as possible. Present ideas, but have them rooted in a basis of reality. If you have an idea that works for a group of 50, work on it and see if it will scale to a group of 5000, than 50 million. Most ideas will break down when they get to a certain size. From what I have seen, most occupiers don’t realize this fact. They seem to feel that because it works in Olympic Plaza, it must work on a world-wide scale, when it just won’t.

        For anyone that presents a financial idea, please describe for me how your system would work for a family who wants to drive from Vancouver to PEI.

        If you’re opposed to fractional reserve banking, please describe for me a system where the banks can loan out money for profit while maintaining 100% capital reserves, and still make money. Or describe your alternative.

        I go back to my previous point of bring me solutions. Don’t just whine about the problems, but bring me solutions. Think them through. Get your ideas to the point that I can sit here and poke holes in them. Learn how micro and macro economics work. Do your research. You might be surprised at the response of people when you present them plans and not whines.

  4. Trying Really Hard To Relate December 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I have been down to OP. Twice daily, in fact. I go through in the morning and afterwork. I have been to the Occupy movements in Montreal, Toronto, and Wall Street. I think I have a fairly balanced and informed opinion.

    Basically, I agree somewhat with a lot of the message that these movements are putting forth. Why, then, is it so hard for me to align myself with this movement, particularly in Calgary? Here’s the best I can gather.

    1. When the campers were in 2 parks, I find it really hard to agree with a group of people who chose to camp for a reason of protest to put down the truly homeless when help is offered. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    2. I have walked through there on many mornings and heard Occupiers insult and swear and folks going to work. Calling folks “corporate stooges” etc. Also, I have heard them asking for jobs, not sure if it was sacracstic or not though. I’d suggest trying to inform others, I cannot side with judging them. Bad taste still in there.

    3. I read stories about a kid fired from work, stories that change in every article I read, and the suddenly go away. What happened? Appears to be a bunch of lies. Bad taste looks like it’s staying for a while.

    4. Cory Morgan, clearly an agitator, posts video of an altercation with an Occupier. Kid is swearing, yelling, and trying to intimidate Cory Morgan. Now, when you start making me side with Mr. Morgan, the bad taste is really rotten in there. No mouthwash can remove that.

    5. This city seems to have taken a much more respectful and tolerant attitude towards the campers than others. The Occupiers have not been forced out like in many other places. Even offered, at no cost, a permanent place to base the movement from. Yet, I constantly read about “Bylaw Bill” (by the way, Calgary, and Bylaw Bill have the best record of any city in North America with animal control, low low kill rate -Yay Calgary) and the city being portrayed quite negatively from the Occupiers. Makes me think the Occupiers here just want confrontation, and that the cause is secondary. Bad taste. Bad taste. Bad taste.

    I was, and am, really trying to root for this cause. I’m trying really hard. But I’va almost given up. At least in Calgary, anyways. Nothing will make me root against the movement, I’m sure of that. I’d just prefer the Calgary chapter went away, and left those better prepared to move the movement forward do so. Before further harm is done to minds out there prepared to think more openly.

    I can swallow minor park damages. Sometimes, to make an omelette, you gotta break a few blades of grass. No biggie. I’d rather the pooping be done in a washrrom. I have read every article and comment on this site, and spent hours reading both mainstream media and alternate media accounts of this movement.

    When I was in Occupy Wall Street, there was a feeling of optimism in the air, a feeling of change. A feeling of togetherness, and of people making a difference. The “occupying” was secondary. The place was surrounded by police on horseback, police presence all around. But that did not infiltrate the camp. There was food offered to you. Clothing offered to you. People engaged in thoughtful dialogue, often in complete disagreeance, but always with respect. No swearing. Those who walked by were allowed to go by unmolested. When I left New York, (New Jersey, actually) I was completely aligned with this movement.

    Then I came home.

    • idnami December 6, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

      Hi. I can’t address every point you’ve made here but I’ll try to get most of them.

      #1 There were two camps because one group had a leader and the other couldn’t stand him for several fairly valid reasons. As far as the city’s deal with the homeless occupants to get them housing… most of them are now camped at Paul Hughes’ place from what I hear. So much for that.

      #2 If that was actually members of the occupy Calgary group and not random people in the park then I agree. I never heard anything like this before and it doesn’t sound like the people I know there but… wow. That is sure not what I signed up for either.

      #3 We did traces on the termination letter and from every technical standpoint it did seem to be genuine. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that an unknown person simply saw the employer’s email box open and played a prank. But we are fairly certain that, if it was a hoax, Marcus wasn’t behind it. We published that letter in good faith and later removed it because of the viciousness that resulted.

      #4 The “kid” in that video suffers from multiple mental illnesses. In the moments prior to the video Cory Morgan mocked him for it, called him a (disputed but verified by witnesses) nasty name and told him that people like him didn’t deserve jobs. Say all that to a guy with sanity issues and then turn on a camera. What do you think is going to happen?

      #5 I don’t have the details of the city deal supposedly offered to the OP crew but there were several reasons to believe it was not genuine or sincere, such as an absence of any form of city identification, letterhead etc. My issue with bylaw Bill is the storming of the camp by dark of night after sending mixed messages.

      Wow yeah I guess that was all of them.

      The optimism in NY may have been at least partly due to the fact that they had some support from the people. Here they have largely crapped on us from a dizzy height whether or not we did anything wrong, which for the record, if some of us did, that still isn’t ALL of us.

  5. James W. Jesso December 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    So I can see that we have found ourselves arguing over the use of the word “retard” in this article. I had not realized that people would latch so firmly on the use of that word as to completely miss the point of it’s use.

    I am very aware that “retard is “an insult word for people with physical and learning disabilities”. It is also rude, politically incorrect. I used it specifically because of the cultural significance of the saying that “Canada is the retarded cousin of the united states” which is also rude, politically incorrect and racist. IT was a heated word used with intention to reference the significance of our indoctrinated blindness towards a government who completely mistreats us.

    I’m sorry if you missed that point, I could have done better to explain its source. Which I have now tried to address by placing a hotlink to the statement I am referencing. I hope this clears up any confusion, yet I still hope you are getting angry about this. We should be angry at the fact that we are living up to such an awful statement.

    • James W. Jesso December 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      “Third, Canada is a sweet country. It is like your retarded cousin you see at Thanksgiving and sort of pat him on the head. You know, he’s nice, but you don’t take him seriously. That’s Canada.”

      • Anonymous December 7, 2011 at 7:04 am #

        James, no where did you claim the quote is not yours nor, in it’s context, can you claim you were quoting someone else. I wish you would just apologize for using the word instead of trying to justify yourself. I would have a great deal more respect for you. Everyone says dumb things and makes mistakes. It takes a real small person to never say ” sorry, shouldn’t have used that word. I screwed up.”. Trying to attribute that you were simply quoting Tucker Carlson is weak. Plus, like anything intelligent ever came out of the mouth of that bow tie wearing clown. You know you have nothing to add to the conversation when you need a prop ( a bow tie ) as a calling card.

  6. Disgusted_again December 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    This is pathetic. Seems “okay” when occupiers use that word, yet not other people.

    Including those that they incorrectly accuse of using it.

  7. Crazydan December 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    There are other words and things you could use to explain the relationship between Canada and United States of America, yet you used the “R word”?

    You know “retard” is used as an insult word for people with physical and learning disabilities? I thought Occupy Calgary is inclusive, yet I don’t feel included.

    I can’t believe the Occupy Calgary website would allows one of its authors to use a discriminative word.


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