Dramatic confrontations attract the headlines and certainly are motivational to one side or the other but real progress and the best lessons may come from more gentle showdowns. Judy Rebick’s account, full story here, of an Occupy eviction in Toronto caused my spirits to soar because of the triumph of steady determined good will over baser impulses.
Rebick reports that like many occupy sites (for example: Political Irony report on Occupy Boston}:
there was a growing number of homeless people, some with serious mental health issues, who arrived because Occupy created such a welcoming environment in which they could be fully part of the community. It wasn’t easy and there were incidents but from what I could see they were handled with compassion and intelligence.
Occupy Toronto was relatively clean, well behaved and attentive to communications with authorities so there was little justification for shutting down the camp:
The occupiers had every right to be angry. And they were angry but they behaved with amazing discipline, militancy and calm.
… It was agreed that there would be no effort to stop city workers from taking down the tents. And the workers were very respectful, folding and tagging clothing and other items found in the tents and carefully taking them down.
… Perhaps it is true that the police were trying to recover their reputation post G20 but I also think they had a lot of respect for what the occupiers were doing. I heard that a lot of cops were referring homeless people who won’t go to shelters to Occupy Toronto where they would be well treated. The police negotiated every situation with considerable skill.
… I like to think that it was really because of the atmosphere created in the camp, an atmosphere of love and compassion, an atmosphere of commitment and determination, an atmosphere of a loving accepting community. I think maybe the police were affected by it too. I know that I have been.
I believe everyone who reads Judy Rebick’s full report will be affected too. The loss of this camp was a win for Occupys everywhere because of the way Occupy Toronto behaved. It will rise again even stronger. Occupy Toronto taught a good lesson to the administrators, police and everyone. Occupy Toronto is leading by example in a manner I haven’t seen Martin Luther King Jr.
– Iron Filing