Avola: Occupy movement all about love

Re: “Occupy movement may be most vapid of all,” Heinz Klatt, Nov. 24

The Occupy movement is a protest against those whose actions attack love. The Occupy protestors are screaming for the recognition of all humans. It is a call to our elite to stop profiting off of the backs of the poor and marginalized people whose countries we have engulfed with war and terror. It is a call to stop pulling funds from our public and social services to feed corporate imperialism. This protest is for love. Our world needs to change; otherwise we will ultimately destroy ourselves.

This is a call to the world to realize the fundamental problems of a consumer-centered society. Our world has been turned into a place where your value as a person is strictly limited to your capability of consuming. Well, frankly, not everyone is capable of consuming.

Western society has turned the understanding of what it means to ‘live the good life’ away from the moral obligation of protecting ones community, to the capitalistic obligation of becoming a good consumer. If you are incapable of upholding consumer obligations, then you are squashed into a non-human.

Just like the immense diversity of people rallying to show their solidarity with the Occupy protestors, the injustice this movement attempts to revolt against is just as diverse.

Those who generalize the occupiers as ‘promiscuous drug users, just looking for a place to discard their condoms and needles,’ only perpetuate the narrow-mindedness that corrupts our public perception of poverty and homelessness. Surely, even a basic understanding of human psychology will give you the capability of recognizing the socio-political elements that underlie systemic poverty.

If you were to experience Occupy first hand, or read beyond what is posted on corporate news stations and websites, you would find a very eclectic group of people who are peacefully and passionately voicing their concerns for their own lives, and for the lives of those whose voices have been silenced.

Among this vast variety of people, you will find very educated and successful professionals who are standing up for their love of humanity.

There are too many people who are made to be invisible. We constantly enforce stereotypes all over our media canvases. We have been turned against ourselves through the meticulous process of media manipulation, which ultimately has created a societal consciousness that better conforms to the ideals of the elite.

We have homeless, jobless, sick, lost, dying, and hungry people who are calling to the world for help; yet we retreat to labeling them as ‘lazy’, ‘druggies’, ‘losers’, ‘incompetent’ or ‘self-righteous hippies’. Even worse, we resort to categorizing people based on their social class or their ethnicity – both of which are used as tools to dehumanize others.

This movement needs public support. It needs educated, aware, conscious, and compassionate people to step forward and join those who occupy every street or park or building or breath, and stand in solidarity to promote peace and justice.

It starts in our own communities. London has one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada, and we still say, “Just go get a job.” We need to realize this world is not fair, and some people will not have the privileges that I, or most of you reading this, will have. But that does not mean they can’t or they shouldn’t. They only can’t because we won’t allow them.

I choose to use my position of privilege to voice my concerns about the way our world works and stand in solidarity with those who are affected immeasurably more than I. If that makes me a hypocrite for owning an iPod, so be it. I’d easily give it away if it meant a better life for someone else.

The Occupy movement is one of love, compassion and empathy. The only people who should oppose this movement are those who are unaware and uneducated, who oppose moral actions, who oppose love and who oppose life.

I know we can do better.

Ryan Avola
Fifth-year student specialization in social justice and peace studies
Kings University College