The “Occupy (fill in the blank)” cultists are famous for moronic chants and holding uninformed ideas, but they do, unwittingly, hold one view that is unassailably true.
When the self-proclaimed 99 per cent repeat that “this is what democracy looks like” they are absolutely correct. The brief history of the movement, such as it is, is a case study of democracy in action, and demonstrates why we are blessed that we don’t live in one.
Symptoms of direct democracy are evident everywhere in the Occupy movement. The growing piles of filth, the inability of the group to agree on what they stand for and the rise of an elite within the so-called 99 per cent are predictable. Just as predicable is the collapse of the movement into disarray and violence. This is what democracy looks like.
Democracies like Occupy are sold as lofty endeavours, where each individual has a voice in the group, and the group convenes in meetings to hear “all” views. In Vancouver, the group holds two “General Assemblies” each day. This group clearly has many items to consider. What is not clear is who actually moderates these assemblies, or under which rules the meetings are conducted. Perhaps there is a “Robert’s Rules for Anarchists”. Smashing the system requires a system.
In any case, after spending at least half of each day in unproductive general assemblies, and the other half in unproductive protest and somewhat more productive panhandling, the Occupy groups are evolving into true democracies. Factions are taking form. The “Kitchen Groups” are striking because they feel they are feeding too many freeloaders and professional homeless. The drummers in the drum circles are upset the “Kitchen Group” is getting more than their fair share of the public service union-supplied money. Nobody in Occupy knows what the “Comfort Group” does and why they need any money. There isn’t an occupier around who wants to clean the port-a-potty.
So there will be a vote at the General Assembly — and the drummers will vote to de-fund the “Comfort Group”, then everyone will vote to remove the existing “leadership” and by exercising “democracy” larger groups of self-interested factions will trample the “rights” of minority factions in a cascade of motions and votes that can only end in violence or dissolution, or both. And the port a-potties will still go uncleaned. Democracy in action.
The system the Occupy folks say they would like to dismantle is one that protects the rights of minority factions. It is a system that recognizes that rights are granted not by “General Assemblies”, but exist in each individual as “natural law” — the 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights and our (otherwise dysfunctional) Canadian Constitution recognize rights as being granted by God. It is not a democracy. It is a system of constitutional monarchy with democratically chosen representatives. We’ve had nearly eight centuries to experiment with the alternative systems such as the Occupy people want, and found all but the one we have lead to totalitarianism, dictatorship and abuse of minorities.
Were the Occupiers to live in the societies they propose, some Occupiers would have disappeared by now, and many would be in custody. The rights they enjoy under the existing system would be summarily suspended — particularly if we were a true democracy. In a true democracy the majority would have voted long ago to eliminate the minority Occupy groups.
The reality, however, is changing the system has nothing whatever to do with the Occupy crowd. The Occupy financiers in the union/socialist movement want chaos with the resulting suspension of individual freedoms. That is what true democracy looks like. In the system the Occupiers and their enablers on the left want to dismantle, minorities are protected and the port a-potties are cleaned.
Mark Walker is the publisher of the Penticton Western News.