RE-OCCUPYING VANCOUVER: A long time a comin’ ma
Reminiscences and ruminations gleaned from forty four years of activism
by Arthur Topham
January 4, 2012
“All revolutions have failed? Perhaps. But rebellion for a good cause is self-justifying Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a good in itself. Rebellion transforms slaves into human beings, if only for an hour.”
~ Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Notes From a Secret Journal
The Adbusters concept of “Occupy Wall Street” is now history. Having caught the attention of the disenchanted, oppressed, marginalized, newly awakened, socially concerned peoples of the world the idea spread like a virulent computer virus throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and elsewhere becoming the latest in a long, slow train of symbolic acts of hope and resistance for those striving to achieve peace, social justice, equality and environmental sanity in a world obviously in dire need of a major refit on all levels.
Watching from my lonely tower, high in the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains of central B.C., I felt a strong connection with the Occupy Vancouver event; one that I wish to outline in this essay; one that hopefully will add a certain sense of longevity, cohesiveness, connectivity and context to what we witnessed, read and heard about in the news of the day.
Vancouver’s famous Court House Centennial Fountain built in 1966
The occupation of Vancouver’s famous Court House Fountain area didn’t start in the fall of 2011. It began 44 years ago when I was a young man just turned 21. At that time I living in the West End of Vancouver on Harwood Street and attending my third term at Simon Fraser University, western Canada’s then infamously controversial “radical” institution of higher learning. It was March of 1968 and I was one of the new generation of “hippies”, marching to the beat of new cosmic drum; one that had suddenly manifested on the global stage and was beating out a tempo unheard of before, gathering together the lost tribes of the mid-20th century and introducing the world to a new global paradigm that would begin the process of spiritual and political renewal for a humanity sorely gone astray.