Occupy Vancouver disappeared today.
The city and the police came early in the morning when it was still dark. It had been raining hard, and I don’t think the protesters had much fight left in them. They moved over to Robson street to set up an encampment by the Law Courts. As I write this it is pouring rain, and a torrent of water is pouring off the corner of my roof where the eavestrough is broken. It’s a miserable night be be outside in Vancouver. But that is nothing; in Calgary and Ottawa it’s not wet, but bone-chilling cold.
World-wide, the media has turned against the Occupy movement. They tell us the people have sickened of the protestors, but I think their instinct for a story has made then attempt to engender a conclusion onto what could have been history.
Yes, the message was too amorphous, but the threat - the inequality lobbied in legality, the whole-sale theft of public funds by the very men who used to work for Goldman-Sachs - is amorphous. Mark Carney, the man who runs the Bank of Canada, used to work for Goldman-Sachs, and is now heading a technocrat cabal intent on ‘solving’ the Greek debt crisis. How does this Harvard-educated financial whiz plan to do it? The same way the 2008 crisis was ‘solved’ - billions in public money. That money will disappear. It will go away, and thousands of banking executives will receive bonuses, and send their high-performers on ‘seminars’ and team-building camps in the Caribbean. When the next crisis erupts, this will happen again. It’s a rescue operation for the rich.
The amorphous message is stop. Stop the business as usual. We’ve been in league with a monster.
The derivatives, the high-finance machinations, are so complex that even the smartest financial minds in the banking industry can’t understand them. The market; the interconnected brokerages and exchanges, the fast-as-light system on everything runs, are nothing less than a massive body with a circulatory system, nerve endings, lungs, a stomach, and a vast appetite. Every trader has unwittingly become a cell, and every bank and firm has become a nexus in an individual system. We’ve tricked ourselves into thinking we’re farming our financial system like a crop, but it’s a monster to which we pay tribute.
It doesn’t care about us. Through the science of incorporation, we’ve given it a brain that feels no empathy. It knows that if we kill it, its colossal corpse will rot and poison us all. So we feed it, and it gives us a meagre something in return.
There’s this writer by the name of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Anyone who reads horror knows about him. But for those of you who don’t: he was a visionary author of the early twentieth century. He led a rough life, died in poverty, and left a body of work that became the most influential material in horror. He wrote of Forbidden Knowledge, and Elder Gods. What if huge, ancient and unspeakable creatures were watching us?
But we don’t need Lovecraft anymore. We’ve had our own elder God all along; it merely needed us to become so interconnected that we unknowingly made a vast and virtual body for it. Then the Elder God moved right in.
|An old God, and a convenient temple|
Its name is Greed, and now it’s as real as Wikipedia or Google. It’s a construct, but it’s more real, and more reactive, than anything present in the Judeo-Christian mythos, or Islam. It may as well be real. Our God is Greed. It’s ancient; it’s lived as long as Humankind has competed for the comeliest mate, or the ripest berry patch, or the fertile valley with a river running along the bottom.
But now we’ve given it a home, and its disciples, its adherents, are impossible to fight or prosecute. So far, the only thing we’ve thought to do is camp out near Greed’s temples.
So the next time you walk by your fading and embattled local Occupy encampment, spare a thought for these folks. They’re not perfect, but neither have they blindly placed their faith in the disciples of Greed to fix everything. They’re looking for a new way - you can see it in their Elder tents, their cookhouses, their communal organizing.
My kids and I walked by there on Sunday. It didn’t look violent or filthy. All we saw were people camping on wet ground. They weren’t harming anyone. They certainly weren’t orchestrating the transfer of billions, and they don’t deserve this anger. They’re not the bad guys.