The Occupy Saskatoon movement, along with those occurring across North America and the rest of the world, has been the subject of gross criticism in both the mainstream and social media realms.
Questioning their motives and their tactics, an alarming faction of the so-called 99 per cent have taken it upon themselves to call out those rallying for change.
Semi-anonymous mudslingers even smugly point out how many protestors arm themselves with the ubiquitous symbol of corporate cool the iPhone.
Unfortunately for these critics, when the power invariably goes out – effectively silencing the use of Twitter as a weapon – we are all going to have a lot more in common with one another. Additionally, we are going to have to try a lot harder to get along with one another.
However, in lieu of smearing catcalls on the Internet, most people will likely just end up shooting one another, a la Cormac McCarthy’s harrowing vision in the novel The Road.
Thankfully, the Occupy Saskatoon movement could easily win the unofficial title of being among the most well-behaved protests in the world.
In last Saturday’s protest on October 15, 2011, those marching in the spectacle were quietly chaperoned by the Saskatoon police force, while elsewhere hundreds experienced arrest and Rome became a literal class war warzone. Arrests have yet to be made in connection with those occupying Friendship Park.
Concurrently, despite a smattering of destitution, many of those occupying these spaces are those who come from privilege. Some have homes, some have jobs and some have loved-ones.
But in this case a more apt definition of privilege is possessing the ability to mock and scorn those who advocate for change. Especially when change is as imminent as the collapse of our natural environment, our economy and our resources.
These people should count themselves lucky – were this the French Revolution, a period also marked by radical social and political upheaval, heads would roll as the 99 per cent gathered to watch the guillotine at work.
But on Friday, October 21, 60 to 70 people instead gathered to watch Saskatoon agit-rockers The Reform Party kick it in Friendship Park in conjunction with the Occupy movement. Despite the rude noise, the whipsmart raps and rants and the rifle-crack of the drums, there was little response from the 1 per cent.
The crowd, however, was electrified.
Despite the bite of late autumn, front man Kristian aka Kay the Aquanaut spat fire and scuffed the earth as he and his band stormed through some seriously grooved-out protest rock. The band’s rhythm section, secured by bassist Enver Hampton and drummer Tallus Scott, kept a danceable horizon as guitarist Levi Soulodre alternated between hammering on effects pedals and layering in textures of post-math rock riffs.
But even though the four-piece couldn’t even manage to garner a noise complaint, the show carried a palpable air of importance.
Against the backdrop of tents and sleeping bags, families and the homeless, fire dancers and musicians, there are people who are thankfully deaf to the snipey hashtags and the blind accusations of those quick to judge the beginnings of what could be a bona fide, or bitter, modern revolution.
Simply put, those occupying Friendship Park in Saskatoon have removed their privilege of watching our current system collapse while lounging comfortably on a couch.
Download the Reform Party’s debut EP HERE.