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Fractured Occupy hides movement's real aims

This is not the way I wanted Occupy Vancouver to end. This is the way I always feared Occupy Vancouver would end. Vancouver and Victoria are preparing to evict protesters, spurred on by a number of events.

This is not the way I wanted Occupy Vancouver to end. This is the way I always feared Occupy Vancouver would end.

Vancouver and Victoria are preparing to evict protesters, spurred on by a number of events.

In Vancouver, there have been two drug overdoses, one of them fatal. Then a scuffle with police saw an officer bitten.

In Victoria, one protester took to a tree. When a civic worker removed a bike that had been hauled into the tree, he was reportedly doused with a container of urine.

(The protester claims it was "apple juice," but I'm more inclined to believe the guy who got soaked.)

This is how the protests will end, not with a bang but with a bucket of bodily fluids.

According to polls, more than half of Canadians agree with the aims of the Occupy movement. But the protests are tarnished.

The protesters have been accused of many things. In the United States, the rightwing quadrant of the media has claimed they have no message, no real aims.

They've been sneered at as "professional protesters," which is a code-word for "dirty hippie" or "permanent humanities grad student."

Their opponents have been trying to paint them as shrill, irrational, violent, confused, misguided or as dupes of I'm not sure what, possibly the same giant leftwing conspiracy that makes up all those kooky stories about global warming and asbestos-caused cancer and kids living in poverty.

The truth is the Occupy movement has very real aims and goals.

At the core of its message is this: The rich are getting richer, the poor (and the middle class) are getting poorer. And this is not an accident. It has not always been this way, and it does not have to be this way in the future.

At its most brutally simple, here's how it works: Rich people have more political power than poor people.

They get more say in how laws and regulations are written. When politicians have to choose who gets the short end of the stick, they pick those with less, those who are too busy living paycheque-to-paycheque to put up much of a fight.

This process started not long after the Second World War and it's only picking up steam. In the name of economic efficiency, we're being slowly turned into replaceable, interchangeable units for those with money.

The "We are the 99%" slogan is true. We are in the same boat together, whether we flip burgers or push paper. Working wages are stagnant in real terms, while CEO bonuses are massive.

Unfortunately, some Occupy Vancouver and Victoria protesters are doing themselves no favours.

Do you know who else works for a living? Cops. Firefighters. Paramedics. Civic workers. Which is why it's not a good idea to pour urine on them!

It's an old truism that the left can't organize anything without fracturing.

Those groups will then spend 90 per cent of their energy fighting each other, and only 10 per cent fighting the real enemy.

This is just another symptom of that. The folks who'll be dragged out of the Occupy protests, one by one, represent the goals of a lot of other people.

People who would never see themselves squatting in a tent in the cold and rain, but who would, you know, like to think that if they work hard they deserve a brighter future.

I hope the Occupy movement, whatever becomes of it, has planted a seed.

The message is serious, and the cause is real. We need to work together to change things and make a better world.

Unfortunately, a few people could piss it all away.

Matthew Claxton is a reporter for the Langley Advance.

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