McGill Society Puts Occupy in Perspective

Spending a Thursday night in a crowded Plateau apartment living room may not sound out of the ordinary, until you hear the scope of conversation: radical, systemic change.

A hand-written sign on the door read, “Global Cuts, Global Struggles: Perspectives for the #Occupy Movement, use back entrance, doorbell broken.”

Hosted by the McGill Socialist Society, about 20 members and non-members alike shared their ideas and questions about a movement they argue is still necessarily in its formative stages.

“The corporate media is trying to discredit us, saying we have no direction,” said Camilo Cahis, lead speaker at the talk. “I think the message is pretty clear, we just need to find our legs.”

Cahis is the editor of Fightback, a Marxist publication based out of Toronto. He’s been a part of the Occupy Bay Street movement and sees this outcry from the 99 per cent as a positive force for discourse and eventual mobilization, particularly for young people just entering their political lives.

While ideas ranged from general strikes to nationalization, there was a consensus in the group that capitalism had entered a new, less equal, stage. Much of the discussion focused around how unions could retake their power within industry, and how the executive class could be rendered useless.

“The unions need to do a better job at engaging the young people,” said Cahis, adding that some, like on Bay St., have done well to join the movement but need to do more.

Major debate points included whether to enact change through the existing political system or not, and when, if ever, will a defined hierarchical process be necessary to sustain the power of Occupy.

“There has to be discussion of goals. We cannot have this movement hijacked,” said Farshad Azadian, another speaker at the talk. He warned of the results of the Arab Spring, most notably the current military rule by Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt.

The movement in Montreal is in its third week of occupation.