Occupy Kingston: This is what a pathetic protest looks like

I was in Kingston, Ontario this afternoon taking a stroll downtown on a beautiful fall day when I stumbled on the Occupy Kingston encampment in Confederation Park in front of Kingston's beautiful 19th century city hall. I had such fun talking to the folks at Occupy Ottawa a few weeks ago that I thought I would wander over and see how the revolution was going.

Kingston is a city of about 150 000 people (including the surrounding suburbs) at the headwaters of the St Lawrence River and home to Queen's University (approximately 15 000 students) and the Royal Military College of Canada. It is a town of remarkable beauty with a distinguished history; it was once the capital of the united provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. I was curious to see how a movement to bring down the capitalist system would fare in this establishment town; I was confident the lefty Sociology and Post-colonial Studies students at Queen's could be counted on to put on a decent show.

Check out their website - there's the standard boiler-plate agitprop about being part of the world-wide "Occupy" movement that sounds quite impressive:
From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest.

The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end.

United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us.

On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen.

They've been at it for over a month - surely the movement has grown to the point where the citizens of Kingston can no longer ignore it. I wandered over expecting to encounter a raucous crowd of malcontents, but that was far from the case. In fact, when I spotted their weird igloo made of fiberglass tarpaulins, I thought it was maybe a construction excavation that had been covered over for the weekend.

This couldn't be the Kingston cell of the infamous Occupy Wall Street movement, could it? I walked around the structure and finally found a sign that said that this was in fact ground zero for the Kingston Revolution (even if they couldn't spell "Kingston" properly).

The "People's Tent" is apparently sponsored by organized labour - there was a United Steelworkers flag flying over it and a banner from the Ontario Federation of Labour taped to one side. Steelworkers of the world, unite!

The Occupiers also apparently have a problem with WalMart:

I would love to have talked with the protesters about how the destruction of WalMart would help the working class, or how the hobbling of giant corporations like Stelco and Dofasco would benefit the Steelworkers of Canada, but I couldn't find anyone to talk to. There was no one around. Not a soul. The camp was empty. In fact the only people anywhere near the encampment were a young couple who were taking pictures of each other in front of the People's Tent. This is apparently now the main function of Occupy Kingston - a backdrop for tourists to use to update their Facebook photo pages.

This is the movement that is sweeping the land? This is what the mainstream media have been breathlessly and uncritically reporting as North America's "Arab Spring moment"? Pathetic.

My advice to the Mayor of Kingston is to leave this camp in place to expose it as the sham that it is. Trying to get a court injunction against the occupiers and sending the police in to clear out the tents will only feed the media narrative and give the occupiers undeserved publicity. Wait until the winter arrives in earnest and the tarpaulins collapse under the weight of a Kingston winter, and then send in the Parks and Recreation department in the spring to clean up the mess.