Pepper Spray This

Love is in the Air (Flower Thrower) – Banksy, 2006

The recent events in UC Davis reminds one how swiftly things can turn on a sixpence these days. Before you know it, sit-ins change from peaceful demonstrations to ugly displays of authoritative brutality, and small university protests attended by a hundred of its students quickly go to being viewed by millions online.

How important it is that the latter should be the case. Whilst the methods of the Occupy Movement are peaceful, the cause cannot be tossed aside with indifference. It is time for governments to take notice. Banksy’s Love is in the Air expresses the Occupy Movement’s ethos well: one might expect the pictured man to be wielding a stone, a molotov-cocktail perhaps, or any other weapon that would bring harm to others in order to make his message heard. Instead he threatens with a bouquet of flowers, a striking contrast to the baseball-cap wearing man and his balaclava-covered face. In the same way, the Occupy Movement lets itself be heard through anything other than violent means, and the integrity of its message and its supporters will be intact for as long as it can maintain this.

Captain John Joseph Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 says,”the enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on,” and in some ways that’s the point: the Occupy Movement does not wish to bring harm on others because they are not the enemy. The sooner this is recognised, the quicker progress will be made. The Occupy Movement in its peaceful methods is by no means a push over, nor should it be treated as such, and you will hear their voice even if the only weapons they have are the chants they sing, the banners they fly, or the steadfast resolve to persevere no matter the cost.


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