The grassroots movement against global financial inequality and corporate greed is coming to the Fraser Valley.
Occupy Fraser Valley will hold a planning meeting Oct. 26 in Chilliwack to flesh out local ways to demonstrate the need to put power back in the hands of people, rather than corporations.
Rachel Murrell, one of the organizers, said the movement is not aimed at any particular political party, but seeks to bring people from all political backgrounds together to examine how the democratic system is working.
Or not working.
“We can all agree there is a problem with the system, and it’s getting worse exponentially,” she said.
Corporations wield too much influence over government “based on how much money they’re able to put back into the system,” she said, while the voice of “the most vulnerable” — the poor and the disabled — is being lost.
There is a widening gap between the rich and the poor; the middle-class is disappearing; corporately-owned big box stores are pushing out small businesses.
Murrell said the part-time, minimum-wage jobs created by corporations are not enough to support a decent lifestyle.
“We need to come together,” she said. “We have to look at working as a group, that’s what the Occupy movement is trying to do.”
The 31-year-old Chilliwack resident is organizing the Fraser Valley movement with 38-year-old Maple Ridge resident Daniel Epp.
“I couldn’t sit back,” Epp told Black Press.
“Without sounding like an idealist, our democratic system is a joke. It is appalling that 99 per cent of people can agree with something, yet all these corporations can stand in the way of it,” he said.
The Occupy movement started a month ago with a demonstration on Wall Street in New York City and spread to other U.S. cities, and more recently to Vancouver.
Although initially criticized for lack of leadership and organization, the Occupy movement is now supported by the B.C. Federation of Labour and endorsed by Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker.
~ With files from Monisha Martins