Occupy Vancouver U.S.A. likely to disband

Clark County’s Occupy movement organizers say they may disband in October due to lack of focus and participation.
The movement’s domain name – occupyvancouverusa.org – is about to expire, and the group has to decide whether to renew, said organizer Tom Scharf.
Turnout at Occupy’s Sept. 18 meeting seemed to provide the answer.
“Only three people showed up,” Scharf said. “That’s why we are thinking about ending it. There’s just nothing to focus on right now.”
The group will formally vote on whether to disband at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 in the bandshell in Esther Short Park, 610 Esther St., in downtown Vancouver.
The original Occupy Wall Street, which inspired Occupy Vancouver U.S.A., has devolved into infighting, Scharf said.
“We haven’t fallen apart that way, but we don’t have any focus,” he said. “Vancouver is a bit backwater. It’s not like we are going to lead the country from here.”
But that wasn’t the sentiment last fall when more than 700 people marched in an Occupy demonstration in downtown Vancouver, exceeding all expectations and revealing frustration over the systems put into place that allowed the economic downturn.
Community Rights Vancouver, an adjunct group of Occupy, will likely continue its work trying to pass local ordinances that expand and protect community rights and the environment and “end corporate harm,” said organizer Don Steinke. Community Rights Vancouver’s focus had been keeping coal trains out of Vancouver, Steinke said. But a court ruling that city bans on coal trains couldn’t be included on the ballot recently hampered the group’s effort.
Another priority is to clean up local elections by banning corporate money in local campaigns and keeping corporate lobbyists away from government officials except in public hearings, Steinke said. Community Rights Vancouver meets every first and third Thursday at the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St. The next meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20.
–Paris Achen

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