But what is curious is the extent of this manipulation and the terrible judgement being demonstrated by both the occupants and those who pretend to be concerned for their well-being.
The muddy, cold exposure of the environment at Occupy Toronto is not one of respite. Imagine an outdoor asylum run by lunatics and that is what you'll find in St. James Park.
A reporter for rabble.ca, a radical neo-Marxist propaganda website which is heavily invested in the "Occupation movement," interviewed a few of the squatters. These types of interviews are particularly revealing because the subjects disclose a lot more to people they perceive as being sympathetic than they do to people in the established mainstream media .
Katie Toth wrote for rabble.ca describing the accounts of some of Occupy Toronto's people with serious psychiatric issues:
Tamara Dippel is a participant in Occupy Toronto who identifies as having mental health issues including social anxiety.
"What people don't realize about what's going on is people like me and others who have illnesses are putting our lives on the line," she says. "We know we can't handle things the way other people can."
Dippel says she's drawn to Occupy Toronto because she sees problems with the current economic system. She's now concerned about the lack of stability that could result from an eviction, especially for those with mental health issues.
"I'm really worried about the mental health of people here," she says. "These people are very vulnerable. We have a hard time handling conflict and we have a hard time handling stress."
It would seem obvious that someone who has a "hard time" handling stress and conflict might not be doing themselves a favor illegally camping out in a public park in a pointless protest that is inviting an inevitable conflict with neighbours, police and the municipality. And yet they are guided to remain by union and activist strategists who see a benefit to their organizations from the conflict.
Toth provides the account of another mentally ill occupier:
"Right now there's really no other place to turn," he says. "A lot of them have been turned away from mental institutions because apparently they're not mentally unstable enough. And that's not true."
He describes the positive support he's experienced.
"Here, everyone is accepted no matter what their mental health situation is," says Barker. "We try to help everybody out."
Barker, who identifies as having multiple personality disorder and depression, says that Occupy has become a place where people with mental illnesses of all kinds are respected.
They may be respected for being bodies to show numbers, but people with serious mental illnesses require care and support of trained medical and mental health care workers, not the kind that professional anti-capitalist activists can provide.
It's unfortunate but predictable that these vulnerable people are being used as pawns by unions like OPSEU and CUPE and their Marxist activist allies. These professional agitators are unlikely to change the world with their cacophony of disparate causes, all of which scream out for more taxes and government spending in a time of national debt and the need for austerity. But at the end of the day, the people manipulating and capitalizing on the Occupy movement, like Syd Ryan, Michael Moore and Naomi Klein, will sleep at night in their expensive, comfortable homes. Meanwhile, the sufferers of psychiatric illness whom Occupy's celebrity spokespeople use as expendible tools will bear the cost of these narcissists' excuse for more attention.