They are settling in for the long haul at #occupyToronto, and what better building form to settle into than the ultimate moveable nomadic dwelling, the yurt. Three of them arrived on Saturday, donated by "seven anonymous unions."
In photos at Torontoist, you can see Yves Ballenegger's wonderful truck; He buys traditional yurts in Mongolia. Since I interviewed him four years ago for TreeHugger his business appears to have boomed; he now has distributors across North America. He writes:
Still today, we try to source most of our material from the Mongolian country side to support rural economy. We strongly believe that a profitable business can be developed sustainably. We also support a few local development projects, in particular two women cooperatives whose felt products can be found in our catalogue. We have opened our own tree nursery, growing 5 trees (actually quite a lot more) per yurt sold over 3 years before having them planted on the land.
Yves discovered his yurts when delivering school supplies for Globetrucker, a non-profit supported by serious motorheads who love their heavy trucks and drive their donations right across the Middle East and Asia, not an easy thing to do these days. Proceeds from the sale of Groovy Yurts still support the cause.
Forty-one years ago in New York, students protesting the Kent State killings were attacked by construction workers. According to John Wiener in the Nation, egged on by their union to "beat students with lead pipes wrapped in flags, targeting those with the longest hair. A crowd of a thousand Wall Street workers cheered them on. “Thank God for the hard hats!” President Nixon declared, and invited Peter Brennan, head of the Building Trades Council of New York, to the White House."
So much has changed since then; the industrial unions are a shadow of their former selves, and in Ohio and Wisconsin, they are not exactly inviting the unions to tea at Governor's office. Credit is due to the seven anonymous unions for their donation, and to the authorities in Toronto who let Yves set up his yurts. I wonder what Brookfield, owners of Zucotti Park, would say if Yves and his truck showed up there?