Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brian Topp's Tax Proposal

It is rare to hear a Canadian politician speak about tax increases in non-apologetic tones, so it was refreshing to read federal NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp's policy paper Bringing Balance and Fairness to Canada's Tax System.  His proposal responds to many concerns expressed by the Occupy movement, with tax increases focussed on the 1%.

The specifics include:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Open Letter in Telegram -- "Making the right decision on the Occupy Movement'"

** This open letter appeared in the Telegram on November 24, 2011 under the title "Making the right decision on the Occupy Movement." If anyone can find the link to it, please leave in comments. **  

Dear Mayor O’Keefe,
We write today to express our thanks and congratulations to you and your council on the mature and wise way in which you are handling the Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador camp down at Harbourside Park. We have watched the Occupy movement grow from the first Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park in New York in September to hundreds of camps all over the world. They are all different but all express a sense of outrage at the growing inequality in the world, a condemnation at the injustices all around us and a desire to stand in solidarity with the massive majority suffering from a clearly ‘broken’ world system. Of course their goals are ‘unclear’; how could they not be faced with such runaway chaos with complex roots and no clear solutions? But their passion to stand up and say ‘enough’ is clear enough, and their desire to find peaceful and cooperative ways to run their camps is deeply impressive.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lanterns for Housing - Human Rights Week Event

OccupyNL's final Human Rights Week event was a great success! Lanterns for Housing, hosted by St. John's Citizen's for Affordable Housing, got people from across the community together at Scotia Square downtown to decorate lanterns and raise awareness about the affordable housing crisis in St. John's and the province.

Friday, December 16, 2011

OccupyNL on CBC On the Go

On the Go’s Maggie Gillis spends some time down at the Occupy NL site in Harbourside Park.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#Occupy Words in Edgewise on Wednesday

What’s this Occupy business everyone has been on about? WiE gets to the bottom of it with two speakers, two poets, a musician, an artist painting live, and a healthy dose of discussion on Wednesday, December 14 at 8pm at Eastern Edge Gallery.  More info available here.

Wangersky on Wente

Enjoy a moment of catharsis reading Russell Wangersky cut up Margaret Wente for being an ignorant right wing hack and mouthpiece for the one percent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

International Human Rights Week Events

Tuesday GA: Workshop on Electoral Reform

WhenTue, December 13, 8pm – 9pm
WhereMemorial University, Arts and Admin Building, A1049 (building 14 on this map with free parking available in lot 15B)
DescriptionThe Occupy General Assembly has agreed that Tuesday's GAs will be devoted to public education and discussion. Each Tuesday the General Assembly will meet at MUN and participate in a facilitated workshop and discuss issues of importance to the local and global community. This week we will discuss electoral reform. For a preview, see this post.

Sidewalk Clearing Rally Today

The Essential Transit Association is planning a rally in support of sidewalk snow clearing today at Harbourside Park starting at 3:30.  More details available here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Human Rights Day panel discussion this Saturday

Larger version available here.

This panel discussion is the first of our events for the International Week of Action on Human Rights.  You can find our poster for this week's events here
And we also have a flyer for the week, you can find a copy here

For the Words in Edgewise event on Wednesday, read their blog for more information.

Rortybomb on Occupy

One of the most insightful commentators on the Occupy movement is blogger Mike Konczal at Rortybomb.  He has a lot of great stuff that I encourage you to browse through.  Here are a couple of recent highlights.

Day of Action on Foreclosures:  On December 6th, the Occupy movement held a national day of action called Occupy Our Homes, in which people re-occupied vacant, bank-owned, foreclosed houses in cities across America.  As one activist put it "To occupy a house owned by Bank of America is to occupy Wall Street"(article in the Nation).  This post talks about Konczal's experience in Brooklyn, and discusses the damage the foreclosure crisis is doing to families and communities.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Canadian Youth Ejected from #COP17: turned their backs on Canadian government during opening speech

Via Press Release from the Canadian Youth Delegation
December 7, 2011

Durban, South Africa – Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation were ejected from COP17 today as Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent delivered his opening address at the United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Just as Kent began his speech, six youth stood and turned away from the Minister revealing the message “Turn your back on Canada” prominently displayed on their shirts.
“Our so-called Environment Minister entered these talks by going on record that he would be defending the tar sands. I have yet to hear him say that he’s here to defend my future,” said James Hutt, one of the youth delegates who participated in the action.
The six youth, including Brigette DePape (the “Rogue Page”) received an ovation from the crowd watching the Minister’s address. They were escorted out of the International Convention Center’s plenary hall and removed from the premises at 12:30 p.m local time. Their accreditation was revoked upon their removal.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Letter to the Editor from an Occupy supporter in Grand Falls-Windsor

Check out this letter that appeared in the Telegram on November 25, 2011. The word is getting out.

Information Round Up on Basic Income

A basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all citizens, without means testing or work requirements. Basic income programs have several advantages over alternative social security programs, such as providing greater security, requiring less administration, and presenting fewer perverse incentives. Advocates for basic income have included Martin Luther King, Bertrand Russell, Milton Friedman, George McGovern and John Kenneth Galbraith. In Canada, basic incomes have the support of the Green Party of Canada, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, and was recommended by the Trudeau appointed MacDonald Commission.

Basic income guarantees often take the form of either a citizen's dividend or a negative income tax, which we now describe.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Manufacturing Consent" presented by the 99% Film Fest

The third film of the 99% Film Fest is the award winning "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the media". The film will be shown Wednesday December 7 at 6 pm in the MUN Arts & Admin building room A1046 (note the room change). Admission is FREE. A group discussion will follow.

Update:  Speaking of bias in the corporate media, check out this article analyzing media coverage of the Occupy movement in Canada.

Denmark is for the Danes. Canada is for the Corporations

This is the last in a series of articles about the obesity epidemic, the food industry, fat taxes and healthy living subsidies by guest poster Sharon Bala. Read the first article here, the second article here and the third article here.

Weight loss is simple (eat less, exercise more) but also difficult because laying in bed with a tub of ice cream is a lot easier than doing 50 push-ups. One solution to our country's obesity epidemic is also simple but our government is in bed with the food industry and doesn't seem to have the will power to get out. Does that mean government-implmented change is impossible? NO!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Students Exploring Inequality in Canada

This website (maintained by Dr. Robert Sweeny) is an experiment in public history pedagogy, focussing on social and economic inequality in Canada in recent decades.  The site mostly consists of course projects by MUN students exploring struggles for equality in Canada.  These projects are complemented by reading lists, web links and graphics developed for use in these courses.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Game of Chess at Zuccotti Park

Nov 30, 2011: Biggest UK public sector strike in 30 years!

They are striking over pension reforms and the strike was 2 million strong.

Check out coverage by The Guardian.

The BBC also has an article on the days events and offers key points on the national strike.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fat Tax, Thin Subsidy Continued

This is the third in a series of articles about the obesity epidemic, the food industry and solutions for change by guest poster Sharon Bala. Read the first post here and the second post here.

In my last post, I outlined an idea for combatting our obesity epidemic: slap a sin tax on processed and junk food and use the revenue to subsidize raw fruits, vegetables and milk (and, if there's money left over, other healthy-living measures). There will be opposition - both from individuals and industry - so let's look at some of the arguments against the proposal.

Parking Lot - St John's Citizens for Affordable Housing

Following the early General Assemblies in October, a group of residents of the Metro area began meeting with the goal of advocating for affordable housing.  As of now, you can join a Google group mailing list to begin to participate, and there are also regular meetings planned for the next several weeks.

Current plans include a demonstration in the Downtown area during mid- to late- December.

Meetings are generally on Tuesdays, prior to the General Assembly.

Meeting Notes from November 21

Parking Lot - Occupy Self-Sustainability Project

There is a community gathering online on Facebook to brainstorm and develop ideas for making sustainable communities.  Please watch this post for updates, information, and event notices.

Information round-up on #CETA

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. It has had very little media attention or public debate - most Canadians have never heard of it. However, its far-reaching agreements, once passed, will be nearly impossible to amend or back out of. This is why more public debate and discussion is essential, yet the CETA negotiations have been happening behind closed doors with corporations at the helm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sin Taxes and Subsidies

This is the second in a series of articles about the obesity epidemic, the food industry and solutions for change by guest poster Sharon Bala. Read the first post here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Big Food is a Big Fat Problem

By now everyone's had a good laugh at our neighbours to the south whose Congress has declared pizza sauce a vegetable. Kristin Wartman wrote an excellent article for the Huffington Post about the food industry's power on politicians. I'd like to believe our government has a little more immunity to food industry lobbying. But then I'd have to ignore the evidence...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Balloting and Electoral Reform

Part of this post was transcribed from the webpage of razorbill press. Anyone interested in joining a working group on political/electoral reform is encouraged to join the facebook group or contact us at [email protected].

We need better politics, better politicians. What's our problem?

We lurch from crisis to crisis, rarely noting that we attend to the details of each crisis, but ignore its fundaments.

Actually, most crises are the same when you peel away the details. Most crises exist because somebody forgot something, somebody didn't think something through, somebody did somebody a favour, somebody pulled a fast one, somebody lied, somebody didn't bother to check. Something happened that was not supposed to happen. Not thought through. By somebody.

Occupying Violence

One of the most common criticisms that I have come across about Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement in general is that the Occupiers are misguided and that they do not seem to have a message or a real request for change. The CBC's Kevin O'Leary, for example, referred to author Chris Hedges as being a “left-wing nut-bar" because of Hedges' support for and involvement with the movement.

Such comments are common. They are also powerful: not in their reasoning or logic, and not in being well-constructed. They are powerful in their ability to ignore the discussion and dismiss it.

To counter this, the simplest thing to do would be to not be taken in by it. Not being taken in by it, however, requires something else. In this case, that 'something else' is an expansion of how we understand violence.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Who's Counting" presented by the 99% Film Fest.

The second film of the 99% Film Fest is the NFB produced film "Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics" by Academy Award winning director Terre Nash.  The film will be shown on Wednesday November 30 at 6 pm in the MUN Arts & Admin building room A1043.  Admission is FREE.  A group discussion will follow.

Update:  If you missed the screening, the film is available for free streaming here. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How the Occupy movement is already changing everything

Via Yes Magazine
1. It names the source of the crisis.
Political insiders have avoided this simple reality: The problems of the 99% are caused in large part by Wall Street greed, perverse financial incentives, and a corporate takeover of the political system. Now that this is understood, the genie is out of the bottle and it can’t be put back in.
2. It provides a clear vision of the world we want.
We can create a world that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest 1%. And we, the 99%, are using the spaces opened up by the Occupy movement to conduct a dialogue about the world we want.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is OccupyNL?

We Are
your customers
your friends
We Are
citizens and neighbours
We Are
and situations
We Are
and assemblage

Open Forum Day

As decided at the General Assembly on Thursday, from now on Saturday will be our "Open Forum Day". Open Forum day is primarily for discussion and education.  From the beginning, encouraging the public to discuss the issues we face as a society has been a top priority of every Occupy movement.  It's essential that we educate ourselves about what's happening in the world if we stand any chance of changing things for the better.  So Saturday is the day we've set aside for people to gather at Harbourside Park, and discuss whatever needs to be discussed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Volunteers for Camp Committee

The Harbourside needs Volunteers to help keep the space clean, safe, and habitable. Volunteers are asked to gather at the park Friday afternoon at 1 PM.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Parking Lot: Customs of the General Assembly

Please View This Document First.  (Revised and presented to GA, Nov. 20)

Formalizing the structure of the General Assembly would be beneficial for the process of setting up for long-term Occupation. To this end, several people have consulted to develop the "Customs" document that is linked above. "Customs" refers to the usual code of conduct that Members of the General Assembly follow while gathered.

Launch of 99% Film Fest

The first film of the 99% Film Fest is the Academy Award winning "Inside Job".  
Wednesday November 23 at 6 pm in the MUN Arts & Admin building room A1043. 
Admission is FREE. The film will be followed by a group discussion.

Telegram Article

Check out coverage of OccupyNL in the Telegram. "Business as usual at Occupy N.L camp."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Father Jonathan Rowe interviewed on CBC St. John's Morning Show - Nov 15, 2011

Father Jonathan Rowe was on the St. John's Morning Show this morning and gave a wonderful and inspiring interview about his involvement with OccupyNL. You can listen to the podcast here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Income Inequality Information Round Up

I've gathered together some articles and other resources dealing with income and wealth inequality.

Inequality within Countries.

How Inequality Harms Societies. (video)

IF YOU VIEW ONLY ONE THING, WATCH THIS VIDEO. This is a TED lecture by Richard Wilkinson, arguing that once a country gets sufficiently wealthy, the average well-being of society ( stuff like crime rates, literacy, life expectancy, mental illness, etc. ) no longer depends on how much money a society has, but on how that money is distributed.   I think this is an important message, because it shows that inequality is not only unjust to the poor, but is also really harmful to society at large. For more depth, consider reading The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Wilkinson and Pickett.

Upcoming General Assembly Locations

Indoor locations for the General Assembly have been found for the coming week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Press Release: The True Cost of War

November 11, 2011
On this Armistice Day, Occupy Newfoundland would remind our federal and provincial governments that supporting our troops and honouring the dead means more than poppies and ceremonies. It means leaving no veteran behind. We encourage Canadians to reflect on the true costs of war, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bill C-11 Information Round-Up

From the FB Group:

I would like to bring something to everyone's attention, an upcoming bill that will have a direct affect on all of us. Bill C-11, called the "Copyright Modernization Act". You may have heard about an earlier incarnation of this bill, called "C-32"; this is the exact same bill, word-for-word. It is being pushed largely by lobbyists representing U.S. interests, and there is evidence to suggest this lobbying is largely funded by U.S. corporations.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OccupyNL on CBC Cross Talk Nov 9, 2011

Hi everyone! Occupiers Thomas Clarke, Terry MacEachern, and Randy Wadland were on CBC Cross Talk on November 9 to discuss the issues most important to the Occupy movement, both globally and locally. Thanks for calling in and expressing your support for OccupyNL!

Listen to the podcast of the episode here.

OccupyNL is about to hit second gear. 
We will be heard.

Monday, November 7, 2011

'The Corporation' Film Screening

On Tuesday, Nov. 8 MUN Project Green will be showing the documentary 'The Corporation', a film that looks into the dominance of the corporation in today's society by considering it as a person, evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world much like a psychiatrist would evaluate an ordinary person.

Everyone is welcome and admission is free! There's going to be lots of popcorn, but please bring your own bowl!

6-9 p.m. at the Education building, room 2018B

"Why I occupy"

Via @occupykelowna

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy NL protests Bill C-10

Here are some great pictures from the OccupyNL protest of Bill C-10!!

Press Release: Demonstration Against the Omnibus Crime Bill C-10

For immediate release: November 4th, 2011
St. John’s, NL – The Occupy NL General Assembly is encouraging the public to join in a demonstration on Friday November 4 at the Supreme Court on Water Street, starting at 10 AM. Occupy movements across Canada will demonstrate at their judiciaries to send a message to the Canadian government regarding the Omnibus Crime Bill C-10, which is being rushed through Parliament without adequate public input.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Project GREEN Film Screenings

There is a new film series taking place at MUN starting on November 8th.

MUN Project Green film screening — The Corporation
Date(s) - 8 Nov 2011
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location TBA
MUN Project Green will be showing the documentary, The Corporation, a film that looks into the dominance of the corporation in today’s society by considering it as a person, evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world much like a psychiatrist would evaluate an ordinary person. Everyone is welcome so come and join us! There’s going to be lots of popcorn, but please bring your own bowl!
Check MUN Project Green’s facebook page

C-10 Petition

Hey everyone, the final version of the C-10 petition can be found on Google Docs, here

To download a copy, look to the top right of the screen and press "Download a copy". Each person going around getting signatures has to have a copy of the first page, you can append as many of the second page onto that as you need. Printing them double sided is ok according to parliamentary procedure.

We need as many signatures as possible, as soon as possible, so everybody with a printer start printing and getting your neighbors/coworkers/family/fri
ends to sign! There is also a call for volunteers to canvas the city, please post in the C-10 Facebook group about that. If you're not in the group, send a message to and ask to be added. Everyone is welcome!

Even if you can't help canvas, I strongly urge people to at least try their immediate area, your neighbors, and anyone else you come into contact with.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How you can support the #Occupy movement

There are many ways of being  part of this growing movement—and only some of them involve sleeping outside. 

Click here and here for some ideas on how you can get involved.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sam Haines' Day

The GA is postponed tonight for festivities. If anyone is interested in continuing discussions online, please consider joining in with the Chat Room.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

'Tis the Season

The GA scheduled for tonight has been postponed due to weather conditions at Harbourside. Consequent to this and a decision of last night's impromptu assembly, the next GA will be at 8PM Tuesday, November 1st at Harbourside Park.

via Twitter...
"We need donations at Harbourside Park: food, water, warm clothes, blankets, wool socks, sand for traction."

There is an impromptu meeting going on right now on the IRC channel. Click the link, pick a nickname, and join in.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Open Call for C-10 Posters

Calling all interested and passionate artists to consider submitting suitable poster ideas for the Event planned this week. If you have a design in mind or would like to volunteer to work with others, please . Designs can be in black and white and formatted to fit an 8.5X11 page.

EVENT: Democracy Jam -- Music made from 100% real democracy

Along with the Saturday Family Day activities, everyone is invited to participate in a Democracy Jam session! (12 p.m - 6 p.m at Harbourside Park Saturday Oct 29)

OccupyDesign + signs/posters/visuals

There's a great website called Occupy Design that makes available for download protest signs, logistical signs, infographics, and icons.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Robin Hood Tax

From :

Press Release: Family Day Oct 29th, 2011

For Immediate Release: 28 October 2011

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The daily Occupy NL General Assemblies have voted to promote Saturdays as Family Day. Weather-permitting, each Saturday afternoon the public is invited to come down to Harbourside Park and enjoy face painting, crafts, and music. People are invited to bring “anything fun” to share, such as sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, puppets, instruments, and more. This week costumes are encouraged!

Omnibus crime bill C-10 information roundup

Since our Kill the Bill event is fast approaching (November 4th!), I thought it would be helpful to round up some more background information.

To start with -- the bill itself, the Government Press Release, and the Department of Justice Backgrounder. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Location for tonight's General Assembly

Tonight's General Assembly will be held at 8 PM at 18 Quebec Street. Everyone's welcome. Call 237-4183 after 3 PM for any questions. See you there!

this is a movement of compassion.

- thenextstep709

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mad Lurv to the Sanely Worded

Scott Bartlett of on Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador, week one.

If anyone else has a blog they would like included on the Links here, please leave a comment below with the address information.

Family Day Continues

Following a decision of the General Assembly, "Family Day" will be an ongoing event every Saturday at Harbourside Park. Please feel free to download a copy of the poster and distribute it as you see fit.

Other ongoing initiatives include the "Open The House" campaign as well as public education on the C-10 Bill.

Bill C-10

The General Assembly has decided to stand in solidarity with other Occupy groups nationwide to take action against the Omnibus Crime Bill C-10. To that end OccupyNL has planned an event for Friday, November 4th.

General Assembly for Wednesday

The General Assembly for 8PM Wednesday evening is being held at 40 St. Michael's Avenue in St. John's. These meetings are open to the general public.

Updates on meeting locations, times, and other general information is also now available via telephone; please call the Solidarity Line on the Contacts page.

#occupy Newfoundland and Labrador in solidarity with #occupy Oakland

Seems like the mayor of Oakland didn't get the memo.
The use of force won't make this movement go away.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thomas speaking at #Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador march on Confederation Building

Today's march was to take us by the banks, but few realized that we meant the food banks. Occupiers collected non perishable food items today that will be delivered to local food banks. Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador is about building community -- a more equitable community for everyone.

#Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Federation president Lana Payne at #Occupy march on Confederation Building

Lana Payne reiterated the Federation of Labour's solidarity with Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador at today's march on Confederation Building.

Matt speaking at #Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador march on Confederation Building

FFAW President Earle McCurdy in solidarity with #occupy newfoundland and labrador

Fish, Food and Allied Workers' Union (FFAW) president Earle McCurdy at Occupy Newfoundland and Labrador march on Confederation Building. McCurdy expressed the union's support of the Occupy Movement and echoed the demand that the House be opened.

Lorraine Michael says provincial NDP support #occupy newfoundland

Lorraine Michael and Gerry Rogers of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP attending Occupy Newfoundland's march on Confederation Building. Michael said that the NDP supports the aims and spirit of Occupy Newfoundland, especially the demand to open the House of Assembly.

#occupy newfoundland March on Confederation Building videos

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An IRC but a Goodie

Browsing the Reddit Stream, I encountered this particular item:

I've just set up an IRC channel for us on the server, the channel is #occupynl I'd encourage anyone that spends any amount of time on a computer to stop by and chat sometime!

If anyone is unsure about how to use an IRC channel, never fear - there are plenty of ways to access one via a web-interface, and for the truly intrepid, there are standalone clients like mIRC.

Monday on the Move

After a simply splendid weekend, Occupy Newfoundland is again on the move. So if you've been waiting for a chance to show your support and join with us, perhaps this is your time!

Following a resolution passed at the General Assembly on Wednesday, October 19th, the various standing committees and volunteers have organized a march upon Confederation Hill for Monday the 24th. Members of the public in St. John's and surrounding areas who support the Occupy Movement worldwide are encouraged to join with the community gathering at Harbourside Park by 11 AM on Monday morning. The group will be leaving to join up with other supporters at MUN and the Holiday Inn, arriving at the Confederation Building by 12:30 PM.

The route through the downtown core will take us past the banking district, then heading up and over Carter's Hill. The forecast is currently favorable, but please come prepared for the season. We will also be taking a collection of non-perishable food items for the local food-sharing association.

An Open Letter to Premier Kathy Dunderdale
Dear Premier Dunderdale,

On behalf of the Occupy NL group, we would like to formally invite you to join us in our peaceful assembly outside of the Confederation Building over the lunch-hour on Monday, Oct 24th. We are being joined by members of the Federation of Labour and concerned students from Memorial University.

We feel strongly that the House should resume sitting as soon as possible. We agree that the House as it currently functions is not conducive to effective government or constructive debate, so let's fix it! We are interested in engaging in the process of making it more effective, so it can truly serve the needs of our citizens. If you share our passion, join us!

Occupy NL
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