Monday, April 30, 2012


At what point does power restrict freedom? My area of research has to do with mental health care and the law. I look at what points people who are considered to have lost their grip on consensual reality have their rights and autonomy taken away by the state.
Here with an impending eviction of Harbourside Park we have a conceptually similar situation. A group of people who are perceived as not adhering to a normal way of living are going to be soon faced with a decision. Leave the park, ie normalize, or be confronted with the law and the restrictions that follow from that. 

The decision to restrict freedom seems easier to make when a group has been categorized as other; different or abnormal in some way. I think there is something abnormal about what is happening with the Occupy movement. I also think we are at the point where it might be time to consider the virtues of abnormality.

I understand not wanting to participate in Occupy, or ignoring it altogether. We are free to choose. My question is, what is there about the movement to not support? Here as elsewhere, (and I have been to the encampments at Dewey Square in Boston and the womb at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan), I have seen a lot of things. I have seen people motivated to contribute their time and energy to provide food, shelter, and camaraderie in a virtually judgement free setting. I read from Joel Hynes' Straight Razor Days at the Zuccotti Park library. I was violently chased through Manhattan by the riot police for my efforts. Hynes does have a gift for antagonism. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

May 1st : Musicians Sign Up Thread

May 1st is less than a week away and preparations for the day at Harbourside have begun.

Musicians and other performing artists would be only too welcome, from 12 noon until 12 midnight.
Any persons or groups who are interested in participating with this event can sign up by posting a comment below.  If you have special requirements or needs (power outlets) knowing about them ahead of time would be most helpful.  There will be food provided at the Park during the day.

Solidarity forever!

Soundtrack for a Revolution - #2 & #3 - An Issue of Money...

In this weeks episode of Soundtrack for a Revolution, we will be looking at two songs that offer relatively short and screamed criticisms on money. These two tracks were chosen because the control of money and the power that comes with controlling money has been one of the criticisms of coming out of the Occupy movements. Indeed, Wall Street was selected for occupation for a reason: a number of reasons, if you are willing to listen.

The first song of this episode is from a female-fronted anarcho-punk band from New York that is named after a character from Conan the Barbarian. The band is Thulsa Doom (who I did not know of until I saw From the Back of the Room, a documentary about women in punk rock) and the song is "Money," which can be found on their 1999 release Desensitized EP.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something to Consider: Slavoj Zizek - "First as Tragedy, then as Farce"

In my adventures through downtown St. John's, I have found myself becoming extremely annoyed by a campaign that is supposed to address and bring attention to youth homelessness. The problem is that I am a hippie and this campaign is sponsored by banks and oil companies.

In this clip, Zizek discusses how charity actually achieves the opposite of what it intends. Making this easier to follow, the audio track is accompanied by an animation provided by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

"It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property."
 If you would like to hear and see Zizek's full talk, you can view it on RSA's Youtube channel here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mission Statement

The suggestion of adopting a mission statement has been widely discussed these past couple weeks.  At tonight's General Assembly, we decided to endorse a draft mission statement, with the intention of perfecting it throughout the week to be ratified at next Sunday's General Assembly. Here's our current draft, as well as a brief summary of our reasons for pursuing this, and the rationale behind it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Something to Consider: "Capitalism is the Crisis"

Because you surely shouldn't believe absolutely everything that you hear, see, or read, here is something for you to consider. It's a documentary that discusses capitalism, the 2008 financial crisis, and government responses to the crisis, which have tended to focus on cutbacks in spending (though this has been the direction of politics in Britain and North America since at least the 1970s).

Not only does it offer a critical look at capitalism, it also shares some methods of resistance. The filmmakers, for example, go to the Mondragon, which is a collectively-owned and operated political bookstore and vegan restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

If this piques your interest, you can watch the film below. For more information, click here.

It's free, and the creators ask that the film be distributed. So if you like it, spread the word.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vigil and Memorial in Memory of Raymond Taavel

Vigil and Memorial in Memory of Raymond Taavel
Tues. April 24, 6-9pm, Harbourside Park

Raymond Taavel
was beaten to death outside a gay bar in downtown Halifax last Tuesday morning. St. John's Pride will host a vigil for Raymond at Harbourside Park, Tuesday April 24, 6-9pm.

Occupy NL will assist in any way possible. 
This is a shared tragedy for the entire Nova Scotia LBGTQ community and for anyone who cherishes their rights and freedoms. Raymond was an activist, volunteer and editor of Wayves Magazine.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Occupy May Day -- May 1st, Harbourside Park

UPDATE: Click here for a RECAP of the day's events!

Occupy NL invites you to a day of events at Harbourside Park on May 1st as part of international May Day celebrations. From noon until midnight there will be music and entertainment from local artists and performers, a potluck picnic, discussion forums, and (potentially) a march in downtown St. John's. Wandering Brush will also be doing some face/body painting!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Soundtrack for a Revolution - #1 - Propagandhi: The State Lottery

While full length documentaries and walls of text are fine ways to convey information, sometimes there are songs that express similar sentiments in much shorter periods of time -- and they may also allow for more head-bobbing and finger tapping, which seems like a positive addition to me.

The first auditory (and perhaps philosophical) assault I'd like to put forth is Propagandhi's "The State Lottery." Released in 1996 on their ironically titled album Less Talk, More Rock (released on Fat Wreck Chords), "The State Lottery" offers succinct insight into the sort of anger that fuels movements that call for radical change.

A Message From Adbusters: Tactical Briefing #29 - Battle for the Soul of Occupy

Message from Adbusters:
First they silenced our uprising with a media blackout… then they smashed our encampments with midnight paramilitary raids… and now they’re threatening to neutralize our insurgency with an insidious campaign of donor money and co-optation. This counter-strategy worked to kill off the Tea Party’s outrage and turn it into a puppet of the Republican Party. Will the same happen with Occupy Wall Street? Will our insurgency turn into the Democrats’ Tea Party pet? ...
Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a “99% Spring” reelection campaign for President Obama? ...
Whatever you do, don’t allow our revolutionary struggle to fizzle out into another lefty whine and clicktivist campaign like has happened so many times in the past. Let’s Occupy the clicktivists and crash the MoveOn party. Let’s #DEFENDOCCUPY and stop the derailment of our movement that looms ahead.
for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ
For the full tactical briefing and links to other tactical briefings, click here. (I recommend checking out Tactical Briefing #28 in particular!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chomsky and the American Spring/Pitching a Tent for Chomsky

While there will surely be more snow falling in Newfoundland this Spring, let's try to get some of the chill out of our bones with some warming words from Noam Chomsky as he endorses the 2012 leg of the Occupy Movement.

"They're counting on our silence and apathy, and we should not grant them that lethal gift...
"...We have the chance to take power back and rescue the country and the planet from a grim fate."
In his poem "The Wasteland," T.S. Eliot said that April was the cruellest month. If the Spring thaw and dead and rotting plants has got you down, come on down to Harbourside Park and hold a sign or pitch a tent, or drive past and scowl and tell everyone to get a job. 
...Whatever makes you feel better!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Do you notice symptoms of economic inequality? A call from Occupy NL

Occupy NL wants to hear from citizens of the province who are negatively impacted by foreclosures or evictions, unemployment, substandard living conditions, and other issues related to economic and social inequality. Come to an Occupy NL general assembly and share your story, or get in touch with us by email at

The Occupy movement, from its inception, has been motivated to raise awareness of growing inequality in society. Economic inequality, and its symptoms of social injustice, has been growing in Newfoundland and Labrador as well. Regardless of the apparent "progress" in the province, there are many people being marginalized, silenced, and left behind. We must stand together to resist the injustice in society and voice our concerns. Add your voice to the chorus... we are the 99%

Monday, April 2, 2012

In Response to "De-Occupy NL"

On Saturday, March 31st, the Telegram received a letter from J.F. Martin, accusing the city of having "shirked responsibility" by not evicting the Harbourside Park camp sooner. The letter was read verbatim on the St. John's Morning Show today, followed by an interview with Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff, where she suggested that the movement was nothing more than an “informal camp,” rather than a part of a global movement.

We would like to address some of the confusion surrounding our organization. First of all, OccupyNL is not a camping expedition. OccupyNL is a local manifestation of the global Occupy movement. The encampment at Harbourside park is an important meeting place and symbol for our movement, but it is but a small part of the whole. We are a community of concerned Canadian citizens who are determined to change our society for the better. Our organization seeks to achieve this goal by way of its unique structure: completely horizontal consensus-based decision-making, where everyone has an equal say. Our specific goals are decided upon at our weekly General Assemblies, which are open to the public.

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