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Anonymous OTP post via pastebin: Declaration of Unity

We found this piece on Pastebin through a tweet. There are many differences between the Tea Party and the Occupy movements, but what they can all agree upon is that the financial system is dysfunctional, the corporations buy the politicians through donation and what is known as ‘crony capitalism’. It would be great if the two groups could put aside their differences for a moment to agree on this:
Posted by Kris Harrison
Author Unknown

“The left and right have been resolved. We are going to focus on ignoring the mainstream media, because the job they’ve done has been appalling. Instead we will focus on verified and accurate information from independent sources. When in doubt, ask each other. We all have some very hard truths we are going to have to recognize, as we have been being lied to for a very, very long time. We will stand together, as American citizens, regardless of politics, religion, race or creed. A melting pot. That’s what America’s always been best at. It’s time we got that back.

We will have no violence, no bickering and no fighting. We will be peaceful, polite and obey the law, beyond the exciting new ones outlawing the first amendment. We will not rest and we will not stop until the US government once again respects the will of its citizens. We want our country and our planet back.

What can you do? Stop believing your media for a start. Question everything. Listen to each other regardless of your politics. There are dire signs and warnings we all need to be aware of. Share your ideas and stop letting them divide us along stupid party lines. You don’t have to agree on everything, nor will you. But that’s ok. If you don’t agree on a topic, move on to something else. Politely. As we progress we will find more and more issues we agree on, slowly field candidates for office and put pressure on our elected representatives to remind them that they work for *us*, not the other way around. Organize a massive bi-partisan write in campaign. March outside the homes and offices of these people until they finally realize that we will no longer tolerate their greed and lies. Everyone deserves a voice, but we must make sure what’s said is true and accurate. Do not let them divide you any longer. We are all Americans.

Therefor, we, citizens of America, conservatives, liberals, democrats and republicans are proud to stand together. We hereby announce the Occupy Tea Party. We cordially invite all members of both movements to participate, along with any individual concerned about retaining their freedom and the sovergnity of the Bill of Rights. However, we would ask that they do so politely and while conducting themselves with honor, tolerance and integrity. We are not socialists, we are not anarchists, we are not racists, we’re not hippies or rednecks. We are concerned citizens who have had enough of the government we put in power ignoring our voices.

The people, united, will never be defeated. There is no problem this country has that we can not solve, provided we work together.

Expect us.”


Editorial: Kris – What does it mean when Toronto Police arrest 3 people for erecting a tent in a public space.

Toronto Police look ashamed as they carry out their orders. Occupiers in Toronto yell “The whole world is watching” as Police enforce Toronto By-law #608, which includes the rule that none shall camp in city parks. The Charter of Rights does not apply under a government that firstly does not agree with it and secondly under a policing model that does not include correct and reasonable oversight. The Toronto SIU has frighteningly low numbers and as long as the police here have little oversight, the corporate lobbyists will continue to decide policy instead of the public. Hopefully one day this first piece of the puzzle will fit, and all social justice hinges thereupon. The most memorable quote from this piece is “You don’t have to follow a corrupt order.” The bottom line is this: we live in a country where a group of individuals cannot enter a public park away from residential areas for the purpose of building community and screening movies, without being subject to hundreds of police, and some are rather rude.

The tent itself was symbolic. Our city is owned by corporations. The city itself is a corporation. Our notions of “Public Property” are not naturally intuitive. The police are constantly trying to increase their budget by deploying far more force than they need. The Prime Minister views Canada as a “benign dictatorship”, as he prorogues parlaiment, lies about the cost of our military expendatures, and budgets at all levels of government are seeing cuts to the social programs our most vulnerable and voice-less people need the most. What does this spell for our children? Well, I hope they like plastic everything, because the direction we’re taking as a society might be irreparable.

[youtube] Presents Occupy Talks: Oil is pleased to present the next evening in the Occupy Talks series which took place at the Bloor Street United Church at 300 Bloor St. W in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the evening of the 20th of March, 2012. The church provided a setting that was both strangely focusing, while also excellently ironic, and the first order of business that evening was to do a very small “smudge” ceremony (to clear the air of bad spirits). Once this was finished, the smell of burnt sage and other traditional native medicines set the stage for an evening of insight.

“Tar sands extraction is one of the largest civil and environmental rights issues of this generation. The Harper regime, in alliance with the Alberta government and the largest oil companies in the world, have ignored First Nations rights, broken global agreements and decimated hundreds of kilometers of land in Northern Alberta. Pipelines are expanding the impact to Southern Ontario, where tar sands refining is already happening in Sarnia, aka Chemical Valley. As well, Canada has supported companies and governments employing brutal military regimes to facilitate mining and oil & gas projects abroad. We ask the question, how is this ‘ethical’?” 

– Occupy Talks

The following embedded videos feature esteemed community organizers and intellectuals Eriel Deranger, Ron Plain, Isaac Asume Osuoka and Syed Hussan. The panel was moderated by Anna Zalik, and the talks open with a song requested by the organizers: Mr. Businessman, by Mama D.

Anna Zalik – Anna teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and has researched oil industry strategy since 2000, with a focus on Nigeria, Mexico and Canada. She has been involved in activism on social justice issues since the 1980s and has published critiques of extractive industry activity in a range of sites.

Diem Lafortune (Mama D) – Lafortune does not take life lying down. She’s a fighter, a champion, an activist and a believer in guardian angels. She’s also a singer/songwriter whose varied life experience – from cab driver, to actor, photographer, near politician and constitutional appellate lawyer – has provided a rich source for her powerful music. Her website can be found here.

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger – Eriel is a Dene Indigenous activist and member of the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) of Northern Alberta, ground zero for tar sands extraction. Eriel is currently working for ACFN as a campaign and communication coordinator to challenge current and proposed projects by Shell Canada in Alberta’s Tar Sands. Shell is one of the largest operators in the tar sands and has contributed greatly to the erosion of Dene lands, culture and health. Eriel is a longtime Indigenous rights activist, fighting for environmental justice and has worked with many organizations including the International Indian Treaty Council, TakingItGlobal, Canadian Heritage, the United Nations, Indigenous Environmental Network, the Ruckus Society and IP3. She has extensive experience and a deep knowledge of International Indigenous rights, obtained through the International Training Centre for Indigenous People in Illuslisat, Greenland as well as through her work as a researcher for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Eriel is currently working with many allies to create awareness about the catastrophic climate and human rights impacts of the tar sands and demands full recognition of Indigenous rights from all levels of government and industry operating in Indigenous territories.

Ron Plain – “I am not an environmentalist, I am Aanishinaabe. My reverence for Mother Earth is not a conscious decision, rather it is a genetic predetermination.” Currently, Ron is campaigning to raise awareness about tar sands refining in his community, Aamjiwnaang, located near Sarnia, Ontario, which has been termed the most polluted place on earth by the National Geographic Society. Ron has been an activist for many years, his campaigns began with human rights and discrimination protests in the late 70’s and early 80’s, spanning Turtle Island from Burnt Church to Portland, Oregon. Ron has established himself as a leader in social justice movements with a focus on Aboriginal inherent and treaty rights as they pertain to the holistic views of our environment. Ron has been featured in 11 documentaries, numerous print media, Men’s Health, National Geographic and Chatelaine and network television, CNN, MSNBC and APTN to name a few for his work and his community, Aamjiwnaang.

Isaac Asume Osuoka – Asume is currently enrolled at York University in the doctoral Faculty of Environmental Studies Program. Asume has worked for over a decade to support communities in the Nigeria and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea region organizing programs that encourage change in policy and practice of oil corporations, governments and international finance institutions. He had served as Coordinator of Oilwatch Africa (1997-2006), Directror of Social Action, and also coordinator of the Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network (GGCN). Asume has participated in several international conferences on environment, energy and mining and has been a panellist at the United Nations. He has also represented communities in committees set up by the Nigerian Presidency to address the crisis in the Niger delta.

Syed Hussan – Syed is a writer and activist based in Toronto. Hussan is part of migrant justice, environmental justice, anti-imperialist and Indigenous sovereignty movements. His writings regularly appear in alternative media outlets. Hussan has worked to highlight the links between tar sands extraction and the US military-industrial complex.

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Budget Showdown at City Hall

A Toronto citizen signs a banner asking for the eviction of Mayor Rob Ford

On January 17th, concerned citizens of Toronto and the GTA congregated at City Hall in response to the proposed budget cuts of Rob Ford and the City Council. Essential citizen services such as daycare, shelters and transitional housing, the mobile health care unit for immigrant women, community pools, and education were slated for significant cuts that would affect those who are most vulnerable in our communities; visible minorities, immigrants and the impoverished. Libraries, the Hardship Fund and TTC were also slated for cuts and the High Park Zoo which was established in 1918 for the free enjoyment of the public was facing closure.

The Council Chambers were filled with citizens taking active participation in the political process, but not everyone was allowed in. When Speaker Coun acknowledged the presence of Fieldstone Day School who were there “to learn more about their local government”, it became known to those present that the students had been denied entrance into the Chambers. The issue was eventually resolved and the students were allowed to enter the meeting. This would not be the last denial of the citizen’s right to be present for an open Council Chamber meeting that day.

Councillor Michelle Berardinetti proposed to increase funding to the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre which is a service that delivers clinical sexual health services to immigrant women who are a targeted priority population. She argued that her proposal would put gender equality and women’s health at the fore-front of the budget.

Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest) fought to protect transitional housing. With three shelters slated for closure, Bellwoods House, Birchmount Residence and Downsview Dells; Crawford was concerned about where those who needed this essential service would go as the in-take demand would not diminish. He agreed that an alternative model would be more effective and needs to be found.  However, transitional housing needs to stay in place until this is accomplished.

Councillor Gloria Lindsay (Ward 4 Etobicoke Center) Luby was applauded by citizens present when she voiced her concerns regarding the library cuts, stating: “It’s 1984 all over again.”

Councillor John Parker (Ward 26 Don Valley West) brought up the point that when he had previously asked questions regarding the particulars of the motion on capital spending and operating costs, “the answer [he] received was that ‘We have question period, but we don’t have answer period’.” An interesting answer to be sure. “I do wonder how we live with ourselves as we are going to provide subsidized daycare facilities to some families and not to others,” he stated. “That was a discussion that didn’t seem to be welcome this morning although I tried to introduce the subject for discussion and debate.”

While councillors in overwhelming numbers had fought to voice the concerns that their constituents had brought forward to them, not all were supportive. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7 York West) had several outbursts of frustration with those counsellors who had a proposal that he did not side with, or those who were simply seeking clarification and understanding of a proposal. An example of said outbursts would be his behavior towards Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby which was reprimanded by The Speaker who defended that Councillor Luby had “the right to ask the question.”

With such ‘hot topics’ on the floor in Chambers, citizens were clambering to be present to hear the proceedings, but many were denied their right of entrance into the meeting despite many seats being open for spectators. The Council Chamber is on floor 3C and only accessible by elevator. As many citizens quickly learned, when it has been decided that noone was further permitted entrance, noone else is getting in. Those who took the elevators discovered that they were being taken to Floor 4 where the elevator would remain until the ground floor was selected. The doors would not open and floor 3C would be skipped. Citizens crowded the main area on the ground floor where they could view the meeting on large screens, their only option to participate in their local political process.

We asked security why there had been no process set in place for accommodating all interested citizens and why the Chambers were locked when there were still seats empty, but they did not have any interest in answering our questions.

Reported by Anna

*All quotations and information were taken from live film footage by the MediaWrench team.

Media Wrench presents: Occupy Talks: What Gravy Train? Austerity, Finance, and the Polarization of Wealth

MediaWrench went down to Occupy Talks to present it for you, and we had a really great time doing it!

Peaking at about 75-100 people of all ages, the turnout blew my mind.  The organization and focus of the event only shows the positive directionality of the Occupy Movement in North America, especially here at home, in Toronto, Canada. The crowd’s thorough mix shows that this was an issue that was completely relevant and perfectly timed considering the austerity measures we are facing across the board. I’ve always said that the most important next step for this intellectual, and what some would call spiritual, revolution will be to bring in the people who have dedicated their lives to knowing the finer points of the problems that we all know are in our hearts and ever-growing. The maturation of the Occupy Movement is moving at a pace most cannot deny is truly impressive.

Our guest speakers focused appropriately enough on the systematic denial of workers’ benefits through union busting, the systematic status quo of the business narrative, and the need to focus on long term goals, whilst celebrating the singular victories within sight. This talk takes place, literally, the day after Mayor Rob Ford’s budget was rejected piece-by-piece due to trying to fix the problems of our community by taking more money from the poorest of society and children. Very little of what Mayor Ford had originally intended to cut from the budget actually survived the process of the budget meeting. And the visibly ‘subversive’ council member who had talked sense into his fellow city hall colleagues, Councillor Josh Colle, saw the necessity and urgency to step back and rethink the logic of Toronto’s bizarre proposed taxes – such as the $2 per head child-tax for children using small wading pools across Toronto. This is a major victory for all reasonably hopeful citizens! The political system affects you.  We can all, more or less, admit for the first time in a long while that we have undeniably affected the system in a tangible manner. The lesson is this: the politicians who are in power now may not agree with the logic of fostering and nurturing our population. Rather than simply catering to the business narrative and the credit scores decided outside our country; sooner or later, the opponents of these politicians are going to acknowledge and bolster the public outcry.  They will naturally and organically replace those leaders who are out of touch with the populace they are hired to serve, once and for all.


 Speakers List:

Linda McQuaig is an acclaimed Canadian journalist and best-selling author. She currently writes an op-ed column for the Toronto Star and has written eight books on politics and economics, including It’s the Crude, Dude and most recently, The Trouble With Billionaires.

Jim Stanford is one of Canada’s best-known economists. He is the founder of the Progressive Economics Forum and writes a regular column for the Globe and Mail. He has written seven books, including his latest, Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism.

Nathan Okonta is a community activist and researcher, studying the links between schools and prisons. He is a former member of the Metro Network for Social Justice and is currently a member of the Network for Pan-African Solidarity Toronto, and the Tabono Institute.

Sam Gindin is a respected academic and intellectual. Until recently, he was a professor of Political Economy at York University. He regularly publishes in academic journals and has written numerous books. His latest is In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives.

Lana Brite and Occupy Talks have set up the next generation of forum.  These conversations draw such a crowd simply by utilizing a professional and deeply intellectual approach to activism. The conversation we could not show you, between guests and speakers through the Q&A, was handled with grace. It was a true credit to the Occupy Movement itself here in Canada and also aligned perfectly with the respect for a studied mind that I believe was at the core of Occupy Toronto in its infant stages back in St. James Park. The key to success lies not in brute force, but rather, in expertly applied pressure.

Written by Kris Harrison

Contributions for this piece: Kris Harrison, Jared Khan & Roberto Horta