The Occupy Movement: A Puny Little “Ant” That’s Messing With The Corporations’ Way Of Life

You let one ant stand up to us, then they ALL might stand up to us. Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLbWnJGlyMU&feature=related]

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Rabble.ca: Occupy Canada Weekly News

Cold Prairie Winds Not Enough to Drive Winnipeg Occupiers Out of Memorial Park

I happened to be in Winnipeg this past weekend, and so was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the initial Occupy Canada events in that city. The turnout for the Saturday march was 300+, which was great, but it’s the folks who have brought their sleeping bags and tents to Memorial Park that really impressed me. Winnipeg isn’t known for its gentle weather, and a cold & bitter Stephen Harper-like wind was blowing tents over on both Sunday and Monday. This morning Environment Canada says the temperature is minus 5 degrees Celcius, and the wind is set to increase again later on. So a big shout out to the “Occupying” folks everywhere, but especially those who are Occupying Winnipeg. These people are using their bodies as well as their voices to send a message for all of the 99% of us, that radical change is necessary; the corporate state isn’t capable of making decisions that are good for us as citizens or for our children’s future.  And let me tell you, it is not comfortable to be doing this in Winnipeg’s Memorial Park in the later part of October, so they need our support. If you, like me, can’t camp overnight, but you are in a community where an Occupation is happening, please take some time to go down and give them the support of your presence. Donations of food, money, and other supplies are appreciated, too. We are all in this together, but right now they are on the front lines for the rest of us. Thank you, miigwich, you who are standing up for the rest of us. You are heroes!

What I found each time I spent time in Memorial Park this weekend were people of all ages who were articulating an unhappiness with the status quo, and a longing for a fairer, more equitable community where everyone has a place. Graham Murray, who traveled from rural Manitoba to participate in this movement, told me the last straw for him was hearing about the English-only, gold-ink-embossed business cards our current Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, had printed for himself with our taxpayer dollars (see “Opposition Slams Baird Over Golden Business Cards for more). Another participant, who joked that as a computer programmer he “read everything on the internet”, said he was in Memorial Park for the long term because of the injustice he saw in our current system. These are the 99% – they are not there because they don’t have a job, they are there because they are standing up for the universal right to have a job with a decent salary, without exploitation. For example, in the United States last year, corporate profits grew 38.8 percent in 2010, but while CEOs earned an average of 20 percent more last year, many ordinary people continued to lose their jobs and benefits.

More links:

Chris Hedges: A Movement Too Big To Fail

10 CEOs Who Got Rich By Squeezing Workers

Occupy Winnipeg

Think Progress is providing excellent ongoing coverage of the “99%Movement”.  Rabble.ca is providing a Canadian perspective.

The Occupy Movement Goes Global

Yesterday the Occupy Wall Street movement, sparked by a call from the Vancouver-based Ad Busters magazine, started sparking occupations in Canada. From  five thousand people  in Vancouver, to three hundred in Halifax, and dozens of other “occupations” in between, Canadians expressed their disatisfaction with the status quo. I was able to participate in some of the Occupy Winnipeg event, where three hundred+ of us showed up and walked and chanted our way from the Manitoba Legislature to the TD Bank building on Portage Avenue, and back. It was inspiring and fun, and I hope it signals a sea-change in our political and economic system. Because if we continue down the road we are on, we are heading towards economic and planetary disaster.

Here’s filmmaker Velcrow Ripper speaking at the Occupy Saskatoon yesterday:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/30601459]

“Occupy Wall Street” Gathers Steam

Three weeks in, the anti-corporate, pro-democracy  “Occupy Wall Street” protests show no signs of losing momentum. Quite the opposite, in fact.The Occupy Wall Street website states:

We will be in a thousand cities in this country by the end of the month – hundreds of cities in other countries. We will see General Assemblies on six continents.

We are growing. Block by block – city by city. We will see change in this country, in this world. It will happen sooner than you can imagine.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0JmJ7-bhrY&feature=player_embedded#!]

If we are going to salvage our ecosystem for our children and grandchildren, the corporations that currently make the decisions have got to be challenged and disempowered. These folks are showing us how to do just that. As Arundhati Roy said, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Go to Occupy Wall Street for more videos, info, and images.

More links:

Occupy Oil Street

Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

Those who wish to play a meaningful role in influencing public policy or changing its institutional base must begin with honest inquiry, in community with others if it is to be effective. Whether one sees oneself as dedicated to reform or revolution, the first steps are education of oneself and others. There will be little hope for further progress unless the means to carry out these first steps are preserved and enhanced: networks of local organizations, media and publishers who do not bend to state and private power, and so on. These first steps interact: the organizations will not function without access to information and analysis, independent media and publishing will not survive without the participation and intellectual and financial contributions of popular organizations that grow and develop on the basis of shared concerns, optimally based in the community, workplace, or other points of social interaction. To the extent that such a basis exists, a range of possible actions become available: political pressure within the system, community organizing, civil disobedience, constructive efforts to create wholly new institutions such as worker-managed industry, and much else. As activity undertaken in such domains, including conventional political action, extends in scale, effectiveness, and popular engagement, it may well evoke state violence, one sign that it is becoming truly significant.
There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change – and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.
  – Noam Chomsky

The World Loses Wangari Maathai – It’s Time For All Of Us To Heed Her Call To Become “Hummingbirds”

Green Belt Movement founder and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Wangari Maathai passed away on Sunday September 26th. A fierce yet humble advocate for the poor, particularly poor women, she was an inspiration to those of us who are working to build a better world.
This tribute to Ms. Maathai is reposted from 350.org:
“I don’t really know why I care so much. I just have something inside me that tells me that there is a problem, and I have got to do something about it. I think that is what I would call the God in me.

All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet.

It must be this voice that is telling me to do something, and I am sure it’s the same voice that is speaking to everybody on this planet — at least everybody who seems to be concerned about the fate of the world, the fate of this planet.”

-Wangari Maathai

Wangari Mathaai proved that we can all make a difference in saving the planet, and that Africa would lead the way.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMW6YWjMxw]

RIP, Wangari Muta Maathai (1940-2011)

Mother, Relative, Co-worker, Colleague, Role model, Heroine, and Hummingbird

Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

“Action is the antidote for despair.”

~ Joan Baez

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkNsEH1GD7Q]

Monday, September 26, 2001: Ottawa Tar Sands Action

There comes a time when you need to take a stand. When sending letters and signing petitions isn’t enough. When together we must say, “enough is enough — not on our watch”.

That time is now. We must act together for the health of our planet, our air, our water, our climate, and our children.

Click here for more info

It’s Time For the Silent Majority To Speak Up, The Eyes Of The Future Are On Us

As part of the 24 Hours of Climate Reality, this video was put together to remind us – parents, children, young adults, grandparents concerned about the environmental crisis our world is facing – that the voice of the people is the strongest thing, stronger than any other special interest or power, and that when people stand together and draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough, change will happen. We can look to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, the Berlin wall, and Egypt’s Tahrir Square. These, and many others throughout history, are examples where people stood up for change, for what was right, against huge obstacles, and change happened. Are you ready to become part of a not-so-silent majority, who will demand accountability and change from our elected officials?

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/29108206]

*thanks to Sherry over at One Earth To Live for the link to the video!

More links:

Al Gore & I

ClimateRealityProject.org

Al Gore Addresses The World With The Truth