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Tag Archives: 99%

Rally – January 21st

So I’ve decided my internet soapbox needs a break.  I need to get into the real world and get energized!  Tomorrow (okay, later today the 21st) a large rally will be held at Victoria Park in London to support the locked-out Electro-Motive employees.

I’m not connected with Electro-Motive in any way, nor am I a union member, however I feel we must stand together so that Canada continues to *have* a middle class. We do not have a division of 99% vs 1% like the United States but our division is closer to 85% or 90% with just 10-15% of people controlling the wealth.

If we do not stand up for ourselves we will find ourselves in worse shape – with few jobs offering a living wage indexed to inflation, a pension plan, medical benefits or simple job security. I haven’t been to a political rally in over 15 years but I intend to be there tomorrow!  Who else will be attending?

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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Occupations are done – what now? (Or How Badly the Bottom of the 99% have it)

Most of the occupiers have been removed – many by force while remaining non-resistant and peaceful (and unarmed).  The remaining occupiers in Canada have orders for them to move or they’re just waiting on a judge’s signature.  In the cities that have been “cleaned” the discussion around the occupation has slipped from the media’s radar.  The talks are still going on but few are following it – they’ve moved on to other things.

BUT – Our role now becomes to fight for our place in society since we have asked to claim it.  We must continue to ask the government of Canada about wasteful spending on helicopter rides and crime bills (while crime rates are actually falling across most of the country).  We must ask how that can go on while 1 in 6 reservations are living in the conditions we have seen this week from Attawapiskat.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/11/30/f-video-8thfire-doc-attawapiskat.html

I don’t claim to know how this can happen – $90 million over the last 5 years from the federal government  seems like a decent amount of money but I don’t know everything that it has to cover.  (Last year there was an additional $4 from the Ontario gov’t and $3 million from Casino Rama.)  I know the Minister of Northern Affairs says his team have been up there 11 times this year but they didn’t notice the problems (how do you not notice that there are no toilets and there’s no water in the taps???)

My understanding is that private ownership of homes is not allowed on a reservation and thus a home cannot be used as collateral against a bank loan for repairs.  The average income on a reservation is under $20,000 a year and because many are remote everything costs more.  This particular reservation has 314 requests for housing but the band can’t afford it, particularly with the condition of perma-frost melting and the land shifting. I’ve seen some Northern reservations while traveling on the Trans-Canada.  Some were quite rough and much different than the reservations I’m used in Southern Ontario.  Many of the remote locations do not have clean and running water – OUTRAGEOUS in the country with the most fresh water in the world!

So what is the answer?  I don’t know.  I know it needs to change and I know that advocates are needed.  I don’t claim to know what’s best for another culture in another climate but I know that the people who are living it know if we just listen.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Occupation Movement

 

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Why Occupy

Don’t you know, they’re talking ’bout a revolution, It sounds like a whisper

Don’t you know, they’re talking ’bout a revolution It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines

Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation

Wasting time, in the unemployment lines

Sitting around, waiting for a promotion
Don’t you know, they’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution It sounds like a whisper

Poor people gonna rise up and get their share

Poor people gonna rise up and take what’s theirs

Tracy Chapman, Revolution

I have to admit I don’t fully understand this. I agree with the basic premise that they are protesting. The economic divide is worse than it has ever been. In the United States right now 99% of the nation’s wealth is held by 1% of the population. (In Canada the divide is not as great but it’s growing.) It’s okay to be wealthy in a capitalist society but when that wealth is gained by kicking other people down it’s not okay. I understand bailing out big banks so they don’t collapse but think of how different the situation would be if the same amount of money had been given to the home owners who were losing everything. Or perhaps, the bonuses that were still given to the CEO’s could have been paid into a fund for people who were losing their jobs.

If the people who were the other 99% were doing okay then it wouldn’t be as big of deal. However, the middle class is disappearing, soon there will only be upper and lower class and where do you think you and I will land? This movement has been growing for years as I think John Q, a 2002 movie starring Denzel Washington, showed how the average Joe (or John Q. Public as our title character) can lose everything so easily. Don’t think we’re immune in Canada just because our hospital care is paid for. Prescriptions aren’t, medical supplies aren’t. I know people who have to choose between food and prescription drugs or rent. The protests make sense to me.

However, I don’t really get the whole occupation. Originally it was a novel idea that brought attention to an issue in North America that would have continued to be ignored otherwise but now it is bringing out more attitudes. We have issues with police using excessive force and pepper spray. We have people upset that their public spaces are not accessible. And we have people that want nothing to do with outright civil disobedience and I think that’s where I find myself.

A better idea to me is for the movement to continue general assemblies and teach-in’s but to go home at night. That way there is some visibility but no built in excuse for people to hate it. It just seems like the illegal occupation has stopped the conversation.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Occupation Movement

 

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