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.



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

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.

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.

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...