Monday, July 30, 2012

General Assembly Tues July 31 @ 7 pm, MUN Arts and Admin (room A1046)

Our next general assembly is today in the Arts and Admin Building at MUN, 7 pm (A1046). We will be hosting an informal brainstorming session on the future of Indy media in the province. Justin Brake from the Independent will have some thoughts to share. He will be doing a workshop on Citizen Journalism in a few weeks. Details to follow.

After the GA, why not check out Kanaska Carter, playing at CBTG's at 10 pm. Originally from the west coast of Newfoundland, she spent the first two months of Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. She will be playing various St. John's venues in the next two weeks.

See you all there!

Friday, July 20, 2012

99% Film Fest -- The Right to Sleep, Tuesday 24 July, 7:00 pm, Arts 1043 at MUN

This coming Tuesday, as part of the 99% Film Fest, there will be a screening of a documentary titled The Right To Sleep, which recounts the experiences of B.C. social justice activist David Arthur Johnston and his campaign to affirm the right of homeless people to be able to pitch tents and sleep in public parks.

David was recently in St. John's, spreading the word about his campaign and providing information about his court battles and his VICTORY in a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms case on this very issue.

Join us Tuesday at 7 pm in the Arts Building of Memorial University (room 1043) for the screening. For a bit more information on David Arthur Johnston, check out his write-up on the Right to Sleep, and also  a recent article in the Independent on David's visit to St. John's.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Nations Fail

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Acemoglu and Robinson has justly become one of the most talked about books of 2012. Using a relatively simple, but deeply penetrating model of political and economic development, the authors explain how some countries fail while others succeed, and illustrate their ideas with dozens of examples past and present.

Some popular theories of economic and political development place central importance on geography, culture, ignorance or even genetics. Acemoglu and Robinson emphasize instead the importance on institutions. Indeed, the main lesson of their book may be summed up: Institutions matter, institutions evolve, but institutions (particularly extractive institutions) are resistant to change.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Join us July 22 in the streets to celebrate five months of resistance

Join us for a huge Casseroles (Pots and Pans) Night on Sunday July 22 at 8 pm, in solidarity with students in Quebec and Canadians throughout this country who have had enough.

WHY: Because the fight is about more than tuition, debt, and fundamental rights. It is about demanding a future where the rights of people and the health of the environment are MORE IMPORTANT than the health of the economy and the rights of the elite.

This is a demonstration first and foremost about community, joy, solidarity, togetherness, and creating a democratic space for people beyond the ballot box.

It's about building grassroots connections and meeting your neighbours. Building the revolution from the bottom up!

It's about voicing your rejection to the policies of the federal and provincial governments that have repeatedly made us the greatest embarrassment in the global community.

(View recaps of our past Casseroles events downtown here, here, here, and here.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Casserole Night, Wednesday July 11th

UPDATES (videos)

Concerned citizens gathered once again at Harbourside Park and marched up Water Street in a show of solidarity with the student movement in Quebec (and to denounce the plethora of undemocratic, unconstitutional, and draconian laws that have been passed recently). The omnibus bill c-38, Charest's Loi 78, and Newfoundland and Labrador's access to information Law 29. Get informed, get activated, and get in the streets. The time is now!

Presentation on Corporate Tax Dodging and Tax Havens

This Tuesday, July 10th, come out to Occupy NL's weekly General Assembly for a screening of a presentation on Corporate tax dodging and tax havens, put together by a member of Occupy NL. Join us at 7 pm in the Arts and Admin Building at Memorial University, room A1046.

Here are a few resources to get you going:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Oil Royalties and Tax Cuts for the Rich

Since 2006, our provincial government has implemented hundreds of millions of dollars worth of income tax cuts.  Because these tax cuts were funded with oil money and our natural resources belong to the people of the province, it is only right that these tax cuts be shared equally.  Sadly, far more has gone to the wealthy than to the rest of us.

We estimate that a person working full-time at minimum wage (earning about $20k a year) received a tax cut of only $330 per year, and a person earning median full-time income (about $40k) received a tax cut of $930.  Compare this to our MHAs (earning about 100k) who received an annual tax cut of $4,060 and to the wealthiest 1% (average income 400k nationally) who have received tax cuts averaging $23,000 a year.

It is outrageous that the wealth generated from our province's natural resources is being used to fund huge tax breaks for our wealthiest citizens, while providing a mere pittance to the less well-off. Consider the fact that oil royalties contribute about $4,400 per person to government coffers. This means that individuals earning more than $110,000 have gotten more than their share of oil revenues in the form of a tax cut, and that all the increased government spending on debt reduction, infrastructure investment and government services is being paid for by the rest of us.

There are much fairer ways to share the wealth. The state of Alaska distributes natural resource revenue via the Alaska Permanent Fund, which pays regular and equal dividends to all qualifying residents.  Alternatively, we could distribute the wealth through the income tax code by increasing the basic personal income tax credit rather than by cutting tax rates.

We propose that before any future tax code amendment is brought to a vote, that the effect on income inequality be analyzed by the Department of Finance, that their findings be published in a plain language report that is available to the public, and that a summary be read into the public record at the House of Assembly.  The people of this province deserve to be fully informed of how their money is being spent, in terms that are easily understood by the average person.  Real democracy demands nothing less.

Income tax calculations