Chris Hedges with Kevin Zeese: mass movement key to disobedience tactic’s success

Occupy Toronto 05 July 2012 by Michael Holloway   Truthdig:  ”Occupy Will Be Back” 18 June 2012 by Chris Hedges Chris Hedges interviews Kevin Zeese, “ of the original organizers of the Occupy encampment in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. …”. Zeese says, “..breaking the enforcement structure, which almost always comes through nonviolent civil disobedience, increases your chances of success by 60 percent. …”   These last three paragraphs of the article caught my eye especially, “Our job is to build pockets of resistance so that when the flash point arrives, people will have a place to go,” Zeese said. “Our job is to stand for transformation, shifting power from concentrated wealth to the people. As long as we keep annunciating and fighting for this, whether we are talking about health care, finance, empire, housing, we will succeed. “We will only accomplish this by becoming a mass movement,” he said. “It will not work if we become a fringe movement. Mass movements have to be diverse. If you build a movement around one ethnic group, or one class group, it is easier for the power structure and the police to figure out what we will do next. With diversity you get creativity of tactics. And creativity of tactics is critical to our success. With diversity you bring to the movement different histories, different ideas, different identities, different experiences and different forms of nonviolent tactics. “The object is to shift people from the power structure to our side, whether it is media, business, youth, labor or police,” he went on. “We must break the enforcement structure. In the book ‘Why Civil Resistance Works,’ a review of resistance efforts over the last 100 years, breaking the enforcement structure, which almost always comes through nonviolent civil disobedience, increases your chances of success by 60 percent. We need to divide the police. This is critical. And only a mass movement that is nonviolent and diverse, that draws on all segments of society, has any hope of achieving this. If we can build that, we can win.”     Read the whole article, “Occupy Will Be Back” at Truthdig – By Kevin Zeese, at Global –   mh...

Shelf Life Superhero Action Figures face coup d’état and Occupy problems in Season 3

Occupy Toronto 04 July 2012 by Michael Holloway   The Shelf Life writers and cast tackle the end of the Republic on the Shelf, and later – an old charge from the right, that most activists are just out to get laid is examined as Hero Man joins Occupy in ”Occupy This Space”. Very interesting subject line at any rate.  The writing in Year 1 was was the best so far, I think. As an activist in Occupy, what do you think? Embedded below are the 2 episodes in the Occupy story arch so far: Season 3, Episode 1 – “Sic Semper Tyrannosaur”     Season 3, Episode 3 – “Occupy This Space”   The group is up to episode 4 – in their third season. In year 1 and 2 they released 10 episodes. Looking forward to see if this story arch continues.   Season 3 Titles SHELF LIFE – Season 3, Episode 1 – “Sic Semper Tyrannosaur” (2:44) SHELF LIFE – Season 3, Episode 2 – “Magic: The Blathering” (2:43) SHELF LIFE – Season 3, Episode 3 – “Occupy This Space” (2:12) SHELF LIFE – Season 3, Episode 4 – “Tiny Dancer” (3:40)   *** SHELF LIFE the Series on Youtube – Season 3 playlist: SHELF LIFE the Series Web:   mh...

No Police Accountability

Once again Blair should resign OR apologize for what happened under his “leadership?” at the Toronto G20. Crimes were committed by people in uniform that aren’t getting to court… The Blame ultimately lies with our Crime Minister; who chose Toronto on short notice to show off our financial district!

Casseroles Night in Toronto

A small contingent from Parkdale marches to join the mass convergence at Dufferin Grove park in solidarity with the nightly casseroles demonstrations in Montreal. In general the issues are: against government criminalization of protest, debt relief for students, the right to affordable if not free education, and anti-austerity....


The Quebec Student “Maple Spring Movement” has shown formidable success in putting the international spotlight upon the demand for affordable and accessible education in Canada; after four months of continuous strikes, observers have remarked that the strikes could be reaching numbers of people on the streets as high as half a million, rivalling the American Anti-War movement of the 60s and 70s. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) Ontario, officially endorsed the movement in an open letter, signed by a growing signatory of students and professionals who have recognized Montrealers for setting a “heroic example.”, a long time progressive alternative US news agency, recently commended the movement for engaging in the “biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history,” and emphasized the importance of the strikes, calling the struggle now a “constitutional challenge,” in defiance of the anti-protest 78 law. Labour unions and public interest groups have now been called upon, internationally to show their support, with a sense of urgency, as a solidarity response in wake of sweeping mass arrests, reported to be approaching of as many as 3,000 Montrealers. Last week, Occupy Toronto led a demonstration and march of 500 in sympathy and solidarity with the Quebec Student protesters. They aimed, also, to send a message that Ontarians call on the repeal of bill 78 and stated that they would accept the challenge of pressuring the provincial government to make post secondary education in Quebec and all of Canada affordable and accessible for everyone. In Toronto a small but building mobilization and outreach effort is currently under way through a series of nightly “pots and pans protests” that could continue throughout the summer and culminating in a general strike in the fall. Analogous to the strike, Quebec student groups have asked for supporters to boycott Quebecor Sun Media and other unsympathetic news organizations including the National Post, for what can only be seen as a politically motivated media blackout intended to weaken and isolate the strikers even in the face of violent police action and the government’s unreasonable and undemocratic legislation. Statement by the Ontario Student Mobilization Committee (OSMC): “Post-secondary education in Canada is in crisis. Students in Canada collectively owe the federal government more than $14.5 billion. Ontario’s tuition fees are 23% higher than the national average. Decades of cuts by both the provincial and federal governments have resulted in tuition fees increasing at more than twice the rate of inflation. High fees and debts impose a heavy burden on students and their families. Communities impoverished by social oppressions are unable to access education. Indigenous and undocumented people are completely shut out. As curriculum are standardized and specialized to fit the corporate agenda, class sizes continue to rise with debt. Our system is increasingly corporate-minded, placing profit ahead of education; ironically, however, most of us now graduate to a jobless future. This is not just the plight of students, but symptoms of a broken economic system. It is through well-funded higher education that our society grows and improves. Education is not a luxury, or an expense: it is an investment in the future. For the past few months, as Quebec students have been turning a simple issue of fees into a wider criticism of the neoliberal agenda, in Ontario we have seen our media rejoice at every opportunity to ridicule and discredit a generation saying they want a better world for tomorrow. On June 5th, we will march together in solidarity with the inspiring struggle of the students of Quebec, and to demand accessible education for the people of Ontario! Bring your friends, your voice, your instruments, your flags, your banners, your red squares, and most importantly, your spirit. The time for us to stand up and be heard is now. We must ride the momentum of this historic moment. This is more than a hike, more than a strike, more than Quebec; this is the beginning of a new way of seeing education, not just for now but for generations to follow.” This article was originally published by

Book review: Occupy This

Review of Judy Rebick, Occupy This! (Penguin, 2012). By Donya Ziaee Reading long-time activist Judy Rebick’s new e-book Occupy This! re-awakened memories of my experience at the Occupy Toronto encampment in its very early days. The optimism, excitement and hope with which Rebick pens her latest book is quite reminiscent of the sentiments that drew me, and perhaps many others, to the camp in the initial period. Yet, while Rebick’s contribution captures quite well the initial sense of optimism and reinvigoration that the Occupy movement had seemed to unleash, it says much less about the complex practical, organizational and strategic questions that grew in significance as the occupation wore on. Occupy This! traces the origins and characteristics of the Occupy movement to earlier social justice movements based around the principles of non-hierarchy and participatory democracy, and celebrates the strengths and successes of this new politics in providing an alternative to the current neoliberal order. Rebick argues that, within the US, this politics originally emerged with the anti-globalization movement of the 1990s and the heralding of a bottom-up, collective, and compassionate approach to social change. Comparisons are subsequently drawn between the democratic forms emerging from the Occupy movement and earlier experiments with participatory democracy, such as the participatory budget in Porto Alegre, the horizontalidad movement of worker takeovers of closed-down factories in Argentina and the Movement for Socialism led by Evo Morales in Bolivia. full article:

HOW do you get the Bank of Canada to lend money at no interest

HOW do you get the Bank of Canada to lend money at no interest for Public projects when the governor is a Goldman Sachs alumni; Mark Carney? (I posed this question to many an occupier who talked about the money system OR fractional banking) Discuss…...

May Day takes Toronto

  May Day takes Toronto by Justin Saunders Annual workers’ rights celebration spills into streets throughout day, night One of the most successful May Day demonstrations in years took place earlier today, as large numbers filled the streets of Toronto in the annual festival of workers rights that is celebrated worldwide. Early in the day, a small Occupy contingent began guerilla gardening in a small patch at Queens Park, behind the provincial parliament building. The two dozen or so police attending the event stood well back, although a video unit showed a strange interest in the goings on. The camera on top of the black SUV with heavily tinted windows swivelled back and forth over a small group busily engaged in planting peas, garlic, onions, kale, lettuce and radishes. None of the other journalists present seemed to notice, so our crew approached and motioned that we wanted to ask them a question. After a few hand signals indicating that we should wait while they finished talking about something, the van pulled away, only to return five minutes later to the same spot. This ‘Garden Party Picnic Potluck’ was held to ‘challenge the lack of food security for many in this city’, said Jacob Kearey-Moreland, who organized the event. Kearey-Moreland said the symbolic garden at Queens Park was one of ’99′ other gardens planned across the city on May Day, intended to connect food security to broader economic issues – namely that, in spite of abundance, 1 billion people globally lack access to food. Occupiers plan to return regularly until the garden is harvested. The day’s main rally and march gathered at City Hall later in the afternoon, and quickly swelled to well over 1500 people. The event, a joint action between the May 1st Movement, No One Is Illegal and Occupy Toronto, denounced austerity policies at all levels of government, and highlighted the struggles of immigants, refugees and indigenous peoples in Canada, drawing links between them and the historical struggles of the labour movement, whose victory in securing the 8-hour workday is routinely celebrated on May Day.  Nadia Saad of No One Is Illegal said: “We will connect our struggles.” In a press release, NOII called for the “freedom to move, stay and return” for non-status and migrant workers who have virtually no rights under the Canadian immigration system. Full article:

Occupy Wall Street: what is to be done next?

What to do in the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement, when the protests that started far away – in the Middle East, Greece, Spain, UK – reached the centre, and are now reinforced and rolling out all around the world? In a San Francisco echo of the OWS movement on 16 October 2011, a guy addressed the crowd with an invitation to participate in it as if it were a happening in the hippy style of the 1960s: “They are asking us what is our program. We have no program. We are here to have a good time.” Such statements display one of the great dangers the protesters are facing: the danger that they will fall in love with themselves, with the nice time they are having in the “occupied” places. Carnivals come cheap – the true test of their worth is what remains the day after, how our normal daily life will be changed. The protesters should fall in love with hard and patient work – they are the beginning, not the end. Their basic message is: the taboo is broken, we do not live in the best possible world; we are allowed, obliged even, to think about alternatives. In a kind of Hegelian triad, the western left has come full circle: after abandoning the so-called “class struggle essentialism” for the plurality of anti-racist, feminist etc struggles, “capitalism” is now clearly re-emerging as the name of the problem. The first two things one should prohibit are therefore the critique of corruption and the critique of financial capitalism. First, let us not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is neither Main Street nor Wall Street, but to change the system where Main Street cannot function without Wall Street. Public figures from the pope downward bombard us with injunctions to fight the culture of excessive greed and consummation – this disgusting spectacle of cheap moralization is an ideological operation, if there ever was one: the compulsion (to expand) inscribed into the system itself is translated into personal sin, into a private psychological propensity, or, as one of the theologians close to the pope put it: full article by Slavoj Zizek:

Mic Check for May Day

  Getting ready for May Day, Occupy Toronto took to transit to spread the word! On April 17th 2012 Occupy Toronto held a Mic Check in the TTC to talk about May Day 2012! It was a wonderful experience and I highly suggest more of these actions are done as we move closer to May Day.They are fun, quick and informative and they get the message out to new audiences!   Mic Check! This is Occupy Toronto: Documented or undocumented : Paid or unpaid : We are Workers We are Students : We are Families : We are the 99% : The 1% carry out war : Throw us in prisons. Make us poor : Destroy public services: Attack unions And poison the environment They deny us freedom and dignity : So We Fight And We Resist : On May 1st: International Workers Day : Join us at 4pm at Nathan Phillips Square : For a rally and march To respect Indigenous sovereignty : Insist that no one is illegal : To fight austerity To end imperialist wars and aggression : To build people’s power : and to move beyond a system that is unjust, exploitative and destructive. On May 1st : Say no to : Work School, and Shopping : Banking and housework : and Join us In a day of action : On May 1st : We will reclaim the streets of Toronto And we will ReOccupy. Thank you for listening!...

Upcoming conferences that Occupiers should attend:

  First, on the weekend right before May Day,  the Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture at York and Ryerson Universities is hosting their annual conference, which is going to be almost exclusively about the Occupy Movement this year. Check it out: April 27–29, 2012 at the Ryerson university. Just to give you a sens of how cool this confrence sounds, here’s the descripton of the first keynote speaker (check the rest out at the website above!) “Because the Night Belongs to Lovers: Occupying the Time of Precarity Sarah Sharma, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill While much of Occupy’s political power is rooted in its spatial tactic, the movement’s temporal realities are also key to understanding its complexities. This talk considers those realities, specifically turning to the night: a time when the spatial practice of occupying and the temporality of precarity find each other in a strange embrace. In the dark, new and unheard of demands emerge for the first time. At night, the faultiness of the movement ruptures to the surface in new ways. It is also at night, that those outside the camps, from the police, journalists and the public, fix their gaze upon Occupy. Night also reflects the lived experience of precarity that Occupy and other activists and theorists have long mobilized against. To be precarious means to be unsure, uncertain and exposed to forces beyond one’s control. It means to live and work without a sense of a guaranteed future. As Judith Butler offers, precarity is not just an economic reality, it is a characteristic of the lives of those who “do not qualify as recognizable, readable or grievable. And in this way, precarity is a rubric that brings together women, queers, transgender people, the poor, and the stateless (2009).” To be precarious means to live in something akin to a permanent state of night with no guarantee of dawn. In these darknesses, what is revealed about the conceptual vitality and political possibility of ‘generalized precarity’?” Yes, it’s very academic, but speaking for myself, I can’t wait to go check it out! Next is the yearly conference organized by the  International Socialists, also at the Ryerson University. “Marxism 2012 is a three-day political conference of more than 30 talks and panels from May 25-27 at Ryerson University in Toronto. 2011 was a historic year of revolt. There have been revolutions across the Arab world, general strikes in Europe, a massive campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, student strikes in Chile and huge working class fightbacks in Wisconsin and Ohio. The #Occupy movement shook the world, spreading to over 1,700 cities worldwide. In 2012, the ruling class shows no sign of straying from its austerity agenda, but people are continuing to fight back. From the deepening revolution in Egypt to the Quebec student strike, resistance is challenging the logic of the status quo and posing alternatives to the crisis and cruelty of the capitalist system. Join the discussion about how to build a better world. Topics include the Arab Spring, the #Occupy movement, rank-and-file rebellion, anti-imperialism, environmental justice, disability rights, anti-oppression and much more.” For more information, check out :

The North Star

  A collaborative blog by and for occupiers… Most of what is published by the left regarding Occupy is written from the standpoint of people who are not in the trenches and focuses on “what Occupy means” or “what Occupy must do.” The overwhelming majority of locally based Occupy sites are focused on actions, but there is little follow-up — how many people attended an action? What are the lessons we can learn from what happened? Can we do better? There is no national hub or one-stop shop for Occupy news, commentary, analysis, and conversation written by and for the people in the trenches. The North Star aims to fill these gaps through collaborative effort and collective input. Action and analysis have to go together if either are to have any impact. Check it out ::

Corporate Citizenship in the age of Occupy

  at Ryerson U was an adventure. Being 1 of 3 Occupiers plus 1 Occupy Vancouver guy in the audience was daunting. The academics did their research primarily on secondary sources see corporate media.  Having been a person living in St. James Park Oct.- Nov. was able to clarify & ask  challenging questions. The students have a career OR few ahead of them & made attempts to professionally communicate their positions. I was fair in my analysis & found my self getting the Q & A rolling on several occations. Aparently they, like the Media did not know we were trying to oppose Corporate Greed or growing inequality. I gave the keynote speaker a piece of my mind on the notion of “corporate social responsibility” being “green washing” Some amusing answers were; capitalism was the lesser evil & if you compare the poor in Canada to the rest of the World we are not so bad (but in my opinion still the poor in a Canadian context.) Here’s the poster & weblinks. I’ll give them points for discussing contemporary issues. Plus I enjoyed the food & cocktails…(smile)

May 1st Day of Action and Reoccupation! Join us!

  *No Work *No School *No Shopping *No Banking *No Housework The winter slumber is over. Time to take the streets! First, take the day off work (if you can get away with it), get together with friends and affinity groups, and engage in smaller direct actions and assemblies around the city during the day! (Let us know what you’ve planned at [email protected]) THEN, at *4:00pm* gather at Nathan Phillips Square for a big rally and march! Finally, Join us at Alexandra park at 9:00pm as we march to an undisclosed location for a 24 hour reoccupation! Documented or undocumented. Paid or unpaid. We are Workers. We are Students. We are Families. We are the 99%. The 1% carry out war, throw us in prisons, make us poor, destroy public services, attack unions, and poison the environment. They deny us freedom and dignity. So We Fight and We Resist. On May 1st, 2012, inspired by 126 years of workers’ struggles, the Arab Spring, the Indignados of Spain, the global fights against austerity, and the Occupy movement, we take to the streets again! On International Workers Day, join us and our allies No One is Illegal Toronto, the May 1st Movement, and dozens of community groups in the city for a rally and march to respect Indigenous sovereignty, insist that no one is illegal, for international workers solidarity, to defend and expand public services, to stop prison expansion and corporate handouts, to end imperialist wars and aggression, to build peoples’ power, and to move beyond capitalism. They are few, we are many. Join us. Media Sponsor: Endorsed & Supported by: Afghans for Peace, CAMP Sis, Canadian Auto Workers Union, Centre for Social Justice, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Committee for the Defence of the Iranian Peoples Rights (Canada Organization), Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians, Communist Party of Canada, DAMN, Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly, Health for All, International Council of Latin American and Caribbean Women in Canada, International Federation of Iranian Refugees, International Socialists, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Law Union of Ontario, Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, Metro Toronto Labour Council, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Movement Defence Committee, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Ontario Federation of Labour, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 12, OPIRG Toronto, OPIRG York, ProtestBarrick, Rhythms of Resistance, Socialist Project, Stop the Cuts, Toronto Bolivia Solidarity, Toronto Socialist Action, Trans Film Screenings, Tudeh Party of Iran – Canada Organization, United May Day Committee, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto], Workers Action Centre, Workers Community Party of Iran and more… JPEG poster | bw version | Facebook event...

Occupy Toronto – Activist Training Weekend!

  ***** A WEEKEND OF FREE WORKSHOPS GALORE FOR EVERYONE ***** On the weekend of April 20-22nd, we invite you to participate in an Activist Training Weekend. This is the last chance to attend a group event and participate in some workshops before the big mobilization in May! The Activist Assembly back in January was (more then anything) a recruitment oriented weekend, bringing in 300ish folks from the periphery, giving them a basic rundown of “occupy issues” and a really basic training, and then encouraging them to get involved in committee work. This weekend is a more serious attempt at training the core people who are actively involved in Occupy Toronto right now. Hopefully, when we have our resurgence in the spring, we will have a group of core people who can then share those skills as far and wide as possible! Each workshop presented at this conference will be geared towards providing some kind of practical training. In other words, each workshop will be about teaching attendees some skills that are important in activist work. COST: The event will be free but we will be accepting donations to help cover the cost of the event and to put toward future Occupy TO events! LOCATION: Steelworker’s Hall – 25 Cecil street FOOD: Lunch and dinner will be provided on Saturday as well as lunch on Sunday! Free CHILD CARE provided all weekend. SCHEDULE: FRIDAY the 20th 6:30 – 7:00 : Introduction _______________________________________________________ 7:00pm – 9:00pm Room 1 – Independent Journalism for Activism (Krystalline Kraus/Megan Kinch) Room 2 – Political Intervention Theatre (Laine Newman) Room 3 – Effective Group Dynamics for Activism (Luisa de Amaral /Laura Hetherington) _______________________________________________________ 9:00pm-10:00pm Room 1 – Knowing Your Legal Rights and Beyond (Meaghan Daniel) Room 2 – Filming Interactions with Police (Kristina Mcguire) Room 3 – Don’t Panic: Grounding Techniques for Activists (Carmen Marti) _______________________________________________________ SATURDAY the 21st 11:00am – 1:00 pm Room 1 – Privilege and Intersectional Oppression- Strategies for Moving Froward (Chris Cavanagh) Room 2 – Planning and Executing Accessible Events and Actions(Frank) Room 3 – How To: Non-Violent Social Action Strategies for the Occupy Movement (Lyn Adamson/Sunni) _______________________________________________________ 1:00pm-1:30pm : Lunch _______________________________________________________ 1:30pm – 3:30pm Room 1 – Anti-Oppression Training: Engaging with Racialized Communities (Grace Edwards/Kalmplex) Room 2 – Spreading the Good Word: Street Team Training (Taylor Flook/Sakura Saunders) Room 3 – Marshal Training (Brandon Gray/Ian Smart) _______________________________________________________ 3:30pm – 4:30pm : Group March to Queens Park to join rally against Drummond Commission and provincial job and service cuts. Event Page: Those who wish to stay at the Steelworkers hall can work on an Art Build for the May Day Rally. _______________________________________________________ 4:30pm – 6:30 pm Room 1 – CONTINUED – Anti-Oppression Training: Engaging with Racialized Communities (Grace Edwards/Kalmplex) Room 2 – Hacktivism Self-Defense: Part 1- Basic (Trey/Kim Crawley/Sean Rooney) Room 3 – Medic Training: Part 1-Basic (Trish Mills/Meaghan) Room 4 – Human Rights as an Organizing and Messaging Strategy for Occupy (Josephine Grey) _______________________________________________________ 6:30pm – 7:00pm : Dinner _______________________________________________________ 7:00pm – 9:00pm Room 1 – How to Stay Peaceful in Solidarity: Individual and Group Strategies (Sunni/Lyn Adamson) Room 2 – Hacktivism Self-Defense: Part 2- Advanced (Trey/Kim Crawley/Sean Rooney) Room 3 – Medic Training: Part 2- Advanced (Trish Mills/Meaghan) Room 4 – Facilitation Training (Norman Taylor/Laurel McCorriston) _______________________________________________________ SUNDAY the 21st: Room 1 – ALL DAY DIRECT ACTION TRAINING (please try to show up at the beginning, and stay for whole training: 11am – 7pm) (Dave Vasey) _______________________________________________________ Room 2 – ALL DAY ART BUILD FOR MAY DAY – making signs, puppets, etc… _______________________________________________________ Room 3 – 11:00am-1:00pm – Livestream Training (Dee Shanger) 1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch 2:00pm – 4:00pm – How to Speak to the Media (Dan Speerin) 4:00pm – 6:00pm – Strategic Communications (Syed Hussan) 6:00pm – 7:00pm – Knowing Your Legal Rights and Beyond (Meaghan Daniel)...

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