OccupyCanada Protests Have Begun

Since I do not have much new information as of now, this post will mostly be a link roundup for those searching for more information about OccupyToronto and the various other occupations going on throughout Canada.

For those who have not read my previous post, it outlines the preliminary responses to OTME, as well as some of OTME’s initial planning.

OccupyToronto’s main site is located here.  One of its writers, NoahType (who makes clear, of course, that he cannot speak for the entire group), promises a series of posts directed against “Finance Capital,” of which this is the first installment.  The second installment here takes an explicitly orthodox Marxist approach, e.g. quoting Žižek on the labor theory of value.  This post by BenT argues strongly in favor of greater income equality, excerpting from OWS’s Declaration the portions which are said to apply to Canada as well, as well as adding concerns which apply particularly to Canada.

Once again, here are their Facebook and Twitter pages.

OccupyToronto’s Livestream site is located here, where live video footage is being broadcast by the protesters.

The page by Anonymous on Occupy Bay Street is here, which unregistered viewers should be able to browse, as long as they ignore the watermark in the center.  One of its members directs people to the video The Crime of the Canadian Banking System by Bill Abram.

This is the most comprehensive article I have yet come across, which gives numbers for how many people went to each protest, including the shocking fact that 950 cities in 82 countries are taking part in the “Occupy the Globe” protests.  The article also includes a brief statement by Bob Rae as well as an excerpt of a speech delivered by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange at the protests in London, England.

This article from CTV is a somewhat watered-down version of the last (though with several different elements), briefly outlining some of the similar movements going on in other countries (e.g. Australia, Bosnia,  Germany, Italy, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and China) as well as listing the various cities in which protests are taking place, which include Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton, Guelph, Windsor, Kingston, London, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Duncan, Kelowna, Kamloops and Nelson, B.C., Lethbridge, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa, with the largest protest being in Toronto.  Apparently the Toronto occupation is taking place in St. James Park.

As well, this site seems like an interesting news source to keep an eye on.

For those planning to participate in the Toronto protests, the ‘March Marshalls’ who are in charge of organizing the marches will be wearing orange arm bands.  Furthermore, those who are arrested are advised to call 416-833-6137.

On the whole, the news reports regarding the protests tend to be superficial and dismissive. (See here for a response to this article by the Toronto Sun.)

Interestingly, Rick Mercer has no comment, as far as I can tell.  He’s currently in Vancouver, and has been invited to join the “real Canadians” at OccupyVancouver, but has given no response.  His next show will air on CBC at 8:00pm this Tuesday, so perhaps he will have a formidable Rick Rant ready by then.

Lastly, I thought that I ought to highlight some of Canadian social issues which I can think of offhand that have not been prominently advertised on the OTME website:

  • The Catholic school board (which is constitutionally illegal, since no other religion or denomination possesses their own school board)
  • The 29% gender wage gap in Ontario last year, 10-15% of which was explicitly due to discrimination. See here for more details.
  • Canada’s environmental standards, which are lower than most other comparatively developed nations (and which, as Elizabeth May has pointed out, are illegal given the terms of the Kyoto Accord).
  • According to my sources, following graduation, the administrators of OSAP student loans provide a year without interest to pay the loan back, and then begin to charge 22% interest, which amounts to hundreds of dollars spent each month without even touching the principal. If this is true, then this is usury in the highest degree, which is an entirely despicable practice for a government to engage in.
  • The excessive amount of asbestos throughout Ontario.

Here is my major piece of advice to OTME: start a We Are The 99% Canada Tumblr page similar to the ones for the USA & the UK.  (See here for a magnificent statistical interpretation of the data from the American site.)  If Harper and Flaherty dismiss OccupyCanada with the statement that Canada’s situation is nothing like that of America, then a site like this will provide tangible proof of Canada’s discontent.

**Note: Regarding the frivolous pseudo-philosophical blog entries which have lately been appearing here, I wrote them weeks ago, but forgot to change their scheduled publishing dates. I’m quite embarrassed by them.

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About Graham Joncas

We are a way for capital to know itself.

Posted on October 15, 2011, in Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I wish you luck with the Canadian incarnation of the “Occupy” movement. The organization to which I belong has been trying its damnedest to push the protestors to articulate a unified critique of society and articulate an emancipatory politics. Hopefully you can help give them guidance as they come to grips with this latest crisis of the capitalist world-system.

  2. Thanks Ross, I appreciate it. I’ll do my utmost.

  3. We have a chapter in Toronto, I believe. If you are interested.

    An Invitation to a Roundtable Political Discussion on the #Occupy Movement:

    Friday 7pm | October 28, 2011
    Kimmel, Room 406. NYU
    60 Washington Square S., NYC

    The recent #Occupy protests are driven by discontent with the present state of affairs: glaring economic inequality, dead-end Democratic Party politics, and, for some, the suspicion that capitalism could never produce an equitable society. These concerns are coupled with aspirations for social transformation at an international level. For many, the protests at Wall St. and elsewhere provide an avenue to raise questions the Left has long fallen silent on:

    1. What would it mean to challenge capitalism on a global scale?
    2. How could we begin to overcome social conditions that adversely affect every part of life?
    3. And, how could a new international radical movement address these concerns in practice?

    Although participants at Occupy Wall St. have managed thus far to organize resources for their own daily needs, legal services, health services, sleeping arrangements, food supplies, defense against police brutality, and a consistent media presence, these pragmatic concerns have taken precedent over long-term goals of the movement. Where can participants of this protest engage in formulating, debating, and questioning the ends of this movement? How can it affect the greater society beyond the occupied spaces?

    We in the Platypus Affiliated Society ask participants, organizers, and interested observers of the #Occupy movement to consider the possibility that political disagreement could lead to clarification, further development and direction. Only when we are able to create an active culture of thinking and debating on the Left without it proving prematurely divisive can we begin to imagine a Leftist politics adequate to the historical possibilities of our moment. We may not know what these possibilities for transformation are. This is why we think it is imperative to create avenues of engagement that will support these efforts.

    Towards this goal, Platypus will be hosting a series of roundtable discussions with organizers and participants of the #Occupy movement. These will start at campuses in New York and Chicago but will be moving to other North American cities, and to London, Germany, and Greece in the months to come. We welcome any and all who would like to be a part of this project of self-education and potential rebuilding of the Left to join us in advancing this critical moment.

    #Occupy movement roundtable discussion: An invitation to a political dialogue hosted by The Platypus Affiliated Society

  4. As far as I can tell from their calendar, the Toronto branch of Platypus does not have a similar event planned. Their whole site is pretty sparse, actually. I would be very tempted to join the reading group, but I live in London, which is far enough away from Toronto for me to be confined to my ivory tower for the time being. I have some friends in Toronto who would likely be interested, though, so I’ll let them know about the group.

    If the NYU Roundtable Discussion is Livestreamed or put on Youtube, I will watch it. I’ll periodically check the Toronto branch’s calendar, and if they plan anything extensive I could probably get it advertised on OTME’s main site.

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