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Occupy BC Ferries & West Coast Ports – Dec 12, 2011


Occupy Powell River (facebook) is calling for a unified action against BC Ferries Corporation on Monday, December 12, at all BC Ferries terminals on the BC coast. The action is intended to apply pressure for lower fares and increased government subsidies, as well as for increased local civic involvement and less corporate control in operating the ferry system. This amounts to a move toward restoration of the idea of a marine highway as a public transportation infrastructure, rather than corporate property. People’s Assembly of Victoria participants, and the community at large, are encouraged to demonstrate with signs and hand out pamphlets on Monday, December 12 at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal or, alternatively, at the head offices of BC Ferries Corporation, 800 Yates St., Victoria (at the intersection of Yates and Blanshard). We hope to have an information pamphlet to make available soon. Individuals that are interested in this action should communicate (via the comments section of this post?) about where at Swartz Bay terminal they will meet. In solidarity with Occupy Powell River and other groups along the coast, this is a component of a broader action on December 12 intended to shut down or interfere with all ports on the west coast of North America.

For additional information, please see these links:

 

 

#OccupyArt Submission Request

This is a call-out for occupy artists to submit their modern *abstract expressionist* work. During the occupation, Centennial Square was a venue for heaps of colorful and dynamic art. Curator Maggie Cole of 1580 Gallery on Cook at Pandora is willing to host a curated occupy art show with regular hours in mid-January 2012, for up to three weeks, which can include: A liscenced openning night, poetry night, multi-media night, an occupyart website, and cool occupy art flyers and posters. Artists may sell their work at no commission! (thefiftyfifty is also willing to accept occupy’s portfolio for a March 2012 show.) All that’s NEEDED for this great opportunity for outsider artists who yearn for a venue to show, and for occupy to gain some more good PR, is for the paov to receive 20 to 30 jpegs of modern “abstract expressionist” works with significant connection to #occupyvictoria.

To submit one or more of your works for the show, just email a jpeg of the painting/object to occupyart2012@gmail.com.

Here’s a video of a recent Art show at the 1580 Cook St gallery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUY46S0p2Cc

Gap between rich & poor widens further…

Select Quotes from Dec 5th, 2011 Financial Post source article:

The wage gap between the top and bottom income earners in Canada is widening, largely due to tax policies, a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said Monday.

The report found that the top 10% of Canadians in 2008 earned $103,500 on average, 10 times higher than the bottom 10%, who made an average of $10,260.

This is up from a ratio of 8 to 1 in the early 1990s.

The top 1% of Canadians, meanwhile, saw their share of the country’s total income increase to 13.3% in 2007 from only 8.1% in 1980.

Other factors driving this inequality include a rise in self-employment, greater disparity in male wages (more women in the workforce helped offset this) and low-wage workers losing hours at a greater pace than higher-wage workers.

Media spin and the Santa’s Light Parade

Dear Victoria,

Given all the flurry of poorly investigated/reported TV news stories about how “OccupyVictoria” is going to allegedly ruin the children’s Santa’s Light Parade, we ask you to please not buy into all the over the top media biased spin and fear mongering. Such tactics may be great for generating revenue for  advertising sponsors, but bad for the Victoria community at large. Over the past few weeks, we’ve watched many mainstream media stories  quite simply  being biased and  making us look like the boogie man that we aren’t. In other cases the reporting is so inaccurate that we are baffled. Going forward, we ask that you please consider both sides of the story before coming to any conclusions about who the Occupy movement really is, what we’re going to do, and what we actually stand for.  Here’s a few bullet point items to consider:

Continue reading »

“OCCUPY” 2.0 – EXPECT US!

TODAY’S SUPREME COURT RULING:
The People’s Assembly of Victoria won something small in court today. Just like it has every time it goes to court. Today we were not adjourned or granted an extra night for the judge to consider his decision. No, today was it. The court, in taking a night, could not find a way to deny the city its ask for an injunction. The law did not allow for it. Instead, the judge did for us what he could. He did not grant an enforcement order. You see, the City was not only asking us to move out of the square, but to move out or else. The or else being police action against those that decided to stay past the 7am November 19th eviction order. The Mayor says he plans to go to court on Monday to get that enforcement order. I don’t doubt it.

GLOBE & MAIL SPECIAL REPORT:Santa Claus coming so protesters out, Victoria mayor decides
” In Victoria you can rage against The Man, but don’t mess with Santa Claus. When Mayor Dean Fortin sent city lawyers into B.C. Supreme Court seeking to evict the encampment that has dominated a public square adjacent to city hall since mid-October, it was not with a burning desire to clear the ragged lot out before voters head to the municipal polls on Saturday. Rather, the progressive Mr. Fortin is playing the Grinch to the Occupy Movement because Santa Claus is coming to town. On Nov. 26, 20,000 people are expected to gather for the annual Santa parade.”

“OCCUPY” 2.0:
So ends Occupy v. 1.0, so begins Occupy v. 2.0, onwards and upwards. The People’s Assembly of Victoria is just getting started. We’ll be seeing you, in the square, on the streets, on your bus, on your side. After all, there’s still a few issues left to resolve….

(click picture to see larger image)
 
About OCCUPY 2.0, WHEN DOES IT START?  Answer: TONIGHT!
Nov 18th @9PM: PAOV HeartBeat Dance Party Fund Raiser(facebook event page) at UVIC, Felicitas Pub in student union building.
Nov 19th: VOTE! There’s no quicker way to initiate change! http://www.victoria.ca/election
Nov 19th:  Rally for Political Political Reform 12 noon @ Centennial Square!
Nov 25th: Buy Nothing Day… or if you really must, Buy only LOCAL Day!
Nov 26th: Camp Compassion (facebook event page), 6PM, @ Cabin12, 607 Pandora Ave.

…And many more surprise (!) events to come.

Our written argument to the Supreme Court

In the morning of Wed, Nov 17th, our legal team representatives Rajinder , Anushka and assistants, presented the below 14 page long document containing some  55+ (!) written arguments before the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It starts out with number 2 as follows:

(click image below to view the entire document)

“2. The Petitioner submits that the Respondents “never sought or obtained permission from the Director for the holding of the Demonstration”. We are indeed in a sorry state, if freedom of political expression and assembly require pre-authorized approval from state officials before it can take place. The Charter [of rights & freedoms] exists to guarantee these specific rights of all, including the Respondents. We can not look at the democratic movements sweeping the Arab World and praise them if we are of a mind, as the City of Victoria seems to be, that any such expression requires express pre-approval from the City.

The written argument then goes on to challenge the local bylaw, stating that peacefully assembly is contrary to sections 2(b) & 2(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, arguing precedence of structures previously erected in the Parliament Hill regarding cruise missile testing (in 1994). That “Political expression … is necessary to be at or near the seat of authority. If expression were conducted hidden away in basements or back alleys it will have little or no value“. And then… It then carries on for another glorious 10 pages including putting into question: (paraphrase) “What is more important? Rights or [xmas] Lights?” and finishes with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. and requesting a 5 step remedy including the dismissal of the injunction, termination of the bylaw (or another just remedy) or keeping the bylaw but limiting it to allow us to carry on.

Regardless of the judgment outcome this Friday (Nov 18) morning  at 9:15AM, many of us are extremely proud of the outstanding work presented by our legal team who worked tirelessly in a matter of a few short days to present the above case and we are very thankful to them for all their efforts thus far.

Dear Victoria Community,

Dear Victoria Community,

( Click image below to read entire letter)
Dear Victoria Community

“This is a call for support and participation. The time has come for change in the world. Throughout the year of 2011, uprisings all around the Earth have shown that the people have awoken, that the people will no longer allow the global powers to continue on as they do. A dialogue has been started, people everywhere are talking about change, and the ‘Occupy’ movement is a growing part of it. Globally, there are nearly 2000 cities participating in the ‘Occupy’ movement, each standing in solidarity with ‘Occupy’ Wall Street as well as creating their own reform identity.

Here in Victoria, the People’s Assembly of Victoria (‘Occupy Victoria’) is thankful for the people who have exuberantly supported the movement with their time, energy, donations, and participation so far. We have successfully created a space for open dialogue and discussion about the important issues that continue to affect us every day. With each individual coming from their own experience and life situation, these issues are diverse and range from homelessness and addiction to uncontrolled use of natural resources and corporate greed. Everybody’s issue is an issue….[Click image on left side to read the entire letter] “

 

No consensus reached in “Emergency” GA last night

The PAOV “Emergency” GA at Centennial Square on Nov. 15, 2011.
Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, timescolonist.com, source article
The Emergency GA attracted some estimated 60 to 70 people last night. The meeting went on for nearly 2 hours to try to reach consensus on the proposal and its various amendments/alternatives. Unfortunately no consensus was reached this time around. As a result, some will pack up and remove their tents, others will stay by choice or because they truly have nowhere else to go ***, others still, vow to carry on and push forward with the spirit of movement beyond the camp; given none of the local, provincial, national or international issues we came to protest about have been resolved in the past 4 weeks, despite the fact that we have clearly raised these issues. Change takes time, and the movement will go on!

*** This begs the question: Where are the city social services to address the needs of the homeless drug addictions? And what of the much needed care for the homeless with mentally ill issues?

“Emergency” GA tonight! re: Do we stay or move on?

“Emergency” GA tonight!
(Please note the use of the word “Emergency” here is not to instill any kind of panic, but simply implies that a single urgent decision needs to take place ASAP and cannot wait until the next GA (Thu Nov 17 @ 7PM). See below for details).

WHAT: The People’s Assembly of Victoria (OccupyVictoria) Legal work group has called for an “Emergency” General Assembly be hosted tonight.
WHEN: Tue, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 7PM
WHERE: Centennial Square, stage area
WHO: Anushka of the legal work group will be facilitating the GA.
WHY: This morning the court ruled the #OccupyVictoria movement at Centennial Square was only going to be granted an additional 2 days to mount a legal case in defense of the city of Victoria’s requested injunction to evict all permanent structures (i.e. tents) from Centennial Square. The court case will reconvene Thursday morning, Nov 17th to make a potentially final decision on the injunction request. As such, we need to come together tonight and make a single unified consensed decision regarding a single proposal (see below).

PROPOSAL
:
“Do we want to officially move the ‘encampment’ at Centennial Square elsewhere, end it all together, or proceed to stage a legal battle?”

NOTE:
Subject to amendments: The above proposal is subject to amendment during the GA. Please bring your ideas / thoughts / recommendations.
Single topic of discussion: Please note, no other topics/proposals/issues will be discussed in tonight’s GA. The next ‘normal’ GA will be held at 7PM on Thursday night at Centennial Square.
‘Encampment’ definition: The use of the word ‘encampment’ above implies all permanent structures such as tents, fences, tarps, kitchen/media area etc, which is what the injunction specifically addresses. It does not imply that we can not/should not continue to re-use Centennial Square for hosting GA’s, rallies, or other time-limited events that do not comprise of permanent structures.

In Solidarity with OccupyWallStreet!

As per the front pages of practically every newspaper in North America and possibly around the world this morning, OccupyWallSt  saw the NYPD show up to evict all protesters. In a very large surprise eviction raid at 1AM, the NYPD gave protersters a 20 minute warning to pack up and leave peacefully. While some did leave, many stayed behind. By 2AM, the police had moved in en masse, arrested some 70 protersters and forcefully evicted all remaining protesters and their possessions (including tents, libraries, kitchens, etc).

This morning, the Mayor of New York City, along with New York Police Department; NY Fire Department; Corporation Council and Sanatation Committee; issued a press release (video below) explaining their actions and justifications, which interestingly enough have nearly identical parallels (with few exceptions) to the situation in our city of Victoria. Of course, we are governed by the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, but these rights & freedoms do superceed any and all local bylaws.

The NY park will reopen …But [protesters] will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags or tarps and going forward must follow all park rules“. -NY Mayor Bloomberg

There is no ambiguity in the law here….The first ammendment protects speech. It does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.”-NY Mayor Bloomberg

Within a few short hours after the eviction, a  Court Order (link to document) countered Mayor Bloomber’s  interpretation of the law (and by extension all the various other allied city departments). This Court Order clearly outlines on the bottom of page 2:

“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that until this matter is heard on the date set forth above, respondents/defendants are prohibited from:

a) Evicting protestors from Zuccotti Park, aka Liberty Park, exclusive of lawful arrests for criminal offences
b) Enforcing the “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized”

You can’t evict an idea whose time had come” -OWS

 Mayor Bloomberg’s Official Press Release this morning: