Occupy This! FollowUp


Calgary Launch Follow Up


Judy Rebick’s eBook “Occupy This!” 


The event was hosted last night, May 29th, 2012

The evening successfully brought together over 50 people wanting to talk about the Occupy Movement, participatory democracy, the Montreal protests to Bill 78, and social justice.

Starting with a speech by Judy about the Movement and her book, the event switched into a dialogue process.  There were two options, one called Talking Stick, and the other called Pro Action Cafe.

Then, SUDDENLY, a group of people yelled “It’s 8:00 and I can wait any longer!” and started banging on pots, and marched outside to raise awareness in solidarity with the students of Montreal in their protest against Quebec’s Bill 78.

The group process continued (and the protesters rejoined the group eventually).  Talking Stick is where participants come up to the front of the group and sit in 1 of 5 chairs to discuss in front of others concerns and issues around Occupy.  People can ‘tap’ each other out if they want to take that persons place in the semi-circle.

In Pro Action Cafe, participants break out into smaller groups to dialogue amongst themselves questions on the topic.  After a group vote, the group chose Talking Stick.

The Questions

Below are the questions of the Pro Action Cafe process, as food for thought and action around this important movement.

1)    OCCUPY DEMOCRACY:  It has been said that the Occupy Movement is trying to create a new form of democracy in the way it functions internally and interacts with society.  Is our country’s system of representative democracy democratic? Does it ignore the opinion of the minority? What does the progressive alternative look like?


2)    PURCHASING POWER:  There is a local currency in Calgary called Calgary Dollars.  It says:  “Buy local.  Support your neighbour.  Create community.”  It helps move money away from corporate interest.  How do we reconstruct our purchasing power?  What can we do today to do that?


3)    NEXT OCCUPY?  There is Occupy Wall Street.  There is Occupy Calgary.  There is Occupy The Hood, and Occupy Love.  What is the future of the Occupy Movement, and what is the next Occupy? How will it affect your life?


4)    COURAGE, IN THE FACE OF OPPRESSION:  Brigette DePape stood up in the Senate Chamber and said “Stop Harper” in a peaceful way.  Asmaa Mahfouz posted a video on Facebook calling the people to protest in Tahrir Square, effectively starting Arab Spring.  What does courage mean?  How can we enact it, considering today’s challenges, in our work and life?


5)    CONSENSUS DECISION-MAKING:  The Occupy Movement uses innovative forms of decision making. What is consensus decision making, what is its future, and how do we integrate it into our society? (social, economic, political?)  Can we do this in our personal lives?  How?


6)    HOW DO WE CHANGE THE WORLD?  Jack Layton Said:  “Love is better than anger.  Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair.  So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.  And we’ll change the world.”  How can we do this in light of the challenges of today, together as a nation, and the individual challenges each of us face?


7)    CONCIOUSLY CREATING SOCIETY:  If the US political / economic system fails, what will take its place?  Is that the same in Canada?  What can we do to create our society (politics, economic, social systems) consciously?


8)    NON-VIOLENT OPPOSITION:  Many people say non-violence is the key to a successful movement.  How can non-violent opposition be used to affect democracy?  How do you as an individual, and we as a collective, enable non-violence?


9)    MONTREAL’S DILEMMA.  The Quebec Government proposed an 82% increase in student tuition over 7 years, which ends up still lower than the rest of the Country’s tuition rates.  Huge student protests have resulted.  What does this kind of increase mean for our education system as well as the rest of our society?


10) QUEBEC’s BILL 78.  On May 22nd, in a reaction to this bill which is seen as limiting protesting rights in Quebec, almost 400,000 people marched in Montreal in what has been called “the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.” What are the implications of the Bill, and what does this mean for the rest of Canada?


11) WHAT NOW?  After we leave here tonight, what 3 things might you do to make the change you seek?  What can we all do together?

 12)    UNITY & MOVING FORWARD.  “Unity is the greatest need of the hour”.  How does this apply to Occupy, and how we move forward?

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