Monday (Political) Actions


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It’s the first anniversary of the Occupy Movement, and as I write this protesters are being arrested in the streets of New York as part of #s17. (Exact numbers are vague, but at least a dozen include prominent activist Molly Crapapple, have been detained. #freemollycrabapple)

Holding Hands Across the Land for Democracy, Calgary In Canada, activists are marking the return of the federal Harper government to Parliament by hosting Holding Hands Across the Land for Democracy actions. (Calgary’s action is at 11:45 at the Famous Five Statue, in case you’re in the area. I’m hoping to make it down after my morning meeting.)

If you’re in need of a little musical inspiration, well, this has been my “repeat, repeat, repeat” song of the morning – Michael Franti at Occupy Wall Street, 2011:



Let Them Stay, Redux

We stopped her deportation once before. Is history always doomed to repeat itself? War Resister Kim Rivera to be deported from Canada on Sept. 20:

According to Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign (WRSC), “(Kim) faces a court martial and jail sentence, which, based on what other people have gotten, is a harsh jail sentence,” Robidoux said. “She will be separated from her family. Her husband suffers from a disability and he’s going to have four kids on his hands.”

I’ll be keeping an eye on the War Resisters Support Campaign to see how to help again as well as watching Amnesty International’s blog on Canadian human rights issues. Watch for more postings as the calls for support develop.

Stand Up, Speak Out, on #Bill38

Just a quick post from the #C38 #13heroes rally/protest outside PM Harper’s office in lovely (rainy) SW Calgary – photos of the crowd (about a hundred, from what I’ve read) and signs.





Someone asked me tonight if participating in these kinds of actions is having any impact. Sometimes I ask that myself as I drag myself (and Xander) to (one more) event. But the I remember one of my favourite quotes from The Fifth Sacred Thing: “One act, and about a thousand hours of meetings.” That’s how we’re changing the world. That’s how we’re changing those who don’t see what we see. That’s how we’re changing ourselves. So mote it be!

So, So, Solidarite!

It was a great night for a street gathering. Add some pots and spoons, a red flag or two, and viola – Casserole Night in Calgary! Approximately 200 people (we heard estimates of 150-250, so I’m going with the average) came out to show their solidarity for the Quebec Students Movement. and to show opposition to Quebec’s Bill 78. Others protested where they were, whether Ogden or Brentwood or Killarney.

And that’s just Calgary. Over 60 other solidarity actions were happning in Canada, the US, Europe – and who knows where else. People were banging pots, wearing red, shouting their support – hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people standing up to support the Quebec students, because what they’re fighting is not simply “tuition increases” but the austerity movement that continues to tell us that we must give in, cut back and be content with what little we have.

“Another world is possible,” we chant, we write and we sing. But another world is only possible if we stand up and create it. This is just one action among many, and it connects with what has come before (liberation movements, anti-globalization) and what is yet to come. Standing in solidarity with one group and seeing the connections between all our struggles is a wonderful moment, and I’m looking forward to dancing to more of the revolution to come!

iPhone: Be the Change

Remember when I got an iPhone? One of my main concerns about getting a new phone in general, and an iPhone in particular, was the issue of conflict minerals used in their production. (I held onto my “old” BlackBerry right up until the morning when I dropped it and watched pieces of it fly off in all directions. My phone before that was pretty much in the same shape when I traded it in.)

Addressing the issue of conflict minerals itsn’t an easy one. In a 2010 post about the situation, Steve Jobs himself noted that Apple was insisting that its suppliers use conflict-free minerals but there was no real way to know if they were telling the truth.

But the only guarenteed way to ensure that nothing changes is, of course, to do nothing. So tonight I’ve signed the petition on calling on Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, to make a conflict-free iPhone by 2013. Apple has been a leader to date in this area. I believe,as Delly Mawazo Sesete writes:

Apple is perfectly positioned to be the first company to create a Congo conflict-free phone, using minerals from Congo that further stability and economic development and don’t use slave labor or fund mass atrocities.

So mote it be.

Write for Rights

December 10 is Human Rights Day, and I spent part of my time today writing letters as part of Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. I’ve been a monthly donor to AI for a while and have been aware of the letter campaigns, but this is the first time I’ve sat down to write a letter… and well, it’s not easy, but it is satisfying.

I picked three cases to focus on:

1. Jabbar Salavan, imprisoned in Azerbaijan for using Facebook to criticize the government,

2. Natalia Estemirova, murdered in 2009 but the perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice

3. Nasrin Sotoudeh, imprisoned in Iran for her work as a human rights campaigner

My other letters were to the Canadian government asking that Bill C-4, the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act, be withdrawn because it will unfairly punish refugees and migrants who are seeking protection in Canada.

As of this post, people have written 12621 letters to governments around the world. It’s not to late to join in and write #4rights – even a greeting card with a few words of support can make a difference in someone’s life.

#noKXL – for real!

The U.S. State Department has ordered an environmental assessment for a new Keystone XL pipeline route, allowing U.S. President Barack Obama to shelve the controversial issue until after the 2012 elections. More….

As Tarsands Action says: We won. You won. Sending the pipeline back for re-review, adding climate change to the list of criteria to assess, and making sure the environmental assessment will be truly independent – all these will, in effect, kill the pipeline. (And if it doesn’t, we’ll come back and fight it again –

For those concerned about people not having jobs as a result, I say: let’s put money into creating jobs that don’t continue to destroy the planet, let’s build our local economies and support each other, and let’s continue to think about what we can do now to create a better future for everyone. Blessed Be!