We are the 99%

We will be heard!

Regina Anti-Pipeline Activists Seeking Outside Support

350.org, Council Of Canadians Helping Prepare For Energy East Fight

by Daniel Johnson

May 10th Climate Rally Regina
May 10th Climate Rally Regina
June 4th Wave Of Action Event In Regina
June 4th Wave Of Action Event In Regina
Tarsands Information Stand in front of Service Canada in Regina
Tarsands Information Stand in front of Service Canada in Regina

On Saturday January 18, 2014 an accident at the Rowat pumping station led to a discharge of over 125 barrels of oil in about 30 seconds just south of Regina within view of the city.

It was a wake up call for activists whose main concerns had been centered on other parts of the country, petitioning and demonstrating against problems away from home. The initial meeting at a downtown restaraunt drew a small group of regular activists from different local groups including Mother Earth Justice Advocates, Idle No More, the local Council Of Canadians chapter and Occupy Regina as well as non-activists who had just learned how close their home town came to a potential disaster.

Discussions started about the plan to convert the existing pipeline and pumping station into part of TransCanada’s Entergy East Project, and how much more of a danger this presented.

The project involves converting 3,000 km of an aging natural gas pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to eastern Ontario and joining it with a section of new pipeline which would run from eastern Ontario more than 1,400 km across southern Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick.

A massive project with major environmental and social impact, and risk of much worse impact, to make it easier to sell the oil from the tar sands which have already had a terrible impact on our Country’s ecological health.

A loose knit coalition was formed near the end of January, tentatively named ‘Regina Oil Watch’ and began working to draw attention to the issue through small random street demonstrations, protest, occasional banner drops and recently a mock marriage in front of Regina City Hall, between Energy East and The City Of Regina, with First Nations activist Susanna Deranger officiating.

On July 3, some Oilwatch supporters organized a meeting featuring 350.org campaigner Cameron Fenton  on how to begin organizing and mobilizing Regina citizens against the proposed pipeline conversion project, which would carry over 1 million barrels per day of tar sands crude to the Atlantic coast. As the organizers said, ‘Fighting Energy East is crucial in stopping renegade tar sands expansion that is violating Indigenous rights, threatening frontline communities along the pipeline route and driving dangerous climate change.’.

Fenton explained the plan for a movement that would use all methods available at key points across the country all along the pipeline route, with Regina being an urban center close the pipeline, it’s a good strategic point for anti-pipeline campaigners, and since it is also a city with many people at risk in the event of a major leak or spill.

The tentative name has also now changed from Regina Oilwatch to CSIS – Canadian Settler Indigenous Solidarity.

stop banner

 

This year the 99% went above and beyond the challenge for the Bigger Badder Banner Drop in Regina Sk. Measuring in at 20′ x 40′, they won for the second year in a row. With over 2 and a half hours of great exposure, it is estimated by an average count per 10 minutes, that they reached THOUSANDS of Regina and area residents and visitors to the Canada Day celebrations happening in Wascana Park that day.

The day truly started at the local Speakers Corner where Saskatchewan Green Party candidate, Sara Piotrofsky, opened with a welcome speech and a few words of her own for the Harper Gov’t. After that, the crowd heard from lawyer, Larry Kowalchuk, Council of Canadians spokesman, Jim Elliott, local activists, Star Andreas, and Susana Derange, Student, Adam Thornton, and Green Party Candidate, Crystal Giesbrecht.

They then proceeded to the Albert Street bridge where they unrolled and proudly waved the giant, slightly modified Canadian (Renamed: Harper Gov’t) Flag for all to see.

The Regina Police force sent officers to the site of the banner drop and respectfully requested that the people holding the banner not stand on the bridge as the potential of falling was not acceptable to the Wascana Center Authorities. The peaceful protesters agreed and cooperated with the police request. Contact information was exchanged and the police agreed to contact the group directly if the Wascana Center Authority requested the banner be removed, instead of pursuing it legally. By all accounts, it was well managed by both groups and at no point was it requested to be removed. The group packed up the banner and left of their own accord after a long, warm day.

Many great conversations were had, and much knowledge was shared. There were no arguments, and many cheers! Here on the 99% we call that a great day!

A giant thanks to all who participated, weather you were sewing the banner, talking to the crowd, or part of the crowd passing by. Every picture is worth a thousand words, and that day, there were many, many pictures. Again, thanks you all!

4/4/14 Rally Speech Transcript

Welcome back, Occupy Regina! I’d like to open this rally the same way we opened our first, with our

Declaration of Solidarity (2011-10-13)
Occupy Regina recognizes that the capitalist system has profited the few at the
expense of the many. We acknowledge that we stand on Treaty 4 territory. For the first time, we occupy this land, united as one People, standing in solidarity with:
Indigenous Peoples, Peoples of Color, women, LGBT2Q community, students, the homeless, the un and under employed, workers, the disabled, the elderly, migrants, immigrants & refugees, youth, future generations-yet unborn, and all people exploited by capitalism.
This is a call for harmonious co-existence, for respecting and healing our collective histories, and for the dismantling of those systems that perpetuate all forms of domination and injustice. We acknowledge our greatest enemy is division, and solidarity our greatest ally.
In Solidarity,
The 99%

It’s been a while since we’ve been here together, and I’d like to welcome everyone back! We’re still here, we’re still strong, and we’re still fighting!

We’ve also been working, networking together with other project-oriented people across the country, and around the world. Most of you know this. I see a lot of familiar faces. I see some new ones as well.

I’d like to talk today about how Occupy began, where it has been, and where we are headed today.

Occupy Wall Street is a protest in response to structural problems in our current economic order, which has allowed the few to profit at the expense of the many. This has been wrapped up in the tag word “income inequality”, but this term is misleading. Occupy’s alleged focus on income inequality becomes wrapped up in anti-wealth, or anti-property logic, rather than on unsustainable economic practices. The collapse of 2008, and the teetering world economy since, have shown that capitalism is beginning to buckle under its own weight. Meanwhile, public money is being channelled into economic bailouts and recovery, generating welfare for the wealthy architects of these failures amidst a global climate of austerity for the rest. We spoke out loudly on these issues, across the globe two and a half years ago, appealing to our culture, our society, and our politicians to tackle these issues head-on. These problems still loom large. We thought it best to get to work.

Late in 2012, the Occupy movement decided to suspend public actions and statements and drawing publicity to what we were doing until we had made some significant progress towards achieving those goals. And progress, we have made.

Some amazing projects happened south of the border. Occupy the Securities Exchange Commission has been influencing the reform process through constant lobbying beginning in 2011.

The Rolling Jubilee project raised funds to purchase and write off nearly $15M in medical debt loads, creating a bailout for the 99%, by the 99%.

The Occupy Our Homes project has been fighting, and winning, against wrongful foreclosures and evictions, helping hundreds of families stay in their homes, on their farms, and even get them back into their foreclosed churches. We’ve learned that the only way to hold Wall Street accountable is to come together and organize – to create a world where people, not banks, have control over their communities.

Reaching the global stage from a local platform, Occupy Regina has been an active member of an ongoing United Nations consultation process, advocating a new economic worldview based on cooperation over competitiveness, supporting the demand for a world court, for major environmental crimes, and for more open and democratic global governance.

We have also been involved and organizing with other, issue-oriented groups as they emerge on issues which are in line with our beliefs.

But this new Wave of Action, part of a larger push for a Global Spring is upon us. A chance to reaffirm ourselves in this movement, and in our commitment to change the world drastically, in tiny increments if need be. For the next three months, Occupiers are retaking their camps in cities across the world. We are also expressing ourselves in creative new ways, developing new innovations, and popping up where we are least expected.

I would like to conclude by repeating a speech given by Naomi Klein at the original Occupy Wall Street protest at Zucotti Park. I believe it captures the spirit of the movement in its early days, and I believe we need to focus our efforts on rebuilding that inclusive spirit, and indomitable determination which brought us all together, before we were asked to articulate ourselves in something which fits into a media sound-byte. For context, on the beginning of this speech, I ought to clarify that there was an amplification ban at Zuccotti Park. The ingenious Occupiers overcame this ban by using a technique called the “human megaphone”, in which the speaker would shout out short bursts of words, and everyone in earshot would repeat them as loud as they could, so that the whole group could hear.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

That slogan began in Italy in 2008. It ricocheted to Greece and France and Ireland and finally it has made its way to the square mile where the crisis began.

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” “We’ve been wondering when you were going to show up.” And most of all: “Welcome.”

Many people have drawn parallels between Occupy Wall Street and the so-called anti-globalization protests that came to world attention in Seattle in 1999. That was the last time a global, youth-led, decentralized movement took direct aim at corporate power. And I am proud to have been part of what we called “the movement of movements.”

But there are important differences too. For instance, we chose summits as our targets: the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the G8. Summits are transient by their nature, they only last a week. That made us transient too. We’d appear, grab world headlines, then disappear. And in the frenzy of hyper patriotism and militarism that followed the 9/11 attacks, it was easy to sweep us away completely, at least in North America.

Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, has chosen a fixed target. And you have put no end date on your presence here. This is wise. Only when you stay put can you grow roots. This is crucial. It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off. It’s because they don’t have roots. And they don’t have long term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away.

Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful. But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead. I have great faith that this will happen.

Something else this movement is doing right: You have committed yourselves to non-violence. You have refused to give the media the images of broken windows and street fights it craves so desperately. And that tremendous discipline has meant that, again and again, the story has been the disgraceful and unprovoked police brutality. Which we saw more of just last night. Meanwhile, support for this movement grows and grows. More wisdom.

But the biggest difference a decade makes is that in 1999, we were taking on capitalism at the peak of a frenzied economic boom. Unemployment was low, stock portfolios were bulging. The media was drunk on easy money. Back then it was all about start-ups, not shut downs.

We pointed out that the deregulation behind the frenzy came at a price. It was damaging to labor standards. It was damaging to environmental standards. Corporations were becoming more powerful than governments and that was damaging to our democracies. But to be honest with you, while the good times rolled, taking on an economic system based on greed was a tough sell, at least in rich countries.

Ten years later, it seems as if there aren’t any more rich countries. Just a whole lot of rich people. People who got rich looting the public wealth and exhausting natural resources around the world.

The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly.

We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite — fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful — the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society – while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

What climate change means is that we have to do this on a deadline. This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed. And I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important.

I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.

That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

A few final thoughts. In this great struggle, here are some things that don’t matter.

- What we wear.
- Whether we shake our fists or make peace signs.
- Whether we can fit our dreams for a better world into a media soundbite.

And here are a few things that do matter.

- Our courage.
- Our moral compass.
- How we treat each other.

We have picked a fight with the most powerful economic and political forces on the planet. That’s frightening. And as this movement grows from strength to strength, it will get more frightening. Always be aware that there will be a temptation to shift to smaller targets – like, say, the person sitting next to you at this meeting. After all, that is a battle that’s easier to win.

Don’t give in to the temptation. I’m not saying don’t call each other on shit. But this time, let’s treat each other as if we plan to work side by side in struggle for many, many years to come. Because the task before will demand nothing less.

Let’s treat this beautiful movement as if it is most important thing in the world. Because it is. It really is.

Worldwide Wave of Action

We Are A Movement Of Movements

The Worldwide #WaveOfAction begins April 4th and runs through July 4th. During this three-month cycle, people throughout the world will be protesting corruption, rallying around solutions and taking part in alternative systems. The new paradigm will be on full display. Studies have proven that it only takes 3.5% of the population taking nonviolent action to create meaningful and positive change. The #WaveOfAction gives all of us who want change a powerful opportunity to #EvolveSociety. Change-makers all over the world will be engaged at the same time in an unprecedented wave of transformation.

On April 4th, there will be launch celebrations at hundreds of former Occupy locations globally. We will honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of nonviolent action and spend the day connecting with allies and strategizing Spring action campaigns. This crowdsourced campaign will become what you, the people, make of it, self-organizing and organically evolving, a new culture will emerge. What are you most passionate about? What are you doing to be the change? Whatever it is, passionately be it in public this Spring. Get together with like-minded friends and have fun with it. We have power in numbers. United we are unstoppable. OUR TIME HAS COME!!

Please use these hashtags ~ #WaveOfAction #GlobalSpring #ReOccupy #BeTheChange

Here is a partial list of April 4th #‎WaveOfAction Facebook event listings. The Worldwide Wave is incredibly decentralized, hard to keep track of everything happening. Please send info for events we have missed to Admin@WaveOfAction.org.

 

https://waveofaction.org/

Occupy Regina Non-Violent Action Guide

Nonviolent Action Guideline from Occupy Regina:

For the purposes of building trust, a common foundation for safety, setting the tone for our action, participants of “Occupy Regina,” agree to the following:

1. All activities will be strictly nonviolent in action and tone. Our attitude will be one of openness and respect toward all people we encounter.

2. All participants of “Occupy Regina,” acknowledge and respect the participation of children and will work to provide a safe space for all participants.

3. At “Occupy Regina,” we ask that participants act according to the love and caring that we are building with each other. Individual or group actions that endanger the physical well-being of other demonstrators will not be tolerated. Generally, actions that might endanger the safety of others at the demonstration include:

a) physical violence directed against others, including the police, spectators and other “Occupy Regina” members

b) actions that cause panic such as running and throwing rocks

c) bringing weapons or anything that can be construed as a weapon to the demonstration site; weapons include but are not limited to: guns, knives, nail files, mace, letter openers, scissors, etc.

4. Participants should watch out for each others health and safety within reason. It is asked that people with first aid training identify themselves to organizers prior to or early on in the event, and that they bring their own supplies if possible.

5. Participants will not bring or use any alcohol or controlled substances. Any legal drugs brought or used will be for specific medicinal purposes only.

6. All participants freely accept the legal consequences of their actions. Understanding by participating at “Occupy Regina,” that there is a risk of arrest.

7. “Occupy Regina” acknowledges that while property destruction may be a useful tactic as practiced by other movements, it is not our intent to damage or make changes to the space.