Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en! Happy Samhain! Happy All Hallows Eve!

The following is my facebook status presently;
 "Happy Hallowe'en! Happy Samhain! Happy All Hallows Even! The old people would say that the first day is when the veil comes down (yesturday), today is when everything is out and about (hence the costumes, so you can blend in), and tomorrow everything will be chased back to where it came from (the dead, dream creatures, et cetera) as the veil between worlds must go back up... It's a time of feast and celebrating the harvest; in times past.... Just waiting for my client, he wants to be a reptilian monster for Hallowe'en in order to greet the children at the door to give out candy (lord, candy? isn't there something more healthy to share?).... Fun fun bored waiting... lol..."
Marie Dietlin, photographer & videographer.

I have this terrible habit on facebook and emails to not use proper written English, with no mind to sentence structure, often uncorrected typo's, "typo-demons gots me fingers, I swear!", one would think I had no capability to write correctly. Alas, for some reason the super casual nature of email and facebook brings out the sloppy writer in me, although I do try to make it artistic.

Ok now that I have spent a paragraph practically talking about nothing, here's a photo from saturday. Enjoy!

Marie Dietlin, photographer & videographer.

Halloween: Club Moomba

Nicholas, co-owner of Club Moomba

DJ Stevie V at Club Moomba

David, Club Moomba

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Samhain, "All Hallows Eve"

Robin Hood: "steal from the 1%, give to the 99%"
For those who don't know, Halloween is derived from "All Hollow's Eve", Samhain & "All Saint's Day". Traditionally in "celtic" Europe, it would have been a 3 day festival pre-Christianity era, Hallowe'en day being the 2nd day of the festivities. "The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.[5] Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556." (Wikipedia quote)

Today, Hallowe'en is celebrated by adults on the weekend closest to the day, usually all weekend, with Children celebrating Hallowe'en day itself. I have been taking appointments out of my studio yesturday, today, tomorrow and monday. I still have some appointment spaces left for anyone wishing a last minute booking. This evening I have painted a mime, Robin Hood, and a faerie princess. I am right now still waiting for my last client for today to arrive, I have some time to "kill", hence writing this blog.

(Wikipedia quote) "Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain,  a Gaelic harvest festival & Celtic New Year, which is held on October 31–November 1".1] The name of the festival historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end"."

Anime "psychedelic" kitty cat.
"The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain,[14] although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy."

Halloween Preperations & Visiting Occupy Montreal

Custom made mask.
Today was a busy day for me. A client came by this morning to pick up the demon mask I have been working on for the past several months. It was custom fit to his face, and has taken many layers to get to the final results. Recycled paper bags & newspaper, wire artist's sculpting mesh, soft gel, artist paste, acrylic paints, pigments, copper leafing, and finally it was sealed with a flexible, non-yellowing, permanent varnish. My client was over joyed, the timing of completion seemed very appropriate, considering it's Samhain (Gaelic for Halloween).

Outdoor living room.
I visited Occupy Montreal for three hours today. Progress is both slow & fast, not always efficient, but persistence pays off none the less. The occupiers often surprise me with the speed by which they make up for lost time, that is, once they figure out what they are doing. Today they were working on building a tipi, the first of many to come. There is an unconfirmed rumour that Cirque Du Soleil is planning to sponsor the use of two giant circus tents if they can get the permits to go into a bigger park with enough space.

Door entering the yurt which serves as the Communications & Media Tent
 I do know they are hoping to get more yurts, but because their yurt contact is out of the country, at the moment they are focused on learning to build tipis. Though there is a major shortage of space, with a constant flow of new people arriving with the hopes of pitching a tent, which they soon discover is impossible. At the moment they are over capacity with approx. 250 tents. They hope that with enough tipis that people can survive the winter, and save on space by having more people in the tipis.

"Why are you here? Why Occupy?"
I was told that they raised $10,000. last weekend, but have spent $5,000. on supplies, equipment et cetera. Despite how triumphant they were, and rightly so, with the amount of money they raised, unfortunately they will need alot more before they will really be ready for winter. #OccupyMontreal is promoting on Kiji & Craigslist for plumbers & electricians. There are plans to do more events this weekend, I don't know all the details, but it should be posted on the main website.

 I was able to document a fair amount today, but no time to post everything or make another video journal, but I have alot of unused footage, so I definately will be posting more vlogs as I have time to. This evening I had Halloween make-up appointments; my first appointment was for a party organizer who wished to be a Zombie. Tomorrow is much more full, but I still have a few openings left for anyone wanting me to transform them for Halloween. I am really excited that it's Samhain, it's my favourite time of the year, there is nothing I love more then helping people get dressed up for parties & other fun adventures!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Video Journal from night 3, a Meeting of Minds.

The photos & video footage are from night 3, both before and after midnight (hence the date), but the conversation took place after midnight down on location as Square Victoria, "The People's Square", at #OccupyMontreal. This video journal is an artistic look at what is happening with the Occupy Movement. Where are we going with Occupy Montreal?

Night 12 - Occupy Montreal

For those interested, I am in discussions with the official blog for Occupy Montreal about writing for their journal every few days, which would be good as I need to start refocusing at least half of my blog use to the arts & other interesting subjects; you know, diversity is the spice of life.
Exciting news! Occupy Montreal got solar panels set up! The environment committee is planning to try to build compostable toilets. Tonight City Councillor, Richard Bergeron came to do a walking tour and discussion with organizers from Occupy Montreal. I had a chance to speak briefly with Mr.Bergeron, but will be writing a blog and posting a video-blog after I have slept. I am actually too tired to write a proper blog posting tonight. So I am going to leave you with a photo story for now.

City Councillor, Richard Bergeron speaking to the General Assembly

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Night 10 - Occupy Montreal Storms City Hall

I was on my way down to meet my friend for the General Assembly, when I got a phone call saying that apparently the GA had voted to go down to City Hall because someone in #occupyMontreal had gotten a ticket to be able to bring their request & concerns before the city council.

I have never been to City Hall, and I have never been to a city council meeting. It was very interesting. What I know about the entire process, is limited to foggy memories from high school. The building is very beautiful, I love old architecture, and would guesstimate that the building must be at least two hundred years old. I got there after the GA had already arrived, but from the stories I heard from my friend, it must have been funny to watch the crowd of chanting activists basically "storm the castle". Everyone was peaceful.

The police were friendly and smiling, some were even talking with some of the protesters while we waited for the women representing #occupyMontreal to be able to have her turn to speak. Apparently city council must be afraid of the public because we were not allowed into the council chambers, but instead stayed in the entry area where there were seats & a large video screen set up. Unfortunately the sound was dreadful and it was very difficult to make out what was being said.
I have obviously some learning to do, especially in relation to French, unfortunately I had to have people translate for me. Luckily the women presenting Occupy Montreal's case took the time to say it in both official languages. One of the councillors seemed to be guiding the process and opening the discussion for each new request that came in, I am not sure what his name is. But he perked up when he heard the name #OccupyMontreal, which I thought was very interesting. He went from looking annoyed and bored to excited and alive.

OM's representative was a beautiful young women who was well groomed and had a very elegant use of language. The request put in on Occupy Montreal's behalf was requesting a new and larger space to occupy, as well as to be provided back the electricity the city had cut off. Occupy Montreal raised concerns about the safety of the use of propane instead of electricity, especially in a tent city that is way over capacity (now 250, they were full at 190), which has now started to resemble a high tech shanty town.

We had a very exciting moment when Richard Bergeron addressed city council. I recorded it with my "ghetto" video camera (actually my canon camera), but because of how terrible City Hall's sound system is, the sound in my video footage is barely audible, especially with the crowd getting excited. I have transcribed what I can make out of the translation my friend gave me at the time.

Richard Bergeron said, "We are here today in this room because we took part in movements like this when we were younger." He went on to admit that the riches are going to a very small percentage. The councilors seated directly behind Mr.Bergeron were smiling, although other councillors clearly were not in support of Occupy Montreal. The crowd watching was cheering and clapping.

One of the other councillors who spoke basically tried to brush off the request, and the request didn't go through. But it didn't matter because one of the councillors had the conviction and the honesty to stand up and speak his mind, and there are more tickets for other representatives to go before City Council, Occupy Montreal will not be brushed off that easily. It was really rewarding to hear Mr.Bergeron speak in support of #OccupyMontreal.

The reason for blogging about this attempt on Occupy Montreal's part to go before City Hall is not about what they did or didn't achieve. It's simple honest news reporting and it is part of an evolution. The protesters may not have achieved what they set out to do, but they most certainly will have gotten the council members thinking. Mr.Bergeron had very good points to bring up, those council members will all go home thinking about the subject, and they may have conversations with each other, friends or family discussing how they feel and what they think of this movement. They may not agree, but the important part right now is getting people thinking.

I would not expect the protesters to be successful on their first attempt, if anything that would seem all but impossible. It's normal that anyone going before City Council may have to do it several times before they succeed with their goals. This is just getting the wheels turning, hopefully opening up future opportunities to create positive social change. It may not be in the greatest good for the protesters to get their way, it might be better for the protesters to think creatively about how they can make what they have work. The other thing is that the protesters are really only the tip of the iceberg and are a visual reminder to people of the messages of the issues that the occupy movement is addressing. It's really what we all do at home and in our everyday lives that is important. So in that sense, this meeting with city council served it's purpose.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Night 8 - Occupy Montreal

Occupy Montreal Night 8
Well I have to say I was really impressed with Occupy Montreal when I went by tonight. I didn't spend very much time there, but the little bit I saw was vastly improved, I really am very impressed. First off, it's much tidier from an outside view, they have more recycling, & garbage bins with better distribution on site. Everything is better organized on all accounts. The candles I was really worried about I didn't see. On my way past, I saw a group of adults who appeared to be in their thirties and forties who clearly had jobs (they had just finished parking a car that looked like it couldn't be more then a few years old), mentioning that they wanted to see what could be done to get heat & showers down there.

The energy is also better at night, but I don't know if that is a result of today's events (they had alot of organized events such as educational films being shown, circus performance and other entertainments). There are more tents then there were before, in fact, I think they have reached capacity for the space they are using. My fiancee did some research and he says there is 185 tents right now, not sure what the total occupation population is. People seemed to be very harmonious with each other, alot of positivity down there right now.

I haven't been back to the GA (general assembly), so I cannot comment on how the general assembly is progressing but I do plan to go back out. Tomorrow they are holding a fundraiser so I was thinking to go down and check out what they are doing. According to the official blog, they now have 6 lawyers who have joined in and are showing support.

I have spent the past two days with a different side of the Occupy movement by attending the Council of Canadians conference which gets into the educational details of the issues the movement is addressing (except that the Council of Canadians is a very old organization who has been working on these issues for decades). The Council of Canadians is in full support of the Occupy movement in terms of Canadian context and through their local support of each occupation location, they are providing a connection. In Vancouver they are providing both infrastructure and other forms of support such as tools. It was interesting at the dinner tonight hearing the president mention that they never knew last year that this year they would need to budget for the revolution.

You know, if Occupy Montreal banded with the other Occupy's, to truly form "Occupy Canada" alot of good would come from that. But what if they were to consider becoming a political party, and if they were to seriously consider something like that, I believe they hold the potential of being able to shake up Canadian politics in a way that even the NDP have not yet achieved. Think about it. These are very intelligent minds coming together, with the right support, they could start working on reworking & fixing the system from within. The NDP started off as a grassroots movement, look where they are now! Alot of NDP values are shared by Occupy Montrealers, so if there were two like minded political parties in government, alot of positive change could come from that. Of course I am sure this idea would not fly with the Occupy Montrealers, I don't think they want to become politicians, but I can't speak for them in any context. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Art News!

Ok I know I have been posting alot about Occupy Montreal & Occupy Wallstreet this past week, and it's because I feel this is potentially my generations 1968. I see alot of good that can come from it and if you are looking for my nightly post about Occupy Montreal, then please see below (I am actually posting 4 blog postings tonight).

But it is time for a break and to go back into the core reason for my blog, which is not to talk about politics; anyone regularly following my blog knows that this is highly unusual for  me to give so much attention to politics, the environment and other issues on this blog. I created this blog to express myself, but mostly to talk about my art and my personal adventures as an artist!

Art Exhibition at Burritoville
This is the last week you have the opportunity to see my exhibition on the 2nd floor of Burritoville, the work is up until November 1st, 2011. Burritoville is located at 2055 Bishop Street. Operation Hours: Sun Closed; Mon-Sat 11am-11pm.


Last Minute Halloween Make-up??
I am still accepting bookings for Halloween Special Effects Make-up appointments for the weekend of the 28th-31st of October. $1.50 per minute, no drop-ins, appointments are first come first serve. Most looks take between 20 minutes up to 45 minutes.

Night 7 - Occupy Montreal & a Council of Canadians

Hope in Resistance
Tonight I went down to the registration & public forum for the Council of Canadians conference that is being hosted at Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain hotel downtown. If you support the Occupy Protests (world movement started by #OccupyWallstreet), then you should really be at this conference. It is called "Hope in Resistance" and is addressing a number of concerns that are all connected. This is a different group of individuals that are not part of the group of protesters who are down at Square Victoria but do identify themselves as being part of the "Occupy Movement". This conference attracted people from all walks of life, but I would actually say there was a much higher percentage of people in attendance that I would guesstimate to have been born between the 1940's through to the 1960's. Many are highly educated people, including social workers, teachers, engineers and others.

Tonight's speakers really addressed the connection between the state of the environment & how this is tied into economics, the increasing gap between the rich & the poor, the increase in unemployment in Canada as well as abroad, disappearing resources, Indigenous rights, et cetera. Yes it does sound like they are covering all major issues, but if you don't see the connection then you need to do more research.

There is a live stream for tomorrow's conferences which you can see here:

 Last minute registration is welcome between 8am & 9am. Tomorrow's conferences will cover the following subjects:

From the Streets to the Legislature
A discussion between NDP and Québec Solidaire politicians on how they will work together and a broader conversation with civil society representatives on how social movements will work with progressive politicians in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Can progressive politicians be accountable to civil society? What can we do to counter the austerity agenda?

Trade, Security, Civil Liberties
Globalization, Security & Human Life: Unacceptable trade-offs inside the North American perimeter. Since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, we have been asked to think of security as an economic problem for Canada. We are told by business lobby groups and successive federal governments that the threat of terrorism, both real & perceived, interferes with global trade & investment flows, therefore people should sacrifice their civil liberties, privacy and in extreme cases their human rights so business as usual can carry on. In Canada these changes to security, immigration and refugee policy, including increased surveillance, and travel restrictions have happened in the context of trilateral and now bilateral trade discussions with the United States, most recently under the banner of "perimeter security and economic competitiveness." Hear from experts about the effect that the globalization of security (or the securing of trade flows) has had on human lives and real-life economic opportunities for people living in Canada.

Communities Acting to Protect Our Water

In a country where 60 per cent of the GDP is directly dependent on water, community struggles against the corporate takeover of local water supplies have posed a powerful challenge to the dominant model of unlimited and reckless economic growth. Learn about the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug battle against gold mining, the fight to stop hydraulic fracturing in Quebec, and the campaign to make the Great Lakes a commons. Find out, through these inspiring stories, how the pursuit of water justice has challenged colonialism, capitalism, and the environmental injustice.

Austerity in Health Care

The 2014 health care accord will be negotiated during a time of deep cuts to social spending. Instead of finding ways to make health care spending more efficient, the federal government blames the weak economy as a reason not to improve medicare. Canadians must insist that health care cuts are cuts we cannot afford. Unfortunately the people who rely on the health care system the most are often the voices most silenced. How can we use the 2014 health care accord negotiations to ensure that we build Canadian values of equality into our medicare system? What toll will austerity measures have on people's health across Canada? And how will austerity measures affect the social determinants of health?

The Council of Canadians has launched an exciting new multimedia education project - available at - called "system Change not Climate Change". This slogan is central to a growing and vibrant global movement for climate justice. Come and join the discussion and learn more about the project, which features more then 20 videos of people speaking about key climate justice issues and real solutions to the climate crisis. Hear from two speakers featured in the project engaged in climate justice struggles, including one who is fighting shale gas development in Quebec, and another working to stop a proposed massive highway project in British Columbia.

How do we work together on all the issues discussed in the previous panels?
The Indignez-vous and Occupy movements resist corporate control and the austerity agenda in the streets. The September 26th tar sands action of mass civil disobedience on Parliament Hill was only the beginning. With governments at all levels embracing the ill-conceived austerity agenda, how do we work together to press for a society that puts people and nature first? Key progressive leaders from Canada, Quebec, and First Nations, civil society, labour and youth will issue a Call to Action and share ideas on building a new progressive alliance.

Occupy Montreal: Night 7

I really have to be honest and say I am having really mixed feelings about the participants who are camped down at Occupy Montreal. I still don't like alot of the symbology being used, I believe it sends the wrong message, for example the Zeitgeist sign (I don't support Zeitgeist) and I don't think the Guy Fox is appropriate, but that's just my personal feelings. Personally I think it's better to pick symbology that is less controversial between occupy participants. I believe the symbology being used should be recognizable to a larger audience conveying a message that everyone can agree with. I am also worried by the image being sent by the drinking, openly smoking pot and mess that the pro-active volunteers are struggling to keep on top of (since not everyone is being self responsible; I watched several individuals litter, while other good samaritans were cleaning up garbage at the exact same time).

Right now I personally feel the signals being sent by the occupiers of Square Victoria are mixed messages, which I don't think is their intention. I think this has more to do with there being so many diverse individuals down there. I am also concerned with the significant amount of conspiracy, paranoia, anti-authority, anti-government, anti-police types of messages which I feel are being conveyed by a large percentage of the group who are representing Occupy Montreal. But I must emphasis that I do fundamentally support what the world occupy movements are conveying, and I really do want to portray Occupy Montreal in the best possible light, but I also have to be honest here.

If we treat our government, our politicians, the police, & the corporations as our enemy, then we are creating a war that no one can come out ahead of because as long as we are not recognizing that humanity is made up of brothers & sisters, then we will never ever find the solutions. Yes we need to stand up for our rights, we need to speak up and speak out. But if we are pointing fingers at everyone around us we are not going to move forward. What we need is for the government & corporations to be accountable for their crimes against the environment and humanity. Drawing attention to specific harmful actions of the 1% is appropriate. But not all of the 1% are bad, many of them are highly generous people who have given alot to humanity and the environment, this is why there are things like the Nobel Prize award, but for sure the "Mother Theresa's" amongst the 1% is not the norm, otherwise we wouldn't have the world in the state it is.

There are no easy answers, we just need to do our best to be good people in our every day lives and to do what we can as we can to create positive changes where we have the opportunity to do so.

But it must be kept in mind that those who are camping down there are only a small percentage of the people who are in support of Occupy Montreal and would represent the 99%. It is admirable the convictions & persurverience of those camped there to try to make a statement to Montreal's citzens. As everyone keeps saying, since there is no official leaders of any of the Occupy movements, no one person can speak on behalf of the whole, they can only speak for themselves. I am speaking for myself.

There are still Good People & Generosity

Despite what I just said, on the flip side, there are alot of good people down there for the right reasons. There is alot of generosity both between occupants and from the supporters who do not choose to get heavily involved. Despite any bad apples, there are many who are clear headed & well researched individuals with the right intentions. However, it must be said that I am struggling to see how they can be productive & constructive force so far because no one is able to agree on what the agenda/plan of action should be, how to approach it and in what presentation.

I am not able to go down there during the day so far, but I know from talking to reliable sources the day time portion is very positive and in contrast with the evening & night. There are alot of positive people who are not camped there that participated in the marches who go down on a regular basis in the day time. However, I am so far only going down at night so I see another side to things.

Security Teams

Right now those who are occupying Square Victoria are in an argument about what to name the groups of people who are now volunteering their time to patrol the area and watch for signs of potential trouble. Personally, I feel that just call a spade a spade, seriously, they have formed their own policing system, which is a response to recent events.

The movement itself is peaceful, but there has been several cases of violence in the last few days, which has more to do with the street people then anything else. Night time is getting increasingly sketchy there, the later it is, the less safe it is on account of the street life congregating there. I am concerned for the safety of those camping there. I noticed that the "Enfants & Families" tents have left, which is not a good sign. There are also some other concerning incidents which I don't know enough about to really feel it's my right to talk about. I also have concerns of safety about the use of open candles besides a very tightly populated tent city that could easily go up in flames.

What it emphasises to me however is that they need alot more positive, clear headed, rational and knowledgeable people to join the camp out in order to balance the situation out. Either that, or the positive constructive people who are down there should maybe consider banding together to start working on their own plans of action towards creating positive change. Especially the winter being so close.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Night 6 - Occupy Montreal: What is it anyways? Why does this apply to Canadians?

Mainstream media seems to be trying to wrap their heads around what is the purpose in Canadians getting involved in the Occupy protests? It has been suggested that it is a copy-cat of OccupyWallstreet. But I would like to point out that originally the media were saying the same things about #occupywallstreet that they now say about #OccupyCanada. Except that #occupywallstreet has gotten so big that the media cannot ignore what is going on.

Volunteers from OccupyMonreal are taking responsibility for the protesters garbage by helping city employees with garbage & recycling collection.
Mainstream media do offer some valid points about Occupy Montreal, but I feel they are mostly missing the point. The Occupy protests created a world protest day last Saturday; and it happened in over 1,500 cities worldwide. Thousands of people attended the protests in each major city, Avaaz got over 500,000 signatures from the international community on their petition in a matter of hours. So with that much response, how can anyone say that Canadians involvement is a copy-cat of the states? The only other time in history the world has done an organized protest on the same day at the same time was during the Bush administration against the wars in Iraq.

15'x10' Vinyl poster at Square Victoria "People's Square".
 The people in the marches & in the continued protests come from all walks of life. If you read or watch the footage of interviews with participants, there are so many well thought out, valid statements being made that I don't see how the mainstream media could be misconstruing things the way they are. But that might also be the fault of the protesters, in the sense that picking appropriate symbology & language choices is very challenging. Everything is open to interpretation, look at the dictionary, there are 3 or 4 or 5 different interpretations of any given word.

Last night at the GA we had a 2 hour discussion about if we were or were not an anti-capitalist movement. I countered against that language choice as I feel that capitalism is a tool that can be used for greater good or greater evil; it all depends on the user of the tool. But that's just it, it's a tool. We are definitely not anti-business. I think the problem is abuse of power.

The underlying issue is that greed & selfishness are harmful; this is the core attribute of the problems we are facing in the world. The corporations have created alot of damage, crimes against both the environment and humanity are astronomical, and they are not accountable. It's the lack of accountability and the sneaky way the government makes decisions on our behalf that creates alot of the problems we face. The bottom line should not be the way we measure what actions are appropriate. Sustainability in every sense is the core issue that brings all of the Occupy protesters together, but the focus is the impact the financial world has on the world we live in.

At the end of each general assembly there is usually a music jam, something that I feel is a very healthy end to the nights discussions.
What is interesting is that the general assembly is providing a public medium for group discussion on issues that affect Canadians and it's accessible to all walks of life. I know in theory democracy is also accessable, but in reality it is not. When I vote, I dont' feel that my vote counts for much because I don't have any faith in the options I am being provided with. But as my grandfather says, it is better to choose the lesser evil then to not participate at all. Fundamentally I feel that is not good enough, if I don't trust the politicians as far as I can throw them, then should I not have the right to push for better options? But good people that I would trust in positions of power get eaten up alive before they even get their foot in the door to even hope of getting into a position of power.

I think local government should be coming to the GA's, not as their job title, but as a Canadian citizen coming to contribute to the mental processing we are collectively doing. It's a slow process, but it's bringing alot of people together, it's getting people who stopped voting interested in participating in our countries development. We need change, I don't like the world we live in, I want to live in a world that I would feel good raising children in. So we need to become the change we wish to see in the world and this is what we are attempting to achheive. But I say this acknowledging that I do not speak for the whole, I only speak for myself and how I interpret what is happening around me.  

The following 2 interviews I feel really sum up why Canadians should be paying attention to the #OccupyCanada protests.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Night 5 - Occupy Montreal

Not everything is what it seems, don't judge a book by it's cover and yes, sometimes what it looks like is exactly what it is. Read between the lines but don't read too much into things.
General assemblies are mentally exhausting....sigh...
I got there so late I had given up on attending. But as I got off my bike, started filming and walking accross the encampment, I could hear the loudspeaker and see a massive crowd.

Many were passerby's who took an interest in what was happening, then decided to get involved. Many appeared to be professionals, students, unemployed, punks, hippies & some white collar workers. Most folks seemed frustrated, yet patient with the process of listening, which was good; since many speakers found it challenging to stay on topic and to keep it short & sweet. I made a joke to one fellow that this was why the House of Commons is so slow with actual action.
I arrived with an open mind, intending to only observe, think and learn. Of course, it ended up that I couldn't keep my mouth shut and took to the mic a few times. I get the multiple issues and how they tie together, much like an ecosystem, if one thing goes off balance, it affects the whole. Alot of people say the original imbalance is stemming from capitalism, but I don't think it's true. I don't think it's the system or any system that is the problem, the issue is that we are all human and no one is perfect. I think the core is selfishness. Imagine what the world would be like if Bankers, Corporations, & Leaders became selfless?
The GA starts at 6pm every night, except saturdays it is at 1pm. Tonight it ended at 9:30pm, making it the longest general assembly yet, with the largest turn out. The progress is slow, but #occupymontreal,  is only in it's 5th day. I am praying that we can get our protest movement to take off the way #occupywallstreet did, I pray we can get organized enough to do something useful & constructive.
It was interesting to see how the homeless have intergrated themselves into the protesters. In some instances this is just people freeloading, but in other instances you get an opportunity to see the person & the mind inside the "homelessness". The homeless are almost taboo, most people do not take time to talk to the homeless, they are untouchables, they have no voice. Here at the GA, suddenly they have a voice, and their voice matters, the homeless are relishing this. Unfortunately many of them appear to be mentally ill, but some of them have something valid to offer in what they have to say. Some of the anarchists appeared to be there for the excitment, and take advantage of the free food, but many others turned out to have brilliant minds that are well researched and well thought out. "Knowledge is power".

I have recorded portions of the dialogue at the GA which I will post as soon as I am able to on my youtube channel, 5WindsofVenus.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Night 4 - Occupy Montreal

After an evening spent researching, I spontainously decided at 11:30pm to go down to Square Victoria. I was thinking I was crazy for going down so late, didn't expect that people would be up and alert. The jam circle tonight had congregated near the statue, rather then behind the kitchen where it normally is. The kitchen supplies a recycling system, garbage system & composting system for the public. Interesting how Westmount has now had a city facilated public composting system for a few years, but the City of Montreal does not offer such a system, and now Occupy Montreal offers a composting system for the public to use.

Someone who is camped down at the occupation was really adament I should eat from the ktichen as it's food donated by the people for the people. I declined every time, the offer was made to me last time I was there. But the way I see it is the food is there for the people who are occupying the space, I don't want to camp down there for a number of reasons and for those reasons I really respect what they are doing. I live close enough that it's easy for me to go down, so it's appropriate I should eat at home.

The people have told me a few times that if I see something that needs doing then just do it. I respect this but there is also no leadership, as with all the occupy's, which has it's good & bad, I guess like all things. It is beautiful to see intiative being the backbone of this, but sometimes leadership would facilitate getting more done. I guess that's why alot of people have the argument about the Occupy Wallstreet having no focus, I know what they mean, but there is a focus; we just need to organize it. This focus I think is best demonstrated by the following photo:
Definately Candians issues are different then Americans, but there's a lot of simularities and commonalities. These challenges are shared & mirrored within the global communtiy, which is aptly demonstrated by the 1000's of cities world wide who have now joined the "Occupy " movement & demonstration. We all recognise that human society and nature are not healthy, harmonious, or sustainable. One woman pointed out to me that the core of all our issues is selfishness, if we choose to stop being selfish then all our problems are resolved. I know what she means.

Tomorrow I am hoping to catch the daily general assembly. The Mohawk Traditional Council gave the event their blessings this weekend, something that I feel is very special. I am looking forward to talking more with my contacts accross the country.

 "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi