Questions – Mandi Schrader

2 Dec

I’d like to take a moment to clarify some misconceptions once and for all. If you are an Occupy hater I’m going to respectfully ask you to read this all the way through before commenting. If you don’t, and I can tell, your comments will be zapped.

In the past few weeks I have been accused of hating the following: work, money, capitalism, people who have more money than me, technology, (odd since I am not using smoke signals to communicate this message) industry and Canada.

I have been accused of laziness, working too hard for a pointless cause, wrecking a public park, being a hypocrite for refusing to sleep in said park, stupidity and hyperintellectualism.

Screw all of that.

Due to the diversity of people participating in this cause and their various concerns, it is very difficult to speak for the entire collective. To me it is fairly clear what we are aiming for and why.

No matter who you are I’m betting that at least once you’ve complained about the government. It is clear to many of us that our leaders by and large do not care about the average citizen. They cater to corporations whose interests are in profits at the cost of humans.

That is definitely a sweeping statement. There are many members of various levels of government who do care and there are corporations who deal ethically.

However, we are largely unprotected from the ones who don’t care. They prey upon our psychology to encourage us to wastefully consume products which are low in quality and very possibly made by people who are being exploited and severely underpaid. Who here is not aware that “made in China” usually means “made in a sweatshop?”

How much credit card debt are you going to rack up this holiday season on items you will discard by the end? Tinsel, cards, paper, bows, stupid stocking stuffers, presents that no one wanted but were purchased out of a sense of “I’ve got to get them something.”

How many perfectly good items wind up in landfills because you need the latest version?

Ask yourself why.

We are constantly inundated with conflicting messages, some designed to raise fear, some to put it to rest. Our media rarely educates and informs. It entertains and sensationalizes. Are you really aware of what is going on out there? Do you really think that because it wasn’t fed to you in sound bite-sized pieces that it isn’t true or didn’t happen?

Wake up. Canada DID bail out our banks. YOUR pension could be getting skimmed by unscrupulous investment bankers and your government will do nothing to prove or prosecute this. We pay high costs for food because it has to travel a LONG way to get to us, despite the fertility of our land. The food industry runs on oil. It doesn’t have to. We could grow our own. We in Alberta pay some of the highest prices for energy despite being the top producing province of those same resources.

Why is this so and why don’t you care? Why, furthermore, are you getting angry at people like me for caring?

Could we possibly engage in a citywide, province wide, nationwide, worldwide conversation on ways to make it better? Seriously, what is your problem with that? Are you afraid it will disrupt the status quo, rock the boat, force YOU to look at the way you have been living, the way you directly support environmental destruction and all the horrors of unchecked greed mentioned above?

Are you afraid you could lose all you have worked hard to gain, the respect of your friends and neighbors, your own self esteem?

Well guess what. We all have a lot to lose. Some of us have already gone out on that limb and we are doing it for you as much as us. No one is looking for a handout. We are looking for an echo, an awakening, hope.

And it’s true that this movement may seem pointless in Canada because here we are still comfortable. But at what cost does that comfort continue? Is it really worth remaining comfortable driving a hummer when first nations’ water sources are being poisoned by toxins dumped by the oil trade? Did you know that cancer rates are escalating in the rurals of northern Alberta? Did you know we breathe poison, eat poison and then think and speak poison?

Is television, empty plastic pop culture and processed food so rotting our minds and bodies that we can sit in our easy chairs and ignore all of this?

The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is: I hope not.

The complete answer is: It’s up to all of us. Look at the world you are helping create. Own your part in its creation. Do what you can to limit your participation in the crime that is causing the destruction of our planet, our people, our minds.

Can you love your neighbor, all 7 billion of them? Can you treat others as you want to be treated, all 7 billion of them? Can you treat yourself better by demanding quality over convenience, kindness over cruelty, life over sleepwalking through life?

I think we’d all better try. Don’t you? That is how real change happens. Everyone trying in their own small way.

That is what I am in this for. Not a handout. Not a moment in the spotlight. Awareness. Conscious living. Love and compassion for all beings.

We can change the world. I believe this utterly. If you don’t believe it, keep reading this blog. Keep coming back with hate and shortsightedness. Keep criticizing the people who, despite being the least qualified to do it, are already trying. Even that helps if it keeps the conversation going.

Haters, we need you as much as anybody. Keep doing your part. We will keep doing ours. Maybe one day we will do it all together.

37 Responses to “Questions – Mandi Schrader”

  1. Blaine December 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/6148-ottawa-misleads-on-canadian-bank-bailouts.html

    Ottawa Misleads on Canadian Bank Bailouts
    On October of 2008 Prime Minister Harper publicly announced that “Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) will purchase up to $25 billion in insured mortgage pools as part of the Government of Canada’s plan, announced today, to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.”

    On November 12, 2008, another $50 billion allocation was announced. The official text was; “The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the Government will purchase up to an additional $50 billion of insured mortgage pools by the end of the fiscal year as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.

    From http://www.forbes.com / profiles
    William A. Downe
    Director, President and Chief Executive Officer
    Bank of Montreal
    Salary $1,042,600.00
    Restricted stock awards $3,000,000.00
    All other compensation $12,772.00
    Option awards $ $2,650,000.00
    Non-equity incentive plan compensation $2,850,000.00
    Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings $626,526.00
    Total Compensation $10,181,898.00

  2. Blaine December 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/6148-ottawa-misleads-on-canadian-bank-bailouts.html

    Ottawa Misleads on Canadian Bank Bailouts
    On October of 2008 Prime Minister Harper publicly announced that “Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) will purchase up to $25 billion in insured mortgage pools as part of the Government of Canada’s plan, announced today, to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.”

    On November 12, 2008, another $50 billion allocation was announced. The official text was; “The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the Government will purchase up to an additional $50 billion of insured mortgage pools by the end of the fiscal year as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.

    From http://www.forbes.com / profiles
    Richard E. Waugh
    Director, President and Chief Executive Officer
    Bank of Nova Scotia
    Salary $1,000,000.00
    Restricted stock awards $3,600,000.00
    All other compensation $73,730.00
    Option awards $ $3,600,000.00
    Non-equity incentive plan compensation $1,500,000.00
    Total Compensation $9,773,730.00

  3. ron ayotte December 6, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    On the St Patrick’s Island camp, I might be able to fill in one or two blanks. Anything you might have read about homes being found for the campers was misleading and silly.
    On the last day there were people there from CUPS and the DOAP team. No-one who could authorize circumventing waiting lists for services. They offered what help they could, but no special treatment. A couple of folks talked about leaving town, a few were talking quietly about waiting until the Police left, and setting up their tents again on the island. Several loaded their shopping carts onto a City truck that brought them back downtown where they came from. Some who I spoke to talked positively about their experience on the Island, some seemed a little bitter. Oddly enough, undue corporate influence on democratic process might have been the last thing on their minds.

  4. Christopher Braun December 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    I have some questions regarding this ‘Occupy’ movement, and was hoping to get some answers. And for the record: I’m a student with student loans; I’ve been largely unemployed for the last 3 1/2 years; my understanding is that I represent this 99% you claim to represent – yet I do not want to be represented by your group.

    1) There is discussion about how you are using power, without permission, from both city sources and business in the area, without providing compensation to them. If I were to start plugging in my stuff into my neighbor’s outlets, I would be facing criminal charges for theft. Why should you be able to access free power and I can’t?

    2) Why do you expect the City of Calgary to provide you with accommodations, including power, toilets, and heat? If they provide this to you, it becomes a cost to the City, which means an increase in property taxes, which in the end the people of the City of Calgary will pay for. If you are trying to garner support from us, why are you trying to alienate us by making us pay?

    3) The Occupy movement must understand that they are causing damage to Olympic Plaza with a long-term occupation in an area that was not designed to support your encampment. Whether the estimates the City has provided are right or wrong, you have to understand that you are damaging grass that was not designed for this. Who should have to pay to repair the damage you have caused? You, the people directly causing the damage, or the taxpayers of the City of Calgary?

    4) The Occupy movement claims to represent the 99%. My immediate family unit (10 people) are a part of this 99%, yet we categorically disagree with your means. My general understanding is that we are not the only members of the 99% that share these or similar feelings. How then can you claim to represent the 99%?

    • idnami December 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      Ok. Despite the fact that I’ve answered similar questions multiple times in this blog, even in the readers comments on THIS post, I’ll have another go. On one condition: I get to ask you some questions too, and I’d like answers.

      Now, keep in mind first of all that the Occupation is much bigger than just the camp. The camp only represents maybe 10% of total committed supporters of this movement in Calgary. The rest of us do what I do; work, pay bills, try to raise awareness.

      #1 I don’t agree with stealing power and I said so. But as I am not part of the camp so I don’t have much influence. However if you are concerned about the cost of power read this:http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/TransAlta+Corp+admits+market+manipulation/5671487/story.html
      Those guys ripped off you and I for $5.5 million and barely got a slap on the wrist for it. The incredibly trumped up “damage” bill from the city (onto which they tacked routine maintenance of not only OP but also Prince’s Island for reasons no one understands, plus damages that existed prior to Oct 15 AND the cost of resodding the entire park, which has needed it for quite a while) adds up to $53 grand with all the padding. And again, considering that 90% of that bill was routine maintenance such as draining and cleaning the pond and basket trimming of all things, you would be paying for that one way or another. But even if we did have a giant, wanton party kind of like, say, the Red Mile thing, divided between over 1 million Calgarians, your share and mine of that cost would be 5 cents. If we used the same legal logic dealing with the Occupy campers as we did with TransAlta, we should fine everybody involved 5 bucks or so each and let them continue to operate.

      #2 I don’t expect anything of the kind, but it might interest you to know that they offered it. If you are concerned about where your tax dollars are going I suggest you check out the $69 billion Stephen Harper bank bailout: http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/initiatives/eng/index.asp?initiativeID=39&mode=7
      That cost you and I $2000 each if you divide that equally among all Canadians. Oh and then there is the omnibus crime bill that will cost you and I even more for a justice system that has been proved not to work.

      #3 The courts are dealing with this issue at present. The judge probably won’t base his decision on your opinion or mine, so It’s a moot point.

      #4 I categorically disagree with being identified with the 99% at the moment and pretty much always have. The 99% are as responsible, more so really, for ALL the destruction caused by greed and ignorance, the preference for comfort and convenience over ethical practice. The 99% are too busy staring at their TVs and blindly upholding the status quo, voting monsters into government and driving their gas guzzling vehicles to the corner store. Is that a sweeping generalization? Yeah. Kinda like the one you are making. But seriously. I represent those who actually give a damn about the plight of human beings all over the world and realize that its OUR selfish shortsightedness or OUR responsible, compassionate consciousness that will make the difference. 99% of the 99% don’t care a bit. It has been a bitter and disappointing lesson, but what can you expect from Calgary? This city makes me seriously sick sometimes.

      My question to you is this; do you feel you are correctly directing your anger and contempt at a group of well intentioned if somewhat clueless campers who can think of no other way to get people to pay attention? In light of what your federal government is doing, if $53000 in municipal tax dollars is a big deal, should $69 billion not be a MUCH BIGGER deal? Do you realize Harper only got away with it because people think the bites they are spoon fed on the news actually represents the most important stuff going on. You didn’t even know about the bailout did you? And honestly I bet Harper is loving the occupation right now, because so long as everyone is focusing their indignation on some TENTS IN A PARK they aren’t watching him destroy our justice system and strip us of our rights. What do you think?

      • Christopher Braun December 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

        You have done a remarkable job at not answering the questions I have asked. You have instead tried to misdirect by commenting on something else. Please DIRECTLY answer my questions, and I will answer yours. Directly means not pointing out what other people are doing. Directly means why does the Occupy Movement feel that they can do these things?

        Let me rephrase:

        1) The Occupy Movement is apparently stealing power from the City and/or nearby businesses. Why does the Occupy Movement feel that this is right, when if I do it, it’s a crime?

        2) You expect the City to provide you with power, heat, and facilities so you can continue to occupy Olympic Plaza. Why should the City pay for Occupy Calgary to run a tent city?

        3) The courts are not deciding if the Occupy protesters are financially responsible for damages to the park, they are deciding if they have a Charter right to occupy. (An argument which, by the way, was lost on Ontario.) Why shouldn’t the Occupy protesters have to pay for damages they are directly causing to Olympic Plaza? (And not the 50-whatever the City is quoting, I mean the grass and other aspects of the Plaza that are being damaged by the result of a long term encampment that it was never designed for.)

        4) If the Occupy Movement claims to represent the 99%, and lets face it, not a lot of the ‘99%’ actually support the movement, then how can the Occupy Movement claim to represent the 99%?

        If you can give me DIRECT answers to my questions, I will answer yours.

        • Frank Enbeens December 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

          Christopher,

          Dont bother trying to get a straight answer. When these guys realize they aren’t the saints they’d like us all to believe, they just change the subject. They don’t want to be held accountable. Ask Occu-duck. Or Marcus Arseneault…

          • idnami December 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

            I don’t think any of us has claimed to be a saint. I am accountable for my own actions. In which of those actions have I done wrong, Frank? I’m a writer who cares about human rights. I’ve joined forces with others who care about human rights. If you think that by criticizing people like me you can make the atrocities I am trying to fight go away, you are seriously messed up. But honestly if you’d rather distract with stupid rhetoric about refusing to give a straight answer, go ahead. I really have no more time for whiners.

        • idnami December 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

          I gave you my answers.I think people are hiding from the real problems by the absurd outrage over a few tents. I have said before if anyone pursued the real problems with the kind of energy they pursue the tent city we wouldn’t be in this mess. I challenge you to do so. I’m not a camper, so I can’t answer for the campers. You are asking the wrong person these questions. Go to OP and ask them yourself if its so important to you. They aren’t HERE. HERE you are talking to the Non-camping side who cares about ISSUES such as Stephen Harper’s bank bailout and the TransAlta scam. HERE you don’t get to hide behind the tent question to make yourself feel better for not knowing or caring that these things are going on.
          As far as the real 99%, I’ve told you pretty clearly what I think. I think they are by and large a lot of idiots and I don’t want them representing ME. But this is the world we are ALL stuck with until a few more people pull their heads out of their asses to help make a better one. I think our culture is fucked and not actually likely to be anything else. But I’m still giving it a shot.
          I really don’t care if you answer my questions or not. If you want to see positive change in the world, go make it. If all you want to do is slag on the people who are trying, piss off. People who continue to support greedy unethical business and government practices and feel justified in doing so because they can cast contempt on those who have tried to bring them this information are worse than hypocrites.
          Again, if you are outraged at misuse of your tax dollars, write Harper a letter. If you are angry at the campers, go tell them so. What did I do to incur your wrath? Nothing but try to keep the conversation ON THIS BLOG on track. You want to argue about tents, do it elsewhere.

          • Frank Enbeens December 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

            That sounds about right. The occupiers dont like money, government, law, and now — they dont even like each other. And you wonder why they cant get anything done, outside of camping out downtown for a month. What have they changed? Nothing. If anything, theyve just managed to turn more people against their point of view by being so belligerent. Like Occu-duck. And Marcus. And Idnami.

            No need for the foul language Indami, although this is just what one whould hear if one went to OP.

            • idnami December 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

              Indeed. Did you ever get a new blue tent?

              • Frank Enbeens December 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

                Nope. Im gonna wait for the city to get me new one. Its their fault. They should have given me the squirrel powered electricity like I asked. My lawyers are looking into it. Right after they get done with all of Marcus` lawsuits that is.

                • idnami December 6, 2011 at 1:26 am #

                  I bet you there’s a good deal at Bylaw Bill’s auction. Act now!

            • Blaine December 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

              http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/6148-ottawa-misleads-on-canadian-bank-bailouts.html

              Ottawa Misleads on Canadian Bank Bailouts
              On October of 2008 Prime Minister Harper publicly announced that “Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) will purchase up to $25 billion in insured mortgage pools as part of the Government of Canada’s plan, announced today, to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.”

              On November 12, 2008, another $50 billion allocation was announced. The official text was; “The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the Government will purchase up to an additional $50 billion of insured mortgage pools by the end of the fiscal year as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.

              From http://www.forbes.com / profiles
              Gordon M. Nixon
              President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
              Royal Bank of Canada
              Salary $1,400,000.00
              Restricted stock awards $4,500,000.00
              All other compensation $41,885.00
              Option awards $ $3,000,000.00
              Non-equity incentive plan compensation $2,100,000.00
              Change in pension value and
              nonqualified deferred compensation earnings $810,000.00
              Total Compensation $11,851,885.00

              • idnami December 15, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

                Blaine, you are my hero.

              • idnami December 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

                How much income tax are these guys paying? that’s what I wanna know.

            • Blaine December 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

              From http://www.forbes.com / profiles
              W. Edmund Clark
              Director; President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and TD Bank Financial Group
              Toronto-Dominion Bank
              Salary $1,500,000.00
              Restricted stock awards $4,800,045.00
              All other compensation $88,302.00
              Option awards $ $7,100,044.00
              Non-equity incentive plan compensation $1,700,000.00
              Total Compensation $15,188,391.00

  5. Colin Wenger December 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Mandi, It might start sounding like a broken record here, but you are doing an amazing job. I only just noticed that you even put up my older brother’s ‘why I occupy’.

    I find myself echoing your sentiment about the camp and many individuals spirited arguments that, just don’t seem to hold water for me. But the resulting dialogue here and in other forums around the world is what excites me, even the exchange amongst the comments is proving to be ‘very’ informative.

    Part of the issue I’m seeing, even in myself, is that there are a lot of people that want to come together to encourage change. Unfortunately they are just not sure yet how that should look or how it could even work. Many are not well educated on how to engage government or other groups. They certainly don’t teach that part of life and governmental systems in school…

    For the sake of others on here that don’t know me. I work in electrons manufacturing and have been building a career of it coming up on 10 years now. I’ve been laid off a couple of times now due to the unexpected changes in the world markets.

    I’d say I come from humble beginnings, growing up drifting just above the poverty line. With a mother of 4 kids her husband hospitalized for 13 years due to 2 strokes till his passing. I’ve seen my mother do everything possible to make ends meet, I know what it’s like not to know where your next meal is going to come from.

    It weighs on me heavily to think of how other families struggling with similar circumstances as we had, might not make it out as well given the current crisis. I might not be able to do anything for them directly, but the least I can do is let my voice be heard, seeking out what avenues there are available to me to wake people up, and keep the conversation flowing.

    I hope for change.

  6. Morley,Challenged December 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Props, Mandi! If so few of us are willing to have the discussion on OP at least we can finally get down to it here.

    • idnami December 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      That’s the idea Morley. Thanks!

  7. Tron December 2, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Mandi,

    I read through you full post and while I disagree with Occupy (in Canada anyways), I am not going to ‘hate’ on your ideas.

    When this all started out, I thought, “good. These guys want to everyone to pay their fair share of the taxes.” I was on board. Since then, I really haven’t heard anyone suggest how to fix this reasonably.

    Then it starts becoming about Aboriginal rights. Then about the Harper crime bill. Then about camping in a park. Now there are even more issues tacked onto your agenda that I grab from your post.

    The problem with this protest it is so muddied down and offers no actual solution to any of the problems you are upset about. Pick a fight and fight it. This has made it seem like OC is protesting for that sake of protesting.

    Furthermore, I am really disappointed in the way OC turned down a semi-permanent booth near city hall and chose to stay camped. You were offered a chance to inform people year round and without trouble or injunctions. Why turn that down? It just seems like a pissing contest with the city now.

    In addition to that, telling the homeless at the St. Patricks park to not accept help and “stand in solidarity with the movement” was repulsive. I was truly happy for them. They found a possible solution to their problems; the exact purpose of their protest. Thankfully, they didn’t listen and accepted the offer.

    This also seem to really dissuade people from supporting OC. There really doesn’t seem to be an end in sight as there was at St. Patricks. The campers won’t leave, even when given a better venue to supply information. More and more causes get tacked on and no solutions are made to fix them. Standing around with a sign that says, “I don’t like this!” might get some ears up, sure, but people won’t listen for long.

    At this point, pack up your stuff. Get out of the park. Get a leader.

    There is enough evidence that there are people who share your ideas. Get your own political platform off the ground and run with that. If the government is all corrupt, vote in someone you trust. Barking we want change at people that you have already stated doesn’t care about anymore won’t get you anywhere.

    To sum up, I don’t hate (and in some cases, agree with) your ideas. I am tired of a protest that has become so dissociated with its root cause. The claim of representing the 99% is refutable and honestly can say that I know anyone who thinks this protest needs to continue in Calgary.

    • idnami December 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      Tron, I agree with a lot of what you have said here, but I think you are missing the point, which is that the several points being raised all add up to one big point. That point seems to me that human rights are being steamrolled for profit. Period. It happened in the states when the banks got bailed out and didn’t pass that generosity to their clients who were losing their homes. It is happening to First Nations people as their lands and waters are polluted. It is happening to underpaid workers in China as they grind their lives away so you and I can get a better deal on sneakers. It is happening to the entire planet through climate change. The crime bill is… inhuman. We protest inhuman treatment of humans, when you come right down to it. And I for one don’t plan on stopping, ever. People are dying, hurting, suffering in a million unnecessary ways! The fact that it isn’t happening to ME yet is no reason not to act before it does.
      Will forcing corporate entities to pay their fair share of the taxes change that? It depends what we do with the money. If we get the tax money out of those guys will Canadians be consulted about what happens to the money? I doubt it. Harper didn’t consult any of us before dumping $69 billion into buying shaky mortgages. He isn’t consulting us about this crime bill. So higher taxes for corporations isn’t the whole answer and the fact that those guys aren’t fairly taxed isn’t the whole problem.
      What would you suggest as a way to fix this reasonably? I sure don’t know. I’m just here putting out the call hoping people will get together and help figure this out. Its a big web. If you pull one thread you find it affects several others and any change will have to be compensated for. It was pointed out by a commenter of the Robin Hood Tax post that the corporations will just pass the costs on to the consumer and cause accelerated inflation. I have no doubt that’s true. There certainly isn’t a law against it and I doubt there ever will be.
      So what IS the answer? If our system has given such power to the few that they can do as they like with the many, what can you or I do?
      I agree with you as well that making demands of the government won’t make a bit of difference. I lived in BC just prior to the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax. A petition was circulated against it. You could only sign if you were a registered voter in the province. 70% of all registered voters signed it but, guess what? They actually pushed the tax through early. So petitions and demands don’t change doodly squat.
      Nope. We are going to have to be even more subversive than that. If we want to create change we will simply have to take the power from those who are abusing it. How to do that? Don’t give them your money. Don’t buy their stuff. Don’t invest in their products. Don’t watch their TV stations. How easy is that? Research the places where you shop. If they are engaging in human rights abuses, don’t shop there anymore. This is how we can bring down corporate power. It won’t happen overnight. We can’t force the government to prosecute corporate crime, but we can stop participating in it ourselves. That is our ONLY power in this, it seems increasingly clear.
      As far as the camp, again I agree. There are a few individuals who will not be reasonable and they are hurting our credibility big time. But am I going to stop caring about what I care about because a few people I barely even know won’t be reasonable? That would be a nice excuse to go back to apathy wouldn’t it? It’s the one everyone in Calgary seems to be hiding behind.
      Camp or no camp, I’ll still be here.

      • Tron December 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

        Hey Mandi,

        Thank you for your response. You are well articulated your points are valid. My point of contention was always about “holding a hostage” with terms that can’t be defined. The protest loses merit and a lot of support when the goal isn’t clear.

        I don’t disagree that those issues are legitimate points, merely that the effort being put forth at OP is detracting from your message. Its very easy for people to take pot shots at advocates for change when civil disobedience and political discourse is so poorly represented.

        Like I had said before, get your network together, find your leadership, and make something real out of this. A leaderless movement like Occupy shows that a bunch of people are upset, but no one can really grasp it in its entirety.

        You have a brain in your head. You are clearly intelligent and would like to see change. Change that most people wouldn’t disagree with. I just don’t think that Occupy is the right vessel for your words.

        As an opposition to OC, I have been called a heartless, redneck bigot. I only ever asked for validation on what should be done. I want change! is immediately followed by; What do you want to see done?

        I understand that we have elected officials to do that work for us. You and I don’t have those answers and they should. Find someone who will find them and support them as much as you can. The government in Canada is built on the foundation of its people, regardless of conspiracy and unjust theories.

        Your message will only come across if you can convey it in a way that people can hear. If not, you might as well be yelling at the wind. Keep fighting for your principles. I hope to see someone who can make a better vision of this world realistic and attainable.

        • idnami December 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

          Your last paragraph closely echoes a statement made to me by a member of the media working group at the Oct 15 rally. He said, “We need to talk about them (ordinary Calgarians) not us (Occupiers). We need to show them why they are already part of this and why it matters to them personally.”
          Wise words which most haven’t heeded. I try. As a radical artist alternative non-mainstream type person I’m not sure I even speak the language, but at least I’m friendly!
          Now I very often also feel that Occupy may not be the right vessel for my words. But then I think, yeah but without Occupy no one would probably be READING my words. I’d just be one more blogger with an axe to grind about poverty and consumerism. Probably not even that because in actuality I am a very lazy writer who doesn’t do much if I know I don’t have an audience to speak to.
          A lot of people have come to this blog with a hostile attitude thanks to poor presentation by other occupiers and have gradually mellowed. But the important thing is, they CAME. I doubt I’d be averaging 500 hits a day if Occupy wasn’t generating a buzz. I do wish they’d do a better job of generating a POSITIVE buzz because then we might be seeing 5000 hits a day and a lot less “get a job and take a shower” type attitude. But what can you do. If I have to jump the good ship Occupy to actually get something real accomplished, it won’t break my heart. But I’m not heading for the lifeboats just yet.
          My problem is, despite having brains and well formed opinions, I’m really NEW to politics and activism. My attitude toward the government before this was “they don’t bug me and I don’t bug them.” I’ve learned a lot since then and now they REALLY bug me and I am definitely planning on bugging them. But I have absolutely NO IDEA how to do that. I’ve mentioned that petitions don’t work. I’m not sure letter writing does either. I don’t know what does honestly. I have sought some advice on this from a former alderman/mla who has recently friended me on FB but I haven’t heard back yet.
          I’m really serious about this stuff though.
          I’m hearing a lot from other cities about “Occupy 2.0″ now that evictions have dispersed many of the crazies and the people with serious ideas aren’t hampered by the tents. We are going to see a lot of positive action upcoming. Occupy Lethbridge is brainstorming up a series of arts events targetting key issues and my contact in Occupy Van (also never a camper) tells me that their experiences over there have sparked a wave of political awareness and activism that is being seriously pursued now that most of the anarchists have wandered off.
          Like Occupy or hate it, it has inspired the conversation all the way up and down the line. It’s starting to become trendy to chat about wage disparity, greed and human rights. People are starting to think in a different way without even realizing they are doing it! And that is what I would call success.

      • Blaine December 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

        http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/6148-ottawa-misleads-on-canadian-bank-bailouts.html

        Ottawa Misleads on Canadian Bank Bailouts
        On October of 2008 Prime Minister Harper publicly announced that “Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) will purchase up to $25 billion in insured mortgage pools as part of the Government of Canada’s plan, announced today, to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.”

        On November 12, 2008, another $50 billion allocation was announced. The official text was; “The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the Government will purchase up to an additional $50 billion of insured mortgage pools by the end of the fiscal year as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.

        From http://www.forbes.com / profiles
        Gerald (Gerry) T. McCaughey
        President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
        Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
        Salary $1,500,000.00
        Restricted stock awards $1,720,000.00
        Option awards $ $860,000.00
        Non-equity incentive plan compensation $5,257,000.00
        Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings $576,000.00
        Total Compensation $9,913,000.00

    • idnami December 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      I almost forgot to mention about the St Patrick’s camp. I don’t know all the details but it looks like that deal wasn’t all that kosher. There are about 12 of them currently living at Paul Hughes’ place I hear. If their deal can fall through we have no reason to trust any deal we are offered. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t negotiate. It means we need to be very careful and very smart about it.
      I myself have nothing to negotiate for. I just want people talking. My part in this is so far very successful.

  8. Samantha Withnell December 2, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Great article Mandi! I think it really hits to some of the basic conflicts happening right now.

    Greed is not in our human nature. If nothing else, it is only a Western nature. There are many egalitarian societies, past and present, that were never as ruthless and competitive as we are now. Collective society is not evil, it’s not communism, it’s how we – humans evolved from and part of the primate family – are built to live. We are built to be social. We are built to live in a family, village structure.

  9. Conny Kavela December 2, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Love it!

  10. Satya Danu December 2, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Mandi your awesome thank you so well written smooch!

    • idnami December 3, 2011 at 12:29 am #

      Thanks Satya! Smooch back!

  11. Kal Schroeder December 2, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    Mandi,

    I very much appreciate your comments and based both on what you posted above as well as what I observed on the occupy Calgary facebook page you have a balanced approach to what is wanting to be accomplished.

    Absolutely I’ve complained about the government. Its a privilege of living in a democratic society. That said, I do take issue with much of the rhetoric about government pandering or catering to corporate interests. I very much live a corporate existence. Work for a large company (one that many in the occupy movement finds distasteful), actively invest in the stock market (have taken loses along with gains), have nice homes (that are taxed accordingly), support all the fundamental tenants of capitalism (and realize its by no means perfect) and shy of hitting the arbitrary annual salary of $355,000 (as defined by one of the more vocal occupy Calgary FB participants) I would likely be described as being part of the 1%. Coming from that side of the fence I can say with absolute certainty that no, governments do not always follow corporate interests. There are endless financial, environmental and other regulatory hoops and hurdles that must be adhered to as part of the regular course of business. I’m not suggesting its a bad thing as unchecked ALL human behavior tends to run amok. Be in individuals & corporations through laws and governments through elections everyone needs the occasional reminder to keep in line.

    Without doubt we’re still a “I want to have stuff” driven society but I believe that’s also part of our DNA. I’m sure when the first cave men were scampering about one looked into an another one’s cave and when he saw the other guy had a comfy looking rock to lean against after a hard day hunting dinosaurs (my apologies to the creationists) he quickly went out and got a rock of his own. Doesn’t mean we can’t do better and the most recent debt and credit crisis has reminded us all to focus on what’s important. But that motivation to improve quickly gets stomped out when groups like adbusters advocates the occupying or boycotting of Christmas. Positive messages for change aren’t at all well received when they’re perceived as petulant and preachy.

    Personally, the past four years have been something of a transition for me and I’ve done a lot of things to, as you describe, to have more compassion and consciousness for the community around me. Of course I can still do better but I sincerely believe I’m contributing. Many of the people the occupy movement rail against behave likewise. I can’t think of any large corporation that doesn’t have a very active philanthropic program both at the organizational and employee levels. People and companies are giving back and when groups like occupy do nothing but criticize and demean they’re comments are quickly shut out.

    In closing I did find your “Haters, we need you as much as anybody” comment amusing. I enjoyed reading some of what was posted on the occupy Calgary facebook page and sincerely thought I provided some healthy suggestions on what would make your movement more acceptable by the mainstream. Yes I asked some pointed questions, mainly to Anthony Hall, but don’t believe for one moment my behavior could be described as being a “hater”. So I have to say I was rather surprised when without explanation my membership in that facebook group was revoked. What is less surprising that when I emailed the admins I didn’t receive a response. It certainly seems that within occupy, at least in that venue, diversity and inclusion are merely lip service.

    • idnami December 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks Kal.
      For me it’s never really been about railing against anything. Consumerism has always seriously bugged me and it is really nice to be able to say so as part of a larger voice. I honestly think it is irresponsible. I live the way I’d like to see more people live: relatively simply. I don’t altogether agree that wanting more stuff all the time is necessarily genetic, but “thou shalt not covet” is a pretty old idea so you may have a point.
      Man I find myself talking bible a lot since I’ve been involved in this thing. I’m not even a Christian!
      I also work for a large corporation, one I find distasteful myself. I’m working on finding a new job but self sufficiency is paramount for me. I did say that not all corporations are unethical and not all members of government are in their pockets. However, this movement began as a result of corporate crime. So that’s my focus. However that crime takes a lot of different forms from wrecking the environment to cheating the consumer. And sometimes philanthropic programs are motivated by genuine caring and sometimes they are a smoke screen… but I do believe they are ALWAYS a tax write off.
      About the 1%… You aren’t. They are the obscenely wealthy untouchables. Not all of them are bad people, but the ones who are bad can get away with anything. This is a problem.
      I can’t comment as to why you got kicked out of the OC FB group. I’m not an admin and I think some of them do have an itchy trigger finger at times. Here on this blog I don’t ban anyone. I’ve deleted about 25 out of over 500 comments for just being plain unhelpful bullshit. I totally welcome disagreement and all but it needs to be at least a little constructive. Around here, I just clean up the poop. And for the most part the haters kind of amuse me. As time goes on I have watched them become less hateful and more constructive. Instead of raging about unwashed hippies they say “Ok! Ok! You have some good ideas but you are messing them up!” And I totally agree. We ARE messing them up. I say right there in my post that we occupiers as people are probably least qualified to do the job, we are just the only ones who care to so far. So Kal, I’m interested in YOUR ideas. Not that I’m calling you a hater. You don’t seem like one to me and I appreciate your interest and detailed comment.
      I’m honestly looking forward to the time when we aren’t distracted by the camp and can get down to business actually being the change we say we want to be.

  12. Marcus Arseneault December 2, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    This post is a monument of what is truly needing to be said. This is what the movement is all about! I think a lot of people though they may not realize it, these corps. and levels of gov. are unsuitable for today’s needs of survival. They know it themselves, but just don’t want to admit it. So whether you are a “Supporter” or “Not” you’ll realize things need to change to better serve the community as a whole.

    • Ian W December 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

      Nice comment Marcus. But its not always the corporation who are the greedy liars. Sometimes its the people, even some of the 99%, who are greedy.

      And liars.

      And manipulators.

      And tell half truths.

      And break the law.

      Sometimes.

      Know what I mean……

      • idnami December 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

        Yes. It is human beings who support and participate in corruption, human rights abuses and basic dickery. If we could all stop being mean, snarky, nasty and self righteous for 5 minutes MAYBE we could actually get to work creating equality and justice for all people. But some of us REALLY just like to argue and point fingers.
        Know what I mean?

      • Mike Honcho December 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

        Hey Mandi, good post. I’m starting to fade out myself with all the negativity going around. This is about the only forum left where I think there’s a genuine healthy trading of conversation between guys like Kal and myself (my personal situation sounds alot like Kal’s) and the real Occupy movement. Like Kal, I spent most of my 20’s and mid-30’s just trying to get ahead and then one day I realized, hey, I’m doing better than most of the people in this city. And maybe it came with security or maybe it came with age, but I also at that point became alot more conscious of the world and community around me. I’ve often told my wife I’ll leave enough around for my kids to be secure but not spoiled and I’m pulling a Bill Gates with the rest and it’ll go to charities. That being said, again, it’s disappointing to see the venom from both ends. I see Scott Roy and Cory Morgan wasting energies twittering snippy remarks back and forth. Particularly disappointed a bit in Scott, who I figured was pretty reasonable, making a twitter remark essentially celebrating the letting go of 20 reporters from the Calgary Sun. Hey, the Sun’s a rag, I agree, but those are people with families losing their jobs just prior to Christmas and that’s nothing to take any joy in. This whole physical occupation to me has brought out the worst in people from both sides and I really hope it ends. I really take my hats off to you Mandi and have a ton of respect, you’ve never wavered from your ideals to encourage real change and conversation. To be honest, given some of your replies here, I’m surprised you haven’t taken a ton of flack from some of the more radical elements in the movement. Keep doing what your doing because I truly believe this city is made up more of people like Kal and myself, who are doing quite well financially but also have a real social conscious and desire to make this world a better place when we leave then spoiled Paris Hilton types. And I appreciate being held accountable to keep on thinking at a higher social level by engaging in discussion with you Mandi. Seriously, your mom should be proud.

        • idnami December 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

          Awww Mike, Thank you! That brought a smile to my face after a seriously exhausting night at work. It is REALLY nice to be respected and taken seriously.
          Bill Gates is my 1% hero, proof that money doesn’t have to lead to greed and corruption. I love that guy.
          I did sort of intend this place to be THE forum of discussion and engagement with the rest of the public when I started it. I had a personal blog several years ago and a following of about 15-20 readers that acted as a discussion forum as well. I’d get 60 comments on one post sometimes and a lot of ideas got developed there. I thought, well if no one wants to go shiver at OP talking to a handful of campers, I’m happy to host them all here.
          I do think sometimes that I’m one of the only people who actually gets that in order to make this work we have got to make it inclusive and welcoming for everybody… or most people anyway. Heck even Cory Morgan’s wife joined our FB group for a bit after debating visiting this blog. Of course she only came because I wrote a post chastizing CM. A lot of people went out of their way to make her feel unwelcome on the FB group. She even said sometrhing to the effect of, “Guys, I’m more supportive than you think, but you aren’t representing yourselves well at all.” Some of us worked on engaging her in actual discussion of economic issues because I for one thought having a member of the Wild Rose party’s brain to pick was a fantastic opportunity. And you know what? We learned something.
          As for the campers, it doesn’t look like they are leaving anytime soon. http://www.calgaryherald.com/​news/calgary/​Occupy+Calgary+Judge+lets+campe​rs+stay+Olympic+Plaza+time+bei​ng/5804983/story.html
          The radicals and I definitely have our differences and I (very skillfully!) defused an argument with one of them when I visited OP the other day. He told me that the internet is no way to engage people and that face-to-face conversation was the best way. I said, “when you get all million some-odd Calgarians down here and actually manage to speak to them in a language they can understand, I may admit you are right. Meanwhile let’s all do the jobs we are best at, shall we?”
          I also think most of the radicals don’t read this blog, at least not my essay length comments! They are too busy mudslinging on FB. They know that they have one good writer sticking up for their ideas and that’s all they mostly care about.
          I am sorry to hear that about the Sun reporters. I actually talked to one of them (I don’t know if he was one of the ones let go) the night of the bylaw raid. Journalism isn’t an easy field from what I gather.
          My mom IS proud. I sent a copy of my FFWD article to her when my sis went back to visit a week or so ago. I spoke to her and my uncle and he said they are hoping to get the story reprinted in one of their local papers! My stepdad thinks the whole movement is a shitshow and doesn’t understand why I would waste my brain on it. This is the same guy who has repeatedly complained to me about the corruption in the BC government that is generating poverty! He and my mom both work in health care and have been hit hard by cuts. Oh well. He’ll get it sometime.
          Mike, Kal, everyone… we NEED you, if only to challenge us to be better. I’m proud and pleased to have you here. Stay tuned!

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