Why we ought to occupy

This is an offering to the world, on why we occupy, by James Jesso, Evangelos Lambrinoudis II and myself — autonomous individuals — speaking on our own behalf. This is NOT, in any way shape or form, an official statement from Occupy Calgary itself. Occupy Calgary expresses itself through the myriad of voices that comprise it. It speaks for itself. As participants, occupants, individuals, and authors of this offering, we speak for ourselves. Our offering speaks for itself too.

Courtesy: Chelsea Pratchett. People left to right: Evangelos, Remi, James.

Occupants of Calgary, of Canada, of the world, this is our offering to you.

We wrote this piece with the help of several other individuals. Thank you immensely.

We have come united as autonomous participants of the occupation of Calgary — in solidarity with the multitude of international occupy movements, and with deep respect to the indigenous lands on which we stand — to create the conditions necessary to give birth, incubate and bring into the public eye a conversation. A conversation that is essential in awakening Canadians to the storm that encircles us all, and realizing our potential for a better world. We are intimately linked to the crises manifesting both home and abroad, and out of apathy or lack of awareness we have failed to responsibly address this for far too long.

We, Occupy Calgary, want change.

We want a Canada that is not looking down the barrel of the same economic rifle that has already fired on the United States. Where the fiat currency with which we currently operate — a currency with a value based solely upon government regulation and law — and the fractional reserve banking system through which it operates, where the required reserves are defined as “nil” by the Bank of Canada Act section 457 (4), are brought to an end. Where the Canadian government is no longer allowed to borrow from Chartered banks money those banks don’t actually have, and where the majority of our taxes are no longer used to pay for the interest accrued on those loans, but are used to fund services that better our quality of life. Where our currency is based on tangibilities, not on illusionary abstractions monopolized upon by greed within a corrupt system.

We want an Alberta that grows its wheat, raises its cattle, cuts its timber and pumps its oil in a manner that is sustainable and to the benefit of the land and to every person, not to the benefit of corporations abroad. Where the debt per capita does not double in the next decade, as it had in the past ten years. Where we are no longer blocked by red tape — created in the interests of corporate monopolization — from exploring and utilizing sustainable alternative sources of energy and methods of resource extraction.

We want an accountable government — one that understands that there are consequences to its actions. A government whose intentions are to progress human welfare, not to seek profit or international prestige.

Liberated from the Calgary Herald

We want an end to a system that allows political parties to be corrupted by the tens of thousands of millions of dollars given publicly and secretly by corporations as campaign donations every election. Where a wealthy few no longer hold power over our government. Where politicians can no longer obtain sweeping power through just 24 per cent of eligible voters, as our present Conservative majority has done. Where economic power cannot buy political power. Where every single person is given the democratic representation they deserve, not a representation based on mob rule of the majority, wealth, status or connection.

We want a government that is transparent. where senators and supreme court judges are democratically elected not appointed. Where there are no closed doors. Where empathy is the official policy both home and abroad, taking seriously the duty of international amnesty, not furthering global conflicts.

We want to see a justice system that is not based on punishment and revenge, as the Conservative government is presently reinforcing, but is based on principles of restoration. Where no law can be legislated that shall deny us our human dignity or capacity for radical self-governance.

We want a healthcare system based on healing, not on the perpetuation of illness for the sake capital gain.

We want a Canada where the voice of the indigenous peoples — on whose land we occupy — are no longer ignored; rather they are given the dignity, respect, and acknowledgement they deserve. Where we respect the many ways of knowing.

Liberated from the Vancouver Sun

We want a government, society, culture and economy that thrives in its connection to the land we live with. Where we no longer exploit our resources in an unsustainable fashion but respect them for the lifeblood they are. Where we respect sacred geography. Where our food and water-supply is no longer poisoned by corporate profit-seeking and monopolization. Where mono-cropping is a thing of the past and we respect the boundaries of nature and all things within it. Where we no longer trample entire ecosystems. Where our system of exchange no longer embodies the logic of a cancer cell.

We want a media that delivers information honestly, no longer filtering it through the lens of corporate or political agendas.

We want a society and culture that encourages relationships that result less frequently in divorce, as 70,000 do in Canada every year. Where our communities are no longer under the constant threat of fragmentation. Where people are not condemned to the streets because they had no where else to go.

We want to cultivate in our brothers, sisters and most importantly in our children, the power of creativity, curiosity and forward thinking.

We want a world where housing, healthcare and education are universal human rights, and nobody goes hungry.

We are at a pivotal point in time as a species embedded within a living planet. Collectively we are facing the mass extinction of ecological life and of the multitude of cultures that once diversified the globe. It is in the face of this crisis that we are opening our eyes to our vast potential and interconnectedness to one another and to the planet. We are awakening to a self-awareness — long termed enlightenment — that can now be recognized as a universal human capability at this possible turning point in our history.

Liberated from the Metro

As technology enables an instant connection to each other and to information, we have begun to evolve out of an obsolete paradigm and into an integral understanding of the universality that exists across humanity’s vast story of cosmologies and cultures. A recognition that redefines our connections to each other into a new paradigm of inclusiveness — where mutual humanity transcends the archaic values that judged on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation and other facets of who we are, which we are now coming to see are reason for celebration.

We are here to give birth to a system that reflects the human values of compassion and mutual development within and without. The established values of seeking profit above all else, at the sake of not only the resources and integrity of our planet, but also the integrity of our bodies and our communities are outdated and unwanted. We want a world of co-independent communities and not the metropolis of consumption that is devouring the essential human spirit.

We are autonomous people participating in Occupy Calgary. This has been our offering to you. We would like to invite you to join in this conversation.

… [E.L., J.J., R.W., et al.]

7 thoughts on “Why we ought to occupy

    • Remi Watts says:

      Reading through the document properly reveals that it does not propose an end to all taxation and borrowing, rather, it proposes an end to the broken system of taxation and borrowing that is currently the standard in our society. Furthermore, it is incredibly unimaginative of you to think that there is nothing beyond our present way of life. If we can successfully close this chapter of history, then we will be truly blessed with an intense plurality of possibilities. However, right now the critical task is to involve as many voices as possible — voices of support, voices of disagreement, voices that have never been heard — all voices. Everybody has a say in our mutual future — all people deserve a say in it. It is only then that we can step beyond our outmoded ways and begin to ‘distill the dream,’ as it were.

  1. albertaaltruist says:

    Well written article, but a little low in fact. The government of which you speak is an elected government. Chosen not by corporate greed or the elite you despise, rather the 60% of Canadians that took their constitutional right to head down to the polls and vote. We have the systems in place to do all you speak of and it is done democratically, if you ever choose to look into how a government is formed. If we, collectively as you put it, do not like the way the current government is doing business on our behalf then vote them out. This is your right. You are using your right to assemble on property that is paid for by this system.
    If you the entitled, want to make a change in the system, work within the system as your campout has done little more than annoy the hardworking people in our city. Calgary, Alberta, and Canada for that matter is in one of the best ecomnomic positions around the globe. I am proud of this city, province, and country in which we live. When you look around the world at other countries, we have universal healthcare, education, and social programs that exceed much of the OECD. I am sure those in the third world countries look at your plight and take pity. While they have no food, shelter, medical system, education sytem, social safety net, or simply the right to assemble which you have chosen to do.
    I believe that in this great country we have created a culture of entitlement. A spoiled generation of the entitled, that demand more out of the society that supports them. A feeling that corporations that employ and provide countless jobs are bad.So as you sit on your cell phones and computers (which were built by corporations), sipping your Starbucks Lattes (yes another corporation) think of how truly blessed you are to live in such a great place.

    • Adrienne says:

      Indeed, 61% of Canadians voted in the last federal election but only 39.6% of those voted Conservative and yet the Conservatives now hold a “majority” government – that’s not democracy. It’s a broken system. Learn more about the problems with First Past the Post at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo
      And so long as we’re talking about the OECD, here are some of the OECD’s findings: “Inequality of household earnings in Canada has increased more significantly over the last decade than in any other country, and overall income inequality is highest in the United States, Mexico and Turkey.”
      Canadians AND Americans are having to retire much later than planned these days and in many cases, it’s because they’ve lost all (or a good portion) of their investments. Both Canadians and Americans have lost their homes through foreclosure or having to sell at a loss because of the economy tanking – I know because I lost mine too. The banks in BOTH Canada and the States got bailouts paid for by taxpayers — but what did we, regular people, get? Nothing.
      The Occupy movement is speaking to serious inequalities created by a broken system. These demonstrators have a right to bring these issues to light. So let’s start talking about the real issues here and stop attacking the demonstrators and picking their words apart.

    • Remi Watts says:

      I appreciate the response, albertaaltruist.

      I would like to point out that large amounts of research were in fact done for this document. We heavily referenced stats Canada and other scholarly resources. We did not leave anything to hearsay.

      I do not contend that the government is indeed elected, but, as the document clearly states, only 24 per cent of eligible voters were required to install a majority government over the rest of the populace. If 76 per cent of people did not choose our current government, then it shows that we cannot collectively, change the government, as you say we can. That should be unsettling for anyone who believes that democracy means government of the people, for the people.

      You mention that the system is paying for the park on which we camp. However, the system has never paid the aboriginal peoples for occupying their land, and in fact, has denied that the land is in fact aboriginal land at all (refer to info on treaty 7 for clarification). Additionally, why has our system spent so much money on all sorts of beautification projects and whatnot, yet barely gives pocket change to consider or assist the huge, and growing, number of people who are condemned to stay between the cracks.

      History has show that change does not come from within the system itself — change can only come from outside it.

      Calgary has the APPEARANCE of stability and success. Look underneath Calgary. Look outside Calgary. We have built ourselves nice buildings and good walkways ect.
      But in doing so we have swept numerous peoples within our own city under the rug, and we have raped, and I use the word rape in all its disturbingness, raped the land outside of the city. I grew in rural Alberta and worked pipeline to pay for university. We have torn apart the land, fragmented communities and destroyed countless lives of humans, animals and plants. The wealth of Alberta’s countryside has been raped to the benefit of a handful of Calgarians and business people abroad. Visit a rural town. Visit a reserve. Engage yourself with the world and the world will tell you that she has been severely damaged.

      Finally, I’m curious as to why you accuse myself of being ‘entitled.’ I recognize myself as being privileged — I’ve always managed to find well-paying jobs and have had the opportunity to go to University. But it is that privilege, the opportunities I have had, that have enabled me to be a voice in this movement, and has given me the resources to help give others a voice of their own too. Yes I have a computer, and while I don’t personally go to Starbucks I really don’t care if others do. But we are not against the having goods. We occupants are forced to operate within this system — there are too few viable alternatives to corporations, and I assure you, we who have woken-up do the best we can to find and utilize those alternatives. Also, if you think we occupants don’t work hard, then you haven’t actually met any of us. The way you describe things shows that you are with us but have failed to even realize it. We too are sick of people going through life, using their cellphones and sipping their overpriced coffee, without questioning what they’re doing. The average person isn’t conscious of anything anymore. You’ve chosen to call these people ‘entitled,’ I suggest we call them ‘disengaged.’
      If I am entitled in any way, shape or form, then I am entitled to my own radical
      self-governance, which has been denied by our system.

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