Hey rebellions, seeing that a similar communiqué I wrote for the G20 was so popular, I decided to write another one specifically for the Occupy Toronto occupation. So there is a communique of all things you need to know before hitting the streets this morning!
First, I want to acknowledge that this Occupy Toronto demonstration is already occurring on occupied land -- occupied for over 400 years. And the Toronto occupation itself is happening on Mississauga of the New Credit Land. For more information about activism, colonialization and the Occupy movement, please see this site: Occupy(ed) Canada.
That way, you'll be more awesome as an activist! I myself like to acknowledge which territory I'm on at every demo because it helps ground me to do my work in a good way.
As you know, the Toronto occupation starts Saturday morning at 10 a.m., where *organizers* are asking people to gather at the rallying point of King Street and Bay Street -- the heart of Canada's financial district and the belly of Canada's capitalist beast.
Please note that the organizers of this occupation are you and me! and decisions are made by general assembly which will now meet at least once a day. Decisions are made by the people participating in the Occupy action (not just those sleeping there, but everyone who lends a hand) through consensus. Keep listening for announcements as to what time the general assemblies will take place, the location will be the HQ. Here is a little informational video for those not familiar with the process or the hand signals used in the People's Mic process. It's a must-watch for newcomers. It should also be noted that because of the general assembly method of decision-making, the mainstream media has incorrectly declared that this to be a "leaderless" movement, because they can't understand that we are all involved in the decision-making process.
The 10 a.m. location is of course just the rallying point, not the final destination. Some people -- especially the cops and the state -- are pretty pissed off that the organizers did not reveal the location of the occupation HQ in advance of today's date. The reason for this has less to do with conspiracy theory and more to do with tactical and logistical smarts.
You see, if we gave away the uber-important location of where we are planning on locking down our HQ it's likely the police would try and get there first and block us off at the pass. So yes, you're right, all you astute readers who keep tweeting asking for a location, there isn't one announced yet. Just come rally with the rest of us at the corner of King and Bay, 130 King Street West.
Now, I'm getting ahead of myself so first I have to note that rabble.ca or myself cannot be held responsible for free-thinking activists and what they freely chose to do with this free information.
So feel free to use what's written here as a tool. The more you know, the less you'll be overwhelmed when on the street and the less the police can intimidate you.
If you ever feel overwhelmed or confused at a demonstration, please reach out and talk to someone who looks like they know what they are doing/what's going on. We're here to help each other!
Some good sites for information to keep in mind!
rabble.ca's Occupy special issue page
Map of Toronto (the police might -- in fact, they probably will -- shut the TTC down, so here's a map to help you walk around or get your bearings
1: Background information
If you're looking for some background information on the whole Occupy movement thing, how it started and what's happening now, check out this communiqué which gives the origins of the Occupy movement and how a Canadian media/activist group called Adbusters first spread the call out to Occupy Wall Street demanding corporate accountability and a challenge to capitalism and how...well, New Yorkers picked up the call and on September 15, 2010, they literally occupied wall street -- still ongoing on Day 28!
Here is a link to the communiqué: Activist Communiqué: Occupy movement backgrounder for Canadians
So that said, Occupy Canada was born (or the concept returned here) and at least 15 cities have agreed to all start their occupations on Saturday, October 15, 2011.
Please check out this communiqué to find the other city involved and tell your friends. I would publish the whole list of cities here, but I simply don't have room for all that awesomeness! Activist Communiqué: The Occupy Canada movement -- info and city directory
You can also check out the site Occupy Together for information on international occupations. Please see this link!
For a printable version of Occupy Canada info, please download the Occupy rabble rouser paper here and print yourself off a copy and maybe one to share.
2: Legal Numbers and Information
Please write this legal number down in permanent ink somewhere on your person: 416-833-6137. This is for arrests and police incidents only. Also note there will be teams on the ground for any questions.
3: Suggestions on what to bring/what not to bring to a demonstration.
Let's start with the easy stuff first...
What not to bring (just a list of possible suggestions)
1: A bad attitude
2: Knives, guns, weapons
3: Drugs or drug paraphernalia
4: Flip Flops ("trying running for your life in flip flops") or clogs (ditto)
5: Journals or notebooks with sensitive activist material
6: Some activists suggest not to bring ID with you to a demonstration
7: Anything really expensive
8: Your dog (actually, any pet; leave them to guard your own personal HQ. My hamster has been given his orders.)
9: Cigarettes (sorry, I'm against smoking so I had to throw that in there! My personal crusade!)
10: Anything really heavy (unless you want to lug it around all day)
What to bring (just a list of possible suggestions)
1: Your kick-ass amazing self
2: Your kick-ass amazing attitude
3: A camera (digital or film) to record the action for yourself; also useful to record questionable actions by the police. Please bring a bag to keep the camera from the rain.
4: Sensible shoes (not too heavy, not too flexible)
5: Change of clothes, or at least a change of socks -- cuz you might get wet, love mom.
6: Some activists suggest bringing one piece of legal government ID to a demonstration.
7: Some activists suggest bringing a pair of swimming goggles to the demonstration to protect your eyes from police deployed chemical weapons (pepper spray/tear gas/CS gas). Don't cheap on the $5 kind, you want to be able to create a secure air tight seal around your eyes to prevent exposure to chemical weapons. Please note that our medics have the appropriate solution necessary to help cope with chemical weapon injuries. If you'd like to donate some, please get the liquid suspension Maalox and not the tablet form ... which is about as helpful as a puck to the eye.
8: Some activists suggest a bandana or some other cloth to cover your nose and mouth to protect your breathing from police deployed chemical weapons (pepper spray/tear gas/CS gas). Some activists suggest soaking the bandana in malt vinegar to help take the sting off breathing in the chemical weapons.
9: Clear bottle of water (clear so everyone can see it's just water).
10: Something you eat and share (Trust me, the revolution is gonna make you hungry so you're gonna need something you can quickly jam down your pie hole because if the situation on the streets gets hairy, all the snack shops might be closed). There will be food provided for demonstrators, but how much, I'm not sure. All non-perishable donations are welcome. I welcome pie.
12: Some sort of rain gear.
13: A phone charger or camera battery charger
*14: If you're planning on partaking in the overnight occupation part, I suggest you bring appropriate sleeping gear for this weather. I can suggest that you also bring tarps and rope, but we are still unsure whether or not we will be allowed to use them. Looking at the experience from other cities, the police have torn them down or forbidden tarps to go up.
4: Who you might see on the streets
1: Your buddy (bring one or find one at the convergence space, swap phone numbers and pre-arrange a meeting location if separated)
2: Your affinity group. A group of roughly 5-7 people who are in tactical agreement with each other regarding demonstrations
3: Your people (members of the group from the issue you're representing)
4: The police (do NOT talk to these people)
5: Undercover cops and agent provocateurs (do NOT talk to these people)
6: Police horses and police dogs (this is not a petting zoo)
7: Private security guards
8: Street medics
9: Legal observers
10: Mainstream media
11: Alternative media (yay!)
Here is a map of the downtown core. Our financial district -- considered the financial district for all of Canada has its heart at King and Bay street -- which is our rallying point for Saturday morning!
Well, that's all for now. Just one last thing before I see you at 10 a.m. at the corner of King and Bay: YOU'RE AWESOME!
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