By: Paula Monroy
November 12, 2011 – Place des Peuples
With the sun hiding behind rain clouds, security and itinerants were addressed in discussion groups prior to the GA. Among what was said, it was pointed that more people need to volunteer in the security team and receive non-violent intervention training. Contrary to what the city suggests, itinerant individuals are not the source of violence in the camp, they are also part of the community. In addition, social workers will be contacted and, finally, security is responsibility of everyone.
The Whole World is Watching: Solidarity with Occupy Halifax
“The Canadian Civil Liberties Association made a statement yesterday at midnight, worried about the reaction of the Halifax Municipality toward the occupation.” shared Angèle, an activist from Halifax, to the GA. The reason being the dismantling by police of Occupy Halifax on November 11, which resulted in shoulder dislocations and concussions of participants when making a human chain. Their personal belongings were thrown in the public garbage by police, she informed.
Angèle asked the GA to evaluate the situation for they have plans on starting a national concern, she asked “What does what happened in Halifax mean for the rest of the occupations?” The GA divided in small groups to come up with strategies.
Preventative initiatives were made. One of them is to start an online petition in support of Occupy Montreal – thus protecting it from being evicted by the city authorities. Another idea is to “have telephone and text lists of associations to contact them if we need help”, as group four explained.
Discussions concluded with the creation of an intervention team spread in other occupations in Canada. It aims to help occupations that might be in threat, “we are fighting for peace, so any shock action has to be pacifist” said Joel, representing group six before the proposal was accepted. The first intervention will be in solidarity of Occupy Nova Scotia, but the group has to be formed and organized first.
The talking stick
It is calculated that around 300 people are camping in the square, but an average of 75 participate in the GAs.
“I propose there should always be a discussion group parallel to the GAs with the talking stick, where everyone shares their experiences, frustrations, etcetera.” said Sara, high school student and activist.
The talking stick is used to impart democracy in a talking group, allowing everyone have a say regardless of the timidity of some participants. The stick is passed from person to person, and only the one holding it can speak.
She added, “It should always be open, encouraging that every working committee should do it. Those who don’t like how the GAs work can join the talking stick.”
The proposal was accepted, of course.
Discussions with the city continue
According to recent updates on the issue, the city is okay with the occupation as long as security and salubrity are prioritized.
After the GA, the walk of indignation began. It’s been one month since October 15, one month.