Occupy Lanark County: Newest Canadian Occupy Movement to Hold First General Assembly

As the Occupy Ottawa website reported earlier, on Sunday, December 11, 2011, more than 100 people packed O’Reilly’s Pub in Perth to hear speakers from the Occupy Ottawa movement talk about their collective and personal experiences. With this visit, dubbed Meet The Occupation, Canada’s newest Occupy movement was born. Following the visit, a group of facilitators created a new Facebook Page, posters, fliers and other resources. Next Sunday, January 22, Occupy Lanark County will hold its General Assembly (GA).

“After the great response to the Meet The Occupation event from the community of Perth, we have decided to try to legitimize the movement in Lanark County by creating Lanark’s first General Assembly (GA),” said Joe Cowen, a Perth native and co-facilitator of Occupy Lanark County.

General Assembly Details:
What: Occupy Lanark General Assembly
When: Sunday, January 22, 2012: 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Where: Code’s Mill Atrium, 17 Wilson St. East, Perth, ON
Facebook Page: Occupy Lanark County
Facebook Event: 1st Occupy Lanark County General Assembly

About Occupy Lanark County:

Occupy Lanark County is a peaceful, vibrant, grassroots and diverse movement committed to spreading Occupy Direct Democracy, which now exists in more than a thousand cities worldwide, to our rural and small town communities. We are farmers, students, professionals, parents, retired and unemployed workers and many others. We share a concern about the unfair and increasing gap in wealth and power in Canada and around the world between the uber rich and the rest of us. This level of inequality, and the suffering it causes, can no longer be tolerated.

Last Sunday, the facilitators met and created a facilitation working group and a direct action working group. If approved by the General Assembly, the two groups will “control the order of conduct for the General Assembly and will adopt aspects of facilitation taught to us by other Occupy movements such as Occupy Ottawa and Occupy Wall street.”

Next Sunday’s General Assembly is also expected to identify key issues and set up official committees.

“We’ll have a large chalk board for everyone’s input and ideas during a brainstorm about issues we want to work on,” said Sulyn Cedar, a co-facilitator who works and plays in Lanark County.

“We will be looking to create a safe space for all voices to be heard (in part through progressive stacking),” said Cowen. “We will be using The Peoples Mic and basic hand signals. For newcomers, all of these aspects will be explained at the Assembly.”

Occupy Lanark’s proposed committees include:

  1. Facilitation: Organizing and structuring our GAs so everyone has a chance to be heard. Planning agendas based on announcements and proposals brought forth by working groups.
  2. Direct Action: Create events related to issues of importance to Occupy members such as marches, protests, mic checks and other such direct actions.
  3. Legal: Work to understand legal aspects of certain actions and collect info and a line of communication for those that may get arrested at certain protests.
  4. Media: Web page creation and maintanance. Create communication and training for active members who have to deal with mainstream media and interviews. Create our own media.
  5. Safety: Teach people how to keep each other and surroundings safe within our direct actions and General Assemblies.
  6. Outreach: Creating ways to get new members and communities involved. Eg. Meet The Occupation.
  7. Political Communication: Create a formal dialogue with our current government and representitives.

Occupy Lanark County Poster by: Bastou Bacharach

Below is the definitive Occupy Wall Street training video Occupy Lanark recently posted on its Facebook Page to prepare the participants for the General Assembly.

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    • I absolutely agree with you, Terry. In Canada, the Occupy Movement has not been as widespread and deep as in the US. But the movement did get Canadians talking about the issues the politicians and corporate media seem determined to suppress – poverty, exploitation of Canadian workers, etc. As we head in to the season of austerity budgets, I fear that the narratives of hundreds of thousands of Canadians losing jobs, working more for less and struggling to meet basic needs will not get the publicity it deserves. And I wonder whether the Occupy movement in Canada shouldn’t re-occupy, speak out/protest more, boycott the corporate media and create it’s own media?

    • Kathryn, I absolutely agree with you. The movement actually needs more input from the members of the “silver haired folk”. They have experienced, seen, more than we have. After all inclusiveness is part of the Movement’s cornerstones. As an activist with Occupy Ottawa, I immensely enjoyed spending time with the youthful crowd before we were booted out of Confederation Park. Then there were moments members of the “silver haired folk” would stopped by to drop off donations or chat. One shared her experiences with the 60s civil rights movement. On a recent visit to Perth, I chatted for 10 minutes with a senior citizen who came out to hear us share our experiences in Ottawa. These moments enriched me at the personal level more than I could ever imagine.