Occupied Ottawa (formerly Occupy Ottawa) activists return to Confederation Park on Monday to celebrate the movement’s one year anniversary with art, performance, music, speeches and educational workshops. Occupied Ottawa, a part of the global grassroots Occupy movement against economic disparity and social injustice, “occupied” the park from October 15, 2011, until its eviction on November 23, 2011. The celebration starts at 12pm.
“This October 15th, marking one year after we Occupied Ottawa, we celebrate the anniversary of the global revolution,” reads a message posted on Occupied Ottawa’s Facebook event page. “Through Tunisia and Egypt to the Arab Spring, through Spain and Greece to the European Summer, the whole world was watching when Occupy Wall Street began on Sept. 17th 2011. Then, on Oct 15th, we Occupied 1500 cities in 80 countries, in the beginning of the Global Fall. And with the Union-driven global May Day actions and the Maple Spring of the Quebec’s students’ strikes, the revolution continues to take new forms.”
The activists will host events and workshops highlighting what the Occupy movement has meant to them in the past year. Ottawans, progressives and non-Occupy activists are encouraged to attend the celebration and share their experiences and ideas through workshops, art and performances.
“People are encouraged to come and create their own events and workshops,” said Occupied Ottawa activist Joe Cowen. “All events and workshops are organized by those wishing to participate and or hold an event or workshop.”
“Bring your art. Bring your music. Bring your food. Hold a workshop, make a speech, or just come out and have fun! Come celebrate with us and show us what this revolution means to you!” the movement’s Facebook call-out says.
Cowen will host an “Occupy Talk and Listening Circle” at 1pm and 8pm. Fellow activist Heather Bostelaar will host a anti-oppression workshop and talk at 2pm and 7pm. At 9pm, the activists will embark on “a walk and chalk this town” march through the city.
Ottawa and Toronto are two of the several Canadian cities participating in the first anniversary of the Occupy movement in Canada. The Occupy Toronto Movement will celebrate the anniversary with a party on St. James Park.
“We lived in St. James Park for 40 days, built a community, part of a global community, and we were transformed,” the Occupy Toronto Movement said in a message posted on its website. “We saw the impact of austerity, as poor people gathered in the park to share food and stories of strife. Workers talked about how wage cuts, loss of benefits, and unemployment were impacting their lives. Indigenous peoples shared a sacred fire and openly spoke about the scars of residential schools, the loss and destruction of their land and the impact on communities throughout the country. Immigrant peoples detailed how precarious their status is and how Harper’s policies keep families separated and workers grossly underpaid. Through all these conversations, we talked about how the current political and economic system marginalizes and exploits people and keeps us separated. In the park, we found each other and began to build a movement for change.”
On September 17, Occupy Canada celebrated Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary with “Take Canada Back” events in more than 20 major cities across the country.
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