Archive for News

Defend Our Coast, Effective Protest? Perhaps Not. Lets Talk About It

Posted in Activism, Blogging, Canada, Economy, Environment, Food For Thought, Justice, News, Politics, Social Justice, Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by animal_static

This is my third post regarding the Defend Our Coast action that took place this past October in Victoria BC.  Time is a funny beast and when it gets mixed up with our notoriously fickle human brains there is a tendency to produce nostalgia or arbitrary associations with past events.  So lets recap shall we?

Very briefly,  the Defend Our Coast event was a direct action located on the legislature grounds in Victoria B.C. with the intention of giving voice to the many people who are directly opposed to the expansion of the oil and gas industry in Canada and more particularly in B.C.  Criticisms were most directly aimed at corporate and fed/prov. governments who are engaging in some pillow talk on how to best get the much contested Enbridge pipeline project put in place.  There were a number of concerns put forward including health for the present and future generations, political corruption, first nations rights, environmental issues, and several other talking points.  The direct action which included “the possibility of arrest” involved the staking of a black fabric picket the length of an oil tanker (235 meters if I am not mistaken) on the legislature grounds.  The arrestability of this seeming offense is up in the air at this point with organizers citing laws prohibiting the erection of such a structure and questioned police not really being aware of such a law.  So what we are left with is the suspicion of some publicity generation on the part of the organizers though we can’t really speak to the intentionality of this action at this point.  The end result was no arrests on the ground though the police have been reported for poaching off site protesters in such a way as to infringe on search and seizure rights mentioned in the earlier posts.  No one really expects much else from the police do they?  Nothing shocking here.

There is some valid criticism out there that this was a largely symbolic event which is often the case when this kind of action is lead by environmental NGO’s.  Well actually, there is always an open possibility for good intentions to translate into a lot of shouting and back patting with little actual “action” no matter who runs the show.  I was talking to someone about this who made the valid point that events like this are the bread and butter for NGO’s who success if often linked to the visibility of their profile and the number of supporters they can claim.  An event like the one that we were just talking about had thousands of physical participants and thousands more virtual supporters and managed to make newspapers, TV news programs and social media buzz for several days.  Impressive stuff by any standard and a home run for involved parties, but did anything tangible come out of it?

The reason for this post is that there is a D.O.C. reflection event coming up on Tuesday, November 6th which will feature a variety of panelists who are going to weigh in with their thoughts on the effectiveness of the event in general and some of the pitfalls that accompany event organizing.  Should be interesting and it can never hurt to be critical of your protesting soul.  Self reflection and critical analysis are crucial components to weighing the worth of social actions.  Click on the above poster for the event info. If there is a pod cast I will be sure to post it.

It is only Monday and it usually takes me all week to decided on blog content but my pessimistic crystal ball tells me that my next post will contain my complaints about the upcoming American election which is sure to end in tragedy no matter who wins.

Comments and sharing are always welcome

AnimalStatic

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Some Anti-Oil Protest Pics From Last Weeks CAPP Sponsered UBCM Convention in Victoria, B.C.

Posted in Activism, Blogging, Canada, Economy, Environment, Food For Thought, Industry, Justice, News, Politics, Social Justice, Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2012 by animal_static

Last week the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers sponsored a reception event for the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria BC.

Who are these people?

The UBCM is a somewhat complicated organization which aims to bring together delegates from various BC municipalities, First Nations groups, Regional Districts, etc. with the aim of providing an environment where ideas and concerns may be expressed.  This particular conference brought in roughly one thousand delegates form around the province.

If you go to the “about” page on the CAPP website you will learn that this group tout themselves as, “the voice of Canada’s upstream oil, oil sands and natural gas industry” which kind of lets you know what they are about but not really.  CAPP is basically represents Big Oil production in Canada (a very sizable industry) and acts as a lobbyist organization to the government.

Items on this years UBCM agenda included Policing Issues, Cutting services provided by the Coast Guard, Decriminalization of Marijuana, and oil tanker traffic in BC.

So we have Big Oil sponsoring a political event where OIL issues are up for vote.  Here we see a rather transparent attempt to sway votes in BC in favour of the oil industry while Enbridge is still clawing its way towards having their pipeline project go through.  Public opinion vs. corporate interest.

The Powerpoint for the CAPP presentation can be found here:  http://www.capp.ca/library/presentations/Pages/default.aspx

Note the absence of social impact, First Nations land rights, habitat fragmentation, the under representation of GHG contributions, downplaying the fact that BC sits on major fault lines and the west coast is right under the Juan de Fuca/North American subduction zone, and many other blatant issues.

That’s skinny.  About 100 people showed up to the venue to roll out the red carpet for delegates, offering a visual and vocal reminder that this is a very contentious issue which stands to do great harm to social groups and environs all across the province.  Free edibles and musical entertainment were also offered to sway any who may have been tempted by a free lunch (no such thing right?).  There were a couple of “get a job comments” and there were also some folks who obviously favoured what we were standing for with a few choosing to stay with the community rather than step inside.  One woman stopped to tell us that she was a NGO rep who actually purchased a ticket (not everyone had to buy) and was there to clog the halls and fight from inside” (AWESOME).

The end vote if you are interested was 51.3% in favour of the human race.  Did we impact the vote?  I can’t say for sure but it is certain that people need to speak out and they need to speak loudly.  Our silence is out consent.

Below we have some pics that I shot on my crappy 8 mega pixel wonder cam  supplemented by some links to other folks lovely photo reporting.  I also included a photo of the reception as shot by CAPP.  What you see is a basically empty street with a 6:11 pm posting time on twitter. This is eleven minutes after the scheduled start of the organized protest.  suspicious?  You bet. Surprising?  Not at all.

The odd twitter pic from the CAPP account:


Another photo/twitter oriented report from Liz McArthur on Storify :  http://storify.com/lizmedia/demonstrators-roll-out-the-red-carpet-for-oil-exec?utm_content=storify-pingback&awesm=sfy.co_j9mh&utm_campaign=&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter

UBCM website: http://www.ubcm.ca/

CAPP website:  http://www.capp.ca/Pages/default.aspx

Comments and Sharing are always welcome,

Static_Animal

Why We Should Listen to What George Monbiot Has to Say, A Book Review.

Posted in Activism, Books, Economy, Environment, Food For Thought, Politics, Social Justice, Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by animal_static

I know that I posted a book review a few weeks ago but I am trying to cram in as much extra curricular reading as possible before I get locked into another eight months of academia.  Not to say that I don’t love what I choose to study but there is something to be said for freedom of choice.  I just finished a somewhat current (2009) volume by George Monbiot entitled, “Bring on the Apocalypse, Six Arguments For Global Justice”, which is definitely worth a read.  Monbiot is of the idea that the Right Wing approach to government which is prevalent in the most powerful (Western/Northern/G8) nations has enabled and cultivated social and environmental scenarios that are contributing to the ultimate demise of the planet and creating an expanding social divide between the rich and the poor.  I agree.

Image from bookrabbit.com

The world is not what it seems, you are being lied to but the truth is out there and George would like to help you find it.  Government and media (sometimes synonymous) are experts at altering our perceived social and environmental realities.  We are stripped of collective identity and told that individualist consumer oriented goals (buy that house, car, second car, second house, lest you be left behind and find yourself worthless) are what we should be striving for.  Environmental disasters are downplayed or swept under the rug, an unsustainable auto industry is lionized as a true expression of freedom, social movements are under reported, and your governmental policies ARE being dictated by industrial lobbyist groups.  It’s all quite negatively overwhelming.  Luckily there are activists like Monbiot who are able to present us with some well thought out ideas that help to strip some of the veneer from the right-wing neoliberal agenda.  There are going to be some right-libertarians out there who will state that unbridled free markets are the ultimate expression of personal freedom but guess what;  that path has yielded enough blood and horror to prove it an inhuman pursuit.  Lets ask Chile, Argentina, and virtually every indigenous population on earth how they feel about it.

Image from redmolotov.com

The “arguments” in this book are collections of essays which fall under the categories of God, Nature, War, Power, Money, and Culture.  While not hitting the nail on the head with every single essay, Monbiot does a fantastic job of exposing some of the cracks in the informational facade that we are presented with by the government and media via popular news venues and “democratic” process .  Like all books dealing with current issues this one too shall eventually fall by the wayside but will not find itself in the tar pits of literary history.  The sentiments expressed within are valid critiques of problems that have thwarted humanity in one form or another since the arrival of surplus commodities which have freed parts of the population from the labour pool thus enabling religious/cultural pursuits and unbalanced power dynamics.  These easily accessible essays provide a decent foundation from which one can step stone to more in-depth critiques of sociopolitical factors that do affect most aspects of our lives and for that reason alone this book is quite valuable.

Not trying to be punny here but anyone willing to take on issues like the Vatican’s bigoted obsession with homosexuality, Americas love affair with oil and torture, the British governments submissive relationship with big business, shoddy climate change science, and media manipulation is OK in my book.  This is a guy who knows a lot about a lot of things that matter and has not been bought, hence a guy worth listening to, but as with all things, you decide.

I would love to hear what you think.

Cheers.

AnimalStatic

Shell Oil, Arctic Scourge

Posted in Activism, America, Canada, Economy, Environment, Food For Thought, News, Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2012 by animal_static

Well, Shell Oil are up to their tricks again.  They are not hiring mercenary killers to quash resistant locals this time around but they do want to come one step closer to killing us all with their recent Arctic Drilling project.  I am being melodramatic but you can only disrupt the ecology of the planet so much before we experience the threshold effect where there is no turning back from our consciously executed mistakes.  Oil makes the world go round but it seems that the exploration for black gold should maaaaybe  be halted at the periphery of the ecosystem (overly simple use of the term I know) which serves as the most prominent example of human induced climate change.  The fossil fuel/climate change correlation is pretty much a given these days and if you are still not able to handle cold hard scientific fact then perhaps its time to go QUIETLY back your flat earth maps and creationist museum travel pamphlets.

In The News,

Greenpeace have done their part today, shutting down 74 petrol stations in Edinburgh and London.

Check out the reporting of Greenpeace’s latest exploits here via the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/16/greenpeace-activists-shell-petrol?newsfeed=true

The recent ArcticReady.com exploits have also blackened the public eye of Shell Oil via an online social activism/pranksterism campaign destined to stir up some controversy with Shells’ legal and PR departments.

The formatting of this site looks pretty slick and MANY have mistaken it for official Shell output…..which is ridiculous but also illustrates how much we need activity like this.

Check out some of a pretty killer “art campaign” here:

http://arcticready.com/social/gallery

Please comment and share.  I look forward to your feedback.

-AnimalStatic

Government Surveillance and Flying Stealth With Anonymous Blogging

Posted in America, Blogging, Canada, Food For Thought, News, Politics, Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by animal_static

Your voice might seem to be a small one, easily lost against the noisy backdrop of free speech, but rest assured that as a blogger, the government is worried about what you have to say.  A critical eye can spot the big money bias in popular news media and likewise identify the counterpoint presented by alternative reporting  in the blogging community  as a real threat to mainstream news services via provision of realistic personal reporting of controversial current events to the viewing masses.  More than ever before people can communicate in real-time, effectively dissipating media and government smokescreens of misinformation.

Is the blogging threat real?  As of right now there are 446 918 bloggers on WordPress alone with  932 289 new posts (today)  and 1.6 million comments.  There is a lot of fluff in there to be sure and I am sure that the CIA isn’t homing in on the perpetrators of the newest food photography blog extrordinaire but you can bet that there is a lot of perspective validated by personal experience and insight that stands contrary to whatever whitewashed swill FOX News and CNN will dropping in your lap tonight.

So why would anyone want to blog anonymously when the this particular media might be the key to leveling the reporting on controversial issues?  I live in Canada where dissident voice and action seemingly have no effect on the socio/political/environmental suicide run the Harper government has initiated for our country and rarely draw any kind of serious retaliation, but this is not the case for many other people.  Naomi Klein’s 2007, “Shock Doctrine” serves as a prime example of what government/intelligence (not necessarily synonymous) retaliation against dissidents can look like in social climates where liberty and opinion are obviously coveted by the masses but not constitutionally protected.  We are provided with instances of people being exiled, tortured, mutilated, or “disappeared” by government sanctioned enforcement agencies.  In North America we are still relatively safe in expressing ourselves in the public arena but the American government is zealously pursuing various avenues to rein in the freedom currently enjoyed by the  online information world.  What’s a radical blogger to do?  Educate and protect yourself.

The “Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents” is a great reference on how to establish your blog, increase your traffic, and how to go about your blogging business anonymously should you feel yourself to be in a precarious position.

The Tweet that got me there:

An article of introduction:

http://anonymissexpress.cyberguerrilla.org/?p=118

And finally, the handbook itself.  Scribd may make you create an account but its free and they offer some pretty cool content.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/49765660/Bloggers-Cyber-Dissidents-Handbook

Check out the summary for “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein here:

http://shockdoctrinesummary.blogspot.ca/

Please feel free to comment and share some ideas.

-AnimalStatic

Another Chunk of my Youth Exits the Mortal Coil

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 7, 2012 by animal_static

Well, there is nothing like finishing an extra long shift at work and coming home to find out that one of your favorite authors has died.  It made me very sad to learn that the late, great, Ray Bradbury has passed away at the ripe age of 91. With the recent passing of MCA I have been contemplating that there must be a time for every generation to begin mourning the increasingly frequent loss of its’ influencing agents.  This seems to be my time.

I have read and re-read Bradbury’s short fiction and novels so many times that I cannot possibly put a number to it.  The influence this artist has had on my life is profound, and judging by the Twitter traffic today he has similarly touched the lives of many other people as well.

So what’s the appeal?  Bradbury’s easy style and sense of wonder undoubtedly prove that there was still at least a little magic left in the 20th Century world which has been transferred via the simple life progression of in tune literary aficionados in the 21st Century.  For me personally, Bradbury captured the essence of boyhood and all of the desperate missions, yearnings. aspirations, and considerations that come with it.  His stories often revolve around profound personal change and wonder and have served to ward off ultimate romantic/intellectual separation within my life. I have made it to 34 without surrendering to a jaded adult pessimism that hardens the soul and I feel like I wouldn’t have that without Bradbury.

An interesting side note as I am thinking about the 20th Century is that the other magical beings summoned to mind are Aleister Crowley and Isaac Asimov.  Not so interesting?  How about the fact that the most notorious magician in the last century died on December 1, 1947 while Bradbury’s’ first publication (Dark Carnival) was released in October of the same year.   Perhaps the universe passed on a metaphysical torch of sorts.  Alternately, Asimov might have been the flip side to Bradbury’s’ Sci-Fi in that he seems most able to deal with highly sophisticated hard science fiction but ultimately misses the mark when it comes to revealing the illogical workings of the human experience and these two writers seem to fully complete the spectrum of influential and popular literature for our modern era.

-“There are worse crimes than burning books.  One of them is not reading them”. Ray Bradbury

Read about Bradbury here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Bradbury

-AnimalStatic