Friday, October 14, 2011

Unofficial advice for Occupy Protestors (Canadian especially).

I was at the second organizational meeting for #OccupyBayStreet #OccupyToronto held last night at OISE.  I also went to the legal workshop and the media workshop.  Here are some thoughts if you are planning on heading down to your local assembly tomorrow for 10 a.m.:
  1. Bring whole milk, dawn detergent, containers:  #Remember #Toronto #G20.  Alternatively, bring maalox(liquid) and baby shampoo.  Bring apple cider vinegar and a scarf to breathe through in case of tear gas.
  2. Bring very little cash, $50 max in smaller denominations.  One piece of picture ID.  If stopped by police ask if you are being detained.  If you are being detained ask why.  You do not need to answer questions.  Do not show i.d. unless you are arrested and ask for a lawyer before saying anything.   #G20 #Lessons  If you or your bags get searched announce loudly that you do not agree to the search but do not resist.  Do not carry anything that may give cause for arrest (knives, drugs, etc).  Read through this Canadian legal guide for activists for more information and advice.  The legal # for  is 416-833-6137. Consider writing it on yourself, somewhere discreet.
  3. Protein bars/meal supplies for personal use and/or gifting.   Consider also gifting the Food Committee with a bag or two of fresh fruit or vegetables.  Preferably local.  A reusable water container and a bowl and spoon will also be required if you want to obtain replenishments there.  Larger food or cash-in-kind donations (please see this wish list) can organize with @OccTorFoodies.
  4. Wear comfortable and warm clothes and shoes.  Dress in layers.  As waterproof as your budget allows.
  5. In-Case-of-Emergency (ICE) contact information :  ICE numbers on your cell.  Who to call in case of the worst case scenario.  Your cell may be searched.  Remember that.
  6. Portable musical instruments and the ability to play!  Voices count as instruments!  Bring song & chord sheets!  The Common Thread Chorus will be out so look for them.  Bring your crafts too....and think about giving a workshop while down there for anything you feel qualified enough to.
  7. Signs - be creative, find your voice. Weatherproof it.
  8. Media:  at this time no-one is speaking on behalf of the movement so if you get asked to go on camera or give a quote by a member of the media make sure you emphasize you are speaking for yourself.  And just because they ask doesn't mean you have to. In fact, the more people that do not speak will create more of a media frenzy and might help to increase our support.  Think carefully before agreeing to anything and contact the media committee if you are unsure or unclear.  The last thing the movement needs is some angry wing-nut on the cover of the Sun....but if that happens I'm sure it will not kill the movement.
  9. Try not to be photographed or videotaped alone by any media.  Group shots encourage participation.  Solo shots do not.
  10. This is a powerful movement but that should not preclude the fun factor.  Being friendly, inclusive and accommodating always works better.  Yes, we are angry but we are not assholes.  This is a peaceful assembly.  We all have our reasons to be there.  We all share one thing in common --->  HOPE.  Don't forget this.  And don't be a litter bug either - and this includes cigarette butts :)


  1. Thanks WWW!

    Also, I've had a few comments/questions from parents as to whether this is a child friendly event. Personally, I would wait and see and consider coming down Sunday or later...I will make sure to update this blog with that focus in mind.

  2. This is great Orla, except for the advice on being approached by journalists: "In fact, the more people that do not speak will create more of a media frenzy and might help to increase our support." Excuse me? That's PM Stephen Harper's tactic. As a journalist and a citizen I find Harpers banning journalists except under controlled circumstances extremely undemocratic. Toronto mayor Rob Ford follows suit, with media outlets he dislikes. Are journalism, and its role in conveying the voices of people who stand up to be counted, no longer an essential part of democratic expression? Will we have mic checks for all now?

  3. DJ: Journalism redeemed ---> Arun Gupta on CBC's the Current reporting for Occupy Wall Street Journal. I heard him on the current tonight with another stellar journalist...Anna Maria Tremonti.


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