Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Media and Occupy Toronto

In the last post we looked at a City TV report from Occupy Toronto. What other news reports have you seen or heard? Have you read any newspaper articles?

Here are a couple of places to find some television coverage:

CBC: Occupy Toronto takes to the streets again

CTV: 4 protests, a priest and a proposal: Top 'Occupy' moments

Global: Occupy Canada continues

Can you tell when reporters are telling you facts and when they are giving their opinion?

Here is an example from Sun TV as reported by the Canadian Journalism Project: Ezra Levant reports on Occupy Toronto; protestors release unedited video

Ezra Isaac Levant (born 1972) is a Canadian lawyer, conservative political activist and media figure. He is the founder and former publisher of the Western Standard, hosts The Source daily on Sun News Network, and has written several books on politics.

Go to the site and watch the first video.
What do you think about the report that Ezra Levant aired on SunTV?  What is your opinion about Occupy Toronto after you watch this video?

Then watch the second video.
What do you think about the video made by the people in the park? What is your opinion about Occupy Toronto after you watch this video?

Do these videos tell different stories?
Do you think these stories are fact or opinion?

What do you think about the stories? If you only watched one, what would your opinion of Occupy Toronto be?

What is a good way to find out facts about a story? When is it good to listen to opinions about a story?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Democracy at the Occupations

"The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."

Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University
Barcelona, Spain

Adbusters used this quote to start the Occupy Wall Street campaign.

What does it mean?

One thing it means is that there is no leader or committee that makes decisions for the group.

Every day at noon and 6 p.m., Occupy Toronto holds a General Assembly. People can make proposals at the General Assembly. Decisions are made by consensus. The General Assembly in Toronto uses hand signals to vote:
  • Agreement – raise both hands above head, wiggle fingers
  • Semi-agreement, further consideration – raise arms straight out in front, small wiggle
  • Strong Disagreement, not to be used lightly – arms raised in block, ‘x’ over the head
  • Request for further discussion – hands in triangle above head
  • Wrap it up please – roll arms over each other
Here is how it looks:

You can see them using the People's Mic. This means that people repeat what the speakers say so that the people at the back can hear.

Some reporters are saying that the movement is disorganized and the demands are not clear.

Here are the minutes from the first General Assembly: Occupy Toronto General Assembly October 15th, 2011 minutes.

What do you think? Are they disorganized? Are they unclear?

If you want to ask the people at  St. James Park questions, go to the livestream and put your question into the chat.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy Toronto

What do you think about the Occupy Wall Street movement? It started like this. Adbusters put out a call for people to Occupy Wall Street to
"demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It's time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we're doomed without it."
Occupy Wall Street has been going for 38 days. The movement started to spread all over the world.

Now we have Occupy Toronto Market Exchange at St. James Park on the corner of King Street and Jarvis Street. Saturday was Occupy Toronto's one-week anniversary. Have you been down to visit? Have you joined any of the marches?

Have you heard them say "We are the 99%!" What does this mean?
In 2006, there was a documentary called The One Percent about the growing wealth-gap between America's wealthy elite compared to the overall citizenry. The film's title means that in the United States in 2001, 1% of Americans control 38% of the nation's wealth.

Here is a blog where people from the other 99% are posting their stories: We Are the 99 Percent

What about in Canada? Is it the same here?

Here is what Jim Stanford, an Economist in the Research Department of the Canadian Auto Workers, tweeted the other day:

What do you think? Do you think that wealthy people and corporations control the government in Canada? Do wealthy people and corporations have too much influence? Do wealthy people and corporations get too many benefits like tax breaks and subsidies from the government in Canada?

Where can you find out the answers to these questions? If you find a good place, let us know in the comments.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Changing Education

Did you have a chance to look at the Learning and Violence project interactive multi-media tools yet?

For adult educators and learners, the issue of how people have experienced, or are experiencing, violence can be the elephant in the room. Learners feel that they cannot bring it up and, if they do, many educators feel out of their depth. Many of the mechanisms people develop to survive violence can work as barriers when they want to learn something new and sometimes these mechanisms result in behaviours that look to educators like learning disabilities, lack of motivation or resistance.

The Changing Education multi-media tools are designed to help us name the elephant and open up the conversation.

Jenny Horsman, a community researcher and educator who coordinated the project and whose long-term work on the issue of how experiences with violence impact learning informed the research, says, "It is important it is to come to learning whole and full of hope. When we feel stupid, there is nowhere to go. But when we try a whole new conversation, we can try a whole new set of approaches.”

The tools will soon be available on DVD for those who do not have access to the internet. The project is looking for new partners in Canada and internationally to develop tools for learning in workplaces, schools, corrections and homes. Visit

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Multimedia tools for learning about violence and learning

The Learning and Violence project would love show you the interactive multi-media tools they have created to support learning and teaching in a context of violence.

Join them at George Brown College, 200 Front Street East (Front and Jarvis) in the Front Lobby on Friday October the 14th.

10:00 to 4:00 check out the new tools yourself – and chat to the creators, instructors and students who have used them.

12:00 to 1:00 Listen to what people have to say about them.

If you can't get to the launch, check out the resources on the website.

"Violence shapes us. It can make us stronger as learners, teachers, and simply as people in the world. It can also make it hard to trust ourselves and others, and difficult to learn. Its impact on learning is not well recognized, but the resources and allies found here can help all of us – whatever our role or experience – to address this issue creatively. On this site you will find:
  • practical ideas to make it easier to learn or teach when violence or hard times mark our lives and/or the lives of those we work with;
  • people and organizations exploring violence and learning through research or practice."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Special-needs voters get civics lesson

A class at Frontier College in Toronto is helping students learn about the voting process ahead of the Oct. 6 provincial election.

Click here to watch Zulekha Nathoo's story.

Election Math

What do you know about government deficits and debt?

What do you think of the election promises about raising and cutting taxes and spending? Do you believe the politicians? Do you think you could do better?

You can try out your own election math at the CBC Election Promise Calculator.

The current Ontario budget deficit, forecast at $16.3 billion for the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to budget figures.

Program costs and revenues are detailed in the calculator. They can be adjusted to see the impact on the deficit, which changes in accordance to changes in the position of the sliders.

Look what happens when we make all the spending zero...

We still have $97,415,000,000.00 deficit.

What programs would you cut?
Or would you increase program spending?
What taxes would you raise?
Or would you cut programs?

Can you make these decisions?

Here is what the leaders of the three parties said they would do in the debate:

But is this the right time to be trying to balance the budget? Or should we be "stimulating" the economy?

Unemployment in Ontario is at 7.5% (read more here).

Here is what the leaders of the three parties said about jobs in Ontario in the debate: