Tag Archives: occupy vancouver

Robin Hood Tax Global March – October 29th

"Robin Hood Tax" campaign stunt in Madrid

October 29 – #RobinHood Tax Global March
From Adbusters

On October 29, on the eve of the G20 Leaders Summit in France, let’s the people of the world rise up and demand that our G20 leaders immediately impose a 1% #ROBINHOOD tax on all financial transactions and currency trades. Let’s send them a clear message: We want you to slow down some of that $1.3-trillion easy money that’s sloshing around the global casino each day – enough cash to fund every social program and environmental initiative in the world.

More info

The March in Vancouver will start at Noon at the Art Gallery (more details)

Bill Nighy does his best to oppose the Robin Hood Tax.

If the talk of pounds confused you, here’s a Canadian perspective.

Photo by Oxfam International

Thoughts on Occupy Wall Street

Marching Down Nelson
I attended the Occupy Vancouver protests on Saturday. I was impressed by the diversity of people and opinions represented. Yes, there were plenty of non-economic issues on display – 9/11 truthers, vegans, organic farmers, marijuana legalizers, and fringe political candidates – but the majority of people were there because they were concerned about the economy. Some naysayers in the media have chosen to dismiss the Occupy movement because it’s unfocused, represented by unemployed hippies and punks, and lacking in clear direction, but I think they’re wrong.

Naysayers say: The middle class isn’t part of the Occupy movement.
My response: There sure seemed to be a lot of middle class folk out on Saturday, including myself. Personally, I’m debt free, I’m not looking for a handout, my income is likely in the top 10% of Canadians, and I have lots of savings in mutual funds. And like the other middle-class folk who support the Occupy movement, I’m worried about the future.

I’ve been maxing out my RRSP contributions for the past 5 years, and this is what the market has looked like since I started investing – right were it started.

Yes, I know the philosophy – the market always rises over the long term. But there’s a lot of assumptions baked into that, and I’m not sure they’re going to hold for much longer. We have an economy based on exponential growth, but our resources are finite and quickly diminishing.

I want to see a stable financial system that ensures a vibrant middle class. I want to know that one day I’ll be able to afford to own a house and have kids. It’s ridiculous that I’m in the top 10% of income earners, and yet I doubt the reality of that.

Naysayer: Wall Street is responsible for our wealth and prosperity.
Me: I know firsthand how messed up Wall Street is (or Canary Wharf in my case). I worked for Morgan Stanley in 2005 – writing software for traders dealing in credit default swaps (one of the products that lead to the financial crisis in 2008). I witnessed comp day, when traders were given multi-million dollar bonuses, everyone was drinking champagne, and parties were off the hook. How different is it today?

Naysayer: Protesting won’t accomplish anything.
Me: It has already has accomplished something. It has started a long over-due conversation about fair taxation and the future of our economy. The fact that these articles have been written and people are reading them is a huge:
Occupy Economics: Is the system broken? – CBC
Tax the rich: Should millionaires really pay more? – Christian Science Monitor
Here Are 4 Charts That Explain What The Protesters Are Angry About – Business Insider
In a Single Month, the Occupation Became a Force – Wired
Why They Joined Occupy Vancouver – The Tyee

Naysayer: Talk is cheap, activists don’t have any concrete solutions.
Me: There are lots of solutions being proposed.

A Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions seems to be getting the most traction. Adbusters has suggested a Global March on October 29 to support it.

On Saturday, there were people talking about bringing back Glass-Steagall – US legislation (that I had never heard of) that forced a separation between investment and commercial banks. It was repealed in 1998.

Other suggestions included more regulation on banks, higher taxes for the rich, and even ensuring no CEO can be payed more than 1000 times more than the lowest paid employee. I don’t think the Occupy movement suffers from a lack of solutions.

It will be interesting to see how the Occupy movement evolves in the coming weeks and if any concrete results come of it. If enough people rally behind a Robin Hood tax, it could become a reality. Will it morph into a political force, a la the Tea Party – maybe not.

Why I Support #OccupyVancouver

Occupy Wall Street
The economic system treats me well – I have a good-paying job, I’m debt-free, and 95% of my net-worth is invested in mutual funds. But our economic system is showing cracks.

  • The gap between the rich and the poor is growing, and surprisingly growing faster in Canada than in the U.S..
  • The extreme wealthy have a disproportionate amount of political power and are sheltered from paying taxes. You know the system is unbalanced when people like Bill Gates, his father, and Warren Buffett want more taxes for the rich.
  • Our economic system is based on exponential growth, fuelled by conspicuous consumption, and it’s destroying our environment.

But that’s just my opinion. If you want some others, go to We are the 99% on Tumblr or this insightful analysis. I recommend listening to Arcade Fire’s Suburbs album while scrolling through the images. I’m officially nominating that album as the soundtrack to the occupy protests – especially Ready to Start.

The #OccupyWallStreet movement has been criticized for not having direction or solutions, but I think that has been its strength. That vacuum has started a conversation that has allowed for some insightful ideas.

Those conversations have lead to suggestions like specific bank regulations, maximum wages for CEOs, and a robin hood tax on financial transactions.

I’m not sure what to expect today (hopefully no violence), but I’ll be joining the protestors at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I’m not bringing a tent or witty sign.

Image by Esther Lee.

Weekend Reading

Olympic Village Community GardenGeoff Meggs on the Olympic Village – 73% occupied; laundry/dry cleaning coming soon; Village Kitchen spring 2012; London Drugs and Urban Fare summer 2012; Salt Building no tenant.

Spacing’s New Issue Arrives – all about urban farming and food. I’ll wait until we’re done our elimination diet before I read it.

They cannot stop the 99%Adbusters’ Kalle Lasn Talks About OccupyWallStreet – interesting interview about how Occupy Wall Street started.

Occupy Vancouver – coming October 15th. Thousands of people expected. They even RSVP’d on Facebook.

Our Very Own Highline – an intriguing proposal to turn the the old Port Mann bridge into a park instead of spending $50 – $100 million to demolish it. Did you know that the new Port Mann is set to cost $3.3 billion. And yet some people are up in arms about Translink’s extra 2 cent tax on gas, which will raise only $40 million a year.

Image by freestyle