Occupy Christmas: International Day of Action has been a welcome initiative for many of us. The holiday season is a hectic, stressful time for working families who end up spending well beyond their means on gifts, meals and entertainment. This spending spree now extends beyond the holiday season and into the New Year, as lining up outside big box stores for big ticket items has become a popular new tradition in the past decade. The real winners in all this are the corporations, credit card companies and banks. Otherwise known as the 1%.
Most of us are painfully aware of this fact and have already adopted the holiday measures the Occupy Movement has advocated:
Supporting the local economy by making purchases from local merchants. This involves filling our gas tanks at locally-owned gas stations, buying gifts from local artisans, and produce from farmers’ markets.
Leaving our credit cards at home because banks make their money from interest and late payments.
Using strictly cash and withdrawing only the amount of money we need. Remember that ATM or debit cards charge merchants 2% to 5%.
If North Americans adopted these few measures, we might actually succeed in cutting into the profits and power of the 1%. But unfortunately, the Occupy Movement does not have the means to get this message out. Media in the US is concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few who also own many of the corporations that profit from holiday spending and year-round consumerism. Concentration of media ownership is also the case here in Quebec, where Quebecor is king, taking in $4 billion in revenues last year. This corporation alone prints 37 dailies, 7 free commuter papers, 200 community weeklies and its media holdings include the TVA 24-hour news network and the canoe.ca news portal. Together, Quebecor media reaches 90% of French-speaking households in this province .
The likelihood of Canada’s media titans Quebecor, Shaw, Rogers and Bell carrying the Occupy Movement’s media message of buying locally and using strictly cash year-round are pretty slim. That’s why the Occupy Movement should be advocating the following fourth and fifth measures:
Read, support and make donations to independent media and share the information via Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
Continue to expand your social media contacts and use targeted hashtags to help get important information out.
For instance you might want to tweet something along these lines:
Kai Nagata writes 3-part series for indie Tyee on Quebecor’s hold on Quebec http://bit.ly/o64hTa. #occupy #indymedia
If you don`t have time to comb through left-leaning media, Toronto Star writer and social media maven Antonia Zerbisias or Montrealer Neath Turcot are two people worth friending on Facebook.
Here’s a list of indy media outlets. If I’ve forgot one, please feel free to leave a comment with the name or link.
Indy Media: Canada
Adbusters: Where the Occupy Movement started.
Indy Media: US
Truth Dig (My favourite!)