OH Dialog

Occupy Helena Community Dialogue Series: Films and Speakers Focused on Wall Street/Corporate Power Issues and Challenges. Feb 26 through May 20, at the Lewis and Clark Library in Helena

The Occupy Helena Community Dialogue Series is free and open to the public. This is a lively series of speakers and films focused on Wall Street/corporate power issues and how we can respond to them with effective, coordinated action, in collaboration with others who care about the issues and the need to address them. For more information about the Occupy Helena  film/speakers series, contact Occupy Helena (website www.occupyhelena.org) – e-mail address: occupyhelena@gmail.com — Phone 406-443-0843)

Summary of each event (film or speaker) in the series

Feb 26 (1-3pm) – Documentary Film “Economics of Happiness” – A Film by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Forelick and John Page
The documentary film “Economics of Happiness” takes us across the planet to show us an unholy alliance of governments and big business that continues to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power  at the expense of people, describing corporate activities that have been decimating democracy and have worsened nearly every problem humankind now faces.  The film also shows that there is also a creative response from people all over the world resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance, starting to forge a very different future in which communities are coming together to rebuild more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm, an economics of localization. The film brings a message of hope, showing how, far from the old institutions of power, people are starting to forge a very different future.

March 11 (1-3pm)  – Housing Foreclosure Crisis :  A Personal Struggle Against An Unjust Foreclosure in Helena
Donna Peterson of Helena describes her struggle against Bank of America over their foreclosure activities. After being diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer in 2009, she lost both of her home-based businesses while undergoing treatment. She asked Bank of America for help. “They said ‘Oh, no problem. Given your circumstances we can get you right into a 2% loan. All you have to do is to go into default, you are not eligible unless your payments are late.'” That was more than two years ago, and after failing to honor their pledge to help her. Bank of America started foreclosure proceedings. Peterson has filed a lawsuit to hold them to the contract they have promised her. The law firm she has hired has already filed 10 cases against Bank of America for not honoring contracts, and they continue to receive about five phone calls a week.

March 25  (3-5pm) – Wells Fargo Divestment Campaign in Bozeman.
Jim Macdonald, a member of Occupy Bozeman, describes a new campaign (“Keep Your Money in Bozeman, Make Wells Fargo Pay”) to encourage divestment from the giant Wells Fargo bank corporation, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. Occupy Bozeman says: “Wells Fargo was a key player in crashing America’s economy in 2008.  It’s time we tell Wall Street banks that enough is enough and choose to bank with a local institution.  Keep your money in a local financial institution, and that money will be reinvested in the local community which will contribute to a stronger economy for us all.”

April 1 (1-3pm) – The Trauma of Homelessness and Poverty
Sherri Downing, (President of the Montana Coalition for the Homeless, http://mtcoh.org/),  Kellie Goodwin McBride (Executive Director of the Helena YWCA, http://www.ywcahelena.org/) and Frank Kromkowski (Montana Coordinator of the Progressive Democrats of America, http://www.pdamerica.org/) explore the realities and traumas of homelessness and poverty and what is being done to combat them and what more needs to be done.

April 22 (1-3pm) – Corporate Threats to Our Food System:  The Monsanto Corporation and Genetically Modified Organisms
Jim Barngrover will lead a community dialogue on corporate threats to local foods/safe foods – primarily from Monsanto and genetically modified organisms. Barngrover received the Montana Organic Association’s 2009 “Lifetime of Service” award which goes to an organic producer, handler, retailer, researcher, service provider or other who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to organic agriculture in Montana.

May 6 (1-3pm) –  Tax Reform For A Just Society: ‘Tax’ is Not a Four-Letter Word
Senator Christine Kaufmann will describe and explain a new plan for Montana tax reform and fiscal policies that value workers, senior citizens and children, ensuring that they get quality medical care, education and an environment they can enjoy; asking  everyone to contribute their fair share. Kaufmann is a contributor to a new report from The Policy Institute: “‘Tax’ is Not a Four-Letter Word: Ideas for a More Progressive Taxation System in Montana,” http://thepolicyinstitute.org/prog_tax.pdf

May 20 (1-3pm) – Documentary Film “Bullshit”: The Work of Activist Vandana Shiva (recipient  of the Right Livelihood Award and the United Nations’ Earth Day International Award)  A Documentary Film by PeÅ Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian
“Bullshit” is a portrait of a tireless and fearless activist Vandana Shiva — world-renowned environmental activist and nuclear physicist Vandana Shiva, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the United Nations’ Earth Day International Award.  Shiva does battle with the proponents of globalization and multi-national corporations like Monsanto and Coca-Cola, accused of depleting and contaminating groundwater in India. The film  Bullshit also gives voice to the small farmers affected by corporate policies, as well as to some of her staunchest opponents, including executives from Monsanto and Coca-Cola, and especially Barun Mitra, a neo-liberal lobbyist who gave Shiva the “Bullshit Award” for espousing lies about the negative effects of globalization.

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