Friday, February 27, 2009

Judy Rebick book launch

Please join us in celebrating the launch of veteran activist, writer and broadcaster Judy Rebick's new book
March 10, 200 at 7:00 p.m.
Raw Sugar Cafe
692 Somerset West

In her new book, Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political, Judy Rebick explains how globalization and mass communication technology are revolutionizing our understanding of power and producing profound new ideas about social and political life. Whether it’s the election of President Obama, the rise of democracy in Bolivia, or the success of Wikipedia, it’s the process that’s key: bringing communities of people together to produce something new; building a movement from the bottom up; sharing experience, knowledge and wisdom; emphasizing co-operation and consensus over confrontation and political partisanship.

Meaningful response to the environmental crisis and social injustice requires substantial, sustainable change at every level, which can only come through building power from the grass roots, from the people most impacted. In Transforming Power we discover the ideas, the people and the practices that can provide the paths to the change we need.

Judy Rebick is a well-known social justice activist, educator , writer, and speaker. She currently holds the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University.

Judy is founder of, Canada’s most popular independent online news and discussion site and the author of several books and articles, most recently Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution (Penguin 2005). Her other books are Imagine Democracy (Stoddard 2000) and Politically Speaking (Douglas & McIntyre 1996).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Doctor who?

Octopus Books presents an evening with Dr. Gabor Maté and Dr. Samantha King
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Centretown Community Health Centre
(420 Cooper Street)
Admission is free

For over ten years Dr. Gabor Maté has been the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction facility in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. His patients are challenged by life-threatening drug addictions, mental illness, Hepatitis C or HIV and, in many cases, all four.

In his compassionate and compelling book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Dr. Maté begins with a dramatically close view of his drug-addicted patients. He weaves the stories of real people who have struggled with addiction with the latest research on addiction and the brain. Providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting edge scientific findings, Dr. Maté sheds light on this most puzzling of human frailties.

He also takes aim at the hugely ineffectual, largely U.S.-led War on Drugs (and its worldwide followers), challenging the wisdom of fighting drugs instead of aiding the addicts, and showing how controversial measures such as safe injection sites are measurably more successful at reducing drug-related crime and the spread of disease than anything most major governments have going.

Dr. Samantha King’s engaging book Pink Ribbons Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy challenges the corporatization of the search for a breast cancer cure.

In 2005, more than one million people participated in the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure, the largest network of 5K runs in the world. Consumers thoughtfully choose products ranging from yogurt to cars, responding to the promise that these purchases will contribute to a cure for the disease. And hundreds of companies and organizations support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, founded by a pharmaceutical company in 1985. What could be wrong with that?
Highly revelatory—at times shocking—Pink Ribbons, Inc. challenges the commercialization of the breast cancer movement and its influence on ideas of good citizenship, responsible consumption, and generosity.

King traces how breast cancer has been transformed from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to a market-driven industry of survivorship. In an unprecedented outpouring of philanthropy, corporations turn their formidable promotion machines on the curing of the disease while dwarfing public health prevention efforts and stifling the calls for investigation into why and how breast cancer affects such a vast number of people. Here, for the first time, King questions the effectiveness and legitimacy of privately funded efforts to stop the epidemic among women.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taking it to the airwaves

We had the pleasure of sitting down with the guest host at CBC's In Town and Out on Saturday morning to talk about all things Octopus.

We've made the interview available here for your listening pleasure.

You will need to use RealPlayer to listen to the interview which is available here.

(For those of you who care, that link takes you to a BBC specific version of RealPlayer which does not contain the usual spyware included in RealPlayer. Unfortunately an open source alternative to RealPlayer does not exist for the RAM file format.)


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jim Stanford's Powerful Points

For those of you who attended our event on Friday and even those who didn't but want to know what they missed, Jim Stanford has made his great powerpoint presentation available through the magic of PDF.

To get a copy of the presentation which Jim gave on Saturday, Click Here

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economics and the World Food Crisis

An evening of digestible discussion about food and capitalism with Wayne Roberts and Jim Stanford.

Octopus Books is pleased to present an evening with Wayne Roberts, food security activist and author of the essential No-Nonsense Guide to World Food, and Jim Stanford, the Globe and Mail economics columnist and author of the hugely successful Economics for Everyone.

Looking back at a year of food riots on several continents and a crumbling global economy, the discussion will look at how we got where we are in both instances and where the parallel collapse of economic and industrialized food systems might overlap.

The event will take place in the auditorium of Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington) on Friday, February 13, 2009 with a free reception with local snacks beginning at 6:00 p.m. and speakers beginning at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.