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What to buy for the occupy 

This holiday season, instead of promising economic equality, give your activist the means to get what they want. Whether they intend to protest outside or plan civil disobedience from inside this winter, here are some gift ideas starting from $4.

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According to their most recent general assemblies, Nova Scotian occupiers are still planning to camp out in Wolfville, and possibly again in Halifax. But there's still that pesky local park bylaw that prohibits camping. Look no further than The Adventure Outfitters (5187 Salter Street, 481-9826) for bylaw-subverting solutions. TAO carries shiny silver emergency space blankets priced from $3.99 to about $15. These blankets could be called a win-win: they don't qualify as "temporary or permanent accommodation" under the bylaw, and they will extend protesters' endurance during the winter. As for the 5am to 10pm curfew, the police have been selectively enforcing it in Parade Square.

The Trail Shop (6210 Quinpool Road, 423-8736) also has camping options for occupiers headed to Wolfville. Bivy shelters are one-person tents shaped like sleeping bags. They're cheaper than multi-person tents, and they're easier to pack in a hurry. The Sierra Zagori Bivy is on sale for $120 at the Trail Shop.

Pick up a couple pairs of socks for your favourite occupier. While the Victoria Park site was operating, one of the medical tent volunteers said socks were the most frequently requested items. At Jennifer's of Nova Scotia (5635 Spring Garden Road, 425-3119), try the $39 thrummed knit socks. They're quite believably the warmest socks in town, though occupiers might have a hard time fitting the thick wooly fluffiness into their boots.

Hygiene can become a problem if showers aren't available. Try deodorant stones from P'lovers (Park Lane Mall, 5657 Spring Garden Road, 422-6060) to keep the odourous bacteria at bay. Made from mineral salts, they don't have any synthetic chemicals or toxic ingredients. The large stones last at least a year and cost $9.95 each. And try a scoop of Nellie's Laundry Soda, a coconut oil-based clothes cleaner made from all natural ingredients. It's available for $10.95 per bag at Carbonstok (1235 Barrington Street, 404-7288).

The Occupy camps at Grand Parade and Victoria Park had plenty of musical instruments that were free to use, and most of these were hand drums. Made in Bali, djembe drums from The Black Market (1545 Grafton Street, 423-5724) are $85 for a small and $125 for a large.

And to occupy their time this winter, protesters can settle in with some relevant reads from Bookmark (5686 Spring Garden Road, 423-0419) written for the masses.

After the NYPD dismantled Occupy Wall Street, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman pulled a book from the rubble. It was Aldous Huxley's Brave New World Revisited in which he looked at his original dystopia through the clear lens of hindsight 37 years later. Bookmark has the original ($16.95), reprinted with a new foreword by Margaret Atwood.

Occupiers have discussed a locally-authored book on their Google group: Kevin Vowles' 21st Century Hippies: Activists in Pursuit of Peace and Social Justice. It's $20 at Bookmark, and it has inspired at least one Nova Scotian occupier.

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Vol 25, No 28
December 7, 2017

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