Australian’s have been largely unimpressed by the ‘occupy’ movement. At week two into the global ‘occupation’ (its worldwide inception was officially October 15th) the occupations in our two most populated cities have already been dispersed, somewhat controversially.
In Sydney, they lasted only 8 days and were allegedly informed that they could protest by day, remove themselves at night and continue on in daylight hours once more. When they failed to comply, they were removed.
In Melbourne, they lasted almost a week, before they were handed eviction notices and then removed, somewhat forcibly, resulting in a barrage of media attention – perhaps even to their benefit.
The act of how they were actually removed is really beside the point. – The green left weekly and its propaganda will tell you that it was ‘brutal’, the police and the government and their propaganda will tell you that they used ‘necessary force’. – Its one politic against another. What begs the real question is ‘why’ ?
In a comparable time frame, Occupy Wall St (the movement that sparked the international groundswell) had already garnered the support of thousands, as a physical presence at their occupation (including some police, businessmen, pilots, pensioners and professors), already had widespread media coverage (albeit independent media – it is, after all, a protest against corporate power), already had renowned political and social figures addressing their assemblies (such as writer and activist Cornel West, and author and journalist – formerly of the New York Times – Chris Hedges) and already had distinct maps and schematics of their ‘occupation’ available for all, along with extended schedules of upcoming occupation events. Within a week they had even inspired thousands in other American cities to start their own occupations.
In Italy – a country who’s current economic climate threatens to destroy the whole euro zone – Rome’s occupy movement was so angered with the status quo that riots ensued (a fascist head of state doesn’t bode well these days). Spain also saw hundreds of thousands gathering to protest against the hands controlling its country’s failing economy.
Sure, NYC’s population (Italy’s, Spain’s and London’s too) would assure power in numbers for the ‘99%’ – and their access to influential citizens is much higher than say, Brisbane – but shouldn’t the universality of the cause mean universal support?
In New York – all across America – foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcy are crippling the nation and its people. Spain is suffering some of the worst unemployment of anywhere in Europe. And Rome is falling like well, the Romans (the similarities between the fall of the Roman empire, and the state of the current ’empires’ ruling the world are interestingly startling).
In Australia though, things aren’t so severe. When a disorganized, disheveled group of rebels get together on a working day, screaming misinformation and ranting like schoolkids about greed and corporations and slandering ‘the rich’, it doesn’t really captivate much of society. In America yes, in Australia, no.
If the main vein of dispute had the blood of our country’s environment, water, flora or fauna coursing through it and pumping our metaphoric, emboldened hearts, more people might take notice. A shining example of this is the tens of thousands that rallied all across the country midway through this month against the threat of Coal Seam Gas mining that could well jeopardize our water and food supply. It’s a common cause. It speaks to a genuine cross-section of our democracy – including elected members, the police and influential business.
If there was an occupy movement in Australia to protest the shutting down of the National Rugby League competition (heaven forbid!) the streets would be full, overflowing, millions would erupt. Where is the commonality of a senseless tirade against ‘the rich‘ or ‘greed‘, as is so often repeated. What about ‘sustainability‘?
If Australia’s occupy movements were actually organised, controlled, directed, well-installed, educated and informed, they may have forseen the problems that caused their movements (Sydney and Melbourne) to be dissolved (temporarily or otherwise) – they could have even better informed a very confused, disinterested public.
The lack of information, direction, forethought or foresight has been a crippling factor from Occupy Australia’s start – as i’m sure is the unfortunate case for many other cities experiencing tumult across the world as i write this. Just yesterday, radio 4bc spoke with Occupy Brisbane’s ‘organiser’ Mr Thomas Brookes about the occupy movement, and his discourse was largely predictable and off-topic. He quoted figures of America’s unemployment at “20 percent”, then when corrected by the announcer (who said “i dont think that’s a nationwide figure”) Brookes responded by saying: Oh yeah, they’re “all over the shop”, in a lame attempt to disguise his apparent indiscretions.
The announcer then quoted accurate figures on other U.S states, before Mr Brookes responded by saying “i dont know the exact figures, im just looking at the whole picture”. – Hang on, didn’t you just agree with the announcer when he said he ‘doesn’t think that’s a nationwide figure’? … Tenuous indeed. Its hard to take these people seriously.
What could have been a chance to actually inform a wide range of listeners towards what is actually occurring, what they are actually fighting for, what is actually at stake (our world as we know it, not just our money, possessions, jobs, homes – because for some, this just isn’t relevant!) was another typical uninformed rant. Off-topic answers, inarticulate ramblings, repeatedly quoting all the predictable nonsense about ‘greed’ and ‘capitalism’ and ‘the market’ and ‘democracy’. Come on now.
And just as any political movement (which is what this is,as long as they don’t establish serious solutions or achievable alternatives) has members with agendas, just as it relies on propaganda, so did Mr Brookes. – With gems like: “we would have people supporting us in the general public, in the centre of Brisbane – who are obviously office workers – they would be supporting us probably 100 to 1, to people that would come up and make a negative comment”. This, just after he had said: “We have not had one single negative comment”. I fail to understand this kind of mathematics (sometimes termed ‘propaganda’ or ‘lies’).
In his defense, Mr. Brookes did say that ‘anyone negative’ who came up and talked to them, once they had explained themselves (because clearly, they are excellent at it) they ‘understood’. Perhaps this is why the 100 to 1 was capable of also being zero. Did i mention tenuous?
Let’s be clear, i am fighting their fight, i agree with their intentions (to refashion the status quo) but clearly, i could be accused of standing on the sidelines, not doing anything about the current state of affairs. This isn’t the case. The very fact that im sitting here writing this is indicative of some effort (here’s some others you might partake in to do your bit) and besides, i was there, offering my help from day one and before. For me, there is no better reason for doing this other than the sake of our planet because without the earth, there is no life. For rich or for poor.
Unfortunately, there is barely any attention focused on how ‘greed’ or ‘the corporations’ are raping our earth.
Put the earth to one side anyway (its not hard for this kind of ignorance to incense me, but its more than rife, as the bandwagon touting hate against ‘greed’, ‘corporations’ and ‘the rich’ pulls out in all its red glory). – There are personal agendas here. Personal goals. Personal aims.
Part of the organising committee decided that any dissenters would be ‘chanted out‘ with the cry of ‘love, unity and respect!‘ And it just so happens that the couple that decided this, operate a company called ‘love and unity’. Perhaps unplanned (Freudian slip? Parapraxis? Anyone?), but ironic , nonetheless. Mr. Brookes too – who ‘represents’ the 99%, don’t forget – can be heard using the words ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’ almost 30 times in the short few minutes he was on air, in stark contrast to the four or five times he said ‘we’ or ‘us’. Corruption begins with corruption of self…
Its only natural for anybody who is angry or threatened to use scapegoats, point fingers, lay blame – but how that generates broad appeal is beyond me. At best, it just alienates sections of society which is completely unacceptable when the occupiers say they are fighting for the 99%. Im sure there are ‘rich’ people out there who are putting their money behind responsible, sustainable businesses, purely for the benefit of society and the planet – not for personal or private gain. In fact, im certain of it (read the comments at the bottom of this article).
Unfortunately, Australian occupiers dont represent the 99% like they say they do, which is probably a considerable factor as to why public support, and support from the police or authorities is scarce, at best. Case in point, is the remarkable and hilarious footage around at the moment of Melbourne’s occupiers chanting: “always was, always will be Aboriginal land!”, and minutes later “Who’s streets?! – Our streets!” … right. What? – Personally, screaming idiots don’t represent me, as I’m sure vast cross-sections of the Australian population will agree.
When Australia’s ‘occupiers’ start appearing to be informed, organised, guided, directed, driven, educated and are fighting for a common cause, perhaps their very serious cause will too be taken seriously.