Why the occupy movement isnt quite working in Australia

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.

hundreds of thousands gathered to protest in Madrid's Puerta del Sol

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.

10 thoughts on “Why the occupy movement isnt quite working in Australia

  1. I feel the reason occupy australia hasn’t taken off here is probably due to the reality that our economy hasn’t “crashed” yet. It just hasn’t really hurt enough people in a big enough way. Also our population is small and pretty heavily dumbed down with flouride in the water,sugar in just about all foods now,not to mention football, tv, alchohol and debt,which i think has something to do with the “hundred monkey” effect. The group of dissaffected individuals needs to reach a critical mass and total numbers are really important. Add to that the levels of “media and behind the scenes controls” are enough to douse the dissenters/suffering individuals at this stage anyway. A guy i know from south africa complained one day that it was near impossible to get an aussie to do pretty much anything. I intend to agree. We are still slaves of the monarchy and very few are motivated to even research anything beyond the gig guide/tv guide/sports guide. I’m embarrassed to be an australian.

  2. It is true that Australia wasn’t as badly affected by the onset of the GFC as other areas on the globe. Our economy was stimulated, however. Most Australians, if you recall, received a $500 payment from the government, or should I say a $500 debt from the government. Through the fractional reserve banking system each $500 debt cheque will be amplified to amount to around $5000 per person, which will have to be paid back at some stage.
    Apart from the debasement of our currency so that it is currently almost worthless, we have a massive growing debt (almost $50billion of credit card debt alone). As well as that our superannuation funds all hold debt in the form of bonds. We have just seen in Greece, as part of an EU bailout package (which is DOA anyway) that Greek citizens have taken a 50% haircut in their pensions, that were invested in bonds, overnight. Why? to bailout the banks of the 1%.
    Will we have to wait until an event like part of all of our superannuation disappears as a result of a policy decision designed to save the banks of the 1% until we wake up?

    • please clarify the term ‘the banks for the 1%’ .. who do you bank with? ..
      being ‘awake’ involves positive, radical, subversive and explicit action. until then you are merely only dreaming, asleep.
      here are some steps you might like to consider taking : http://tiny.cc/24xsd

  3. If you support the cause then support the cause. Dont scratch away at it with the condecending claws of weekend expertise and armchair commentary. If you could see the gaping maw in the organisation of the action, why then, did you not step up to plug it? You were there after all. That is how actions work. Different folks from differnt strokes, rock on up and volenteer thier time, thier skills, thier insight and thier energy. You’re a writer and musician you could easily have scratched off an unifying anthem, disseminated it throughout the crowd and incited the magical meyhem of spontaneous confluence. Instead you race to blog deleterious in purple prose, redundant and nepharious. The hint is in the name. Action. Feel free to take some.

    • thanks for ur enlightening comments CJ. May i just help you to note that my expertise isnt just confined to the weekend or the armchair. here’s some action i take every single day: http://tiny.cc/9qgzp .. you may also find a wide array of ‘action’ published in widely read mediums of influence around the world, including at the source of the very group that started the original ‘occupy’ movement in NYC. As you can see, i am indeed supporting the cause – i just don’t bind well with the methodology or organisation i encountered. ..as you say, different folks for different strokes (‘stroking’ being the most common vein i found in the ‘folks’ i encountered).

      Feel free to educate yourself in literate grammar and spelling (and turgid language that you dont know the meaning of), before you next attempt to denigrate my discourse. This is a widely read website

  4. ‘UNFORTUNATELY, THERE IS BARELY ANY ATTENTION FOCUSED ON HOW ‘GREED’ OR ‘THE CORPORATIONS’ ARE RAPING OUR EARTH.’

    This sounds too much like the Get Up! agenda of designer grass root movement.

    Why not support a REAL grass root movement like Occupy since it tries to deal with the cause of all evil. Fix the corrupted corporate/political system, restore genuine democracy and the raping of our Earth will stop, not to mention the wars and famine.

    In spite of ever rising exploitative prices, in spite of being overworked and under paid, or on the other hand, underemployed and loosing our actual say in the political process, we are still asked to believe that we have got it good…

  5. Were are forgetting one of the main messages that effect every country. When governments borrow money from banks and put the country in dept, they pass the bill and intrest on to the people meaning more tax to pay. They then waste the money on wasteful items that dont improve the living conditions of the people. This has been getting worst with currant government. For an idea of this I recommend looking up the film called ” the American dream film “. It is a cartoon based on facts and
    although some of the information is not the same as our banks, the ideas and downsides remain the same. I’m sure if we look harder at the 1 %, like other countrys have, we’ll see the relevance of the protest. If we ever want change, the time is now. We will not forget. We will not forgive. Expect us.

  6. I believe that one of the factors that explain the lack of involvement in the Global Occupation Movement in Australia is the lack of social cohesion. As a migrant myself I have never seen so many efforts from a society to be identified, to belong to…So many community programs in order to create that sense of community, neighbourhood, which in other countries, in other cultures just happens spontaneously. Australia community is built up by many different cultures, beliefs, languages, still on the process to become one, with a mainstream society that is still imposing the Britain Culture and values, from 25 thousand km away, the colony mentality is still in the air…But just wait…the wealth of this country is held by a very small percentage of its population and for the last 20 years, the government haven’t invested on welfare and infrastructures…the wealth distribution has been individualised. You just have to take a trip from the wealthier suburbs and then, cross the bridge and get into the westerns suburbs…and the difference in just public transports or public services such as the cleaning of the streets, will provide you with a good overview. And the crisis will hit Australia, as our economy, whether we are aware or not, is interdependent on the global economy. The media and our politics do not want to use the word crisis yet…But we are witnessing how State and Federal governments are cutting off their funding on education, health and public services in general. And the poverty line is increasing…Social Agents are warning us of these changes…But, as I said before, social cohesion has to happen before we get together in the streets to claim for Social Justice and Real Democracy.

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