Big (A)//Little (a) says:
September 29, 2011 at 12:58 am
So when are you going to do a post on the Occupy Wall Street protest? Yes there are activists of all sorts there but the banksters need a kicking and at least should be hauled in front of Congress or a people’s court and be interrogated by the people who want answers for the financial mess that they got the US into.
UNITED FOR #GLOBALCHANGE
On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares.
From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest.
The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end.
United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us.
On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen.
It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen.
People of the world, rise up on October 15th!
In Melbourne, people will be assembling at the City Square.
Or what remains of it.
Opened by Her Majesty in May 1980, over half the Square was purchased for $12.5 million from the Melbourne City Council in 1993 to house a ***** luxury hotel, one of over 180 Westin Hotels (“havens of wellness and rejuvenation for those seeking a transformative hotel experience”). Westin is owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., a multi-billion dollar US-based corporation. (Note that the other, much larger ‘public’ space in the CBD, Federation Square, is privately-owned land.)
The organisers of Occupy Melbourne are demanding that politicians do a better job of representing the masses, and will be joining who-knows-how-many others at the Square for who-knows-how-long before, presumably, either: a) Australian politicians start doing a better job or; b) they go home.
Afaik, the last time a tent city was established in Melbourne was in 2001 (October 14–November 2), although on that occasion the happy campers were located up the road at the State Library. The camp was established in order to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but proved somewhat ineffective in stopping the 19,799 million-dollar (USD) Australian war-machine. Thus the occupation of Afghanistan by US, Australian and allied forces has lasted slightly longer than the tent city: on October 7, ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
The US “War on terrorism” removed the Taliban regime in October 2001, but it has not removed religious fundamentalism which is the main cause of all our miseries. In fact, by reinstalling the warlords in power in Afghanistan, the US administration is replacing one fundamentalist regime with another. The US government and Mr. Karzai mostly rely on Northern Alliance criminal leaders who are as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban.
RAWA believes that freedom and democracy can’t be donated; it is the duty of the people of a country to fight and achieve these values. Under the US-supported government, the sworn enemies of human rights, democracy and secularism have gripped their claws over our country and attempt to restore their religious fascism on our people.
Whenever fundamentalists exist as a military and political force in our injured land, the problem of Afghanistan will not be solved. Today RAWA’s mission for women’s rights is far from over and we have to work hard for establishment of an independent, free, democratic and secular Afghanistan. We need the solidarity and support of all people around the world.
As for ‘Occupy Melbourne’, the ad hoc nature of the event(s) mean that anything could happen–but probably won’t.
The undergrads who show up, speaking to their friends, one week after they leave Occupy Melbourne, as they unpack their “CHANGE THE WORLD, SOMEHOW FOR SOME REASON” showbag:
“oh my god, and then I got really dirty, and then I got really stoned, and then I got really wet, and they had toilets, but not like the ones at home, like, they actually smelled like someone had been to the toilet in them, and then I got really stoned again and then we had all of this freegan food, and oh my god freeganism is the best thing I have to tell you about it, did you hear people still squat in buildings, like as in squatting to live and oh my god this girl with dreadlocks, that were like really old, and like she’d done them herself, told me all about capitalism and the economy but I can’t remember what she said but they had a website and…”
I don’t see this getting much traction in oz as a movement of popular assemblies occupying public or private spaces but I sure hope I’m proven wrong.
@Derek: You are cruel. Cruel–but possibly fair.
@billyboob: Yes, it seems unlikely, but who knows?
To the extent that the City Square occupiers prove themselves to be harmless and ineffectual I imagine that they’ll be tolerated–for a period. But it won’t be long before the hotel owners, their guests and the other good burghers of Marvellous Melbourne demand authorities do something about the motley assembly creating a mess. Then the occupiers will be told to bugger off, or–after negotiations w police–be offered the ability to have some kind of token presence on the Square (assuming that it rises above this level in the first place). Assuming a willingness to stay, the occupiers’ capacity to do so will rest upon their ability to mobilise popular support, which will in turn depend upon the perception that the occupation performs some kind of useful function.
So, I can imagine a large number of people attending on October 15, but I think it unlikely many will want/have the capacity to stay for long periods of time. The location has the dis/advantage of not seriously jeopardising commerce, or having much economic impact (beyond, perhaps, a temporary increase in revenue for Brunetti’s), so being occupied by a small number of young people for a short period of time will not place the City Fathers under too much pressure to act. Wall St, of course, is one of the hearts of global capital, and has both a real economic function and a greater symbolic value than, say, a Westin Hotel in Melbourne. (See also : Occupied Wall Street Journal.)
More broadly, there’s v little political dissent in Australia, and few public manifestations or traditions upon which to draw inspiration or support.
‘From little things big things grow’ and all that blah…
This is overly cynical.
Yeah we’re not in the middle of a depression and the majority of people won’t be that interested. Plus this protest is being organised at extremely short notice and it’s the first on here so will probably be small. And I do suspect the camp might end up looking a bit like the one against the war in Afghanistan you mention…
But that’s really missing the point… I can’t imagine Australia not being affected by a global movement as radical and powerful as what has swept the world this year. It looks to me like it could manifest in Australia as something similar to the anti-globalization movement of the late 90s.
Also the fact that it seems to have sprung up all over the place, including a lot of small towns, and is mostly not being organised by the usual suspects really says something to me.
“The organisers of Occupy Melbourne are demanding that politicians do a better job of representing the masses, and will be joining who-knows-how-many others at the Square for who-knows-how-long before, presumably, either: a) Australian politicians start doing a better job or; b) they go home.”
Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to from Occupy Melbourne is clear that the protest is against the system, essentially anti-capitalist, it has nothing to do with demanding anything of politicians.
My Saturday afternoon errands were pleasantly interrupted by a sea of skaters on Broadway. Called Broadway Bomb, this parade of young skaters were en route to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
“The world is changing,” Aaron said as we marveled at my generation, who is often accused of being unaffected and uninterested in igniting change.
Our naysayers are being proven wrong.
Source : Janet Mock.
@Anonymous: I prefer ‘critical’ to ‘cynical’, but like, whatever.
From the Facebook page:
On my reading, this is a call for democratic reform. That is, a plea aimed at politicians, requesting that they act in the interests of the alleged 99% of the population who are effectively disenfranchised as opposed to the 1% who are rich and who distort the operations of government by way of their nefarious lobbies. Further, it’s a common complaint among organisers: the democratic state is not functioning in the interests of the majority (which is assumed to be its core function), this is a problem, and its solution requires citizens to exercise their rights by taking to the streets. Insofar as the “anti-globalization movement of the late 90s” is concerned, yes, the corrupting effect of the corporate sector on democratic politics animated many, but its roots lie in a moar explicit identification of some thing called ‘capitalism’–not merely its corporate excesses–as being at the heart of the problem.
The current state of the Australian economy is another question but, leaving aside the fact that we are blessed with having Wayne Swan as Treasurer, the mining boom deserves both much of the credit for averting a depression and has created serious distortions in the labour market, which the government’s punitive reformulation of welfare policy is intended to correct.
Well I guess you can interpret it that way. But that’s really not reflective of the conversations I’ve been having with people who are involved. Seems more varied to me than that. There are a lot of socialists and anarchists involved, then there are all the Zeitgeist types and a lot of other weird internet utopian things, there are also a lot of New Age types who think it’s all part of some kind of global awakening/revolution that will center around 2012, plus movement activists. They might be talking about corporate excess etc but I’ve found once you actually talk to them in more detail about what the solution is, for almost everyone it involves a complete change in the system, not just a few reforms. What that change is is another matter.
But also I don’t get what the point of being “critical” in that way is? I mean if it develops into a movement there will be forces trying to push it towards a more liberal direction and people trying to do the opposite. Which way it goes can’t be determined by discussions on a FB page before even one rally has happened. I think anything questioning so much of the economic system as the Washington protests has got to be positive and a big step in the right direction. They may not all be anti-capitalist revolutionaries now but these things are a process.
Fair enough. So: congratulations to those who’ve taken the initiative to organise some thing and–with some qualifications–I hope the New Agers are right…
In addition, I’ve not spoken to the people involved, so other qualifications apply. I also agree that social movements are pulled in different directions, and where they actually go is an open question. So too, calls for ‘radical’ transformation of society.
So, I don’t know what the point of being critical in this way is–but then, y’know, as Cartman says, ‘I do what I want!’. Plus, it’s better than bottling it up, and if anyone takes any notice, they’re free to comment.
Moar srsly, I guess I wanted to draw attention to what is, in fact, a naive critique of contemporary politics and the ‘democratic deficit’. Not necessarily one reflective of the overall beliefs of the organisers or those who might participate, but–it seems–a definite strain nonetheless (the passage I quoted is not just commentary but a statement of the group’s aims and principles: it may assume much moar or perhaps much less importance as events unfold). Beyond this, I think maybe there’s a tension between, on the one hand, the desire of organisers to (re-)generate a lively popular discussion on matters of political importance (for which the occupation of the Square is a vehicle)–and a concomitant reluctance to be overly-prescriptive in terms of ideological positioning–and on the other hand an unwillingness to be more explicit about what these perspectives might be and why they might reasonably apply in this context. Or: a call to in some way, by some method, re-invigorate ‘democracy’ has a broad appeal, which a focus on capitalism per se (let alone the state) does not. In any case, the call to re-invent democracy has enduring appeal, it seems. Here’s a blast from the recent past:
Stevphen Shukaitis reviews David Graeber’s Direct Action: An Ethnography (AK Press, 2009):
See also : David Graeber, ‘The New Anarchists’, New Left Review, No.13, January-February 2002 (“Is the ‘anti-globalization movement’ anything of the kind? Active resistance is true globalization, David Graeber maintains, and its repertoire of forms is currently coming from the arsenal of a reinvented anarchism.”).
Otherwise : Occupy Wall Street’s Crowd Democracy– the Anti-Mob, Manny Jalonschi, The Indypendent, October 8, 2011.
As for the Zeitgeist mob, these d00ds are funny:
The crimeth(inc) anarchists seems to be reservedly supportive of the UK action.
But like you I have reservations about the Melbourne version. I return to the country 2 days beforehand from Latin America, where the people here know how to protest. So I will probably head down and be interested to see how it turns out. Maybe if some anarchist can ‘agitate’ a bit it might get something fired up?
I don’t have time to write a thing at present, but can I nominate the Black GST camp in 2006 as a recent tent city.
“Beyond this, I think maybe there’s a tension between, on the one hand, the desire of organisers to (re-)generate a lively popular discussion on matters of political importance (for which the occupation of the Square is a vehicle)–and a concomitant reluctance to be overly-prescriptive in terms of ideological positioning–and on the other hand an unwillingness to be more explicit about what these perspectives might be and why they might reasonably apply in this context.”
I agree that is an issue. Tho I actually think overall they have kept that balance fairly well so far. There has been a big emphasis on the workshops and speakers corners etc as being places for that kind of discussion rather than the organising group setting the agenda before hand. I have also noticed a lot of discussion about how do we reach all the other people who aren’t already interested, and for a lot of people the first idea they come up with is to make their message sound less radical, which I think might be part of the reason for the fluffy tone.
Re the deficit of democracy argument, I agree that there is a big strain of that involved. But I think the point is that it is naive. These aren’t ideologues or social democrats, they are young people who are just waking up to things. A lot of them just go with whatever theory to explain the world they come across first, which unfortunately these days tends to be Zeitgeist, but it also means they are pretty open to other stuff as well. I mean it’s not that hard to convince people from that point that we need grass-roots democracy, including in industry etc. and that to do that we need to get rid of business and politicians etc… I had some discussions along these lines and found people are pretty willing to agree to basically an anarchist vision of society so long as you completely ditch the jargon. Actually I’ve often found that people were already thinking along those lines, but weren’t expressing it for whatever reason. The question of how to get there is also a sticking point, I think there will always be a big pacifist tendency, but I reckon people learn about that better through their own experience…
Having said that, I’m also kinda hoping that the old left can refrain from coming in and stomping on these people – I mean it has positive and even necessary stuff to contribute like analysis and experience – but then there’s the obsessions with various tactics, certain forms of organising, vendettas, heavy jargon and arguments as old as the dinosaurs…
I’m taking a rocket launcher to the demonstration, so that the first sixteen year old who lisps the word “zeitgeist” at me through his braces gets his arse burned to a crisp.
And! Opinion! The Left Declares Its Independence! By TODD GITLIN! Published: October 8, 2011! In The New York Times!
We’re all the problems and the one’s we’ve been searching for.
Once you get past the Left Wing, Right Wing and finally the Social Alliance/Anonymous Group that is organizing the protests at Melbourne Town Square.
The point is: everyone is coming together and saying we’ve had enough and you realize that ‘your government’ isn’t and hasn’t been ‘serving you’ anymore since probably 1935 (maybe even back further).
As for the Zeitgeist Movement. There are some ‘merits’ to it. But solving the problem with hydroponically grown food isn’t necessarily the right idea. I haven’t seen any technical plans come out of the movement or Jacques Fresco.
Technology can solve some problems, but it hasn’t solved every “problem” — Remember how they (the corporate media) said computers and technology would solve society’s programs early in the 1970s and its only made you more of a ‘desk bitch’ at another dead end boring job that you will probably retire from to the shrinking pension fund that vanishes when you go to claim it.
Then see the recent incident with Australia importing super phosphate from Morocco. Which is another problem of ‘the system’ and ‘where you get your fertilizer from’ considering Australia doesn’t have the required nutrition in the soil thanks to getting rid of the vegetation that creates organic soil nutrition and question where your FOOD is coming from considering Australia is 73% arid.
You got to love the guy posting on here (Oh well if I hear another little brat breathe Zeitgeist…). That movement is an entirely different kettle of fish compared to:
“The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to Johann Gottfried Herder and other German Romanticists, such as Cornelius Jagdmann, but is best known in relation to Hegel’s philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – “guardian spirit” and saeculi – “of the age”).”
I’d also like to see any of you above me suggest some decent ideas. Which you haven’t. So I’ll suggest some here:
– Horticulture or decent permaculture
– Grow your own food and become self sufficient
– Building your own rain tank and source of power (solar)
– Building decent community or communalism or “building community”
(Which is what the occupy wall street movement is starting.)
Another idea I had was growing Low THC Hemp (Not Marijuana) which can be a source of food, clothing and prospectively in the long term fuel.
But the trick with the above is that because you’ve put the ‘back up plan’ in place you can “switch off from your government”. So therefore you aren’t reliant on the government for providing you with ‘the food, clothing, water, power and shelter’ and therefore you aren’t “big brother’s bitch”.
Now of course everyone here would go “But dude your a — ” You know what? Let me tell you. I am so over labels its chronically funny.
A few things.
Socialist Alliance not Social Alliance.
Occupy Melbourne is not a Socialist Alliance initiative.
Melbourne City Square not Melbourne Town Square.
Government is as government does.
Why is 1935 important?
Yes: hydroponically-grown food isn’t going to solve all our problems.
Yes: soil depletion and corporate exploitation are serious issues.
Yes: there’s zeitgeist and then there’s Zeitgeist.
Permaculture sounds nice. So too self-sufficiency and community and hemp production.
“The organisers of Occupy Melbourne are demanding that politicians do a better job of representing the masses…”
How about demanding they all step down instead of doing a ‘better job’.
Their track record already proves they can’t.
This globally organized Occupy protest movement in the US is funded by the same people who have cause[d] the problems to begin with. George Soros, [ACORN] to name a few…
Do the research people!
Why even ask the 1% for solutions? It’s all a staged event and you can bet the solution they will give you will lead down the path to more regulations and more globalization.
They want this movement to happen and already have plans to provide you with a solution. It’s the same old game “problem, reaction, solution”. Of course the solution they provide is exactly what they want to begin with.
Do not take what I am saying lightly. Like I said do some research first people and uncover for yourselves who is really backing these protests.
Well, we need people to make rules to some point, because citizens are stupid too a lot of the time, people don’t have to vote for these turkeys.
What would happen without politicians?, can you imagine the amount of people scared of knowing that outcome?, and I bet somewhere along the way this fear will be used against the people in some kind of desperate attempt.
Politicians do make the rules right?.
Either way events like this expose, stuff, ASSUMING, people are able to see some truth in it governments will collapse, at some point, they have to, right?. There are two questions left unanswered here.
1. When will it happen?, Well that question is unknowable.
2. Will it happen?, That one is also unknowable.
It’s a bit of a miss mash of evolution and revolution really, you can’t comprehend it, so why try?. It can only either get crazier or better, there is no third option. Enjoy the ride I say, it is only a problem if you make it one. Hopefully the event gets some attention 🙂
Yeah, well said.
I don’t think the world will ever be perfect, mostly because that word isn’t very “fitting”. What’s a perfect world?. But, without getting into it, I do think sanity is going to become increasingly more common, there is quite a bit of evidence of this now, not very often on the T.V of course, but if you look for the good, there is increasingly shitloads of it!. So yeah I think the insanity will force sanity, well I like to think so.
It is a bit of a theory of mine, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but if there were enough sanity to force the “alternate motives” out of the state, would it be enough to just work without the state. Assuming of course politicians don’t change their ways for the better, seems unlikely tho, I think they are too deeply entrenched in their ways. Anyway, everyone will find out sooner or later I suppose. Just hope it doesn’t have to get too messy.
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Well I think if they just left it everyone would have got bored & eventually left of their own accord but now that they have forced the protesters out with mounted police, dogs (the four-legged kind not the cops), capsicum spray & the riot squad they have an issue. Instead of a few hundred peaceful protesters in a confined space the cops now have a few thousand angry people in the city & a lot of bad press for the cops & city.
All power to the people!
Yeah maybe. It sparked a lot moar interest on the part of a lot moar people, certainly. And those who witnessed the eviction seem, largely, to have been appalled and some even shocked by it. So, in the short-term, the government has won–the occupiers have been evicted–but in the medium- to long-term… who knows? Much also depends on whether or not the police action was exceptional, or forms part of a new strategy on the part of the state with regards public protest.
I have found the comments here the most educated and intelligent. I also found the comments on the ‘Occupy Melbourne’ Facebook sites most revealing. From what I can gather, they ‘represent the 99%’ – but 99% of those comments show the posters (whether or not they actually participated in the protest?) to be uneducated and incredibly immature. Ugh. I support the core ideas – but resent a group of ‘have-nots’ trying to destabilise society. Anyway, we are doomed as a society – being only a matter of when, not if. (‘Short History of Progress’ anyone?!)