Oh yeah. Tricksy police in Sydney smashed #occupysydney at approximately 5am this morning. Maybe 40 or so arrests, camp destroyed. Video seized along with arrested. Pride. Integrity. Guts.
I’m beginning to believe that Robert Doyle may not be the sharpest tool in the shed.
Either that, or he assumes his audience are fools.
In an opinion piece in the Sunday Herald Sun (‘Selfish rabble got what it deserved’, October 23, 2011), the Lord Mayor makes numerous assertions regarding the nature of the occupation, its aims and composition.
These claims are supplemented by straight-forward abuse.
According to the Lord Mayor, those who occupied the City Square were a “self-righteous, narcissistic, self-indulgent rabble”; lying, violent, thugs, both comically-amateurish malcontents and–simultaneously–professionally-trained vandals, acting under the influence of sinister forces of strange and exotic origin.
A brief survey of the contribution to public discourse by the numerous trolls populating Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms reveals that the sentiments expressed by the Lord Mayor find their echo in the quasi-demented outpourings of this unpaid army. To cite just one of many possible examples: local yuppie Cameron Voss (“Website Producer at Australian Football League”) tweeted that he wished more than 20 occupiers had been injured by police on Friday. (Then again, he is a Hawthorn supporter.) As Andrew O’Hagan wrote in the October 6 edition of the London Review of Books: “Twitter is marvellous in the way a school playground is marvellous: full of life, full of information, and heaving with bullies.”
So much for the bullies.
Well, not quite.
And what of the promises of Occupy Melbourne spokespeople during the week in the media – that they would vacate City Square peacefully once requested to do so?
What of their specific requests to police that they be given some notice so they could leave peacefully?
Good questions. What promises? Made by whom? And with what authority?
On Thursday, October 20, Occupy Melbourne released a media statement regarding the fact that Inspector Bernie Jackson of the Melbourne East police station met with protesters to discuss a potential eviction scenario. It declared that his statement would be discussed at the General Assembly that evening. A further media release on the morning of the eviction (Friday, October 21) stated that Occupy Melbourne intended to remain at the Square.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Again, look at the video footage. Peaceful? Hardly. And how do these protesters explain the knives, hammers, bricks, bottles and flammable liquids that we found in their illegal tent city? What were they for?
Obviously believing himself to have scored a coup, Robert repeats himself:
THE protest was infiltrated by professionals: what were those knives, hammers, bottles, bricks and fuel for?
Why, what possible use could anybody have for knives, hammers, bottles, bricks or fuel? Possibly, to cut things, hammer things, store liquids, anchor ropes and to keep things warm. If the Lord Mayor believes such mundane items pose a threat to public safety, he could ban carpenters, cooks, builders and other ‘professionals’ from entering the CBD.
You know it makes sense.
And the final irony?
“We are the 99 per cent,” they chanted.
But they are not the 99 per cent.
Literally-speaking, Robert is of course correct: 3,960,000-plus people simply won’t fit into the City Square. As a former English teacher, however, he should be familiar with the use of metaphor. Further, as a literate politician, Robert should also be familiar–even if only roughly–with the field of economics, and the use of such rhetoric is derived from the Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz.
In the May issue of Vanity Fair, Stiglitz wrote an article titled ‘Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%’, in which he claimed that the top 1 percent of the US population control 40 percent of the national wealth, and proceeded to elaborate why this fact, and others like it, spells trouble.
He concludes his brief analysis as follows:
The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.
Aside from having a poor command of rhetoric and economics, Robert would also appear to have a slippery grasp of fundamental legal principles. Thus:
NO ONE gets arrested for protesting: you have to escalate it, break the law, get violent. And there were more than 50 arrests.
In reality, people get arrested because the police decide to arrest them. They are then sometimes charged. Sometimes they’re not.
On Friday, many more than 50 people were detained by police. Not all of them, however, were charged with a criminal offence. Some were released. Those charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a properly-constituted court of law.
In short: Robert Doyle is a fucking cunt (Geoff Lemon, Heathen Scripture, October 22, 2011).
See also : Doyle defiant as protesters plan legal action, Peter Munro, Deborah Gough and Mark Russell, The Age, October 23, 2011.