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Occupy Melbourne, Sydney ... movements may be real chance for democracy

First published 2011-10-10 10:02:39 +1000. Republished on 21-October 2011 at 11:37: There is a new protest movement for democratic occupation of cities all over the world, demonstrating against the financial system and its insults to most of us. We support the principles the movement espouses and urge others to do so. Days later we have unanswered questions about this movement in Melbourne, which we are hoping to elucidate. Please join in with comments.

Statement on Occupy Melbourne website from candobetter.net

This statement was posted on October 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm and was in moderation at time of this article:

"http://candobetter.net writers cover these concerns and candobetter.net supports your platform in solidarity. We will be there on Saturday. We criticise the growth lobby http://candobetter.net/GrowthLobby and show how it subverts Australia’s remaining democracy. We consider the amount of money that goes on land and rent costs ruins small business, causes homelessness, enslaves most of us and creates a tiny layer of profiteers that runs this country. That’s not an economic success.The assault on wages in this country is shameful. See this cartoon: http://candobetter.net/node/2601

We are gathering a political movement of radical community candidates for the next federal election. Please keep watching our pages too.

I personally would support the adoption of the roman law and civil code in Australia. The British, US, Oz and NZ system is a democratic sham."

signed Sheila Newman

Vigilance needed against forces that will try to take over and destroy this movement in Australia

Please put principles before personalities. To this effect, please watch out for efforts to intimidate people who try to talk about the problems we have with overpopulation and the growth lobby in this country.

Often occupying positions in the Socialist Alliance - but not real socialists - the people subverting movements for democracy are identifiable because they try to stop you from expressing your opposition to undemocratic development and population growth in Australia. They have long been interfering in the Green Movement, the Climate Change movement, have taken over NGOs and have succeeded to date in fragmenting protest, to the advantage of the ruling cliques here. Sometimes they pretend to be anarchists and that anarchism supports violence. They are not anarchists. As Joe Toscano says at Anarchist Weekly, which is a very solid democratic forum, beware of anyone who talks up violence, they are almost certainly working for the authorities.

We urge our readers to be positive forces in this movement.

Original Occupy Wall Street statement

OCCUPY WALL ST FIRST DECLARATION

On Thursday night, Occupy Wall Street participants voted on and approved the first official “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.” It it reprinted in its entirety below.

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

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Comments

Is Occupy Melbourne just another Greens and Socialist Alliance pretend demonstration? Can anyone tell me? Is there anything happening there representing peoples' anger about forced urban densification and overpopulation? Because I hear nothing of these important subjects I assume that people with real complaints and serious solutions aren't welcome. Am I wrong?

My impression - 'nouveau hippies' without much idea of how things work, just feeling pushed around. As we all are.

I had a bit to do with Occupy Melbourne. The Socialist Alliance had been present on the fringes of Occupy Melbourne but organisers seemed to keep the protests peaceful by keeping them out of the main activities. I don't know what has gone wrong now. The police said some new people who wanted to cause trouble had moved in in City Square. I don't know if it was the socialist alliance.

Thank you, Jenny T. I would also like to know whether Occupy Melbourne is for real. As soon as we heard (October 10th, 2011) about plans for an Occupy Melbourne, I contacted the site and told them that I would like to represent the case of people protesting against infilling and overpopulation, as we represent the case on candobetter.net. I made some references to articles including a cartoon about the role of land costs in driving up wages and making businesses uncompetitive - especially relevant given the financial context of the protest. My comment remained 'under moderation' all night and all day. I registered to receive comments by email and when these finally came through, they were sparse and the two comments I had made (the second one being a query as to why the first one remained in moderation) were not published, did not come through on email. See below in square brackets the record I kept of my inquiry; if you click on the link now, it will take you nowhere.

[http://occupymelbourne.org/workshops/#comment-31
Sheila Newman says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
October 10, 2011 at 1:25 am
I have registered to receive correspondence. I made a post myself but it has not appeared and there have been very few items of correspondence made available. What is going on?
Reply ]

James Sinnamon had a conversation on the phone with one of the organisers - Nick- on the evening of October 10th. He was told to ring back later, up until midnight and that Nick would be happy to talk to him. When he rang back, before midnight, he was told that Nick was not able to talk to him.

These responses, plus the very light-on correspondence I received by email, which I stopped reading after a while - so maybe I should go back and look - made me seriously question whether the whole movement had been captured by the establishment who would be managing it to make it ineffective by pushing relatively unfocused individuals into the positions of 'leaders', whilst the establishment led from behind. If this were the case then I would anticipate that the event, if it gained enough momentum to attract people to participate of their own volition, would be broken up by the introduction of violence. The violence would also be organised by the establishment, who typically use agent provocateurs posing as 'anarchists', 'socialists' or 'communists'. (Note that I have nothing against anarchists, socialists and communists.) My own experience has been that the Refugee Action Collective and the so-called Socialist Alliance (which both have heavily infiltrated the Greens and Friends of the Earth) often harbour such agent provocateurs on a long-term basis. I suspect that those people are paid by external organisations which the rank and file know nothing about. I looked up Nick Carson and found that he had been a Greens candidate previously. We know that members of the Socialist Alliance shouted down people in the Greens last year when they tried to present an updated Greens population policy, leading at least one person to simply leave and go away, saying they were disgusted and depressed by the bullying.

I certainly continue to find it odd that Occupy Melbourne knocked back help twice from candobetter.net if it was really interested in representing the people of Melbourne, which is what we do.

I would be very grateful to hear some reassurance from people at Occupy Melbourne that my concerns are unjustified. They should note that we went ahead and wrote an article (on the basis of almost nil feedback) in support of this potentially very important movement. We would be happy to publish articles and comments by Nick Carson and any other organisers and participants in the Occupy Melbourne movement. We are not in the business of knocking down real democracy and will go out of our way to represent Occupy Melbourne if it shows it is for real.

I heard a lady ring Jon Fain today from the Occupy Melbourne site. She said that she was protesting about the "mainstream media" not giving people like her a voice. Jon argued that she had a voice because she was on the phone to him. This completely defused her and it seemed unfair to me. Of course we don't have a voice on the media! Nearly everyone there is a paid talking head for big business. Real people are exceptional there. You have to be famous or "important".

For instance, yesterday morning the local ABC was talking about Melbourne’s population growth and was it “sustainable”? Jill Quirk, the Victorian President of Sustainable Population Australia, rang in. She told them that she was the branch president of SPA in Vic. I heard that she waited about 40 minutes - a long time at any rate to get on air when she was introduced as simply as “Jill of name of suburb". She said that current population growth was not sustainable, to which Jon Faine the presenter said “oh why Melbourne is the least dense of any comparable city in the world!” Jill said that this was what people enjoyed about Melbourne” to which he replied “oh but you can enjoy other cities, have you ever lived in one of the larger cities of the world?” Jill said that she had but that she had not rung in to talk about how she may have enjoyed living in London and made the point that Melbourne's population growth is at the expense of the environment and that the 2008 State of the Environment report had shown that nearly all of the environmental indicators in Victoria are declining as a result of population pressure. To this JF said …”Well I've gotta move on….”

What he 'moved on to' was an interminable discussion of the Queen's visit to Australia. I noticed that he was still talking about this when he interrupted today to 'cover' Occupy Melbourne.

Anyway my point is that we don't have proper representation in our media or in our government. This ability that the Queen has to take over the airwaves in ridiculous discussions aboutwhether to curtsey or not is a great example of this.

So I feel that Jon Fain is just misrepresenting the way the ABC treats the people of Melbourne. They are really just interested in giving the powerful air with a little sprinkle of pretend democracy in tiny sound-grabs from the greater 'unwashed'.

Hi Sheila ~ I got your email regarding Occupy Melbourne this evening - I'm working at The Footbridge (St V's Group) CCU tonight:

James Sinnamon had a conversation on the phone with one of the organisers - Nick- on the evening of October 10th. He was told to ring back later, up until midnight and that Nick would be happy to talk to him. When he rang back, before midnight, he was told that Nick was not able to talk to him. Hmmn...

and from you, Sheila...

I certainly continue to find it odd that Occupy Melbourne knocked back help twice from candobetter.net if it was really interested in representing the people of Melbourne, which is what we do.

Indeed! Why would Occupy Melbourne knock back help from an 'organisation' which purports to support them?

Some serious research into this organisation is called for! Dig Deep! ... Any ( reliable) media contacts to call on, Sheila?

Headline:

Discover the Hidden Agenda - What Occupy Melbourne 's Sinister Campaign Really Intends for Melbournians! You Need To Know!

Send them THAT Sheila - *snigger* - see if that gets their arses into gear!

Keep those emails rolling in!

With Thanks

Agent Provocateur

; )

Sheila, Agent Provocateur, I don't think we should jump to making the worst conclusions, when events don't turn out as we expect and hope. Certainly, I was put out when Nick was not able to talk to me when I phoned back as I had arranged, but the explanation Nick gave may well have been the honest truth and I saw no need to conclude otherwise.

I had intended to attend that protest, but didn't, because I had no printed material to give to people I met, so I judged that my time would have been better spent attending to other tasks. In hindsight, I regret not making the effort to attend.

If you look at the short video of yesterday's events on the website of The Age, the police officer says that it was time for the protesters to give back the square to the "citizens of Melbourne". Well the citizens of Melbourne could have still used the square all week but there was a much higher population density than we are used to. We are supposed not to worry about and in fact to welcome continued increased density of population in Melbourne so why should anyone be worried about increased population density on the city square?

James,

I think you are right to advise caution and I apologise if I sounded as if I was jumping to unfair conclusions. I hope however that I have redressed any imbalance by soliciting far and wide for discussion of the Occupy Melbourne movement and its treatment by the authorities. I think the result has been overwhelmingly on the side of Occupy Melbourne, which is a movement that I support.

One person, who is harshly critical of the global movement inspired by the original Occupy Wall Street protest and whose views cannot be lightly dismissed, is Professor Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research. This Global Research TV interview about Libya concludes with him being asked his views on the global movement inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protest. He sees the movement as being manipulated to suit the selfish interests wealthy people including Warren Buffet and Al Gore (who some, including me, have viewed as rich people with conscience). I would be interested to know if Michel Chossudovsky would consider what he says of the "Occupy Wall Street" inspired movement to be applicable to the Occupy Melbourne, Occupy Sydney, Occupy Perth, etc. groups here in Australia.

Its happening the world over, street riots and protests that have been engineered to happen by the puppets and their masters...
Its so simple...Problem , Reaction , solution....
A problem is created by the puppets and their masters and there are plenty of those.
Reaction - the public reacts to these problems by staging mass protests and riots.
Solution - the puppets and their leaders bring on a solution by tightening the net on our freedom and to have more control over us, which is their
ultimate goal..

If massing in the street at this point in time, at this spectacularly relevant opportunity, isn't a sound political action, then what is? Sitting at home by the evening TV news whilst muttering under our breath? Making umpteen submissions to enquiries designed for unaccountability?

The human mind is a labyrinth of rational delusion that can make any possibility seem plausible or otherwise. Don't overcomplicate your thinking. Take it down to the most vital basics. Will we achieve anything differently by ultimately doing nothing? No. The key factor in taking action is critical mass. This can only be accumulated by beginning at the right time and then progressing in an adequate manner.

The effort has begun. It would seem to be the right time. The issue at its heart is clearly understood, widely accepted and incisively valid.

If you truly care about things, stop jumping at shadows and get your arse out into the street at the most appropriate moments. Then come back in between and write how you feel about it.

I am also suspicious of far left groups who have clearly acted in recent decades as a prop for the ruling elites. They have been a prop by consuming the time, money and energy of people who would have made much better use of their time and been far more effective, even as individuals, let alone as members of genuine groups for the betterment of society. Nevertheless, I think that too much profile has been given to those groups in this article. I think a few well researched articles which document their track record, together with links from articles like this, would be sufficient. Certainly, those groups should be watched closely by those who understand them and candobetter should draw the attention of readers to any actions they take which may undermine "Occupy Melbourne", but, in the meantime, candobetter should focus on the positive aspects of this movement and on offering constructive suggestions as to how they can better go about achieving their goals.

We are very happy to focus on the positive elements of Occupy Melbourne. As I wrote, we are happy to publish comments, articles, anything from them. We are calling for this from them. We yearn to assist democracy in any way we can and therefore to assist Occupy Melbourne in any constructive move to shore up democracy. On the issue of Free Speech; our rights there need to be clear. At the moment they are not. Neither are our rights to free association. We don't have a right to this. And I believe that City Square is privately owned or privately managed, so is not a peoples' square. If I am correct, what is Our square? Do the people have a place in Melbourne?

I walked through the "Occupy Melbourne" area yesterday. Very friendly people despite my "establishment" appearance (I was in a suit).

Quite well run considering it is a self-organising movement with no clear leadership. I saw a First Aid tent, a Media tent and an Information tent as well as many other signs of self-organisation.

Quite well informed - they are running tutorials on subjects like "The Fractional Reserve System" and "Constitutionality of the Reserve Banking Sysem".

There may be a group of random malcontents who don't understand the issues and whose only agenda is mindless opposition - but if so, I didn't see them.

David C.

"Constitutionality of the Reserve Banking System" in the Australian context would be a pretty brief tutorial - there is nothing
unconstitutional about it in Australia. The issue isn't whether it is legal or not, the issue is its inherent problems.

> “... a group of random malcontents who don't understand the issues ...”

It could just be that the malcontents are not a random group,
and understand the real issues a lot better than
those who think that population is the critical issue in 2011.

It could also be that some of them are working for the Police/ASIO/ASIS/CIA/Mossad,
but that some are true revolutionaries,
and some that are something else now, but will be revolutionaries in the future.

When the Police/ASIO infiltrators meet up afterwards for debriefing
and report that the protesters were peacefully running tutorials on The Fractional Reserve Banking System
they will conclude that the Government-Armed Forces-Judicial-Banking-Corporate Greed-MSM complex is safe,
and everything is BAU.

Dave

I passed by the city square at lunch time, so I took a look.

The tents were gone. Pulled down and loaded into a garbage truck (along with sleeping bags, guitars and other personal items.) I didn't see any TV cameras - I guess they left after the tents were pulled down.

The mounted police were using horses to trample seated protestors when I arrived. I went and had lunch at my favorite cafe on Collins St. (I'm not terribly political).

When I passed by again the dog squad were savaging the surviving protestors (down to less than a hundred by my estimate).

I counted 3 tactical response teams (I didn't know we had that many in Melbourne) 1 MICA Paramedic team, 3 ambulances and (at an estimate) several hundred cops.

If you want to commit a crime in Melbourne, today's the day - every cop we have is standing in the city square.

If this is what is happenning in Melbourne (we aren't really hurting here), I wonder how things are going in New York and Athens?

>From the little I observed, the protestors didn't put up a fight.... but given that they had their stuff tossed into a garbage truck, then they were trampled by horses, savaged by dogs and manhandled into vans, I wouldn't bet that they will be so peaceful next time.

Interesting times. I will be going passed again on my way home - I will take a look.

David C.

O. K! ... Sounds like this Occupy Melbourne - the 'organised protest' [ and ..."3 tactical response teams (I didn't know we had that many in Melbourne)" ] - are a Farce!

I smell a rat. A dirty, BIG Rat!

Sounds like a set up to me.

I smell something ominous.

'Something/Some 'Organisation' - wants to make a point - Melbourne: Put up and Shut Up

I repeat: Research & Examine this whole Shebang very, very closely!

I've just had a look at the Herald Sun's video:

http://video.heraldsun.com.au/2157605312/Time-to-go?area=videohighlights1

There's an old fashioned tactic which, after seeing the Police ( on WHO's Orders?!) Stampeding the Public!
might have some effect: Placing an Embargo in the shopping precinct of Melbourne to include 'all goods & services' ... have we come to that?
After seeing an online video of police treatment of apparently peaceful demonstration (on WHO's Orders?!) - it may be time to hit them back
... and where it will surely hurt! Refuse to consume, protestors! No GST for a Day!

embargo ?[em-bahr-goh]

Definition: prohibition, restriction

Synonyms: ban, bar, barrier, blockage, check, hindrance, impediment, interdict, interdiction, proscription, restraint, stoppage
Notes: a boycottis an organized popular protest, while an embargo is usually imposed by a government it may be applied by population
to express displeasure.

David C wrote:

... I wouldn't bet that they will be so peaceful next time.

Our best hope of preventing police brutality against peaceful protesters and to make future protest actions more effective is to show up the actions of the tactical response teams to the broader public through whatever access we have to the media and through the World Wide Web (including, of course, candobetter and occupymelbourne.org) and by using whatever legal recourse is available that is affordable.

Participants at future protests would be poorly advised, if as a consequence of having their possessions tossed into a garbage truck and then being trampled by horses, savaged by dogs, pepper-sprayed and manhandled into vans, etc., they preemptively acted violently at the next protest.

In all likelihood, that would only give the tactical response teams an excuse to attack protesters even more savagely than they were attacked yesterday.

No doubt, the mainstream newsmedia would play up for all it is worth any acts of violence by protesters and overlook the premeditated violence by police at yesterday's protests. Some readers' comments re-posted from the Herald Sun in Appendix 1, below, show how, in future, acts of violence by some protesters could be twisted into a justification for reducing our right to protest.

Appendix 1: Evidence of police brutality & counter-claims

Witness statements about police violence at the "Occupy Melbourne" protest, yesterday, (as well as what was posted by Davic C, above) include:

From the Herald Sun: "... it is hard to see why police used such force in both the eviction, and the step by step movement of the crowd up Swanston St. I witnessed unnecessary punching, shoving, and general cowardice from the police and frankly it left me feeling rather ill. The fact that 2/3's of the cops on the front line seemed to forget it was the law to be wearing identification also added to the general indecency of the police response. ... 100's of people were witnessed being hit, eye gouged, pepper sprayed and punched in the face unnecessarily ..." (by liam)

The police were totally heavy handed, choke holding innocent people engaging in a peaceful protest is sickening, what ever happened to free speech in Victoria?" (by john)

"Police were heavy-handed. I saw 8 horses charge into a group of people chanting. The horses were clearly not behaving as expected and the officers riding them were panicked by their own lack of control and screaming back and forth at each other. I saw them empty personal property into rubbish trucks, including books. I saw a kid, barely 18, flee the centre of the crowd screaming after he'd be pepper-sprayed. I saw them push an old man to the ground (he looked about 70). They shoved countless people, all of whom (that I saw) were attempting to get out of the way of a wall of angry riot police. I wasn't involved in the camp and wasn't intending to stay yesterday, but after I saw such aggressive gang-mentality from the police I think I'll go back today too. ... (Lord Mayor Robert) Doyle said yesterday it was time to give City Square back to the people. Think I can go sit in there today? Or tomorrow?" (Adam of Melbourne)

One who posted in response to the Herald Sun article mentioned above claimed that police were restrained: "The police were well disciplined and used force as required. ..."(Franky of Melb)

Also from the Herald Sun: "They were so heavy-handed. I was pushed onto the ground with brutal force. So many people were pepper-sprayed; it has been awful." (James Gibson, 22)

"As a member of the public I was appalled by this. It seemed worse with Mayor Doyle standing up on the balcony of the town hall looking like some dictator. The protesters don't have my support BUT the way this was handled they do have my sympathy. Doyle is one of the worst Lord Mayors and it will be a good thing when he goes. Very heavy handed and very un Australian. I felt sorry for some of the Police too who should be out doing other things then breaking up what was till then a peaceful protest. Shame on you Doyle and you too Mr Bailleu." (Bystander of Melbourne)

"The photo at the top of this article is proof, clear evidence that some police removed their identification badges. The officer in the hat and glasses using a grappling method that is not taught at Vic Pol, should be severely reprimanded for it as well as for removing his ID. Disgraceful!" (Believer in Civil Liberty of Melbourne)

A number who posted to the second Sun Herald article mentioned here, opposed the protesters and approved of police brutality towards protesters, but few of those made claims of protester violence:

"James, I hope it isn't over. I was enjoying seeing your type get what you deserved after being asked to leave peacefully. Bring on another day of entertainment." (Scott)

"I'm angry at these protestors, because I have never in my life seen people fight so hard for nothing at all. These left-wing extremists ask for democracy and the death of corporate greed, despite the fact we pay taxes and receive more benefits than most." (Gaetano)

The person who posted the following claimed ambivalently to against outlawing protests, but came out in favour of such laws that would ban protests if that proved to be the only way to prevent claimed protester violence:

" ... If these protests keep occurring, I can see that sometime soon the government is going to take unforeseen measures to avoid trouble. By this it could mean that the powers that be will ban all gatherings of more than 20 people in a public area through out the State. I must say that I am against that move, however if it means that is the only way that the violence is stopped, then so be it." (Roy).

Comment on previous comment: As I noted above this kind of spurious logic demonstrates how politicians and the newsmedia could turn violence by some protesters into an excuse to take away our right to protest. It is not without a reason that those in charge of many political protest movements take so much trouble to point out that they will only support peaceful protest.

The pretext used by the Police for the removal of protestors and placing their tents, and other possessions including guitars into garbage trucks was that they were occupying private land?!?!

So, when was the decision make by "our" government to sell of what was surely once public space to private vested interests?

If the people don't have their own space in the centre of Melbourne as they once did, where they could meet and discuss issues of concern to them, then when was it taken off them and what elected council/government made that decision and how did it obtain a popular mandate to do so?

A study of the historical records will almost certainly reveal that the sell-off of public spaces in Melbourne from which "Occupy Melbourne" protestors have been evicted, was done in the same sneaky dishonest way that so much other publicly owned property -- Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank, the Port of Brisbane Authority, Power Generators, Public Transport, etc. -- have been sold off in recent decades.

I still question how so much discussion here is not focused on positive aspects of the protest particularly when protestors have been so unfairly and so harshly dealt with by the police. As an example, Agent Provocateur wrote, "It could also be that some of them are working for the Police/ASIO/ASIS/CIA/Mossad, ..." Of course the political police can be expected to attend such events, pretending to be supporters, and do what they can to undermine public support for that protest. In what significant protest movement has this not occurred?

I got it wrong. I just began listening to this podcast from Joe Toscano on Anarchist World, where he explains the difference:

http://podcast.3cr.org.au/pod/3CRCast-2011-10-19-88156.mp3

Camping is illegal under Council By-laws and this is one of the pretexts to remove the protesters.

I just got another comment via email:

"Hi- I didn’t see any violence but I saw absolute overkill with police numbers. As I was watching from the west side of Swanston I saw one young man with a cut knee and a paramedics helping him – but it looked very minor and Im not sure what caused it. What I saw on TV was awful- people being dragged away and one young man looking dazed as his face had been injured. I think the Lord Mayor has a lot to answer for – he was hell bent on getting them off the city square (public land) (I thought they were at Fed square) and most likely so that it will all look nice for the queen. On TV I saw him walking “portlily” around the balcony at the Town hall as though it was job well done."

Too many government decisions and policies are being made for the benefit of the elite, at the disadvantage of the majority. Massive corporations with their financial power are able to hold governments captive due to their political and economic powers. More and more capital is going to feed rich corporations, while the general public continue to fare worse. Costs continue to increase, and living standards decline. People feel powerless in the face of large monolithic lobby groups. We are plagued with "shortages" and cutbacks to funding for education and training, for example, and more people find themselves homeless in what used to be the "Lucky Country". Land, farms, manufacturing and properties are being sold off to foreign powers. The people are becoming the economic "fodder", "fillers" for real estate, or packed-in consumers, for the benefit of the elite. As global powers and markets increase, the normal rate-payer, tax-payer becomes distanced from policy making, and from democratic processes.

I arrived at the "City Square' today at about mid day. Wire fences surrounded the whole area and from the south end I could only see the protesters at a distance of about 60 metres..They were encircled by police or security dressed in bright green vests. There were a lot of onlookers taking photos. Police cars were parked all along Swanston Street. A police woman kept telling the people around me to move back from the fence and stand behind an arbitrarily chosen groove on the pavement. I could hear chanting in the distance but could not hear what it was about. After about an hour of learning nothing I started to walk towards Collins Street along the other side of Swanston Street as it was not possible to do this on the same side as the square. The pavement on the other side was uncharacteristically crowded and people were getting very impatient. I suddenly became conscious of my hand bag as though I were a tourist. A young man was pacing up and down Swanston Street with a sign around his neck saying "We are the 99%" This was my first and only opportunity to talk to a participant in the protest. The young man spoke with quite a heavy European accent in answering my question which was "what is the main concern?" He said that he could not be "over there" pointing to the (still occupied) square and I took that to mean that he could not afford to come in contact with the police for immigration reasons. He said that the protest was in sympathy with the protests on Wall Street and that it is because 1% of the people own most of the wealth in the world. I asked what specifically they would like to see happen in Australia or was it only a global protest. He said that to him it was the latter. I asked if the protesters had had good treatment from the media. He said the media had been "marvelous". I asked if that meant he was happy with the coverage of the protest in the media. He said that he had seen nothing as he had been living on the square for a whole week. (I'm not sure why he could not see a newspaper) At this point about 10 young people were escorted by police across Swanston Street away from the square. They offered a modicum of resistance shouting that they had a right to protest peacefully. They then marched up the street chanting something that I still couldn't get but part of it was "Occupy Melbourne". It would have been useless trying to talk to any of them as they were following each other in a determined fashion and I don't think would have liked to be picked off from the group. At this stage there were several police on horses on our side of the road . The horses' faces were protected with hard transparent masks. I then walked towards Collins Street then crossed to the north east corner and watched proceedings from there for about half an hour. The street was very crowded and protesters were still on the square. 3 young people climbed up on the Bourke and Wills monument. Then I clearly heard a familiar chant "Always was, always will be Aboriginal land!" I walked away over the pavement on the stolen land, returning at 4.50pm. By this time all the protesters had gone and the square was still fenced off with notices inside to say this was for maintenance. I picked up a copy of the free newspaper, MX and read that $15,000 worth of damage had been done but I could see no damage at all. I understand from news coverages that the scene later turned violent and people were hurt.

With the melting of national borders and sovereignties, due to globalization, there are some big winners. The UN's one-world agenda means pressure on developed nations to accept the poor, the displaced, and those from struggling overpopulated countries.
Globalization has created opportunities for global corporations to develop with massive territories and markets. Even national businesses have been able to expand and export, and take over national iconic brands in Australia.
Land, farms, forests, housing, iconic-commodity brands and mines are all up for grabs in Australia. The Government overseas registry merely "records" the sales over $250 million, but does nothing to stop it.
Global land, businesses, government etc means that each person, each individual, each voter, is being deprived of power. They just become economic-fodder for these giant lobby-groups.
The live export industry is one example. There was a massive grass-roots groundswell to end the horrifically cruel trade, exposed by Animals Australia. All the letters, lobbying, phone calls, emails, demonstrations came to nothing - just more control over the supply-chain! (window-dressing)
Many farms in the NT are foreign owned, and the government was not going to let them down - and the public were powerless!
While the costs of education soars, and the cost of housing and expenses increase, foreigners are allowed to access jobs, universities and housing - displacing the citizens of Australia.
We need more protests - against global governments and their global interests!

Referring back to Greg's comment I must preface this by saying that I went to the protest in Melbourne but not today. I have been listening to the interviews recorded in Melbourne which can be viewed on IndyMedia. Themes that I identified from about 8 interviews are as follows- inequality, greed and corruption of the wealthiest 1%, escalating rich/poor divide, debt based monetary system, the way banks capitalise profits and socialise losses, coporatocracy and legal treatment of the corporation as though it is a person. At the end of one of the films it says "if you are viewing this , you are one of the 99%" Since it expressly claims to represent 99% of the population , Occupy Melbourne very much includes the fast disappearing middle classes. I would see it as representing those who used to be materially comfortable but are being stripped of the life they are used to and persuaded to enjoy this for the sake of a greater good (e.g. population growth ) as well as through the themes identified by the protesters. It seems to me that if you are not benefiting from the current system, then you are losing. You are losing insidiously and you will not be able to identify what it is you have lost. Yes you may still have your house but you will pay more and more to live in it and use the services we have come to see as essential- water and power. Your bank accounts will look the same but you will not be able to get ahead and your money is constantly losing buying power. Very soon if you divide what you have in the bank by 10 it will give you an indication of its buying power compared with 10 years ago. I refer to real estate rather than ephemera like coffee tables and lamp shades of which most of us can probably still buy what we want thanks to cheap overseas labour and the inroads into our own environment to enable endless large container ships to dump this stuff in our ports.

All of what quark says is spot in. It is also only a microcosm of the full extent of crimes being committed by a ravenous few against social and ecological equity.

The police can deal with 100 protesters. That has been established. What though will they do with 5,000? 10,000?

What does it take to get 5,000 or 10,000 into the street? The essential problem in doing so is twofold.

  1. The bulk of those who are most severely disenfranchised are consequently neither adequately aware of the immediate opportunity nor are they robust enough for the conflict.
  2. Most of those about to slip from their relatively comfortable middle order positions are unaware of the true nature of their precariousness. They reflexively, even cravenly, conform to orthodoxy as a protection within their growing difficulties and uncertainty. They are utterly unaware of the lack of real substance in this orthodoxy.

Anyone who is not thus encumbered should be on the street, adding to a tangible mass of growing dissent. If, and only if, the elite's successive repressions generate even greater groundswells in response to each excess, will they begin to doubt and to falter upon their next move.

With such faltering, and a steadily growing popular mass, will come a gradual succession into active support from the two groups noted above. If you can add yourself to this transitional mass, you are doing the work of angels. Even more so if you can encourage others to also do so, especially if they exhibit a more diverse demographic than the current 'protester' norm.

I would like to see some of the rank and file "grown ups" and more senior citizens from the suburbs with the young people but which is harder- to persuade young people that older middle class people share their concern and their fate or to persuade older middle class people that they have much in common with the concerns of these protesters? The main difference between the 2 groups is that many or most of the older group will have experienced financial security but will lose it and the young people will never have it.