Inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions and Occupy movements blossoming on Wall St, across the US and throughout Europe, activists in Sydney will be gathering this Saturday 15th October 2011 at Martin Place, Sydney, at 2.30pm to launch the Occupy Sydney movement. It is intended to camp out indefinitely in the Sydney CBD, to organise, discuss and build a movement for a better world, truly democratic, in an attempt to raise awareness and the support of the 99% of the population to reclaim the power currently held by the super-rich “1%” individuals and corporations.
Occupy Sydney Unifying Statement:
- We act in solidarity with protests and occupations that have occurred and are occurring in New York and other US cities, Spain, Greece, Egypt and other cities around the world.
- We are the 99%.
- The system is broken.
- A better world is possible.
- Human need, not corporate greed!
Occupy Sydney activists encourage all those who want to see a better world to come along and join the peaceful occupation. The occupation will start with a general assembly —a mass democratic meeting— to be held in Martin Place, Sydney, on the 15th October 2011, and will be a place for discussion about what is wrong with this system, how we can change it, and the organisation of the occupation itself.
As each nation awoke in its respective time-zone on October 15, a Global Revolution also dawned. With a universal call for change and the pertinence of such a campaign as this (not seen since the 60’s), about 1500 people, each characterised by an excited effervescence and a mood for resistance turned up to “occupy” Sydney on Saturday .
The day was unhampered, with the immediate establishment of a General Assembly such as those witnessed in Tahrir Square and Wall St, a prompt logistical system, and other working committees that set to work poster-making, engaging in discussion, and an unashamed berating of the pig (police) detachment.
After talking politics, the system, and the nitty-gritty of class consciousness with others, while leading way to open debate about what should be done next, I assisted with foundation work for a permanent site that would make way for others to stamp out the land as their public right. In addition, staking the universal claim for what the Reserve Bank, Westpac Bank, the media machine, and State Parliament nearby all perceive as their own land.
Makeshift tents, tarps, a community kitchen, a system of donations and support from various unions, associations, and the general public; entertainment, fora, were all established as the nearby Police contingent looked on with contempt whilst visibly overwhelmed by the number of people participating in real democracy. I unwound later at one of the nearby tents, after promulgating for much of the day, relaxing with a few comrades and singing (perhaps not as well as I should care) along to satirical revolutionary songs about Capitalism, bureaucrats, and a few “broke” toffs.
To put the movement candidly, the occupation was a great success though it was not without its flaws or its inconsistencies with the more evocative movements in New York or even London and Rome. The decreasing number of occupants by the evening, and lack of tangible facilities to keep curious onlookers occupying meant the nucleus of speakers and working committees were left without a formidable membrane. By about 10pm the Police, which had threatened earlier to clear the occupation, were prepared to do so while numbers were down. Armed with a miscellany of the usual weapons of intimidation, the pigs cordoned off the occupation at Martin Place, forming a blockade of fear and repression flanking both sides of the encampment. Thus, making their alignment as a Gestapo for the 1% of profit-making Capitalist scum-bags all the more evident in this foray.
In response, the cohort of protesters and participants formed a defensive wall after Police adjusted their pummelling gauntlets and moved in swiftly, grabbing tents and couches on the periphery of the encampment, pushing aside anyone who got in their way. With reinforcement of riot squad vans parked on Macquarie St, a Garbage truck had crept in the background and proceeded to waste whatever the Police confiscated. Grabbing my arms and linking with unknown others, the remaining occupiers formed a coherent response to the sudden Police antagonism, shouting, “this is not a police state” and “the whole world’s watching”. We stood like this for a considerable period staring down the thin blue line, Police on horseback, and the possibility of arrest after maintaining a peaceful demonstration up to this point.
After a while it became clear that the Police were intent on intimidating most of us into packing up our own equipment rather than using maximum force to remove us. An assembly afterwards addressed what might happen if consensus, despite Police intimidation, deemed the occupation to stay the night and indeed indefinitely. The succinct response from Police was two-fold, we could stay but we could not camp! As with arrests at other demonstrations it appeared the Police were dictating the rules judged by whatever arbitrary law they could challenge the occupation with. So it was apparent then that any form of comfort, such as, pillows, blankets, etc would be considered camping, but without these it would be considered “staying”.
Although I had left around 11pm that night, the stand-off lasted until 6am Sunday morning when Police moved in and forced those stalwart occuiers to wake (yet again highlighting the arbitrary enforcement of so-called “order”).
The challenges of Sunday were greater than the plethora of opportunity to discuss, debate, and caucus the day before, but we still managed to meet new faces who were interested in the global occupation of 82 countries and over a hundred cities. We heard of the 200,000 protesters in Rome, and the similar conviction of British citizens, who are better known for their nationalistic and conservative discourse than their proactive and revolutionary sentiments. In all, it was inspiring watching the occupation unfold, and the many more worldwide respond in solidarity with the Wall St Occupation.
Announcement of the Sydney Occupations continuation to the following weekend (22nd Oct), despite the political drought in Australia, which will rally around the NSW Teacher’s Federation and their protest of public service cuts by the O’Farrell State Government at midday. It appears hence, and much like the Wall St Occupation, that longevity and the increase in numbers will hinge on an issues driven platform that will hopefully cohere the movement and show others that the Capitalist system we live under is without a doubt rotten to the core.
I will be there, so keep in touch with the movement [here] or follow the movement on Facebook. Head down and make a meaningful difference, one that is without profit or tools that perpetuate the massive inequality in Australian and indeed global society. It’s only from the ground up can we form a true democratic state of total equality, so being proactive and involved is integral if we want a better outcome to this rotten and global problem of Capitalism
Hope to see you there,
Viva la Revolution!