Occupy Australia: Thousands turn out across the country

Occupy Melbourne assembly, City Square, at the start of the protest. Photo from OccupyMelbourne.org.

Occupy Melbourne under police attack -- solidarity needed

See also
Occupy Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane continue camps, new actions planned
Unions back Occupy Sydney
Union support for Occupy Melbourne

At 11.30am on October 15, about 750 people converged on City Square in Swanston Street in Melboune’s CBD as part of the global Occupy Together movement. It is a movement inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that has initiated similar movements in hundreds of cities worldwide.

By the time protesters who had been at a separate demonstration in solidarity with Palestine joined the assembly, numbers had grown to more than 2000 people.

Photos from Occupy Melbourne

Tents and stalls have been set up for the indefinite occupation. Stalls have been set up by groups including: refugee support and campaign groups; equal marriage campaign groups; an Indigenous tent and a media tent for independent media groups.

Occupy Melbourne activist Phil Stallard addressed the assembly, explaining the significance of the movement: “We, the people, rallying in Occupy Together protests around the world are battling first and foremost for the right to life, in the face of elitist governments and corporations doing their best to depopulate this globe through machinations hardly known to the public.

“As one people, united, we the 99% acknowledge the reality. That the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members together with a system that protects our rights upon corruption of that system.

“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.

“No true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come together at a time when corporations run our governments. They place profit over people, self-interest over justice and oppression over equality.

"Because our governments have failed in their responsibilities, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights and those of their neighbours.”

“We are rallying for the restoration of human dignity, where people have been treated like cattle by the various elites of the world in their pursuit of wealth and power.”

Chris Breen, an activist from the socialist group Solidarity, told Green Left Weekly: “We are in a world racked by inequality, where there is always far too much at the top; the CEO of the company I work for just got a 53 per cent pay rise up to $2.9m and in contrast up to a million people are going to starve in Africa.

“There is starting to be a movement around the world of people challenging that inequality, perhaps the most dramatic examples of this would be in Tunisia and Egypt -- where the dictators in those countries have been toppled. Occupy Wall Street took its inspiration from Egypt and the movement in Spain.

“I am hoping this will become something more, but it is just the beginning so who knows. It’s important to support this event because we are all trying to change the world.”

Socialist Alternative activist Declan Murphy told GLW: “The global occupy movement is a very important movement as it is explicitly about reclaiming our democracy from corporate influence and from corporate power.

“I think it is telling that this movement has arisen globally in the circumstance of a crisis in the capitalist system. We have millions upon millions of people being plunged in to despair, declining living standards worldwide; austerity measures being brought in by governments.”

Socialist Alliance activist Sue Bolton told GLW: "Socialist Alliance is here because we think that it is really important that their be resistance against the control of society by the corporations.

"We need to ensure that this movement continues indefinitely and we need to broaden support from the trade unions."

The Occupy Melbourne movement is set to continue to expand, so grab yourself a sleeping bag and make your way to the City Square in the CBD as soon as you can.

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photos from Melbourne, by Jody Betzien

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In Sydney, more than 1000 people have gathered in Martin Place, where those assembled decided to camp indefinitely.

Photos from Sydney by Peter Boyle.

One protester explained why they felt compelled to join the assembly at Martin Place: "I'm not much of a protester, but today I'm going to join the Occupy protest movement. I am going because although I am a highly skilled medical researcher who has worked hard for many years at improving public health, I can't afford a bunch of bananas while obviously incompetent CEOs get richer by squeezing me harder.

"I protest because I have lived under a succession of governments that have enabled their rich mates to get richer while distracting the people by demonising refugees, resulting in horrific suffering by people who came to this country, like I did, with nothing but seeking a better life, people who are fleeing the criminal wars we wage on innocent civilians.

"Governments who distract us from the real issues by 'getting tough on crime' resulting in the unjust imprisonment of the First People of Australia.

"I am joining my brothers and sisters in the US in these protests because they live in richest country in the world but can't afford to get decent health care when they need it.

"I know why I'm joining these protests and so does Wall Street. If enough of us do it, then perhaps we can prove that greed is not good, but people are."

Day 1 of Occupy Sydney.

At about 9.30pm, police moved in against the occupiers camp at Martin Place, starting to take people's tents. They banned all tents, mattresses and other camping material. After a stand off, with protesters linking arms around their gear, police told occupiers they could stay but not use tents or mattresses or any other "camping" gear. Occupiers voted to stay regardless.

One protester, whose gear was taken by police and thrown in a garbage truck, locked on to the truck. he was arrested, but reportedly released without charge later.

Report on police attack on the camp in Martin Place.

Occupy Sydney is organsing nightly general assembly meetings at the camp in Martin Place at 6.30pm. At 1pm, there will be a general workshop on a different political issue every day and an open mic speakout at 4pm.

A general assembly on october 16 set Saturday, October 22 at 12pm for the next rally in support of the Occupy movement.

For more information, see the Occupy Sydney site.

In Brisbane, Jim McIlroy reports at least 300 people attended the occupation of Post Office Square. People from a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds joined the gathering during the day, with some prepared to stay the night.

At a community assembly in the square, spokeswoman for the organising committee, Kate Haskett, led the crowd in chanting: "Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!"

She said: "We thank the New York citizens who have inspired people in more than 1200 cities across the world to show their own power."

The words of the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City were then read out. Haskett said: "This declaration speaks for all of humanity. It's up to us, the people, to stand up against what we know is wrong.

"We acknowledge the original occupiers, the traditional owners, of this land, the Aboriginal people. And we open our arms to all people of different races, beliefs and nations. We are the 99 per cent!"

Further discussions were held to plan the future of the Brisbane occupation.

On October 16, Occupy Brisbane said an estimated 450 different people passed through Post Office Square over October 15 all up, with about 50 people stayed for the first night's occupation. It said 'one surprising element amidst the day's activities, was the strong support from some local businesses" and individuals -- with several hundred dollars, tents, food and water donated to the occupiers.

A live streasm of Occupy Brisbane can be watched here

For more information, visit the Occupy Brisbane Facebook page.

In Perth, at least 200 people gathered for Occupy Perth protest in Forrest Place in the city. Those there have pledged to return to begin an indefinite occupation on October 28.

See Perth Now article on Occupy Perth

Photos from Perth by Alex Bainbridge.

In Adelaide, about 200 people turned out for the Occupy Adelaide action.

In Canberra, more than 50 people came together and held a march to Garema Place in the centre of Civic. Those there organised a mass meeting to discuss further plans for Occupy Canberra -- stay tuned for further meetings and actions.

Thirty people also protested in Darwin, and decided to return every Wednesday evening as long as the Occupy movement continues around the world.

[Visit www.occupymelbourne.org for more updates, and photos, of Occupy Melbourne. Some photos of Occupy Sydney can be see here. Have details of more #Occupy protests around Australia? Send them to weekly.greenleft@gmail.com . Send photos and videos of the various actions as well.]


This is a good example of how GLW can be a publication for the socialist movement as a whole: soliciting quotes from Solidarity and Socialist Alternative activists as well as from a Socialist Alliance activist. All of the socialist groups in Australia seem to be saying much the same thing on this occasion, as is often the case, but allowing people from different organisations to contribute to the coverage of these protests in GLW sends the right message. I hope the GLW editors consider publishing a range of radical left analyses and opinions on this new movement alongside the views of the Socialist Alliance. Marce Cameron cubasocialistrenewal.blogspot.com
We live in a country no longer represented by the people but by the interests of major corporations and the money they use through lobbying to pay off our elected officials. These politicians no longer voice the opinion of the voters who put them in office but instead speak for the special interests which pay them more and more money to turn a blind eye to the destruction of our environment and the extinction of the middle class. How long will the occupations have to last before a SINGLE government official asks what WE the PEOPLE want changed? Visit my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/occupywallstreet.html to see my art for the movement and also see videos of the protests and police brutality as well as get other sources for coverage of the movement.
Yes, I have been to Occupy Melbourne on its inaugural day. Gave me a bit of a thrill after 15 years of activism on the issue of wealth distribution. - Star A Star Here are some fantastic diagrammes on wealth distribution in USA - highly recommended - TAX THE SUPER RICH! http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america-2010-4 Click on "click here for bigger chart" and go through the 16 charts! See also: http://ecolocalizer.com/2010/04/12/plutocracy-reborn-wealth-inequality-gap-largest-since-1928/ Here follows my opinions: GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME Guaranteed Minimum Income - stage I - relevant in 2015 - to replace unemployment benefits Stage I tax scheme - to be funded in part from 10% tax on manufacturing by (non-home) 3D printers Guaranteed Minimum Income - stage II - relevant in 2020 - to replace all benefits and encompass those ineligible for benefits Stage II tax scheme - to be funded from 50% tax on assemblers* (programmable nanotechnology manufacturing units, i.e. advanced 3D assemblage) - to be distributed equally to each citizen ** [note that at this stage - starting in 2015 - 3D printers will have already provided cheap $2000-$50,000 household humanoid robotics due to the currently developing ability of 3D printers to print electronic circuitboards] * also known as "molecular assemblers" (Wikipedia) or "nanofactories" ** estimated time by Eric Drexler (1986) for assembler proliferation is 6 months, so a political apparatus must be in place prior to this event to ensure social stability
Green Left would encourage a range of left perspectives on the Occupy movement -- here and around the world. It is a very new and exciting development we all need to get our head around.
I was in the camp in solidarity with the Wall Street occupation, at Post Office Square, Brisbane, for two days October 15-16. The camp was made of people from various political positions, from the left, with some conspiracy theorists. Some came from the socialist movement and some from the environmental movement, united against the bankers and corporate greed of the system. With the camp's democratic organisational structure, being fully inclusive, nevertheless some people did walk out in frustration at the complicated process involved in the assembly meetings. Also concerning are some of the a-political ideologies in play, and the lack of clear demands. I found this myself when I was distributing political pamphlets, and was told they were not authorised, because they had political demands and might alienate the public. On Saturday, there were live bands playing, and there was also a refugee rally, which marched to the occupation site. On Sunday, there was a rally and march against coal seam gas. During my time in the camp, I was able to talk to a lot of young people about the situation and where do we go from here. They were very enthusiastic and passionate about the cause, and a lot of them did sign up on the Resistance contact list. I explained to them that we need to have left unity, to build a mass movement against the banks and corporate greed. As capitalism is burning, with massive protests and uprisings in the Middle East, Europe and the US, hopefully the Occupation Movement will end up being a catalyst for a challenge to capitalism. There needs to be more political organisation, and clear-cut demands. If we hesitate to do this, the movement will not succeed.