Occupy Brisbane’s 'Free University' gets creative

Participants at Occupy Brisbane. Photo: Occupy Brisbane/Facebook

The second Sunday forum of the Free University of Occupied Brisbane discussed “creative forms of protest” on October 30 in Post Office Square. Phil Monsour from Justice for Palestine talked about the boycott divestment and sanctions campaign against apartheid Israel.

He discussed the creative nature of the campaign, including the use of flash mobs to highlight the need to boycott Israeli companies, all around the world.

He said "the most successful action" staged by Justice for Palestine Brisbane had been the “We will boycott Israel” flash mob taken against the Israeli Dead Sea cosmetics company Seacret, in the Myer Centre, earlier this year.

Mark Gillespie from the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) explained that Australia’s mandatory detention system had caused the death by suicide of many asylum seekers. “Asylum seekers are part of the 99%,” he said. “Mandatory detention is a failed system. RAC calls for it to be completely scrapped.”

One creative form of protest staged by the refugee rights movement had been the Easter Convergences on Woomera and other isolated detention centres. “The commitment of activists plus the protests of asylum seekers inside the centres helped shift public opinion of the refugee issue,” Gillespie said.

Two representatives of the HEMP campaign for marijuana law reform from Northern NSW spoke about the “creative humour” of “Mardi Grass” in Nimbin, and the need for unity in action to win demands.

“Equity” is the single word which best sums up the demands of the Occupy movement, they said.

In discussion, issues raised included the need to support the Qantas workers, and the use of creative arts in spreading the message of protest campaigns.