Occupy: this is just the beginning

Issue 
Occupy Sydney protest in support of Qantas workers on November 22. Photo: Kate Ausburn

Occupy began as a movement against the effects and causes of the global economic crisis and against the austerity measures pushed by governments for the benefit of the 1%. In Australia, many people were inspired by Occupy Wall Street in New York and the global movement it had sparked.

When an international call for action on October 15 came out, we responded, and began our own occupations here.

Some chose to occupy because we were inspired by the mass movement of the indignados in Spain or the Egyptians in Tahrir square. We were inspired by their actions, but it was their message that we brought to Australia — the message that a small, powerful elite may run our societies, but an alternative is possible.

We came together in the spirit of international solidarity, but very quickly we had to make Occupy our own. We don’t have a dictatorship or such high unemployment in Australia, but we have proven the Occupy message is relevant here too.

Since Occupy kicked off in Australia, the big banks have announced record profits. The CEO of Qantas awarded himself a 71% pay rise (to more than $5 million) and then shut down the national airline — a business running at hundreds of millions of dollars profit — to bully Qantas staff campaigning for a small pay rise.

Occupy has pointed to the injustices that are so obvious in our society. We have found ways to speak to the 99% and show there is an alternative — that people have the power the change society and that the 99% are the only group that can make it happen.

We are sending a message to those who struggle to pay the mortgage or their energy bills, while the big banks make super profits. We think it wrong our society rewards the greediest among us — such as the billionaire Andrew Forrest who freely admits his multi billion dollar mining company Fortescue Metals hasn’t paid corporate tax in years.

Our determination to act against injustice, and find solutions to it, is the foundation of our movement.



That message brought us together. But the people involved have made it something more. Occupations in different cities have been confronted with many challenges. Together, we have overcome many of them and will overcome the others too as time passes.

The police and local governments have cracked down on our peaceful and lawful protests. In some cities, it took military-style raids to remove us. But repression cannot stop our movement from growing.

We have continued because no police officer or government can take away the things that define Occupy: our numbers and our message.

Going forward we need to be conscious of building on these two pillars. We need to make our message stronger. How exactly do the 1% cheat us in Australia? How can we involve more of the 99% in our cause? We need to speak out at every injustice, and be the unifying cause of these economic and political failings that affect us all.

And we need to make our people-power stronger. We need to be able to organise and involve people in suburbs, high schools and campuses. We need to support and involve migrant communities, rural communities and Indigenous Australians.
We will need the physical occupation sites, but we will need much more than this to truly reach everyone that we want and need to involve.

We need to develop strategies of how we can better build this movement. Occupy is something we can all contribute to. All participants must have ownership over its focus and direction.

We need all these things because this movement needs to win. We can’t afford another corporate bailout. We can’t take any more austerity. There is almost nothing left to privatise. The natural environment and climate can’t take any more abuse.

So together we need to build a movement that can win. We really have no other option.

Comments

The following statement in this article is part of the problem"We don’t have a dictatorship or such high unemployment in Australia, but we have proven the Occupy message is relevant here too" Yes we do have a dictatorship in Australia ! it's just hidden behind the facade of Democracy. Please remember that politics is the art of usurping democracy under the illusion of servility and our system of so called democracy is just a mechanism to attenuate revolution. Our so called democracy is all smoke and mirrors and we in fact live in a fascist dictatorship as Mussolini pointed out many years ago. He said that fascism should more properly be called corporatism since fascism is the merger of state and corporate power and this is an exact description of all western "Democracies" Politicians are employed by the ruling elite to manage the herd just like a farmer, only the stock are people. Further the article states that we have low unemployment, again false. When government can cook the books and say that someone is employed for as little as an hour a week, then no wonder we have low unemployment or that people who are forced into government sanctioned slavery(work for the dole) are also counted as employed or the crime of casualisation, again, counted as employed. Please people think more deeply,lift the veil,polish the lens of perception and a frightening vision of the reality of this country will emerge.
Agreeing with what Occupy activists say comes easy. I doubt there are many citizens who do not believe that Governments are beholden to the corporate sector and that corrupt practises are endemic. The difficulty comes in trying to change the status quo. The ballot box becomes ineffective when all parties play the same games and the idea of some kind of violent revolution occurring in Australia is a complete nonsense. So what to do? Try doing what Peter Finch did in the 1976 film Network. Throw open the window,stick your head out and say "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!" Then have a cup of tea, a bex and a good lay down and ponder why the Socialist Alliance remains but a mere pimple on the rump of the body politic. Sad but true. G.T.
blah blah blah you sound like Alan Jones We in "fact" don't live in a fascist dictatorship at all, you can come and go as you please to anywhere you like....cause its a FREE COUNTRY. You can write blogs or sell newspapers that criticize the Govt / Police / Army....cause its a FREE COUNTRY. You can even hire govt facilities and hold seminars on bringing down the govt all without risk of persecution....cause its a FREE COUNTRY. You can be a member and campaign for a political party that actively opposes the govt and seeks radical change....cause its a FREE COUNTRY. You may be surprised to learn that a lot of people don't want to work full time and don't, because they don't have to cause its a FREE COUNTRY. Work or the Doll is annoying and a waste of public resources its not "slavery" There is no frightening hidden reality
None of the arguments in your post invalidates what the author of perception said. Do you have the temerity to argue with historical fact ? and as far as the dictatorship argument goes the author is correct again in that political parties are cabals.When did or have the public ever had a say in policy or any other mechanism of state. The people go to the polls only to elect those who will dictate to them in the next term of government. Further, people think we live in a democracy, but how can that be when we are governed, that parties are in power and that we have leaders.Their all oxy morons.Democracy is, of the people, by the people, for the people and not for elite cabals or parties.Political parties lock the people out of democratic participation through tight control on who they endorse and party structures, ergo dictatorship. As the author said wake up ! and in respose to pissing in the wind, challenging the status quo is never pissing in the wind but an important mechanism in bringing the political elite and their masters in big business to heel.
Cabals eh..Does that include the Socialist Alliance...Which particular historical fact??? I dont know how you can suggest that the public are excluded or locked out from the policy making of the major and/or minor parties and government, there are so many examples to demonstrate the complete opposite, though its hardly worth bothering as you will no doubt see it as some kind of complex conspiracy that is part of the insidious smoke screen that blinds us all to the terrifying hidden realities of our lives...