The Occupy movement has sprung up in Cairns, where street activities kicked off on October 15 in City Place. About 200 people took part. Since then, up to 40 people have met each Sunday. This will continue with alternating weeks of discussions about plans for Occupy, along with music, presentations and an open mike. Discussion among those involved in Occupy Cairns is increasingly turning to how to address not just local issues but national and international questions of corporate power. Fourteen working groups have discussed various issues and how the new group will work.
Before the first Australian occupations following the example of Occupy Wall Street began on October 15, even some of the activists involved wondered if it would work. After all, this was the “lucky country” that escaped the global financial crisis. But thousands of mostly young people rocked up to launch Occupy Melbourne in City Square, and a further 1000 launched Occupy Sydney in Martin Place in the heart of the city’s financial district. Hundreds launched Occupy Brisbane in Post Office Square.
Veteran Brisbane activist Gary McLennan spoke at an Occupy Brisbane rally on November 5. An abridged version of his speech is below. * * * Friends, I want to thank you sincerely for the invitation to speak to you today. It remains for me a badge of honour, a great honour, that I’ve been asked twice to speak to the Occupy Brisbane movement. I said when I first spoke to you that your movement represented the best hope for the kind of world that I wanted my grandchildren to grow up in. I believed that then and I still believe it now.
The strengthening links between unions and the US Occupy movement will be expressed in mobilisations across the US on November 17. N17 has been called as a national day of action for Occupy and the labour movement, and a range of protest actions and stay-aways will take place across the country. It will also mark the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Union links to the Occupy movement in Australia are still in their early days. However, the US example shows that there is much common cause to be found.
Just four days after about 10,000 people circled the White House to protest a proposed 2700-kilometre tar sands oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, the Obama government announced it will postpone a decision on whether it will go ahead until 2013. Radical author and activist Naomi Klein addressed an October 10 public meeting at New York’s New School University, where she spoke about the Keystone XL pipeline. The transcript of her remarks below first appeared on DemocracyNow.org. * * *
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing at”, wrote Oscar Wilde, “for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”
US author and ecosocialist Joel Kovel gave the speech below to Occupy Wall Street at New York’s Zuccotti Park on October 28. * * * I am honoured to be here this evening because you are the light of the world. I’m not saying this to flatter, but because we have to understand it deeply. Your genius has been to seize upon the emerging hopes of humanity and give them a form of realisation. Now you are on the threshold of a world-transforming process, and you must decide whether to cross over it.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore made clear at a Sydney City Council meeting on November 6 that she supported the “principles” of the Occupy movement but did not support Occupy Sydney. Greens councillor Irene Doutney put a motion to investigate the dawn police raid on the group in Martin Place and help find Occupy a site for the protest. But Moore replied that she had to “balance the rights of residents, visitors, workers and others to have access to the public domain”.