S. Arutchelvan, secretary general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia, is a veteran of many demonstrations. But the Bersih 3.0 mobilisation, which he estimates was between 100,000 and 150,000-strong, was the biggest he's been a part of in the country. “It was a huge success” he told Green Left Weekly, “and it terrified the Barisan Nasional [BN] government. “The BN government sees Merdeka Square as its Tahrir Square. They do not want to see – and for the public and the world to see – images of it being occupied by democratic movement. It is their political survival.
At 2.36am, in the early hours of April 19, the student and Occupy Dataran encampment in Kuala Lumpur was violently ambushed by a big group of men. After the ambush, everyone sat down, and victims of violence started to tell stories of what happened. Here is a brief summary of the stories.
As a visitor, you quickly realise that New York City is unsentimental. New Yorkers are always looking forward. It’s in the nature of Wall Street. No wonder the Occupy movement started here in downtown Manhattan, the financial district. As in all other US cities, there is a dramatic contrast between rich and poor, a Third World within the First World. Yet only 17% of the population thinks this is a problem: most have bought the American Dream that perhaps next year they too will become millionaires. But for many of the poor, it will remain bleak.
1500 Sydney University students and staff rallied on April 4 to protest against management's move to sack 360 staff. Protesters marched through the university, culminating in 100 students occupying the Arts administration building in opposition to the attacks.
Occupy Wall Street’s original Declaration of the City of New York, last September, listed a litany of issues, from foreclosures and bailouts to outsourcing and cruelty to animals. But it barely mentioned the environment and was silent on global warming and climate change. A resolution passed by consensus at a general assembly (GA) in January more than rectified the omission. It said: “We are at a dangerous tipping point in history. The destruction of our planet and climate change are almost at a point of no return.”
Wrecking Ball Bruce Springsteen Columbia www.brucespringsteeen.net Bruce Springsteen is back. And according to fan and detractor alike, he's angry as hell. Given the times in which we find ourselves, this should be unsurprising. What is surprising, however, is the musical method he's chosen to express this anger: a sound and structure that is at once vintage Springsteen and new territory for the Boss.
On March 17, New York police attacked Occupy Wall Street protesters seeking to re-occupy Liberty Park in Manhattan, leading to 73 arrests. The park was occupied from last September until a violent police raid cleared it in November. In response, OWS protesters occupied Union Square, a public square in Manhattan. It was violently raided by police on March 21. Below is an abridged report from www.occupywallst.org on March 22 on the running battles with police. * * *
Members of Occupy Melbourne took Melbourne Council to court on March 20 over its attacks on the movement last year. Occupy Melbourne said: “Hearings commence today at the Federal Court as part of the legal challenge against the City of Melbourne’s response to the peaceful Occupy Melbourne protests held throughout the city since October 2011.
Sixty thousand people marched on Madison, Wisconsin on March 10 to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker's drastic dismantling of collective bargaining rights for public employees. Last year, Walker's attacks on labour rights sparked huge protests. Hundreds of thousands occupied the Wisconsin capital building. Their actions prefigured Occupy Wall Street and inspired countless others to take a stand against economic inequality, political injustice, and the tyranny of the 1% enforced through politicians and banksters.
Activists delivered an early birthday present for Rupert Murdoch to The Advertiser building in Adelaide on March 9. Occupy Murdoch delivered a yellow “uranium” cake, along with demands for media reform, to the office of the News Ltd tabloid. Activist Tamara Otello baked the cake, which she explained was intended “for The Advertiser staff”. She said: “It hasn’t been laced with anything nasty ... unlike The Advertiser. It’s actually a chocolate mudcake.”