The Epilogist

by Michael Bauwens

from Al Jazeera

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a model for a new economic paradigm, in which value is first created by communities.

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Last week I discussed the value crisis of contemporary capitalism: the broken feedback loop between the productive publics who create exponentially increasing use value, and those who capture this value through social media – but do not return these income streams to the value “producers”.

n other words, the current so-called “knowledge economy” is a sham and a pipe dream – because abundant goods do not fare well in a market economy. For the sake of the world’s workers, who live in an increasingly precarious situation, is there a way out of this conundrum? Can we restore the broken feedback loop?

Strangely enough, the answer may be found in the recent political movement that is Occupy, because along with…

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Occupy Sydney Retrospective: The first few months. (Part Two)

Continued from (Part One)

On the 8th of November, we were pleasantly surprised to wake up, not looking at the walls of a cell, but  at the sky and two of our many targets, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Westpac bank. All we had was a cardboard box saying Occupy Sydney: Here to Stay and a couple of sleeping bags, but later that morning a chessboard and some food was donated by passers-by and by the end of the day, we had an info-desk set up.

The re-occupation wasn’t the only pot that occupiers had on the boil. A small group of Occupiers had squatted a building on the corner of King and Clarence Streets with the intention of eventually opening a Community Centre. The building was becoming derelict after having been abandoned years ago and it needed to be used for something. Unfortunately, on the afternoon of the 8th, their plan was thwarted as security guards noticed some of the occupiers leaving the building. A call for solidarity went out when the police turned up to evict the occupiers (most of whom were homeless at the time due to the astronomical cost of living) and a crowd quickly developed outside. At this point, they dropped banners saying Occupy Sydney, We Are Here, Get Used to It, 120,000 Empty Buildings Across Sydney and Housing Crisis Solved.

Music was blasted out onto the street and the solidarity protest that had materialized despite the pouring rain turned into an exuberant street festival.

The mood became more subdued when the police came out in force to intimidate protestors. Of particular concern was the disturbingly large squadron from the Public Order and Riot Squad, who were fully engaged in a pack mentality and eager to smash some heads. The police had also brought in five members of the Dog Squad, and there were reports that the bomb squad were there on standby.  The dogs were salivating and straining at their leashes to get their part of the action. This is a ludicrous overreaction when there were only five peaceful squatters in the building, leading to jokes like this one:

How many cops does it take to change a lightbulb? I don’t know, but gee, if it takes 120 to get five squatters out of a building…

The solidarity protest moved around the corner to the laneway, where the police were trying everything they could to block the protestor’s and the media’s view of what was going on, even shining torches in the media’s cameras. If that’s not unlawful censorship I don’t know what is. At this point, the Occupy Solidarity Protest chanted “who are you protecting?” and occupiers we love you, don’t let them push and shove you!” We were unable to see what was going on, but the squatters told us that they had not resisted arrest, but were nonetheless tenderised by riot police. Once the riot police had had enough of a go getting at the squatters and they had been taken away, the riot police kettled the lawful solidarity protest and started pushing and shoving the protestors down the hill towards a road. Eventually the Commander realized this looked really bad because the media had been caught up in the fracas, so he called his pigs off and the solidarity protest peacefully moved to Surry Hills police station to wait for our brothers and sisters to get out of the gallows.

This squatters’ protest was what the rest of the world woke up to on breakfast news. It alluded to the weighty issues of homelessness, housing affordability and greed. One of the Occupiers reported a surprising reaction from her father, who resides in Greece. He asked if the squat was attributed to “her lot”. After she said yes, bracing herself for a rant about protestors and hippies, he conceded “they have a point”. The action spoke to a vast cross section of society, all over the world, all of whom are fed up with this sorry state of affairs!

After an exhausting couple of weeks, it was nice to be able to go “home” to Martin Place and discuss ideas and actions for a better world.  At this point, we were experiencing incessant police harassment, but something that they hadn’t been able to take away from us for long was the 24/7 presence of Occupy Sydney in Martin Place, a place where anyone could come and express their dissent, their hope, their despair and their love. What the powers that be had underestimated was the pure determination of the Occupiers and the strength of many Occupiers’ convictions that Occupy Sydney was crucial and worth fighting for.  At the occupation, Occupiers set about talking to passers-by, creating weapons of mass (political) expression and learning the skills it takes to live on the street. With a smaller occupation, more limited resources and less occupiers,  Occupying Martin Place was a lot closer to, but not akin to, the experience of homeless people, and a lot of people woke up to the fact that everything you do in your own home takes a homeless person three times as much effort to complete, (e.g. walking to the other side of the city for a shower)and that you really do need to develop skills as a homeless person in order to look after yourself.  Because of this experience, many Occupiers feel a lot more connected to the issue of homelessness, and feel solidarity with the homeless community (which, I would argue is very different to the paternalistic sympathy promoted by charities.) In stark contrast to the isolation often associated with homelessness though, it’s very difficult to feel isolated at Occupy Sydney and most of the occupiers have a hot shower and a bed to go to when they need a break.

Occupy Sydney moved down one block for Remembrance Day (away from the war memorial), which opened up a huge dialogue between the Occupiers about the nature of war, and whether by retreating would be seen as an act of support for the troops,  whether showing support for the troops equated to supporting war or supporting those who had been exploited by the 1%, who always profit from war, and whether a war memorial should continue to be respected in the way it is now. Does it promote a partially fictional, glorified image of the “ANZAC Legend that is just used as a tool to recruit more young, naïve soldiers?

Around the time that we re-occupied, the Occupy Sydney Free School started. Both a commentary on the corporatisation, indoctrination and growing inaccessibility of recognised educational institutions and a free and functional educational space in itself, freeschool has been a hit since it began.  Anyone can teach and learn at freeschool, and the breaking down of the traditional student/teacher hierarchy leads to intelligent, challenging discussions that are less likely to happen in traditional educational institutions. From Activist Legal Rights and the Arrest Process to DIY renewable energy to History of occupation and indigenous struggle in Sydney to a Circus Workshop, anyone can engage with freeschool.  Freeschool continues every second Saturday in Martin Place and once a month at Occupy Parramatta.

Occupy the Suburbs began in November as well, and incorporated one of Occupy the Love’s tactics of handing out flowers to the public as a simple act of goodwill. Occupy the Suburbs was partly inspired by the way the Indignados in Spain took off in the suburbs. Mainly driven by a Parramatta resident who participates in Occupy Sydney who saw a need for Occupy in an area that is deeply affected by the injustices of corporate greed and wealth inequality. Since then, Occupy Parramatta has been more successful in terms of local public opinion than it’s Martin Place counterpart. Occupy Parramatta only occurs on Saturdays, but many honest and inspiring conversations are had.

What a Difference 90 Minutes Makes…

Vicki, one of our very dedicated Occupiers, was arrested when she turned up late to the copshop to report. She was treated in a deliberately dehumanising manner in order to punish her for something that she hasn’t been found guilty of yet. This is her account. Read more of Vicki’s blog posts at Peacock Dreams

So I am pretty sure we can all think of something we have been late for. That dinner, that party, that appointment that may have been totally forgotten due to lost diary / IPhone / insert own way of managing calendar here.

It however becomes a totally different situation when that 90 minutes costs you a night of your freedom and exposes you to a whole new level of degradation.

This post is long. Its just my personal account of my Friday night because I think its important for people to know how our police force, thos who many people choose to put blind faith in, act.

To explain the back story: I am currently subject to draconian bail conditions based on an Occupy Sydney action related to Greece. We protested, art was mistaken for something dangerous, NSW Police overreacted in glorious Technicolor. Part of said bail conditions are me reporting to the police twice a week.

On Friday, after spending pretty much the whole day between bed and sofa, with one outing to purchase a DVD to entertain my addled brain (True Blood is good for that) I was about to pass out for the 1000th time at 11pm when I suddenly had a realisation of ‘oh crap’. my reporting time ends at 10pm, I had missed it. After chucking on a pair of jeans, my glasses and literally speeding down King Street to Newtown police station I arrived around 11.30pm. Out of breath I tried my best to explain the situation of why I was late to a highly unsympathetic officer who I could pretty much tell didn’t care right from the get go. After 15 minutes or so of ominous waiting, I was placed under arrest for breaching my bail.

So at midnight I am taken downstairs into the docks, where processing begins. It’s clearly a slow night, as my only company is an older man who doesn’t seem to mind the fact he’s been arrested. he is being let out as I am being brought in and it becomes clear that maybe someone needed to bump up their arrest quota. so after an hour or so sitting on a freezing cold metal bench I am packed off to a holding cell for the night. Oh and the light doesn’t turn off. Joy. Did I mention I had been in bed sick all day? Just checking…..

So after about an hour of drifting in and out of consciousness I am awoken by the screams of someone being brought into the docks. I couldn’t see him at this stage but I could certainly hear him. His abuse of the arresting police was artistic but under my current conditions I wasn’t in a state to fully appreciate it and I spent the next half an hour hoping he shuts the hell up because buddy, some of us are trying to sleep here. This is where it starts to get interesting by the way, so thanks for staying with me so far.

Angry Drunk Guy (or ADG as I will refer to him from now on) is now brought back to the holding cell next to mine. Yup. he’s hammered, screaming at the tops of his lungs, kicking the door, the walls, the cops are screaming, and something inside me snaps. Its now that I turn into a total girl and start crying. Yes I know, not particularly hardcore but by now (guessing 2am) I was exhausted, sick, tired etc. the crying gives way to mild hyperventilation which after about five minutes turns into full blown panic attack. I have luckily avoided these since I was a kid but right now, it’s all coming back to me at alarming speed. everything goes white, and I have to sit on the floor with my head between my knees to even attempt to breath.

Its worth noting that this feels like it goes on for about 14 days. At one stage I hear pone of the cops telling ADG to please be quiet because its upsetting the girl in the next cell. thanks for the concern boys but maybe checking on me could have been an option here. Now correct me if I am wrong but I am pretty sure that the cells have cameras in them. I have to ask why they allowed me to continue like this unchecked for at least 10 minutes. But this is just the first utter fuck up by the NSW Police that I will be talking about. Brace yourself, it gets worse.

So just as I manage to get myself breathing, and try to go back to sleep (AGD has passed out by this point thankfully) Newtown’s finest decide that now is the time to move me to Surry Hills. so half asleep and pretty wiped out I am taken back into the fluorescent box of the dock to wait for transport. Its freezing so I ask for a blanket to be told no because I am going in five minutes., Forty minutes later I am taken to a van and driven to Surry Hills. Its around 4am.

Arriving to Surry Hills I am taken inside to be processed where I encounter the hero of this story. The one cop who is actually pleasant and sympathetic. Upon being asked what I did to get arrested, I tell him I reported an hour and half late. He replies with a ‘you’re joking’ so heavily tainted with annoyance that I am quick to understand that finally, someone with some humanity. He proceeds to get me into my cell as quickly as possible so I can get some sleep (its 4.30am by now approx) he also tells me that I could have been asked to produce a medical certificate rather than being arrested. Apparently its discretion of the officer. Interesting.

Finally, I think, I manage to pass out in a freezing cold, over air-conditioned, noisy box hiding under a pile of utterly rubbish ‘blankets’ which are covered in holes, using my jumper as a pillow.

I am rudely awoken after probably an hour by fluorescent lights going on (what is it with cops and their obsession with flouro? Did they not get the memo about mood lighting!?) and I again silently thank the cop from the night before for grabbing me a shit load of fruit (as a vegan I am unable to eat anything I am offered in the way of ‘food’ and I use inverted commas seriously. I am pretty sure that dogs would turn their noses up at this crap let alone those of us who choose an ethical diet which harms no living being. The wait begins for my legal aid call to discuss my bail hearing later this morning. I think its about 7am by this point.

Now male readers apologies for the next bit, because a) you won’t be able to identity with the truest nature of the wrongness and b) its eugh. To make matters worse it’s that special time of the month where as well as wanting to kill people you require certain items to enable yourself to be comfortable. I had made sure that I was able to bring a box of tampons from my stuff (they kept my bag at Newtown) but now this morning, the charming (female I may add) officer tells me they are unable to open property. Now this causes a problem. The items they are able to give me are no use for varying reasons too personal to go into here which basically leaves me utterly fucked. I am told by the female officer they aren’t a hotel (really? there was me thinking I had checked into the Hilton in my sleep, I HATE it when I do that) I am told that I can’t have a shower because as a male prison they don’t have the facility for women (here’s a suggestion for that one: don’t hold women there. problem solved, next) so it’s safe to say that by the time I am called to speak to Legal Aid I am feeling decidedly subpar.

Legal Aid and actually appearing via videolink to Parramatta bail court takes all of an hour from start to finish, and is probably the bit of the day I feel normal the most as I am out of solitary confinement and able to walk about a bit. Speaking to the other 7 people (all male) who are up for bail breaches I am heartbroken to hear the story of the guy in after me. His failing? calling his son to wish him happy birthday. Ladies and gentlemen, our police force. clap clap etc.

I am refused a phone call. I overhear two officers talking about how the Australian prison system would be better if, and I quote. ‘they didn’t have to adhere to the UN and shit’. I am again put back in my box and held for a further four hours or so (after my bail has been continued, no changes, this took the magistrate all of 45 seconds to approve FYI)

at around 1pm I am roused (having passed out finally for an hour or so) and let go. papers are signed, personal property is returned and with one last dig about me not being late again I all out. I nearly cry again when I see the four people waiting outside for me, Occupy Sydney does arrest solidarity so well we should bottle it and seel it to other Occupy sites. I can’t begin to express how amazing it is to come out after 14 hours or whatever and see friendly faces, read your twitter and FB feed and just read pure love from those who have been there themselves, those who understand, those who also see the system for what it is: a time wasting, bullying, prisoner grooming hamster wheel which once you fall into won’t let you out without a damn hard fight.

So, next time you are running late for something and it feels like the end of the world, ask yourself what will the consequence be? the cold shoulder from a loved one, the anger of a friend, or the wrath of a police officer which through their poor judgment ends up robbing you of your liberty for just over half a day. Ask yourself why we give these people this kind of power over anyone, what happened to innocent until proven guilty? Because right now Australia , we live in what’s fast becoming a police state. And this my friends is why we #occupy.

Hey Monsanto, give us back our little seed!!

This is written by Orfi, an occupier who is keen to spread awareness and action about the evils of Monsanto. Monsanto may seem too powerful to fight, but it’s possible to shut Monsanto out. Most of Europe has banned GM food, and the Indian Government is taking legal action against Monsatan for Ecopiracy. In Haiti, when Monsanto ‘benevolently’ donated GM seeds to Haitians in the wake of the earthquake, they knew what to do. The Peasant movement of Papay burnt 60,000 seed sacks ‘donated’ by Monsanto, saying the seeds were a threat to Haitian agricultural sovereignty and biodiversity. In Australia, an allegiance with the CSRIO has allowed Monsanto to plant GMOs in Australia. Already, many farmers have had their crops contaminated by Monsatan’s seeds. We need to stop Monsanto while we still can. On Friday the 16th March, Occupy Sydney took part in a global day of action against Monsanto. We made a beautiful garden at Occupy Sydney out of Non-GMO (Heirloom) plants and then got into our Monsanto Hazmat suits to spread awareness about Monsanto.

If there were one corporation I could punch in the face repeatedly forever it would be MONSANTO.

Spewed forth from the bowels of hell in 1901 Monsanto’s first product was Saccharine, this word has only negative connotations, sickly sweet, lacking in substance/nutrients, schmaltzy, fake, the first artificial sweetener, now it’s called Aspartame, we all know how good that crap is for us. In 1917 the US government sued them for making a dangerous product and lost!

111 years later Monsanto is in the top 3 most dangerous nefarious companies in the world, seriously; the links above and to the right are just timelines of over 100 years of crimes against humans, animals and the earth.

Empires rise and fall, fiat currencies collapse, political systems disintegrate, governments go round in circles, ideologies come and go, wars will be started, environmental catastrophes will occur.  We have survived through all of that, but we could always start again, plant some seeds and start again, now Monsanto has fucked our seeds, big time. Taken the most beautiful thing nature has created to sustain us and raped it beyond all recognition.

For the first time in 12,000 years we do not own our seeds, we do not pass them down from generation to generation, we have almost lost the capacity to grow our own food in our backyards. Because of Monsanto, in some places it is illegal to trade seeds, illegal to grow your own food, illegal to store seeds, people are hunted by Monsanto agents. It’s all there in black & white, nicely coded to give you the fuzzies, www.codexalimentarius.org

Google Monsanto is evil you get over 2 million results – Monsanto is the devil over 900,000 results – Monsanto is bad over 4 million results

When you hear Monsanto’s side of the story, it sounds so benign, so altruistic, and benevolent. Solve world hunger using our genetically modified seeds, no one need ever go hungry again in any place on this earth cause Monsanto is here, they care, cue Bob Geldof holding a bag of GMO corn seed.

Lets do a flash back to the 60’s/70’s and a wonderful human invention called Agent Orange, yep, Monsanto’s.  Used as scorched earth policy against whole villages of Vietnam and its people, cancers for them and genetic mutations for their children, the prize if they did not melt in a fiery inferno.  It started out as a weed killer called Lasso Herbicide.

Agent Orange Victims

Agent Orange trauma on the earth and its inhabitants is still going on for hundreds of thousands of people and is still in the courts.  For decades the US Army and Monsanto vehemently denied any danger to exposure.

We have amongst us at Occupy Sydney an awesome man, homeless Vietnam Veteran who is slowly dying from his exposure to Agent Orange.

Then you have the profound fuck up to our world that is Round up, almost every Australian house has some, it is used to kill weeds but studies are starting to show it causes birth defects, it kills the soil and plants.  At the moment the whole world is been sprayed with Round Up every day, 24/7, 365 days a year.  This shit is literally destroying our DNA.

Every scientific study that is done comes the conclusion that anything Monsanto does is deadly; there are exceptions, studies carried out by Monsanto scientists.

The weeds grow resistant, the insects mutate, the seeds don’t give the yields they promise, their food fed to rats leads to organ failure,  a mountain of lawsuits, executives jumping from boardroom to congress and back into congress (Donald Rumsfeld being the most well known) and last but not least violence against farming communities, just the other week a 65 yr old man spent a few days in lock up and was tortured for selling raw milk. Yep, Monsanto is involved in the hormones given to cows, Bovine Growth Hormone.

Monsanto’s other gifts to the earth and its inhabitants, PCB’s and DDT

And just to top it off their GM corn seeds are now being conclusively blamed for BCCD (Bee Colony Collapse Disorder), a few years ago almost all of the worlds bees were wiped out, causing huge cross pollination problems

Monsanto has very long and fruitful relationships with Coca Cola (water) and Du Pont (chemicals), they played their part in the creation of the Atomic Bomb and just for good measure they did business with the third Reich (just like almost everybody else).

While the financial crimes of the 1% are truly ginormous they still pale in significance to what a profound cataclysm Monsanto has unleashed on us, they took Pandora’s box and smashed it into a million pieces.  We will definitely be able to come up with a new way to trade goods and services but if our seeds are damaged, our DNA damaged, our water and soil damaged then it will get biblical

It is nigh impossible in a mere 2 pages to expose the crimes of Monsanto, I have merely touched the tip of the iceberg.

The first step is to watch a few documentaries on you tube,

The World According to Monsanto Sweet MiseryThe Future of Food .

If one wanted to get a quick understanding of where their game is at, you have a Monsanto education evening, chill out, wine/snacks, few friends, watch a few you tubes, chill out, click on some links provided throughout article and below, there is an ocean of dissent against Monsanto in the community and on the Internet, please help turn it into a tidal wave.

http://occupy-monsanto.com/

http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/

www.facebook.com/occupymonsanto

http://www.laleva.cc/pharma/monsantofiles.html

Occupy Sydney Retrospective: The first few months. (Part One)

Yesterday was Occupy Sydney’s 150th day of encountering hope, awakening, police harassment, inspiration, adversity, sunshine, torrential rain, ideas, beauty and truth, among many other things that occupy both the physical and metaphysical realms.

Occupy Sydney started off with a bang on the 15th of October, 2011.  One thousand people occupied Martin Place and the square was alive with a sense of possibility. Around the world on that day, thousands of other cities and towns had answered the call from Occupy Wall Street to rise up peacefully against the violence and corruption of the global financial system, the tyranny of corporate greed. The Occupy movement is a non-partisan movement uniting under the assertion that corporate greed has gone too far and we need to shift the focus to human need and true democratic awakening. Having such a broad unifying message means that a diverse range of people have been drawn to the movement. Unlike political parties and most organisations, the Occupy Movement does not have a party line, and if you talk to different people from within the movement, they will express different views and hopes about where whey see Occupy taking us. There are those who want the government to introduce policies that regulate the banks more and address corporate destruction of ecosystems. There are those who have become so disillusioned with what some call a “two party dictatorship” in Australia that they believe we need to overhaul the whole system. There are those who believe in no government at all. There are those who believe in a smaller government and many other opinions in between. The Occupy Movement has brought these people together to have a conversation, to challenge each other, and to build consensus for a better world.

I came to Occupy on the 19th of October. I’ve been in and out of social movements all my life, and I, like many other people, found what I’d been waiting for for a very long time, perhaps all my life. Having helplessly watched as a child as governments sold out their people, big business sold out everything and people sold out their people, I’ve been in a constant state of mourning all my life for the physical and spiritual destruction of the Earth and it’s beings. To a degree I’d lost hope for any change, but I came to check out Occupy Sydney for five minutes and I was so inspired I’ve barely left since. Here was a bunch of smart, switched on people who were determined to seek the truth and act on it, together. These people, unlike the powers that be, knew how to share, and they were sharing ideas, dreams, meals, chores and sleeping space with each other. The atmosphere of the Occupation for that first week was amazing. People with polarised views were having respectful dialogues with each other, striving to see things from the other’s point of view. I believe the simple acts of sharing and listening as equals are the most import tools for consensus building.

Unfortunately, the golden period was not going to last if the state had anything to do with it. At 5am on Sunday the 23rd of October, NSW Police, including members of the public order & riot squad, moved in with no warning. For many people involved in Occupy, this was their first real and confronting experience of police brutality.  NSW Police had learnt from the mistakes of their Victorian counterparts, who had shocked most Australians (except for the marginalised groups who have always experienced police brutality) with their brutal eviction of Occupy Melbourne in broad daylight. As @WeAreChangeBriz said, #occupysydney NSW Police have adapted – Strike in the dead of night: no media, no public, no world. #occupyoz. One young woman from Occupy Sydney was assaulted by riot police so badly that her body was covered in bruises and then held overnight in prison where she was tormented, humiliated and strip searched. From this point on, the police made it very clear that their mission was to wage a war of attrition on the Occupiers, employing state terrorism tactics including intimidation, theft, unlawful arrests, abusing the justice system by clogging up the courts with malicious prosecution, kicking protestors awake and making arrests in the early hours of the morning when nobody was around to see. Police the world over have proven the Occupiers right. We don’t live in democratic countries where you are free to express your dissent peacefully. Whether you protest peacefully or violently, you’ll be caught up in the criminal injustice system, and the only people that start and engage in riots at protests are the police, particularly the public order and riot squad. It’s important to note here that certain groups within society have been victims of police brutality and harassment for as long as the police have been in existence, mostly people from racial minorities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in particular, and people from low socio-economic backgrounds. So we can’t go harping on as if activists were the first people to experience police brutality, but we should definitely be using Occupy Sydney’s relative high profile to break down the police’s carefully constructed deception that they are there to serve and to protect. They’re definitely protecting someone, but it’s not the 99%.

After the raid, there was a General Assembly in the afternoon close to UTS. Emotions were running high, but eventually consensus was reached on a rally to re-occupy on November the 5th. A number of people chose to take a member of the Aboriginal community up on his offer to facilitate an occupation of Victoria Park, where everyone could engage in a smoke ceremony. The power of the sacred fire and the symbolic power of the site was enough to make the police back down on their threats to evict the occupiers. Some of the people who occupied the park continued a moving occupation of public spaces, one night occupying bronte beach.

Throughout the two weeks between the 23rd October and the 5th November, Three people in particular maintained a presence in Martin Place. Bob would come every day, like clockwork, and set up a discussion point where he would share his extensive knowledge of political economics. Peter would hold the space overnight, and Bern would meditate in the space three times a day. As she meditated, she tried to block out the threats of arrest that she was receiving from NSW Police for meditating in a public space. During the two weeks, General Assemblies and Working groups were held in Martin Place.

On the 5th of November, over 2000 people turned up to re-occupy.  Occupiers marched through the sunny streets, chanting. One of the more visible aspects of the march was a funeral procession for democracy.

After the rally, Occupiers knuckled down for a General Assembly (GA) and eventually decided to occupy Hyde Park. The police were moving in and Occupiers avoided confrontation by peacefully moving to Hyde Park. The GA continued and everything went quite well until everyone saw what looked like a scrum of police officers. It turned out that they were pushing each other aside to get at a woman who had pitched a tent. Two other occupiers tried to defend her only to be arrested. It was very clear then that the fight for a scrap of public space was not going to be an easy one. Despite that, spirits were high, Occupiers shared food, there was drumming and a couple of people tried to settle down to sleep only to be kicked awake by cops seconds later.

When more riot cops began to move in, it became clear that the Occupiers would not be safe unless we stuck together. So we all locked arms and that’s how we remained for most of the night, with other occupiers making sure we had enough food and water and a very clever chicken keeping many people entertained:

By the early hours of the morning, it became clear that we were not going to be able to defend ourselves peacefully, many people had left and the number of police was swelling. We made a collective decision to leave and we were followed and harassed by the police while we walked. They told us that we had to separate from one another, showing no concern for more vulnerable members of the group.

A small number of Occupiers then occupied an undisclosed public space at the invitation of the person who mantains it, and had a much-needed debrief about the events of the night before getting some sleep and heading to Hyde Park for a General Assembly in the morning. By this point, a lot of Occupiers were so tired and disheartened that they were unable to listen to other points of view and a lot of heated discussion ensued. I don’t remember what it was about now, but I have the feeling it was about whether or not to Occupy and the process of the GA. Eventually, the GA broke off into various working groups and Occupiers were fairly content to see what Clover Moore had to say on the 7th November, when Irene Doutney would be requesting that Occupy Sydney be allowed to occupy a public space to Kerb the issue of police harassment.

On the 7th November, Just after “hosting” a Noam Chomsky talk at Town Hall, Clover Moore did some fancy political footwork to avoid answering any of Irene Doutney’s questions honestly. She denied claims of police brutality and stated support for any actions carried out by the police. She suggested that she host a “City Talk” as a solution where she would invite business & community leaders to talk about inequality. Not a great solution for a grassroots movement, Clover. Only when the Greens suggested an amendment; that an Occupy participant speak at the city talk did she even let up on that. It was such a copout and an act of contempt for the Occupiers that no occupiers were willing to go near the City Talk.

A small group of people at that point decided not to wait for permission to re-occupy as it seemed that every official channel that we exhausted, we were knocked back. We would just have to assert our right. At about 11pm, 5 people re-occupied Martin Place. And we’ve been there ever since.

To be continued…

Teenage Years

This is written by Kirra, our youngest Occupier. She raises a very important question. Do teenagers act out against society because they’re rebels without causes or do they act out because something deep within them rejects a petulant society? When people reach adulthood and tend to accept things as they are is it maturity or is it an admission of defeat, a broken spirit submitting to the status quo?

Our teenage years are the times we question reality, societal norms, and the state of the world. In our childhood, through societal structures, which are influenced by the state, we are brought up to believe everything the state wants us to. Whether we learn this from our parents or close family/friends, who have been through the whole process themselves & teach you what they believe to be true. It is also taught to us through schools, whether run by the state or not, any school is liable to be coerced into compliance by the state, and by that token are an instrument of social control.

 

If not by school, by advertising, which is forced on a child’s still growing and malleable mind all their waking lives. When you are child, you take everything in and believe its true – you do not learn to question things until you are older, making this the ideal state of mind to shape. When you reach your teenage years, you reach a stage where you begin to question everything – but you are still attending school, still victims to advertising and still (whether you believe it or not) learning stuff from people close to you. But nevertheless, most teenagers you talk to will express views that the world is screwed up, in some way or another. This state of mind is dangerous for the state, so they make rules like ‘you cannot choose where you live till you are 16/17’ & you must attend school until you are 17’ and guess what, it works – because most teenagers reach a stage, where they give up on being able to shape or change the world they live in, and just reach a conclusion to make the best of what they have.  The state has achieved its goal, another generation to exploit, another generation that doesn’t question anything, and believes that the state is fundamentally good. Then they have children, and the whole process starts again. If this cycle is allowed to go on, it will continue forever. But is this really the world you want to be living, don’t you want to be able to question? I am 15 and I am actually scared of reaching a stage where I don’t question, where I accept everything and after hating school, getting a job I hate even more, just so I can help a corporation in some tiny way and ‘do my part in the economy & society’. So, how do we convince a large enough percentage of a generation to keep questioning? Because I believe if a large enough percentage of them did, they would realize how evil the system really is, and eventually there would be change.