Occupy Sydney Festival Of Dissent and SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY

The festival of dissent will begin at 9:30am on Friday the 13th when we OCCUPY THE COURTS (The Downing Centre on Liverpool Street) to show solidarity for occupiers in court that day. Feel free to come in your best Friday 13th fancy dress. Many people are fighting camping charges on that day so tent monsters and sleeping bag dwellers are very welcome at the court solidarity action.

At 6pm, Occupy Friday will kick off with workshops including Yoga, Circus and (yet to be confirmed) the Anti-Coal Seam Gas struggle. If you would like to run a workshop, please either write it on the wall of this event or just spontaneously hold it on the night. Occupy Fridays also includes Alain’s Friday Night Sustainable Cinema, Tiny Tents Taskforce, placard & political art making and respectful, constructive political discourse! Please come armed with ideas, musical instruments, a plate of food and sleeping gear if you wish to sleep over!

On Saturday morning, a contingent of occupiers will be heading to Parramatta to support Occupy Parramatta, more info @ http://www.facebook.com/groups/OccupyParramatta/

At 1:30pm on Saturday, Occupy Sydney Free School kicks off. More information coming soon about the workshops being held. Free School will be followed by our SIX MONTH anniversary General Assembly.

After the General Assembly, The Festival of Dissent will culminate with more workshops, political discussions, a forum (twitter: #osforums) about Occupy Sydney in the future, music, dancing, art, and JUBILATION when at midnight, we reach six months, which is no mean feat given the various forces that have been against us over the past six months.

If you have ever been involved or wanted to be involved in Occupy Sydney, please come down to celebrate six months of Occupy Sydney and OCCUPY FOR A BETTER WORLD. If there are any workshops, skills or ideas that you would like to contribute or announce, please do so on this event page!

Occupy Sydney has already made history, now let’s make the future!

More info coming soon….

Event page here...Invite your friends!

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

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.

Occupy Sydney acts to throw Serco Overboard

Smashing up people’s lives: your tax dollars at work.

 Serco is famously known (to those who have heard of it) as “the biggest company you’ve never heard of” best described as a company that provides a collection of services, Serco holds the contracts for most of the traffic light systems in England, all the traffic light systems in Ireland, as well as holding a lot of government contracts for technical & IT support in Australia. As well as these services, Serco provides far more sinister services.  Serco runs Australia’s immigration detention centres at a profit. Human rights of refugees are abused while Australian taxpayers foot a one billion dollar bill.  By passing the buck onto Serco’s “care and protection” of asylum seekers, the Australian government is able to essentially turn a blind eye to practices that are designed  to trigger mental health issues in people who are already survivors of torture and trauma and leave it up to inadequate internal disciplinary action, unless of course the media applies intense pressure to the government.

Media pressure has been applied in the case of hunger strikes (Serco did not hold the contracts at that time, another for-profit company did), and the suicides of certain asylum seekers, the latest victim being an Iranian refugee just a few weeks ago.  He was fleeing from persecution in Iran, the same persecution that had killed his brother in Iran. He got to Australia only to find that any hope of freedom from persecution was dashed. Persecution of refugees is rife in Australia. He died of despair. It’s appalling that people are denied asylum when the very places they seek asylum in often had a part in destabilising their home countries (e.g. America, Britain, Australia)

Of course, the media often sides with the government and does Serco’s bidding, Demonising “boat people”. The Murdoch press loves to editorialise about asylum seekers, labeling them as heartless, irresponsible people who actually have an alternative to getting on a leaky boat to Australia with their children in a last bid for survival, and a burden on the taxpayer. The problem with media coverage like this is that it draws attention away from the realities. Realities like the fact that the humanitarian stream is the smallest immigration stream among any of the department of immigration’s streams, the highest being the skilled migrant stream. Another reality that the sensationalisers of refugee issues don’t want you to know is that the largest proportion of visa overstayers hail from Great Britain. The other fact that they don’t want you to think about is that all but two percent of us are boat people. All of us but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders came from overseas, the government-corporation partnership depends on people falling for their divide and conquer tactics.

Can you see why Serco would want you to hate refugees when they’re making one billion dollars a year from locking up refugees? So make sure you do your own research, these people’s quality of life depend on public awareness and the public’s willingness to act out against policies that harm fellow 99%ers.

Serco is also reaping the benefits of what I like to call the prison cell-off. Serco is gaining contracts for prisons built and previously run by state governments. Serco did not have to foot the bill to build these prisons, taxpayers did, but Serco gets to ride on the taxpayer gravy train by running them. Internationally, the rate of convictions and recidivism tends to go up when prisons are run privately for profit. Really, it’s a no-brainer. If a company is profiting from locking up prisoners it will lobby the government and attempt to sway public discourse to wards passing more punitive criminal laws. Internally, it’s likely to make only tokenistic attempts to rehabilitate inmates, because re-offending leads to profit. The criminal (in)justice system then becomes a trade in human lives. Prisoners and asylum seekers stop becoming inmates and start becoming assets; commodities. In England, Serco famously won a contract with the government on the proviso that it would build extra beds into the facility. What the government didn’t think of when it was running the prison was just to put beds in the existing toilets rather than spending on building. That’s what Serco did to maximize profits.

 Despite the fact that Serco has a history of violating the UN Convention on the Rights Of the Child*, Serco has scored a contract for WA’s new juvenile detention facility. This is in the wake of a damning ruling by the High Court in England after the death of 14 year old Adam Rickwood who hung himself while on remand at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where it was found that he had fallen victim to a system failure and an “unlawful regime”.  An inquest found that he was not the only young person suffering, and it’s important to note that he was being held on remand, so his case hadn’t yet gone to trial. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? The judicial enquiry found that young people had been restrained by employees yanking back the child’s thumb, or a blow to the child’s nose or ribs, which at the time amounted to unlawful restraint. Mr Justice Foskett, The judge who presided over the case, said:

 “The children and young persons sent to [secure training centres] were sent there because they had acted unlawfully and to learn to obey the law, yet many of them were subject to unlawful actions during their detention. I need, I think, say no more.”

 Now Serco is set to take over the operation of Sydney Ferries from the NSW Government. The Manly Jetcat service was taken over by a private company several years ago (now known as the Manly Fast Ferry) fares went through the roof with no actual benefit to the consumer to justify these price hikes. Given Serco’s track record, I daresay we’ll be seeing more of those fatal ferry accidents, lower quality service and higher costs for commuters, even though taxpayer money was used to build Sydney ferries.

Serco in a nutshell: you can usually get away with ORGANISED CRIME as long as it’s a private-sector public-sector partnership.

Photo: Liam Kesteven

On the 9th of March 2012 for International Stop Serco day, Occupy Sydney participants took part in protests outside Villawood Detention Centre, Chris Bowen’s (Federal Minister for locking up refugees) office, and Occupy Sydney staged an action against the Sydney Ferries takeover (video below) an autonomous occupy group also occupied a Sydney Ferry, dropping banners saying “Smash Serco Scum”, “Throw Serco Overboard” and “Fire Serco”. Actions were also held in Western Australia and the UK, among other places.

In my opinion, companies like Serco and the governments who hand Serco contracts willy-nilly are the real terrorists!

One can’t help but wonder if there is some grand plan to mismanage Sydney ferries so much that they become leaky boats, send them over to Indonesia with people smugglers to pick up some of those much maligned boat people to drop straight to detention centres so that Serco can make a killing. Did I mention that NSW Police will be patrolling ferries as the new revenue protection thugs? Maybe they can pick up a few custodial inmates for Serco along the way….

*In terms of detention of juvenile offenders, the UNCROC states that they must be treated with leniency, rehabilitation must be the main focus and imprisonment must only be used as a last resort.

@antloewenstein’s blog is an excellent source of information regarding Serco

Guantanamo style media censorship in Australian immigration detention centres: Sydney Morning Herald

Photos of Occupy Sydney ferry action: Liam Kesteven

Photos of Occupy Sydney ferry action: Yarek Gasiorek

Sydney Action against Serco: Article by unknown.

Leaked Serco Manual Details How to “strike” Asylum Seekers: SMH

Occupy Fridays!

Occupy Sydney will be hosting Occupy Fridays beginning on friday the 23rd and continuing every friday after that. Occupy Fridays seeks to facilitate a hub for arts, free education, creativity and ideas. Occupy Fridays is open to anyone and everyone and will be an open source event; which means that anyone involved can contribute and participate in determining the destiny of Occupy Fridays and the future of Occupy Sydney as a whole.

Occupy Fridays is a great way to engage for the first time or re-engage with YOUR Occupy Movement and explore alternatives to the current economic and social realities that govern our lives.

On Friday the 23rd, there will be a variety of ways to get involved which are fun and educational, including:
-Freeschool workshops & teach-ins planned, including a freeschool on the financial system and a “know your rights” workshop. Also for anyone who wants to spontaneously hold a workshop can do so!
-Portugese conversation class at 10:30pm
-Placard making area
-Musicians Welcome and please bring your own instruments for jammin’
– Kid’s section – 3-4pm with @aleetatweeter
– Tiny Tents Task Force
-Yoga Lessons
– Friday Night Sustainable Cinema (Movie TBA)
– Stencil making (for Occupy Sydney T-shirts and such, bring an old T-shirt and spare material for flags and banners)
-Occupiers will be walking around getting voxpops from people for our “Have Your Say” project. If you’d like to contribute thoughts or ideas, they will be the strange people walking around with video cameras. They’re pretty friendly. so don’t be shy, get your voice heard!

If you have any ideas or skills that you’d like to offer, come to the Occupy Fridays Working Group at 5pm on tuesdays, otherwise, come along, one and all! it’ll be a great night! Please come armed with ideas, musical instruments, a plate of food and a touch of mischeif!

Occupy Fridays will be an overnight event, so if you’d like to bring sleeping gear and occupy overnight, please do so but no tents please as that presents legal issues.

Occupy Fridays is also a drug and alcohol free event. Please respect that and make sure it remains a safe space for all participants!

Please invite your friends!