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!

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

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 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!

This is your life…and it’s ending one second at a time.

This is your life and it’s ending one second at a time. You and I live in a wasteland of greed and commerce. In this wasteland nothing is sacred. Everything, including you and me, is seen by the huge corporate powers that be as a commodity. Something to be exploited, bought and sold. Is this the world you want to live in? A world where every abuse of the environment, every abuse of human rights is rationalised with the phrase, “it’s good for the economy. “ I think the economy will always be unhealthy as long as our earth, our waterways, our trees and our people are seen as nothing but a collection of dispensable resources. For as long as an economy is called an economy it will be unhealthy.  One day soon, if humanity collectively keeps sleepwalking down this trail of destruction, there will not be a single oasis left in this wasteland. The real terrorists are not Jihads, the real terrorists belong to governments and corporations.

Every day, a gun is held to your head and you’re told, if you don’t  spend extra time in the office without pay, if you don’t kiss your tyrannical bosses’ arse, if you don’t pay taxes so that the government can send more soldiers to kill innocent children in the middle east, if you don’t buy the latest smartphone, you will be out on the street. You will be ostracised from society. You will be diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder. You won’t get any healthcare. And so you continue, desperately unhappy but trapped in the cycle of economic slavery.

The debts pile up, you get another two jobs on top of your first to make ends meet. Unfortunately you never get to see your family because you’re always working, so your kids are raised by TV. They want everything the advertisements are telling them that they absolutely have to have. They start talking like Americans and become desensitized to violence and lacking in compassion. Because of the guilt you feel about never being around to play with them, or listen to their troubles or hear about what they did at school that day, you feel obliged to make up for that by buying them all of the useless, gimmicky toys and gadgets they ask for, most of which end up in the ever growing pile of discarded junk you’ve been meaning to go through in the garage. You try to forget about the fact that most of these gimmicks were made by small, underpaid children in “developing” countries and by buying these things, you’re financing child labour. You send your kids to the most prestigious private schools in the hope that it will make up for your absentee parenting, but you find that your kids just end up with a strange mix of grandiosity, disillusionment, cynicism and a lack of empathy.

While you’re paying for all of this, the debts continue to pile up. You always wanted to go for a family holiday, but the economic treadmill is calling, maybe you’ll go on a holiday next year. By the time you retire, well past what they call retirement age, you haven’t got long. You’ve neglected yourself over the years, and you’ve got heart disease and insulin-controlled diabetes from all the cheeseburger meals you ate at your desk.

Now that you’re retired, you try to see your kids more, but they don’t want to know you. One of your kids is way to busy “networking” with other worker bees from other big businesses. She lives in Hong Kong now, and sends you a digital Christmas card every year. Your birthday is long forgotten.

Your other kid rejected your way of life entirely, and now lives in a hippie commune. You can’t really work out what they do there, it looks like a whole  bunch of singing and communing with nature. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with you either, when you ask why, you’re told that you’ve got your priorities all wrong, money has fucked you up spiritually and you don’t even know your own kids. he’ll tell you that he’s not really sure whether this is where s/he wants to end up but it’s her/his journey and he’ll be doing a damn sight better than you as long as he doesn’t follow in your footsteps. You’ll secretly concede that it’s a fairly valid argument while openly meeting his wall of anger with your own.

Your partner left you long ago, saying something about not getting her needs met, despite the fact that she was also holding down too much employment. You heard unconfirmed murmurings along the grapevine that said partner is now pretty high up in the church of scientology now. You know that’s just escapism.

So you end up suffering a drawn out, undignified death from bowel cancer. You have no friends; they lost interest when they couldn’t extract anything from you anymore. Your kids didn’t show. A compassionate nurse holds your hand as you take your last breaths. This time you appreciated that a small act of kindness, at the right time, can be more precious than all the material wealth you earned in your lifetime. You look back on your life as you die alone in a hospice and realise that meaning isn’t created from what you have, it’s created or lost through what you do. Your last thought is:

Maybe we (humanity) are doing it wrong….