Unoccupying Melbourne

I must admit, beyond writing a story about why we might want to carry the Occupy Wall Street banner downunder a few weeks ago, I haven’t shown a lot of interest in the various “Occupy” movements in Australian cities. Not for any particular reason beyond that I assumed, rightly it seems, that any Australian movement was likely to founder quickly on the immovable rock of Australian middle class conservatism.

We have our reasons for protest here, but so long as those reasons don’t actually cosy the majority anything – or, at least, cost them anything in the open, then there’ll be no movement. Tony Abbott’s economically illiterate  campaign against the carbon tax has surely proven that a stupid policy with hidden costs is infinitely more preferable to the Australian polity than a well thought through one with open costs.

But I’m not sure that means we need push around and boot out the young and mangy who can be bothered sitting in the rain to protest. Check out the below video of police shifting the Occupy Melbourne gathering.

The story comes from The Age, where you’ll find more violent pictures than are in the video. The voice over is what got me. Patronising and biased, it sheets the blame for the violence straight home to the protesters whose non-violence is apparently contradicted by their refusal to move.

Comments

  1. Have been watching through the day and I must say, this is pretty shameful. Quite clearly an attempt to clean the streets before the Queen drives through (for 6 minutes) next week.

    Dozens of other major cities around the world remain peacefully “occupied”, without incident. Embarrassing.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Perhaps if all the occupy types agree to curtsy to the Queen then it will be okay to stay?

      • Does that include a right to pitch tents and drive away customers from the surrounding small businesses?

      • And under your definition of “right to protest” does that include camping out? Why do these people have to camp, can’t they just come back every day?

        You know why? Because the Americans are doing it, so of course our petulant and impressionable uni students have to copy them. And while the americans have far more legitimate reasons (record high levels of unemployment and wealth disparity), those reasons don’t really exist here.

        This doesn’t seem to be a legitimate protest. They even say so themselves, they don’t seem to be protesting any Australian government actions they’re just “showing solidarity” for Americans.

        Well hell, show solidarity by liking it on facebook, don’t shit up our public spaces and create problems for other people just going about their day.

      • That’s not how I meant it HnH.

        It seems to me that currently conditions in Australia do not mirror those elsewhere in the world. We escaped a recession, we are not facing extreme austerity, tens of thousands are not losing jobs, education system is functioning and occasionally excellent, healthcare is universal, close to free (for most) and very competent, tax rates are modest, welfare benefits extensive and not limited by time, society largely socially cohesive not prone to widespread violence, a reasonably equitable society.

        All in all, a pretty good place.

        I don’t begrudge the right to protest at all, I thought the “Cause” not relevant to Australia at this time. These appear mostly younger people, time for them to travel a little and see what the rest of the world offers if they think we have it tough.

      • I;m sure they are quite aware of how well off Australia is. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have issues nor that they can’t protest about them. Long live liberalism I say.

      • Still haven’t answered my question? They’ve been given a week, do you think they should be allowed to camp there permanently? If so, why aren’t homeless people given the same courtesy?

      • Young people protesting against power, authority and greed. Nothing new here. If our democracy can’t handle that, there we’re in big trouble.

        While things aren’t as dire as they are overseas, we are also seeing a rapidly widening gap between the haves and have nots in this country.

        We have billionaire mining magnates using their money to run advertising campaigns to reduce their tax. If that’s not a perversion of democracy I don’t know what is.

        I reckon they should be occupying Gina’s front lawn, not central Melbourne.

        Cue Mining Bot auto-response…

      • ‘Young people protesting against power, authority and greed. Nothing new here. If our democracy can’t handle that, there we’re in big trouble.’

        So a group of a couple hundred people should essentially deny all others use of a public space indefinitely? How is that democratic?

        ‘I reckon they should be occupying Gina’s front lawn, not central Melbourne.’

        So you’re arguing equal rights for all, except rich people? That’s going too far the other way mate.

      • It seems to me that currently conditions in Australia do not mirror those elsewhere in the world. We escaped a recession, we are not facing extreme austerity, tens of thousands are not losing jobs, education system is functioning and occasionally excellent, blah..blah..blah

        Why, you almost sound like our beloved Treasurer!!

        I, hereby, declare you as the resident WayneSwanBot.

        BTW, MiningBot seem to be in favour of street protests when it involves Gina and Twiggy on the back of a ute.. hypocrite much?

      • Mav, no hypocrisy from me. I said I support the right to protest. I said I that the “Cause” was somewhat removed from the Australian situation. Twiggy, Gina and others (me) protested against an inequitable tax, fortunately something was achieved.

        These OM people are protesting against a range of issues, primarily “Corporate greed, corporate profits, corporate excess, corporate control”.

        Fortunately they were able to mobilise utilising Apple product, Google services, Tweets, multinational telecommunications apparatus, laptop technology etc whilst decked out in the latest hispter attire.

        What were you saying about hypocrisy…?

      • So a group of a couple hundred people should essentially deny all others use of a public space indefinitely? How is that democratic?

        The right to protest is pretty fundamental to democracy.

        So you’re arguing equal rights for all, except rich people? That’s going too far the other way mate.

        As Fanboy points out, Gina has already protested against paying her fair share of tax. Why can’t the unwashed rent-a-crowd protest against Gina perverting democracy?

      • Lol! You seem to have taken those words out of Murdoch press Playbook.

        Listen people, if you own an iPad, you will have to surrender your democratic right to protest to protest against corporate oligarchy…or else MurdochPressBot will call you out on your hypocrisy.

      • @Lorax

        Lol. Gina et al embraced democracy and proved it still works against injustice.

        @Matt
        Now that would be a challenge – what is string and how long is it?

      • ‘The right to protest is pretty fundamental to democracy.’

        Yes, and they have been allowed to protest. They were even allowed camped in the CBD for a week, which is pretty extraordinary in itself. Now if they are to continue you need to ask yourself if a small group should be allowed to monopolise a public space that belongs to everyone. While claiming to represent everyone (or the 99%), until they can prove it I don’t see why they should be able to blockade a public area indefinitely.

        All these comparisons to communist China and other non-democratic regimes are ridiculous. In such countries these people would have been corralled and killed before they even got to the city square.

      • It’s a legitimate question though HnH. While in the US, the same question is being asked but they actually have answers and legitimate demands (bring back Glass-Steagal, End the Fed, Prosecute Wall St, etc.)

        Whereas over here this “solidarity movement” just comes off as whiney me-tooism that has no effect other than harming the poor businesses that happen to surround the areas being “occupied”.

        If they started highlighting and talking about the financial problems in Australia up then they might have some credibility. Because right now it just looks like a bunch of bored uni students with nothing better to do.

      • A fair few suggestions have come across these pages in the past few months, Jason.

        End NG, charge banks for the deposit guarantee, reduce the concentration of ownership in the media, ban political donations, etc.

        Things may not be as extreme here, but that isn’t necessarily a reason not to protest.

      • ‘Things may not be as extreme here, but that isn’t necessarily a reason not to protest.’

        I agree entirely, and if these protests started talking about Australia-centric issues then I’d be behind them entirely. However their published information suggests nothing of the sort, for example their mission statement:

        “This occupation is a proclamation of solidarity with the millions of people occupying cities around the world right now. They and we seek economic, political and social change that will lead to a more just and equitable society. We are the 99%”

        Like I said, it seems to be just copycat kid stuff (this coming from a Gen Yer) “let’s see how long we can camp here until we get kicked out”, not raising legitimate domestic grievances.

      • Seems Australians aren’t well versed in a protest.

        My personal opinion of the ‘mission statement’ is to link the ideals with the global move toward a more transparent and equitable society. Its branding.

        The mission statement should be to put these issues on the agenda, to put it in the faces of people who are unaware – both from being lazy or brainwashed.

        They still have a way to go in that respect (not helped AT ALL by murdoch/fairfax/packer/stokes). I am still optimistic, however.

    • 3d1k – Do Your Own Due Diligence?

      Jason – If you regard “me-tooism” as so reprehensible, what was your view of Australia floating the dollar? Removal of trade barriers? How about bank deposit guarantees?

      I’m so pleased that our financial sector has survived the GFC with executive bonuses intact. Who benefits from manufacturing anyway? Seriously.

  2. Steve Keen is speaking at the Sydney event this weekend. Maybe a Macrobater could do something similar, somewhere?

  3. DelraiserMEMBER

    Are you really surprised? The News Ltd papers have been railing against this from the word go, with such arguments as “Protesters own mobile phones; movement has no legitimacy” and so forth. Political debate in this nation just about always distills down to a race to the bottom, so there was no way these guys could get a leg up without being painted as jobless rent seekers

  4. I went over to the Occupy Melbourne protest and watch the scene, and the police swarm in and remove people one-by-one. It was quite powerful and moving for me.

    I agree with the people and hearing one of them try to explain the situation to an Indian student was nice. He openly admitted they are not sure what they want. They just know that the world is not hearing most of us and doesn’t work in our favor. When pressed for a demand he said we should get money out of politics. Also, some kind of wealth tax considering some people make 25million per year. That sounds like a reasonable set of demands.

    Bans on political donations and replace the system with publicly funded campaigns. A different tax bracket for extreme levels of income is also a sound idea. As he said, what can anyone do with $35million? I think that higher tax brackets wouldn’t affect these people. They could still posture over each other with their pretax score (it’s not really about the money after all is it?).

    I am surprised that we evicted these people out of there by force, considering how the rest of the world is handling it.

    • Except all the issues they’re bringing up are the same as what the yanks are saying. Which is stupid because most of it doesn’t apply here.

      Our political system is extremely different that the US’. For one, compulsory voting ensures that the majority at least have a vote, which is why most Government policy is about trying to convince and appease the majority. We have a comprehensive social security net to assist people who are ill or unemployed.

      Even regarding political donations, these are heavily regulated and kept transparent by the Australian Electoral Commission. Our financial system is far more tightly regulated. Sure there is rent-seeking behaviour, but I never think you’re truly going to eliminate it.

      Australia has it’s own problems, and if these protests recognised that then I would be behind them. However this is just copycat nonsense.

      • I know things are worse with political donations in the US but people shouldn’t wait for a tumor to be terminal before they try to remove it. Anyway we had mining-companies practically get rid of a PM. Wealth tax is a good suggestion too.

        Otherwise, I’d quote Matt above:

        “End NG, charge banks for the deposit guarantee, reduce the concentration of ownership in the media, ban political donations, etc.”

        Negative gearing is a great first step. Will it cause problems for real estate prices. Yes. Can you kick a heroin addiction pain-free? No

      • ‘I know things are worse with political donations in the US but people shouldn’t wait for a tumor to be terminal before they try to remove it. Anyway we had mining-companies practically get rid of a PM.’

        Debatable to be honest, Rudd was also becoming very unpopular with the way he treated his ministers and backbenchers (not to mention staff) and was suffering majorly in the public opinion polls.

        The biggest issues in electoral donations that needs to be worked out is the “associated entities” loophole by ensuring that any company donating money must declare where it came from and the AEC should be able to audit that to enforce it. Also reducing the disclosure limit back down to $1500. No matter what limits you put in place, corporations will find a way around it so you need to make the process as transparent as possible.

      • That is the worst comment made on this blog in ten months. You want to round up a bunch of kiddies for a minor protest and the thought of three mining giants corrupting your democracy is not just forgivable, it’s welcome. God strike me dead.

      • Rudd was also becoming very unpopular with the way he treated his ministers and backbenchers (not to mention staff)

        Nothing to be ashamed of there. If I were Rudd, I would be proud of the fact that I pissed off half of Canberra public servants and pollies. 🙂

      • Phoneo

        Labor executed Rudd. Not the miners. He was and remains widely disliked in Labor ranks.

        That is one myth that should be put to bed.

      • The implications of your argument are that it is right for three companies to remove a prime minister when he makes a decision unpopular with his party.

        Fair enough, but don’t pretend to believe in democracy. That is oligarchy.

      • That is one myth that should be put to bed.

        Oh you wish! You can bury the truth under an avalanche of campaign ads, paid-for propaganda spin in the corporate mainstream media and literally throw vast amounts of money to make it go away.

        The great unwashed have eyes and ears. So the truth has a nasty habit of eventually digging its way out of all the propaganda and making itself heard. In the face of reality, all those touchy-feely mining ads will turn to dust.

      • HnH and others:

        The miners did not get rid of Rudd. Why is that so difficult to accept?

        The miners are nothing like the faceless men of Labor, constantly running the numbers, securing backroom deals, etc. Labor politicians themselves performed political assassination on Rudd and replaced him with the heir apparent, Gillard. End of story.

        Trouble is Labor subterfuge and manipulation is something many want to ignore – easier to point to the finger at corporates, in this case the miners.

        Unfair, biased and clearly incorrect.

      • HnH. No aggression at all. Just facts.

        From Wikipedia on Rudd:
        “…a significant fall in Rudd’s personal electoral standing was blamed on a proposed Resource Super Profits Tax and the deferral of the Senate-rejected Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The decline in his government’s support in opinion polls and growing dissatisfaction of his leadership within the Labor Party led his deputy, Julia Gillard, to announce on 23 June 2010 that she would contest the leadership in a caucus ballot the following day. Knowing he would be defeated if he contested the leadership, Rudd stepped down as party leader and Prime Minister on the morning of the ballot.”

        Barry Cohen:
        “Rudd was sacked because he was loathed by most of caucus…”
        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-experts-have-got-it-wrong-gillard-was-not-disloyal-to-rudd/story-e6frgd0x-1226146014954

        Sorry HnH (and others), facts speak for themselves. Surely you don’t really think the miners contacted every member and persuaded them to vote against Rudd. Of course not – a nonsense. As I have said, time to put this myth to bed.

        As an aside, what if the rumours are true and Gillard is about to be replaced by Rudd – miners again? Of course not, imagine such a thing, a nonsense. As it was with Rudd. Labor party political machinations.
        http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/10/19/labor-will-eventually-return-to-the-rudd-brand/

      • The miners successfully thwarted the progress of an inequitable tax – poorly drafted, close to appropriation – I understand you also felt uncomfortable with the RSPT in original form.

        They did not remove Rudd – that is my primary point. So perhaps we do agree after all. As we all know a new more palatable tax has been negotiated.

      • For one, compulsory voting ensures that the majority at least have a vote, which is why most Government policy is about trying to convince and appease the majority.

        I’m with you on this Jason, except this point about compulsory voting and the appeasement of the majority – the truth seems to be the appeasement is of the minority in swing seats, rather than the majority. Else we would have no controversy over the asylum seeker policies and Pauline Hanson would have been dismissed as the lunatic fringe she represented rather than having the impact she did. (our Sarah Palin, albeit 10 years earlier?)

      • Except swings seats come and go with every election. Not to mention we have the upper house which is proportionally represented.

      • Compulsory voting gives the mainstream media and its financial backers more political power as they can heavily influence people who do not care enough to become properly informed. Voting should be a right for everyone but not enforced.

        I know plenty of people who would not vote given the choice because they know they dont understand what they need to to make an informed decision.

        But what do I know, lets make everyone vote based on what they see on today tonight and the front page of the Herald Sun, but we should certainly not teach economics/politics in schools.

      • dumb_non_economist

        Gen Y Ranter,

        You can lead a horse to water…..
        You can force a voter to the poles, but whether or not he puts anything to paper is unknown!

        Others,

        Arguments about protesters using what is just everyday technology is just pure sophistry. I’m heartened that the young’uns protest today; its been awhile! As you get older you accept the status quo as we don’t want to upset the apple cart, it may cost us a buck or 2, meanwhile the world economically and environmentally is being screwed by our generation.

      • Jason haven’t you heard of the saying “prevention is better than cure”. I used similar thinking when I came up with the successful concept of the “Reject the recession dancers” at the beginning of the GFC, such intervention by sunrise as well as stimulus from the chinese and australian government managed to prevent australia recording more than one quarter of negative economic growth.

  5. People have a right to protest, but not necessarily wherever and whenever they like for as long as they like. Given the impact on local businesses (turnover down 70%, I heard) I think it’s reasonable for them to take their protest elsewhere.

    There are plenty of other prominent public places in Melbourne.

    • Protesting about the little guy getting screwed, during which many small businesses get screwed because the protests scare customers away. Pretty ironic.

      • Jason – you won’t win the argument, the others will take the high ground on this, despite the fact that the protesters are just there for their own entertainment.

        They might get on TV, that would be a buzz. But it’s all happened before, it’ll blow over.

  6. A work colleague was complacently unaware of the purpose behind ANY of the occupy movements. This despite being around the corner from the Brisbane encampment and working in the financial services industry. I think it will founder not on the inherent conservatism but on the inherent complacency- “I’m fine, what is there to worry about”
    The brisbane area had a sign (i took a photo, so i have a refernce)
    “The 99% say no to flouride, GMO food, vaccines, aspartame, chemtrails, fracking and carbon tax.” They also appeared (from the posted schedule) to spend most of the day in “workshops”.

    I support the right of the occupy protestors to protest, and I think that it is a positive step in the US, but it is a very good thing I was not protesting here, becaue I probably would have defaced that sign.

    • That almost sounds like Tony Abbot. The part of No. I’ve never seen a sign that opposes something from almost every camp.

    • “The 99% say no to flouride, GMO food, vaccines, aspartame, chemtrails, fracking and carbon tax.”

      How absurd. It’s like Conspiracy Theorists United. This part of the 99% objects to fracking, but that’s about it.

      • I say no to fracking, and am still a bit wary of GM crops (unintended consequences there) but support vaccines to the level that I think that they should be mandatory for some diseases (unless the person in question has a real reason- ie damaged immune system).

        That said, making vaccines voluntary on the parents decisions will do a pretty decent job of reducing the population in a generation.

      • The Brisbane movement seems a bit “out there” compared to the others. I noticed lots of confused conspiricist stuff about the Fed on their Facebook page right from the start. But the nature of the Occupy movement means the crazy/uninformed will get to have their say – it doesn’t mean the whole movement can’t coalesce around more meaningful principles, as it seems to be doing in the US.

        Vaccinations are mostly voluntary. That’s why there have been whooping cough outbreaks in Sydney recently, when it barely exists in most of the developed world.

  7. Tony Abbots campaign against the carbon tax is not “economically illiterate” in my view as you say. His opposition is economically literate in my view because there is a cost to Australians from the Carbon Tax that will not lead to any reduction in global CO2 emissions. Even if you beleive you need to reduce global CO2 emissions you must concede that for Australia to operate a scheme and no one else it is economically stupid, and mad to be public policy.

    • Dave From Pakenham

      how about listing a few other economically illiterate policies that cost australians a lot more than small carbon tax, that are accepted as economically literate, at least a carbon tax also achieves a greater good.

      – Negative Gearing
      – 9% Super contributions
      – Dividend imputation
      – CGT on productive assets > unproductive assets
      – minimal tax on our mineral assets
      – no anti competition laws
      – Medicare
      – Weak regulated asset regulation

    • Oh, for crying out loud!

      I don’t care whether you do or do not believe in a Carbon Tax – that’s entirely up to you. Frankly, I don’t understand the damn thing – gave up trying after the last convoluted effort.

      But will you (and any others) please stop saying that no one else is operating a carbon reduction scheme, except us dumb Aussies?

      This is patently rubbish- there are many and varied carbon mitigation schemes currently in operation throughout the world.

      Some of them have been operating for some time now, and some of them are considerably more heavy-handed than the little slap on the wrist we are facing.

      By all means criticise our scheme if you must….but please don’t try to portray us as the naive vanguard of some brave new world.

    • Mining Man.

      Tony Abbott’s plan is direct action. Basic economics illustrates that that will cost individual Australians more, as I’m sure you’re aware being a markets guy.

      We aren’t debating whether to act, we’re debating how to act and what price to pay for that action. Abbott’s plan is a populist ploy to derail a far more efficient approach to a problem he has a far more expensive solution to. Just as the government’s use of various direct action subsidies to augment its plan is political.

      In sum, however, handing the problem to the markets with the right incentives is inarguably the right approach as half of the “Liberal” party room that have “liberal ” values knows. The other half just want power.

  8. Sorry if not the city centre, then where? You want people to protest only where it won’t get in the way? Yeah great idea, maybe we should create protest zones only in the simpson desert – that way those pesky protestors won’t get in the way. We need our public spaces for private enterprise coffee tables thank you very much!

    • Protest outside State parliament. Protest outside the State Library, even – you’re opposite Melbourne Central, right on Swanston St.

      • of course, just not in our CITY SQUARE? Did you know that Governor Gipps (who oversaw the development of Melbourne in the early days) didn’t want to include any civic areas in Melbourne because they only ‘encouraged democracy’. Looks like he may have been right.

        luckily they are doing just as you suggest – moving the protest to state library.

  9. Mining BoganMEMBER

    I grew up in Queensland under the Peanut Overlord, Brave Sir Joh. I know what it is like to be pushed off a street for being part of a protest. I will forever support those who want to have a rant, mindless or not.

    Maybe the situation here doesn’t match what has happened in the States and other places, but there is a big chance it could. Why not let them have their say early? At least then they can say I told you so when TSHTF.

    Let people have have their say. We let Gina, Clive and Twiggy have theirs. We let Alan Jones and his rough truckie mates(I’ve always wanted to say that) have his in Canberra.

    Let the young and mangy have theirs.

    • Beautifully said, Bogan!

      How gratifying to see that our uni students have finally got up off their butts and are attending to their most onerous of social responsibilities.

      Seems like about the Vietnam war since we last saw them out there doing the job expected of them.

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment about Gina, Jones, et al. You can add to that the organised machinery of the mining industry, the Clubs “industry”, the Real Estate “industry” and the cheshire cats of the finance “industry” (I use the term “industry” advisedly). Not to mention the self-serving, adversarial, cynical, and hypocritical bunch of lunatics currently running the asylum.

      What we are seeing is a general feeling of disenfranchisement and helplessness. It’s like having a very debilitating disease……you don’t know what’s wrong with you, but you do know that you feel like shit.

      All the more power to them….when our young people stop protesting and kicking over the traces, we will all be up to our ears in it.

  10. At least they are having a rant, as most of us (on this site) will only rant online!
    While WE can see the inequities, the imbalance, and general hypocrisy, we wait for out comments for vindication. Is it enough?
    I decided that I am going to Occupy at CHOGM in Perth. At least when things are FUBAR I can say to my kids “I acted”.
    Why am I going? Because powerful people only have incentive to apply short term solutions to long term problems. Politicians have 4 years before they face the axe, CEOS have a year or two, but what it all means is that our leaders have no option but to apply short term fixes.
    I think it is the job for those of us that read Macrobusiness (and agree in theory), to stand up, and extend the online ranting into the “real world”!

    • How I wish you had said, ” it’s time for people like us to join whatever political party is closest to hearts and change things from the inside”.

  11. “Occupying” is very characteristic of the current era, in my opinion. It is organized horizontally, trans-nationally as well as locally, and self-directionally. Its instruments are social media and personal consciousness.

    It is a human response to a series of powerful environmental stimuli that animate universal human emotional drivers, among them

    – the pain (or the fear) of loss
    – an attempt to resist dispossession and abandonment
    – the need to give expression to one’s feelings and find ways to validate them by sharing them with others
    – the desire to take action, however modest that may seem

    There is no doubt that even in a wealthy and well-tempered society such as ours, anxiety is percolating in our minds. (We worry as we have not worried for many many years.) The events we see on-line or in the MSM are larger than life and, for many, beyond understanding or description. And yet they have personal resonance for very many of us.

    Considering the global dimensions of the economic forces to which we are subject, it is absolutely not surprising that Australians (or Japanese or Chinese or Dutch or Spanish) identify with Occupiers in other cities. After all, we are intuitively aware of the linkages that exist between economies and between peoples; below the surface, in a globalized economy, we all know that the misfortunes of the Irish or the Californians could be ours too.

    A globalized economy, consisting of mega brands, super-corporations, hyper banks, a near-universal system of rule-making, reward/deprivation and monetary appropriations has now also created a globalized social and political reflex.

    This is very likely to be just the beginning. If economic and financial disorder are magnified, so will the Occupations grow. We should try to understand all of this at the same time.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      This is the point that I think everybody is missing. This isn’t a localised protest, it is worldwide. Just because it got in your way and you had to pay to read the Australian online instead of reading it for free down at the Coffee Club doesn’t mean they’re wrong. No, just annoying.

      I’m quite sure that there are people bagging these young and mangy who in there own youth were protesting their own thing. After all, weren’t the baby boomers the protest generation? Bloody hippies. Now they’re trying to keep the sexual revolution going with the blue pill and forget everything else about their youth.

      Go the young and mangy! Just stop playing John Butler Trio. He was never cool enough to be a sellout.

  12. TBH I am quite surprised to see so many ppl (from The Age comments) are criticising the “Occupy” movement in OZ.
    I was more expecting something like “Even though I’m not joining them (coz I make decent money?), I think they have valid demands for equality, …”
    But instead I am seeing “They don’t represent 99%. At least they don’t represent me!”. Sounds ignorance and selfish to me.
    They may be interrupting small business around the area. But that’s not enough to make me oppose the whole movement.

    • Hewell,

      Ignorance and Selfishness replaced Egalitarianism and Mateship in Australia a long, long time ago.

    • Thanks for the heads up Julius.
      I came from China a few years back. At one point, I was very impressed by the fact that here everybody is calling everybody “mate”.
      Well, I guess that word has lost its true meaning to some of us.
      Not as bad as what’s happening in China, but still, I thought Aussies could do better.

    • Public health requests are fair enough. On the other things, why not try? Your three miners successfully rent-seeked in the order of $100 billion. The protests are following a broad highway through the political scrub beaten down by your heroes.

      • Okay so what about the next protest, and the protest after that. Should council establish a “protest facilities” department? How much public money should be used to fund protests by minority groups?

    • I like the idea of compost bins and garden beds.

      Gives the whole movement a good, clean, environmentally-friendly feel.

      As for the dunnies – well, there are several very powerful industries (no names, no pack drill) that have been shitting all over the country for decades.

      By comparison, I think that the request for toilets is very respectful and thoughtful

  13. Currently posting from the Occupy Sydney rally. Looks peaceful, and feels more like a small festival rather than a protest. The crowded have swelled to around 300, but it is well short of the ‘thousand’ being promised. This is however good, since you can’t fit 1000 in Martin Place anyway.

    Will post more about the event when it’s over. I believe Steve Keen is suppose to speak, however right now it’s currently just a band playing Latin music at the moment.

  14. dumb_non_economist

    I’d have to say I’ve been heartened by the number of what I think are older supporters of the protesters, thought they’d have forgotten what it’s like to be young!

    As the Mining Bogon would say; go the young and mangy!

    • If you really want to feel good – go read the Editorial in this weekends Australian.

      Now, I’ll betcha didn’t expect to get support from that neck of the woods 🙂

      They put it most eloquently, I thought.

  15. Dear OCCUPY xxxx`s

    We here your global demands. The world must change, the old system must be replaced.

    Global demands require global solutions.

    We will take action.

    We shall remove the boarders, the guv and the banks and replace it with a global currency and a global super bank ext..

    Welcome to the NWO oh the irony

  16. I think those defending the “right” of protesters to occupy the city square for a long period of time, are completely naive and selfish – as are the protesters. The city square rightly belongs to ALL Melbournians – not just one special interest group who want to forcibly take it over for a week at a time. They are not “the people”, or “the 99%”, they are exactly the subset of Melbourne who were actually there – no more, no less. There were many other people (and not just those in the 1%) who were denied the use of their own City Square during this time. Not to mention the small businesses, as many have already pointed out. The arrogance of such a movement goes beyond free speech and well into the realm of bullying. Gather enough people and you can take something by force – well that’s what Marxists have always done, and it’s always ended badly. The police were right to break it up.