October 22, 2011

Occupy Melbourne

Occupy Melbourne protesters have "vowed" to continue with the cause after the police clean-out of city square yesterday, with a quite and wet turn out today, marching about the city, we'll await developments - if any - next week.  I hope they, or others, have the stamina to persist, but keeping in mind that this is Australia, and we're a passive, conservative lot, easily awed by authority, I suspect this will limp out of sight fairly quickly.

More to come, warn protesters

Yesterday saw our Mayor, Robert Doyle, insisting that the city square was "for the people", so the people needed to be removed - by force.  Four hundred police turned up to remove 100 protesters.  One of today's headlines claims proudly "the day the police took back our city", as if we were under siege, under threat, unable to function.  I'm in the city every day and there was no disruption, nothing unseemly or concerning.  A hundred people bought us to our knees?  Upset the power balance?  Cut the profits at the nearby Starbucks by a couple of dollars a day? 

Boot out protesters says businesses 
“The life of the City Square is the life of the city, and for any one group to think that they can capture it and then occupy it and control it is wrong,” Cr Doyle said.
Complete bunkum.  It's the least lively city square in the world, and no one but a tourist would even go in search of it.  A small expanse of concrete in which once a year a large, gaudy Xmas tree occupies a corner, and for the rest of the year it's a grey, wasted, expensive bit of land.

It's ok though, at least going by comments online at our local tabloid of choice, the Herald Sun (see link above).  It's all deserved and the protesters are scum, scabs, smelly, and they have iPhones and stuff, so they must be hypocrites too.  Fancy taking advantage of the goods and services on offer in a capitalist society and then complaining about economic inequality - outrageous!  The level of thought is so simple it insults the average five year old.  It's comparably irksome to the endless ink wasted on that most irrelevant of subjects this week:  Gillard not going the quaint courtsey thing upon greeting the Queen. (Come on, we're so grown up that we should be - but aren't - a republic, but we contemplate, with all all seriousness, the courtsey?  As if Gillard and all other government members were not well briefed on acceptable modern protocols. Jeez - can everyone grow up already?!)

And of course there's the cost, THE COST of protests and the clean up and the legal bills ... christ, how do we tolerate such profligate use of public monies!  It's outrageous!  That money could have gone on a new tourist sign showing the way to the Docklands!

True cost of occupy Melbourne protest yet to be felt 

While sleepy Melbourne could only tolerate a few days of a tiny and quiet protest, over in the US, democracy and free speech is rather stronger (mostly because the US is rabidly conservative), but Occupy Wall Street might be straining the friendship - their Mayor is making noises.

Below, tiny selection from various locations, not random - these are the articulate, well thought out comments. For hundreds of "dirty, smelly dole-bludger, socialist parasite" comments, feel free to check the Herald Sun.

(I'm especially taken by "Royce of Elwood", for going to the trouble of "examining" the protesters, and for his/her carefully supported conclusion that they are all mentally ill.)

steve of eltham Posted at 2:30 PM October 20, 2011
it would be interesting to see where these people are in ten years. I am guessing not on a commune or in a socialist heaven. gotta love thoses who bite the hand that feeds them 
Royce of Elwood Posted at 2:25 PM October 20, 2011
When I was at Starbucks in the City Square on monday, I examined these people carefully. Their problem is that they are of course simply drowning in their own negativity. These poor people wouldn't be able to see the positive if the + end of a Duracell battery came hurtling towards them and hit them in the face. I don't think there is much doubt that most of these people are quite (mentally) ill, and I came away from City Square feeling pity for them rather than anger.
Bravo Posted at 8:49 AM Today
A well written and accurate article. These so-called protesters claimed they were against corporate greed yet their illegal occupation of public land was damaging small local businesses. Some claimed that the Lord Mayor should have spoken to his constituents - I've got news for them - HE DID!. Those of use who pay rates in the City of Melbourne did not want you sitting there - just how many of you have jobs and pay taxes and rates? - not many. Centrelink needs to cancel your tax payer funded benefits.
Scott of Glen Iris Posted at 11:26 AM Today 
James, I hope it isn't over. I was enjoying seeing your type get what you deserved after being asked to leave peacefully. Bring on another day of entertainment.


  1. geoffff12:42 PM

    "A former top Victorian riot policeman said the cost to the community might balloon if protesters decided to launch legal action against the force.

    "Retired inspector Jeff Mawkes said Victoria Police had a history of paying out to protesters who had suffered even the most minor injuries under the belief that it was better to write cheques than be dragged through protracted civil battles.

    ""The expense will come later. Invariably, someone will claim they were injured and they'll sue," Mr Mawkes said.

    ""They (police) just put their hands up and pay.""

    I cannot believe this crap. If the cops won't someone to sue these bludgers for free they have my phone number.

  2. Anonymous2:18 PM

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win. - Ghandi.

    A first step for corporate greed protestors:

    The guts of the matter (at present) is the relationship between government power and corporate power - money/wealth/manipulation is at its centre. We all know this whether we understand the nitty gritty of how it all works.

    This is not capitalism, where corporations have to live and die as dictated by the (free?) market.

    A first step to ensure that democratic governments legislate in the interests of the electorate would be to severe the financial relationship between corporate and party power.

    Ban ALL election donations and have the public fund their democracy. A definitive blow to mitigate the cancer of bribery and corruption.

    That would be a (critical) first step to ensure the separation of powers, and free up the collective political mind to act in the common wealth.

    As a taxpayer I would gladly pay for that type of democracy.


  3. Oh Geoffff, Geoffff, Geoffff - really?

    If the police break a mobile phone, or someone loses their handbag, gets a scratch, incurs medical costs, time off work, or sundry emotional traumas, members of the public - including those charged and/or found guilty of a crime - are legitimately entitled to make a claim against the police.

    Thousands of claims are made in any given year, I'd guess, or maybe just hundreds.

    Yes, the police pay up, it's in the budget. A few hundred here, fifty dollars there. People aren't "suing" the police, they're making claims for damages or injuries that demonstrably (no pun intended) came about because of police actions.

    Now: you will be a great deal more attentive in future (a string of garlic around the neck?) when reading or listening to anything generated by the media - see how easy it is to be suckered?

    Now think of that within the context of the average and far less than average intelligence floating around out there and you'll feel overwhelmed with the futility of it all, but at least you'll understand why our politicians and our mass media continue the race to the lowest levels of the sewer and/or hell.

  4. I'm sure you're right about disproportionate response and City Square but I just can't muster much sympathy for the protesters (some of whom went back simply to be there for the eviction!) I also can't see how this is an attack on free speech - they're free to keep on saying what they want on their blogs, twitter, tumblr, facebook, email, newspapers, bulletins, and of course in cafes and pubs and libraries, etc.

    Moot point really as I think they've decided to move into Treasury Gardens. Maybe the best long-term strategy of the local council is simply attrition - wait until we get a couple of hot summer days, which should see the numbers dwindle down to a negligible amount.

  5. geoffff11:47 AM

    I was in a bad mood Caz. It happens and no I have no sympathy for these protesters because I have respect for their sincerity and even less for their integrity.

  6. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Occupy Uranus


  7. That would just make them a lot of bums, Justin.

  8. Geoffff – I can’t claim to sympathize with them, most especially given that they don’t seem to have had a good handle on “the cause”. (Refer to pending comment, to Tim, in due course.)

    If anyone is going to copy or appropriate a cause, it’s a prerequisite to understand what it is you’re doing and why. I think groups in Australia – too many of them professional protesters – didn’t even do basic homework. Perhaps they thought it was “obvious” ... err, yeah, let’s protest against capitalism and rich people ... except that Occupy Wall Street isn’t about either of those things. I think the lack of even rudimentary understanding was well illustrated by the piece that will be referenced in my next comment, albeit, the journo went in biased and came out with exactly the material he needed to prove his case.

    Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street might have much greater trouble enduring winter than any protesters here (if any) during summer. Let's not forget my abiding support for global warming: cold kills far more people every year than hot weather.

    The other intriguing development on Wall Street is that the protesters now have sufficient donated funds over which to argue - for more "equal" distribution. What, are they wanting to be paid to protest? Are they squabbling over whose two-bit flyer gets printed? Who knows, but it seems that if a half million dollars is up for grabs, those in the 99% will argue over the spoils ... it's cold hard cash, not the cold, that will break them, is my guess.

  9. Apparently via Twit - someone seeking info from the Occupy Sydney crowd: asking the organizers what they were protesting, received this advice - "Join us and help develop a vision ... you can stand in solidarity".



    You really want to have a clue about your cause and your vision, and the nature of the solidarity upon which you want people to stand, BEFORE you go a-protesting.

  10. I remember hearing that after initially agreeing to move out of City Square the protesters subsequently decided not to! Then followed eviction orders, more eviction orders, then police.

    You can just imagine how the meeting would have gone in which they decided to stay put... in true Occupy style it would have gone on and on, one protester would have objected to ceding to Doyle's requests, said something about fighting the power, and that would be that. (Give or take another few hours haggling over various agenda points.) That's democracy, guys - or something.

    Meanwhile apparently the Occupiers are packed up with La Rouchians and truthers - like you said, not good to sign up to a cause before agreeing on what that cause is!

  11. Tim - I don't view the "eviction" as an assault on free speech, perhaps there are some presenting it in that manner, but any such arguments are off the mark, is my thought.

    We're a pretty weak democracy, a pathetically weak society, and disturbingly docile if we can't cope with a hundred people lying about on a normally unused bit of concrete, causing no problems ... within a city of four million, or whatever, surely we're big enough and grown up enough to allow a tiny amount of dissent, a tiny expression of, err, something (yes, I do wish they’d thought of “something” first).

    See piece about Occupy, from today’s SMH - http://tinyurl.com/5rbuk7b

    Henderson's jaundiced contribution, focused mostly on the Sydney sit-in, makes only one valid point - they don't know what they're doing there. The rest of his points are tosh, and his meta-narrative: entitlement and narcissism would be amusing, if not that he's serious – and wrong. (I don’t think the protesters have sufficient clue to be able to express entitlement about anything, and their narcissism, if any, is a trite matter.)

    Unfortunately, the Australian occupy efforts have been bandwagon jumping, with participants seemingly have little or no idea the reasons for the Wall Street occupation (whose location is appropriately symbolic, and contrary to Henderson's deliberately wrong logic, Washington or Obama aren't the source or cause of the US angst).

    As we've vigorously agreed, if you're going to jump on any band wagon, it's incumbent on the jumpee to be fully cognisant of what and why, and to be able to articulate both.

    In relation to Melbourne:

    “Police have revealed some of the troublemakers who refused to leave City Square when requested are known to police as serial protesters.

    The protests involved people from groups including Boycott Israeli Apartheid, Friends of the Earth, Anarchy, Latin Solidarity Movement, Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance.”

    Good grief! No wonder they have no idea what they’re doing. Agreeing meeting agendas must be a nightmare, let alone the meetings.

    Meanwhile, the protesters in Melb, who might or might not attempt to take over a bit of land in Treasury Gardens, haven't obtained permission from the local elders, and the local elders are miffed.

    (Of course, that other tent protest, in Canberra, remains in place after decades. Wonder what sort of public reaction would come if the federal police were ordered to remove the Aboriginal presence, hey?)

  12. Occupy London protesters are sneaking off home at night, when the temperature drops. Weirdly, someone is using thermal imaging to check tent occupation during the night, with 90 per cent found to be empty.

    London councillor, Matthew Richardson, asserts that this is proof that "the majority of people don't have the conviction to stay here".

    Would have thought it was proof they're not stupid and not homeless.