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Occupy Together

Lee Rhiannon 17 Oct 2011

Blog post by Senator Lee Rhiannon

It was a great weekend for the worldwide Occupy Together movement. I have been inspired by the protests in so many countries and the Sydney action is still going with around a hundred people occupying Martin Place outside the Reserve Bank.

When we arrived at Martin Place on Saturday afternoon for the global day of action things took a while to come together as we had no sound system but everyone was okay with that. While we waited I was in a few conversations about how Naomi Klein at the Wall Street event used the “human microphone” as authorities had banned the use of microphones. It is worth watching  to see how they did it – sounds like they had some powerful speeches.

This is the longer version of Naomi’s speech – the version she would have given if there had been amplification.

It is easy to keep up to date with Occupy Sydney and Occupy Melbourne and other actions happening in many other Australian cities.

I encourage you to join these events. Many unions are already supporting Occupy Sydney - NTEU NSW, MUA NSW, CFMEU Construction and General NSW and Canterbury Bankstown Association of the NSW Teachers Federation.

In New York, where the Occupy Wall Street movement started on 17 September, thousands of people have participated. Trade unionists, students, environmentalists, members of community groups and lots of people not connected with any group are occupying public spaces with a beautifully simple message.

This site includes some great photos and commentary on how Occupy has developed.

It is fascinating to read the mainstream media coverage. While the criticism and attacks are increasing I feel that many commentators are scrambling for some lines.

What is wrong with saying that one per cent of the population are ripping off the rest and that there is no acceptable place for greed in this world?

The New York Times took six days before they covered the occupation.

I found this interview with Michael Moore provided an insight in how the Wall Street action is progressing.

The great thing about what they're doing is that the work ahead is not as difficult of other movements. During the civil rights and other movements the majority of Americans were not with them. That's not true right now. The majority of Americans are really upset with Wall Street. Millions of Americans have lost their homes or are facing foreclosure. Fifty million do not have health insurance. Forteen million officially are unemployed (probably actually over twenty). You have already got an army of Americans who are just waiting for someone to do something and the something has started.

Even the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, has urged political leaders to heed the protesters:

Since the dawn of the Arab Spring, young people around the world have taken to the streets, demanding greater opportunities to participate in economic and political life.

“Their future is our future. Let us listen to them, lest the coming decades be marked by an instability and alienation that undermine our prospects for peace, security and prosperity for all.

When I was at Occupy Sydney it was excellent that so many people expressed their hope for change. As we shared stories about the different Occupy events we had heard about the enormity of what we were helping to create started to take hold.

Remember to spread the word and join the action.


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