Australians - Occupy Your Own Assholes, it would be more constructive.
Coming from an Australian… We don’t need an Occupy Movement. Please, if you’re one of the people spouting on about OCCUPY AUSTRALIA, going to rallies, writing about being “the 99%” on Tumblr even though you’re a hipster from Newtown Performing Arts School whose parents will be paying for your Bachelor of Arts, take a second to actually learn something about this movement, the economy, the rest of the world, and take a minute to look up something called The Class Divide.
We don’t have a class divide in Australia, we just don’t. We don’t have enough history for it, we don’t have the same foundations as many other first-world countries, we’re too young and we do live in an egalitarian society, much as the disenfranchised amongst us would probably hate to admit that. I did all of my traveling and living overseas when I was young, but even I picked up, when living in England, that the posher kids didn’t come around our areas, that being Upper Working Class (dad a builder, mum a social worker) meant you could hang out with Council Flat Kids but not Rich Kids; that even though maybe you went to school with some kids you didn’t go back to their houses because their parents knew your parents and their jobs; that the kids down the street were too ‘scummy’ even for you and yes you can play with them but no, you can’t go to their house their mummy smokes dope in the living room… And this was a common thing. Normal. Not questioned. You live to your means, and you pretty much stay that way unless you get a lucky break. Time spent in American saw me walking past more homeless people than I’ve seen collectively in my life since, some with signs, back then before this Movement, explaining their college degrees, qualifications, opportunities and failures. Unfair termination. Workplace discrimination. No-one able to do anything about it. Family units broken apart and husbands turned onto the street because of a stock market crash. Previously stable people left with nothing. Homes repossessed. Children unable to continue going to school. Why? Because apparently it’s okay to treat people like shit, to step over people to get to the top, to push people away from everything they’ve ever known, leave them with nothing, and not even bother to notice on the Subway that that bearded man used to work in the same office as your wife…
We just don’t live like that. The vast majority of Australians will never experience what “the 99%” are going through, and most likely never will. We are so privileged, and it breaks my heart that we are ignoring that, forgetting how lucky we are to live in this beautiful country literally brimming with opportunity, just to jump on some bandwagon relating to a movement most people don’t even seem to understand.
There is no 99% in Australia. If you want to champion a cause, how about the rights of our indigenous people? That right there is a legitimate problem within our society. Or is it not 'hip’ enough? Will you not get enough notes on Tumblr for holding up a sign about how we continue to destroy the homeland, lives, language, history and culture of the Australian Aboriginal people, despite our sweeping claims of equality? Do you just not care?
Some protests just aren’t relevant to certain societies, and this is one. Occupy Australia? Occupy my middle finger, wake up and learn how lucky we are not to be part of the 99% of Americans who do have something to scream about. No, Australia isn’t perfect. Yes, there’s a lot we need to change. Yes, there is poverty. Yes, some people do end up in terrible situations in their lives. But it is not the majority. Not even close. So please, just stop. It’s so insulting.
We’re no better. We’re not the 99%, we’re actually the 10%. The top 10% of the world constitutes pretty much every single person in the developed world, including North America, Europe, Australia, etc.
Now, us top 10%, we control over 85% of the world’s wealth. I don’t normally try to appeal to people on emotional basis, but the self-righteous, self-entitled, middle class fucks of the developed world need to stop crying about the fact they can’t have the new iPhone or whatever when literally everyone else in the world is in poverty/starving/dying/dead now.
In Australia, we have free healthcare, education, legal representation, welfare, everything you could ever need and we still have people “Occupying Sydney.” The Occupy Wall Street was originally based on closing loopholes in American taxation legislation - it’s not even applicable to Australia.
Now, I understand that the movement has grown passed the basic tax issues and I would be more receptive of the movement if it had a fucking point. “Corporations have a bunch of money… and I don’t.” Yes it’s annoying that some people are born into power and money but like… that’s just how things are. You shouldn’t be annoyed at them anymore than you’re annoyed at Mila Kunis for having an understated yet amazing rack and perf-
Anyway, my point is, the 99% movement is baseless, without direction and inherently hypocritical. It’s based around the notion that all money should be shared between the masses. But if Obama wants to introduce universal healthcare… No. That’s socialism.
Those criticising the Occupy Sydney (and the rest of the Australian Occupy events for that matter) on the basis that the Australian economy isn’t as fucked bad as the American economy ought to look at the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data for Wealth Distribution:
The richest 20% now own 62% of household wealth.
The bottom 60% of people own a whopping 18% of household wealth.
The bottom 20% own just 1% of total household wealth.
In the last years, the household worth of the richest 20% has increased at almost 4 times the rate of the bottom 20%.
1.2 million households have a total net worth of $50,000.
77,000 households (read: families) owe more in debt then there total household worth
So yes, while we’re not quite as bad as the US, we should have the decency to admit that there is serious structural problems with the Australian economy. Considering this accumulation of wealth is happening in relative boom years, where we all supposedly benefit, one has to wonder how the state of inequality in Australian would fair if the country was to slide into recession on the back of a US downturn and continuing sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
So to those Occupying Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and those occupying Cities around the World, I say continue to fight the good fight, no matter what the cynics say. Those in power have taken so much and have no intention of stopping, so it is left for us to say no more.
Being in Australia, there’s not many people I find who know much about Occupy Wall st in detail. In fact, as it’s only started getting widespread coverage, I find most people have misinformed judgements about the movement. I often find myself going off on either internal or (unfortunately) overly vocal rants whenever I come up against a skeptical or negative attitude directed towards Occupy protest. These are just some of the lines I often hear which get me riled up.
Those protesters are just whining.
This statement aggravates me the most. Only because I feel so passionate about the issue for which these people are protesting to gain recognition for. We have all been so complacent with accepting the way our economy is run, even if it’s foundation is based on lies and corruption. The majority go along their daily lives, and as long as they are not enormously affected, it’s so easy to dismiss protest as whining for the sake of getting attention. People don’t just protest because they like protesting; protest is a group representation of frustration; of people standing up and saying “I won’t take this”. What is more admirable than people coming together, from all backgrounds, from all beliefs to stand up against a system that runs their lives and demand that they get a say in their futures? That is not whining, that is called taking charge. A whiner sits and complains to them self about the rising prices of food and real estate; a whiner recognises the problems but does nothing about them. Protesters are not whiners.
Why Occupy Sydney? Australia is fine.
First off, Occupy Sydney is part of the global movement: Occupy Together, in which hundreds of cities wanted to show their support for Occupy Wall St, to show that it’s not just an American concern; that invasive corporatism and the recession is a world-wide-issue. It’s about gaining attention all over the globe. Occupy Sydney may not have the numbers that Occupy Wall St has, but it’s not about numbers, it’s about showing that no matter where you are from, you can empathise with the American plight. As for ‘Australia is fine’? Where have you been for the past 4 years? Australia is in debt, too. We are not as isolated as many of us insist in believing. We are not untouched. The recession is a domino affect, if we don’t get Wall st out of politics, then the whole world will feel it’s effects. This is not just an American fight, this affects all of our futures. This affects you and me.
This won’t change anything.
Just like the French revolution changed nothing. Just like the Suffragettes didn’t take the first step towards gender equality. Just like the race equality riots didn’t bring people to question racism and it’s futility. Yes, let’s all sit here and say “well, nothing’s going to change, so I’m not going to try”… because time never changes, nature never changes, civilization never changes, people never change… right?
Believe in change. As it is the only promise, the only constant. One thing is inevitable; and that is change itself.