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October 2011



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Occupy everywhere! Anti-corporate movement reaches Australia

View our photos from the Occupy Melbourne protest today. More to come from other cities soon. Send your updates and photos to us  here This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

UPDATE: The Occupy Melbourne general assembly has called a rally for 1pm Sunday, which will march from the occupation site at City Square to the Melbourne Club on Collins St. The next general assembly will take place at 4pm. In Sydney, there will be a general assembly at 10am, followed by a protest against coal seam gas at midday.

The system is not working. This is the overriding sentiment of those who turned out today in the “Occupy___!” protests around the country. October 15 is an international day of occupation, and the first protests are underway in Australia and New Zealand.

After a build-up over the last weeks as occupation sites were announced in capital cities, and news of events began circulating through social media, people have come out in solid numbers.

In Melbourne around 1,000 people are in the City Square, having pitched marquees and organising food, sound systems and child care. Political discussions and debates can be heard all over, as people from different backgrounds holding different world views come together around a common hostility to corporate rule.

300 joined a Palestine solidarity action at lunchtime, targeting the Max Brenner chocolate chain for its support for Israeli apartheid. Activists marched on Max Brenner stores in QV and Melbourne Central before returning to the occupied City Square for a general assembly.

In Sydney a general assembly of 1,000 people in Martin Place voted to turn the protest into an ongoing occupation. Logistical planning for that is now underway.

But first protesters will have to see off threats from the police to shut down the camp. Police warned that they would start clearing Martin Place at 4:30, and while that deadline has passed, there is still concern that they will move in

In Brisbane 150 people have gathered at Post Office Square and some have decided to set up an ongoing camp. In Adelaide and Canberra smaller actions were held.

In Perth 200 people protested in Forest Place, but the main game is in 2 weeks time when protesters will be out in the streets to meet the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Occupy Wall Street movement has given a significant boost to the CHOGM Action Network, with over 50 people attending its last planning meeting, many of whom had been inspired by the images from New York.

CHOGM Action Network is now planning an ongoing occupation near the CHOGM site for the duration of the meeting – starting on Friday October 28 and finishing on October 30. The action will start with a march from Forrest Place at 10am on October 28.

Uniting different struggles

People from a variety of campaigns have come out today: refugee rights, Palestine solidarity, the Aboriginal struggle, anti-war, anti-corruption in government, action on climate change and anti-corporate circles. Activists involved in all these campaigns from various cities in one place at one time. This is a good thing.

The capitalist system prioritises the creation of wealth above all other considerations. To those 1 per cent who run the world, the bulk of humanity is but a pool of potential commodity producers and consumers, useful only so long as we can participate in the creation of wealth for the ultra rich. Those parasites would see us rot for a quick buck.

They divide us using racism, destroy our environment, lock us up in detention centres, send the military into our communities, use our resources to wage war, and push us to work longer and harder so that they can relax that little bit more in their mansions. That many different progressive causes were and are represented provides an opportunity to make the links between capitalism and abuses of all sorts.

All around the world today conditions are getting worse for the bulk of workers and the poor. In the Middle East, dictatorships continue to dominate the scene, pushing neoliberalism on already impoverished populations.

In Europe and the US economic crisis has ravaged economies and the ruling elite have viciously attacked wages and begun gutting welfare and pension systems. Yet the corporate elite who ran the system onto the rocks are rewarded with bonuses and continue to live lavish lifestyles.

Across Asia and Latin America, hundreds of millions scrape by day to day while a growing minority make the world’s rich list.

In Australia inequality continues to grow. Rents are sky high, unemployment continues to edge up and public transport continues to be run down. Homelessness is at 100,000 yet little attention is paid to creating new public housing. All the while the mining companies and the banks announce record multi-billion dollar profits and CEOs snare obscene bonuses.

That something is not right with this picture is not lost on the people who came out today. This is why the global movement that took inspiration from the mass protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, spread to Spain, Portugal and Greece, and that has swept Wall Street over the past weeks has found echoes in this country.

It is one world, one system, and today our struggle is one.

Union support

Importantly, the left activists have received support from the union movement. Officials from the construction union (CFMEU) and the wharfies (MUA) have attended the Sydney occupation and conveyed their unions’ support, pledging to provide resources. Warren Smith from the MUA has announced that his union will provide $1,000 for food, starting with a BBQ tonight; a CFMEU delegates meeting in Sydney had already voted on Friday to support the occupation.

In Melbourne the National Union of Workers had members and organisers in attendance. The NUW said its members were concerned about issues as diverse as increasingly precarious employment, lack of access to affordable housing, and a general “shift of risk” from employers to employees over the past few decades.

The Communication Workers Union has endorsed the call for real democracy, with state secretary Len Cooper writing a letter of support to Occupy Melbourne in which he stated:

All around the globe assemblies of the people are demanding that democracy truly become the will of the people, against greed, excess, militarism and socially induced environmental crisis, and for a future of appropriate scale, participatory democracy, which includes the economy and equality.

I also write to express the frustration that we feel, and that you speak to, at the lack of democracy for unions. In particular over the issue of the right to strike, because the strike is the sword of democracy, the means by which unions could defend each other, our communities and planet, but under the law are banned from doing so…

Some of our members and representatives will be participating across the actions you have organised for real democracy and communication. On behalf of my union I wish you every success in your endeavours, I encourage you in your courageous call for a real democracy, I assure you that your actions are appreciated by compassionate Australians from many walks of life, and I commend you for your concern for our collective future.

Join the occupation!

With protesters determined to try and establish ongoing camps, it would be great to see more people come down tonight and tomorrow to Brisbane’s Post Office Square, Melbourne’s City Square, and Martin Place in Sydney.

That 1 per cent at the top of society never tires of trying to screw us over. The actions today, and in the coming days, are a good opportunity to show them that we are prepared to stand against their greed.

So if you’re reading this and are tired of the growing inequality, the constant refugee bashing, the bankruptcy of the major parties, the racism, the lies, the wars, the hypocrisy, or any other rotten thing that this system dishes out on a daily basis, come on down – join the occupation!

This article first appeared in Socialist Alternative.



Pingback from Occupy everywhere! Anti-corporate movement reaches Australia | Guide to everything about movies online and upcoming releases
Time October 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

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Comment from Terrance
Time October 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

John, an issue here I’d like to vent about. I went to the Sydney rally – see my earlier message – but here you talk about this Palestinian protest as part of the Occupy! rally.

Mate, this is what’s wrong with protesters and ‘movements’ these days. I thought this was about corporate greed, not some damn Middle-east protest. May as well chuck in whales and trees and climate change and plastic shopping bags and the biased referee in the France v Wales game!!

I’m with the anti-Wall St folk on this. All the way. But once you start adding in every other bloody issue it becomes a dog’s breakfast and pisses off some of us who want the focus on THE issue, not a bunch of other stuff that belongs elsewhere. Those stupid religious nutter in the Judean hills have F/A to do with Wall Street corporate greed. May as well boycott a Turkish resturant for their denial of the Armenian genocide.

Let’s stick with the issues here and not get side-tracked with matters irrelevant to Wall Street.

Comment from Ross
Time October 16, 2011 at 11:12 am

Rule No.1 Absolutely no violence even if you unfairly suffer it.

Take a camera or video to record the violence of potential ‘agent provocateurs’ police etc and post their faces on the web

Before you join any group,know who organises and funds them since in the past many of these groups are elite instigated.

Comment from John
Time October 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I would have thought environmental destruction is the classic example of corporate greed and the drive for profit which underpins inequality. So you can’t actually fence off a range of issues. In fact the one percent versus 99 percent theme encompasses that i would have thought – destroying the environment – it’s what the one percent do. And generalising is important too – to hep people understand that greed and inequality are at the heart of the system, the system which destroys the environment, supports the dictatorships in the Middle east, continues the genocide against aboriginal people etc etc. capitalism is the problem. Or as one banner in Melbourne put it – you think greed is bad. Wait til you hear about capitalism.

Some might want to join the BDS anti-Max Brenner campaign. That doesn’t make it one subverting the wider campaign – it enriches it with a range of targets against the one percent, including I might add their support for the Arab dictatorships, the Northern Territory intervention etc etc…

Comment from Terrance
Time October 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I take your agrument onboard John, but I reckon if you try to cram too many issues in to a protest or campaign, you risk alienating others. I’ve been to anti-logging protests where all kinds of weirdos pitched up trying to run their agenda, trying to hijack the cause for their own benefit.

I read your answer carefully but genocide isn’t the preserve of capitalism – facists and communists have been at the heart of that crime against humanity too. Capitalism is a damnable evil, but the Mayans destroyed their environment, the Easter Islanders cut down every single tree and destroyed their world long before capitalism came into being. Stalin wiped out huge tracks of Soviet land to name but a few/

I thought this was about Wall Street and corporate banking and the bailout of banks by government using our money. I thought this was about mortgage practices and exploiting ordinary workers – if it’s going to be a free-for-all what’s the point?

The Arab Spring’s got bugger all to do with the GFC and Wall Street. Not even on the same page. The NT intervention – another f-ing crime, isn’t about capitalism, it’s about racism.

This reeks of a pox on you all rabble. Not much different to those Tea Party nutters who link health care to Obama’s birthplace, communicsm, death penalty and Muslims.

Let’s keep this about banks and capital, not religious loonies and Arab dictators.


Comment from MarianK
Time October 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I’ve been involved in anti-war and anti-globalisation activist politics since the early 90s. However, I’m staying right away from this Occupy Wall Street Down Under/Anywhere/Everywhere global protest.

In fact, something is not quite right with this whole Arab Spring/European-US Autumn rhetoric that is mysteriously taking off everywhere, at the same time as the US-NATO military machine is launching what looks to be a new round of vindictive wars in northern Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan.

Suddenly, human rights and democracy movements have become the new military buzzwords, while sinister quasi-military organisations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and its minions like Human Rights Watch seem to have their humanitarian tentacles everywhere that either a war or democracy protest movement (including OWS) is brewing.

What’s more, alternative media sites , like Counterpunch, Democracy Now, ZNET and Al Jazeera, have now become cheerleaders for BOTH democracy protests against corrupt banks and financial systems AND genocidal military interventions, such as in Libya and (almost) in Syria. This reeks to me of infiltration and ‘manufacturing dissent’.

Until I know who and what is really behind all this, I’m staying home to do my laundry.

Comment from John
Time October 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I thought it was about inequality and corporate greed – as exemplified by Wall St.

Comment from John
Time October 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

marianK, I am joining a nascent movement against the forces of capitalism, a vibrant exciting movement bringing in people who have had enough of the wealth shifting to the rich and who want to challenge the rule of the ruling class in one way or another. Enjoy your laundry washed in conspiracy theories. And your continuing political isolation.

Comment from juanR
Time October 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

John I think MarianK has got a point, there is such a thing as manipulation of the masses.

Comment from John
Time October 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Oh FFS – this is a global movement challenging the rule of the rich. Why do you think the mass media have been ignoring it, then bagging it? Why did the cops attack it in NY and elsewhere? Because it is not being manipulated – it is the possible start of a rebellion against the rich. That is why the ruling class is beginning to take notice – because it is growing and because they don’t control it. It is inchoate and unformed but I am on the side of the occupiers. It is a movement with real potential. Let’s see what happens but to abstain from this is to miss an opportunity that only comes along every decade or so. It was Lenin who supposedly said ‘Sometimes nothing happens in decades and then decades happen in weeks.’ That is what could be happening here.

Comment from John
Time October 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Dear Wendy, just deleted a post from you. Looking forward to you coming to my room from your room on campus and introducing yourself. You do have the courage to do that, don’t you? Nah, didn’t think so.

Comment from John
Time October 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm

60,000 marched in Santiago today as part of the movement.

That’s your answer marianK and juanR.

Pingback from #Occupy everywhere! Movement reaches Australia » En Passant « The Left Hack
Time October 17, 2011 at 9:09 am

[…] protest today. More to come from other cities soon. Send your updates and photos to us  here This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it […]

Comment from Dally M
Time October 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

Well surely the next phase is to register a political party and seek the electoral endorsement of “the 99%”, yes? I mean, if there was ever a better time to capitalise (sorry if the term offends) on apparent public anger about “corporate fat cats” and other cliches I’m struggling of think of it. So, all you need is the 500 people to put their name on the nomination form. If you cannot see the logic in taking this fundamental step in your drive for change then I’m afraid you have no place presuming to speak for “the 99%”, you are just another “1%”.

Comment from Ross
Time October 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm

MarianK & JuanR now is not the time to falter.I am suspicious of the Occupy Aust site but that is no reason to not protest.I’m also a bit supicious of Julian Assange.There will be many with differing agendas but we have to stick to the core issues of a very unfair society.I don’t thing we have a choice.This is the beginnings of a global scientifc dictatorship.See “Fall of the Republic’ by Alex Jones.You can download it off youtube.There are many very credible people on this DVD who see the big picture.It ties together ,ecomonic,military,corporate,Wall St,Bankers,political and environmental tools being used to oppress us.

If we take control of our RBA and get it to create new money needed for growth,then we will prosper.It is all about debt slavery.

This is not a left or right issue.It is about all our freedoms and prosperity.

Comment from Dally M
Time October 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm

In order for Ross’ RBA takeover to succeed you need an electoral mandate to amend the RBA Act. Given the proposition that “occupy” reflects the views, needs and aspirations of “the 99%” it seems only logical that Political Party registration be expedited so that you can prepare for inevitable victory come the next election. In the run up to victory day you can explain in detail how you intend to “fix things”, including put forth your own audited set of financial forecasts for the 99% to get some idea of your “ways and means” funding for the significant economic and social changes you have in mind. What better way to use the current wave of popularity for the “occupy” protest movement to springboard off the momentum created in recent days? The logic is compelling isn’t it? That is of course if you firmly believe you represent the views of 99% of the population and are not just engaging in an undergraduate fantasy about world change? That is of course unless you are just all talk and no (real) action. Go on, push yourselves. Don’t disappoint me.

Comment from juanR
Time October 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Hi John

This is indeed a global movement challenging the rule of the rich but it is also a direction-less movement which by its own nature will probably exhaust it self, achieve very little, other than repositioning the votes of a few people here and there. The Arab spring ushered in a series of “spontaneous” mass protests ending, in the case of Tunisia and Egypt, replacing an ageing despot with a group of faceless “caretakers” usually from the army. The tragedy of Libya, soon to be followed by Yemen and Syria, is well documented; just get NATO and a couple of European countries involved to give the intervention international credibility and start murdering people and destroying entire cities. The final objective is obviously Iran.

Meanwhile the “indignados” movement from Madrid to New York via Tokyo and Sydney occupy streets and plazas demanding everything under the sun, but mostly jobs. In Spain, for example, where general elections will be held on 20 November, voters, who already have little confidence in the mayor parties, are being told to abstain from voting, thus playing into the hands of the establishment. So whose game are we playing?
I honestly think it would be more useful to have a single unified purpose, for example, stop all wars. Occupy streets and plazas and lay siege to US embassies around the world, since they are the main warmongers. The collapse of the US’s war economy could usher in a new spring. Without wars the capitalists cannot survive.

Comment from John
Time October 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm

The political party system is democracy by the one percent, for the one percent and of the one percent and would continue to be if we played bourgeois electoral games. The democracy of the streets versus the democracy of the suits. Tough choice.

Comment from John
Time October 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Guess we will disappoint you then. Stick with the old thinking and this movement will only grow. End inequality. Come on, maybe even some of the boffins could think of ways to do that. Surely….

Comment from John
Time October 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

But the point is of course the system is designed to shift more and more of the wealth we produce into the hands of the profit bludgers. No amount of capitalist parliamentary games is going to stop that. Parliament facilitates the wealth transfer, not challenges it.

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