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(Updated Oct. 19) Occupy Wall Street inspires global protests against the '1%' (activist reports, videos, pics)


Occupy Sydney, October 15, 2011. Photos by Kate Ausburn.

October 16 , 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- According to http://15october.net, protests and actions -- inspired by the Occupy Wall Street mass movement across the United States -- were to take place in more than 950 cities in more than 80 countries on October 15. Actions had already begun in some parts of the world before that.

Below are just a few reports from around the world. More will be added as they come to hand, so please check back. If you are a participant in any of the global Occupy actions, please leave a report in the Comments box at the end.

[Are you a participant in an Occupy action in your city or town? Please leave a report in the comments section below. For more on Occupy Wall Street, click HERE.]

Democracy Now! report on the global Occupy protests, broadcast on October 17, 2011.

Australia

Green Left Weekly, Australia's leading socialist newspaper, reports that several thousand people mobilised across the country in solidarity with the Wall Street protests and to demonstrate against the "Aussie" "1%". At 11 am about 750 people converged on City Square in Swanston Street in Melbourne’s CBD, which swelled to more than 2000 when it was joined by a previously organised demonstration in solidarity with Palestine. Tents and stalls have been set up for the indefinite occupation. Stalls have been set up by groups including: refugee support and campaign groups; equal marriage campaign groups; an Indigenous tent and a media tent for independent media groups. Trade unions, including the National Union of Workers, the Communications Workers Union Victoria and Unite with others likely to follow, have publicly supported the action.

Occupy Melbourne activist Phil Stallard addressed the assembly, explaining the significance of the movement: “We, the people, rallying in Occupy Together protests around the world are battling first and foremost for the right to life, in the face of elitist governments and corporations doing their best to depopulate this globe through machinations hardly known to the public. As one people, united, we the 99% acknowledge the reality. That the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members together with a system that protects our rights upon corruption of that system.

“A democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth. No true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come together at a time when corporations run our governments. They place profit over people, self-interest over justice and oppression over equality.

"Because our governments have failed in their responsibilities, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights and those of their neighbours.”

Socialist Alliance activist Sue Bolton told GLW: "Socialist Alliance is here because we think that it is really important that their be resistance against the control of society by the corporations. "We need to ensure that this movement continues indefinately and we need to braoden support from the trade unions."

The Occupy Melbourne movement is set to continue to expand, so grab yourself a sleeping bag and make your way to the City Square in the CBD as soon as you can.

In Sydney, more than 1000 people gathered in Martin Place, near the Reserve Bank,  Australia's central bank. Those assembled decided to camp indefinitely. Occupy Sydney activists have been buoyed by motions of endorsement by the NSW State Council of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU)and the Canterbury-Bankstown Teachers Association, and support from a range of other progressive trade unionists, including the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). The CFMEU and MUA have each donated $1000 to assist the Occupy Sydney protest with food and other logistics.


Police provoke conflict. Video from Occupy Sydney.

Occupy Sydney reports that after a successful first day of occupation police, without consultation, attempted to force the peaceful activists to take down any structures and forcibly remove any unattended item. At approximately 10.30 pm police moved into the crowd and began dismantling structures and confiscating property. While some occupiers were warned and given the opportunity to move their gear, others had it taken without warning. The situation became very tense, and one occupier was arrested after chaining himself to the van that held the confiscated property. At that stage the police were refusing to speak with the Occupy Sydney police liason, but individual police told occupiers that people were allowed to stay but no structures were permissable.

Occupiers gathered tents, mattresses and other property and linked arms to protect it; the police backed off. They were officially told that they could “stay”, but not “camp”, meaning no tents, mattresses, pillows. A vote was taken to remain in Martin Place and people were prepared to sleep on the concrete.

More than 250 occupiers held Martin Place overnight. While the “no camping” rule was not enforced and occupiers were allowed bedding, at around 6.45 am on October 16, police announced that if all gear wasn’t packed up promptly, they would forcibly remove it. The occupation briefly met and agreed that gear would be brought to a central spot until the situation is discussed at the general assembly.

Check Occupy Sydney for updates.


Occupy Sydney. Photos by Peter Boyle. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.

In Brisbane, Green Left Weekly reports, at least 300 people attended the occupation of Post Office Square. People from a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds joined the gathering during the day, with some prepared to stay the night. At a community assembly in the square, spokeswoman for the organising committee, Kate Haskett, led the crowd in chanting: "Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!" She said: "We thank the New York citizens who have inspired people in more than 1200 cities across the world to show their own power." The words of the declaration of the Occupation of New York City were then read out. Haskett said: "This declaration speaks for all of humanity. It's up to us, the people, to stand up against what we know is wrong.

"We acknowledge the original occupiers, the traditional owners, of this land, the Aboriginal people. And we open our arms to all people of different races, beliefs and nations. We are the 99 per cent!"

Further discussions were held to plan the future of the Brisbane occupation. For more information, visit the Occupy Brisbane Facebook page.

In Perth, at least 200 people gathered for Occupy Perth protest in Forrest Place. Those there have pledged to return to begin an indefinite occupation on October 28. See Perth Now article on Occupy Perth. In Adelaide, about 200 people turned out for the Occupy Adelaide action. In Canberra, more than 50 people came together and held a march to Garema Place. Thirty people also protested in Darwin, and decided to return every Wednesday evening as long as the Occupy movement continues around the world.


Photos from Perth Occupy action. Photos by Alex Bainbridge. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.
 

Aotearoa/New Zealand

In Auckland on October 15, 2000 supporters of Occupy Auckland marched up Queen Street to Aotea Square. Eighty protesters set up a dozen tents for the night. Protests were also held today in New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. The Aotearoa/New Zealand occupations were the first of events planned around the world that day, inspired by Occupy Wall Street. See http://www.occupyauckland.org/ for updates.

David Colyer, writing for UNITYAotearoa, provides a positive assessment of the day's action:

The policy of not having a list of demands has infuriated many critics and more that a few supporters of the movement. But it seems to have worked.

Importantly, it has allowed groups and individuals to bring their own concerns, and I’m sure it will encourage people to think about how these diverse issues are linked to corporate domination. Many would agree with the sentiments of the Aucklander whose placard said "I’m here for so many reasons".

Some of the reasons expressed in the placards and banners and Facebook comments:

  • The wealth gap between the rich and the rest, growing ever wider as real wages stagnate or fall, while productivity and profits soar.
  • The slow response and lack of preparation to the Rena oil spill, which was the long predicted consequence of the deregulation of the shipping industry.
  • Unemployment, scapegoating of beneficences and the lack of opportunity even for skilled and educated.
  • The expansion of coal mining and oil drilling, which threatens more oil spills, when accelerating climate change means we should be moving away from fossil fuel extraction and cutting CO2 emissions.
  • The failure of  to honour treaty commitment to tino rangatiratanga, leaving Maori dispossessed in their own land.
  • And, last but not least, capitalism, corporate control and the corruption of democracy by the rich elite.

Britain

In London, according the BBC, 3000 people gathered outside the London Stock Exchange on October 15 to add their voices to global movement. As night fell in London dozens of tents were pitched at the foot of the steps of St Paul Cathedral by protesters.

Anna Jones, from the Occupy London Stock Exchange group, criticised the police hostility to the demonstration. "We have already seen a disproportionate amount of force by the police against protesters who are occupying the area outside St Paul's", she said. "We have seen people, kettled, grabbed and thrown off the steps forcefully by the police. This was entirely unnecessary. None came here to have a fight with the police.

"The only crime that the police can pin on people is one of having a conversation about real democracy and the unfair and unequal economic system that favours the rich and powerful."

Scotland Yard said a "containment" had been in place at St Paul's Churchyard "to prevent breach of the peace". At one point police said they would not allow camping in front of the cathedral, because it was "illegal and disrespectful" but later a Scotland Yard spokesperson said a number of tents had been pitched and there were no plans to remove them before Sunday morning.

Earlier, demonstrators attempted to set up another camp outside the London Stock Exchange in privately owned Paternoster Square, but were prevented by the police.

After protesters returned to St Paul's Churchyard, the square in front of the cathedral, officers prevented more people trying to join the protest by cutting off access points. Several hundred protesters congregated behind the police lines and heckled officers for not allowing anyone through.

A section 60aa order -- which gives officers the power to force people to remove masks covering their faces -- is also currently in place in the City of London. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, gave a speech to one group of protesters about anonymity after he was challenged by police for wearing a mask as he walked to the protest. "I ask that all of you demand that foreign bank accounts be opened up and made transparent, the same way that I today have been forced to be made transparent."

As night fell, things began to feel much more intense. Riot officers in bright yellow jackets moved on to the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, shouting at protesters to move away, saying they needed to protect the historic building. Police dogs have also been prowling the area and police tape and vans are blocking any more protesters from joining the main demonstration.

Smaller protests have taken place in Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Canada

John Riddell reports that demonstrations and occupations took place across Canada on October 15, in all large cities and many smaller centres. More than 2000 took part in Toronto (see video above), a reported 4000 in Vancouver and 1000 in Edmonton. Faced with broad public support for the protests, governments kept their cops at a respectful distance. Tents went up in many public squares, as determined participants settled in for a lengthy stay in the increasingly frigid conditions of a Canadian winter.

Trade unions across the country expressed strong support for the movement. Endorsations came, among others, from the auto, commmunications, and service workers, and the Ontario and British Columbia labour federations.

China

Even before the October 15 global protests, reports China Study Group, a group of several hundred individuals in Zhengzhou protested on October 6 in support of Occupy Wall Street. The event was related to a left-wing grouping, going by the signs and the rhetoric from a posting at Utopia. There was also an action in Hong Kong on October 5 led by the group Socialist Action, a Trotskyist organisation. Several dozen Hong Kong youth protested outside the stock exchange and US consulate. China Worker has an in-depth article on the event in English. Letters of solidarity, one signed over by 50 intellectuals and activists in China and another by hundreds of leftists, have also been issued.

October 15 has been slated as the day to Occupy Asia, including Taipei.

In Hong Kong, reported World of Labor, on October 15, more than 300 people took part in the Hong Kong city centre (pictured above) to protest against the failure of the system. A wide range of groups and parties joined the event, including Left 21, FM101, student organisations, the anti-nuclear coalition, Lehman Brothers victims, LSD (Link of Social Democrats), People's Power, the Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre etc. A group of young men wearing "V" mask and black clothes were also present.

Throughout the afternoon it became forum, where groups and individuals took the floor in turn. Left 21 members attacked capitalism for bringing disparity of wealth because it only cares about profit.
In Hong Kong a handful of rich people monopolise the wealth of the people so the latter can only earn subsistence wages.

Anti-nuclear alliance activist Man Si Wei pointed out that the nuclear power industry was nurtured by the nuclear industry in order to make money. The nuclear industry colluded with the government and the United Nations in fooling the public over the issue of the so-called safe levels of radiation that can be absorbed by the body, which does not have real scientific basis. The Japanese government, after the disaster in Fukushima, raised the safety level arbitrarily.

Lam Chi Leung from the Pioneer socialist group pointed out that global capitalism has become a big casino. Huge amounts of social resources are concentrated in the hands of a few large financial groups, while public medical care, education and social welfare are denied the necessary funding. He called for the overthrow of the regime of the rich to make way for a government of the working people to fix the problem.

In the late afternoon, participants marched to the headquarter of the HSBC bank to continue the assembly and occupation. After the demonstrators arrived at the HSBC headquarters, the police warned demonstrators that their assembly was illegal, and the demonstrators responded with boos. Eventually they were left untouched by the police. Dozens of protesters camped at the site over night and are now still ongoing when this report was written.

Germany

According to a report on MarxMail, in Frankfurt, several thousand people marched from Rathenauplatz to the Willy-Brand-Platz, where the ECB (European Central Bank) is located, and a rally took place. It ended with an open mike for all. According to organisers 8000 took part (see video below). The demonstration and rally were officially organised by Attac.


Frankfurt, October 15, 2011.

Spain

From Colectivo Mujer reports that in Spain, more than 80 locations had protests: 60,000 in Barcelona, according to the police, 250,000 according to the organisers.

Comments

People of the world join forces

Nice to see that the people from all over the world join forces, I am based in Croatia, here the protest where limited, so it is good to read what happened in other countries. I really hope that this was just the beginning of something bigger to come, the WS guys, banks etc. have been exploiting the public to many years, now time has come for a change.

Christchurch Occupy (New Zealand)

Kia ora!

This is written as a individual - I do not speak for the Assembly of Christchurch. I just wanted to share our blog page with the team so you know we're here and what we're up to http://occupychristchurch.org/2011/press-statement-monday-october-17-201...

Thank you for your efforts! It looks fantastic!

In SOlidarity - Matt

What’s wrong with Occupy Melbourne

Firstly let me state that there is a lot of things right about Occupy Melbourne. It is showing solidarity with an amazing global movement of ordinary people demanding political and economic justice. Secondly, it is bringing people together to talk about politics and it is also a great experiment in communal living and participatory democracy. Lastly, it is plugging into the crisis of legitimacy that exists within Representatives democracies such as Australia where people realize their Governments have been captured by corporate interests.

However, despite all this success it is failing in two ways in my opinion. Firstly, It is not identifying strongly enough with the daily economic concerns of ordinary Australians the rhetorical 99%. I am basing this on the placards on saw on Saturday and the speeches I heard, Facebook posting, media interviews and choice of protest targets made so far.

There is a big lie being perpetrated on the Australian people and that it is we have been spared the worse effects of the GFC and therefore we are all doing well. We might not be facing a massive program of austerity measures such as in the U.S., Greece, the U.K. or Spain however ordinary Australians are suffering. We are suffering in so many ways as a result of the thirty years of neo-liberal economic policies that have been perpetrated by both major parties. .

Unaffordable Housing

Whether you are a worker struggling to pay your mortgage, a renter who if you are lucking to get a property is paying through your nose, a young person who is still living at home with their parents as you can’t afford to move out or one of the thousands of homeless. Meanwhile developers and investors made millions and scam such a negative gearing continue.

Rising cost of Living

The price of groceries in Australia is very high compared to rest of the developed world. The cost of petrol in our car dependant cities is another financial stress. The rising costs of basic utilities such a water, electricity and gas is another factor. Ordinary people are paying ever higher prices for these services which are have been privatized around Australia. Through our bills we are subsidizing the shareholders of massive mulit-nationals. Consumers are also being forced to pay through regressive user pays charges on their bills for new infrastructure such a desalination plants. Telecommunication companies are also gouging consumers for internet and phone services – once again an area of the economy that used to be nationalized. When you combine mortages, food bills, power bills, telecommunication bills, insurance, petrol and car registration – many households are hurting. In addition many families are struggling with paying childcare payments as well.

Students suffering.

Many young people today might not realize but until the late-80’s higher education was FREE in Australia. Now young people leave uni and sometimes TAFE with high debt levels. In addition, it is much harder for young people to access welfare payments such as AUSTUDY and may are forced to work fulltime as well as studying. In addition many young people have to live at home with their parents due to financial reasons. Meanwhile private schools are subsidized billions of dollars out of the Federal Budget. In Chile currently, there are hundreds of thousands of students involved in a movement demanding Free Education – we need to see this in Australia.

Free Healthcare

Although not as dire as the U.S. the costs of healthcare keep rising for Australians. Whilst Private Health Insurance is subsidized to the tune of billions, the costs of visiting a GP keeps increasing. People have to pay for tests and scans and are often only very partialling reimbursed. Dental care is not even part of the Medicare system. We need to be calling for real free healthcare in Australia.

Poor Welfare

Every year the welfare system is made harsher and meaner. Whether it is changes designed to force the disabled “back to work”, “mutual obligation” on the unemployed or just the fact that benefits and pensions are not raised in line with the cost of living. All the time we are told that we cannot afford ballooning welfare payments – what a crock whilst corporate welfare continues unabated.

Stagnating wages and worsening conditions

The Union movement has let the workers of this country down. Wages are stagnating. When workers do get pay rises it is usually in exchange for “productivity” gains. This has resulted in both private and public sector workers having to work harder and harder. This is the experience of so many ordinary Australians. Also many Australians work in casualised insecure or part-time jobs.

The Occupy Melbourne Movement needs to embrace these causes as central. I brought a sign on Saturday calling for “Affordable Housing”, I did not see any other signs mentioning this or any other specific economic stress faced by the masses of Australians. In contrast a huge protest movement in Israel was sparked by one woman setting up a tent in upmarket Tel Aviv and calling for others to join her over the cost of housing. The protest targets, signs, media statements all need to connect with these basic and legitimate concerns of the “99%”. The phrase Corporate Greed is too broad in my opinion – lets talk about specific social inequalities and injustices. When we march to the ANZ – lets make a banner that links banks records profits to mortgage stresses. Lets NOT say “its not as bad as America here” which as a statement dismisses the level of pain and suffering that exists in this country. In Australia, like elsewhere whilst the 99% suffer, the rich get richer by the year and the gap between the rich and poor grows.

Secondly. when discussing Corporate Greed, lets be very specific in our targets. The march to the Melbourne Club, proposed on the first General Assembly was an error. What an archaic, almost meaningless target. Why not march to the headquarters of BHP. BHP recently declared a $22 billion dollar profit!!! The same company that roared the mining superprofits tax would put it out of business and moved to have Rudd kicked out as PM. The same company is also trashing the environment through coal exports and at mines such as Olympic Dam where it is also riding roughshot over the Aboriginal people of the area. If not BHP then Rio Tinto or another prominent mining company. It is the mining companies who run the politics of this country, it is the mining companies who are enriching themselves off our resources and mining figures make up a large percentage of the richest people in this country. They are also a great propaganda target that people will understand – they are the face of the 1%. I know there is a “corporate scumbags” tour on Friday, but again this seems a very diffuse target that people will not readily identify with. Make it specific – target mining companies and banks as they control our political system and are making record profits. People will understand and connect with this manifestation of the 1%.

Lastly, although we are creating a new politics, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking in a real way about the current situation. We know we are not being represented in our democracy but we should be labeling those responsible. We need to discuss the historic sell out by the ALP and the union leadership of ordinary people over the last thirty years. This is why we feel unrepresented, as we know that both the ALP, the Trade Unions (and now the Greens) are all more worried about not upsetting big business than they are about looking after ordinary people. We should be discussing how the mining companies effectively had our Prime Minister sacked to avoid paying tax. Wasn’t this the biggest example of corporate influence and greed that you could ask for? We should be discussing that our foreign policy is dictated by Washington to the decree that we have cabinet ministers like Mark Arbib who are literally spies for Washington whilst we continue to serve and kill for the U.S. Empire.

I know what some will say. If you believe these things well come and speak at a General Assembly or run a workshop. I would love to but I work full-time and live 50km from the CBD. I will attend Occupy Melbourne when I can, however I am using this forum to encourage others who do attend to think about these issues when deciding on the targets of direct action, making your protest signs, passing motions at the General Assembly or doing media. This movement is not just about solidarity with people overseas, it is about identifying and discussing how the 99% in Australia are oppressed by our system of capitalism and by our failing system of representative democracy.

Lastly, I would like to offer my thanks to those comrades who are making the committemnt to spend everyday and night in the city on behalf of the rest of us. Keep it up, this movement is only beginning and I have faith that you are laying the foundations of a movement that will only continue to grow in strength.

- By Flowerpower at 18 Oct 2011 - 17:59

Occupy Sydney Day 4 photos


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

By Peter Boyle

When these pictures were taken #OccupySydney had been going on for four days. After 1000+ kicked off the occupation on October 15, a stream of people have kept the camp going despite police not allowing tents or (after three nights) even cooking equipment. Numbers go down to 30-40 during the day but at nights have gone up to 100 (about 200 on first night). Many people are stopping to talk and there is a lot of public sympathy for the message that society should not be run, as it is, by the richest 1%. General assemblies held at 6.30pm each evening make decisions about the occupation. Support is welcome from everybody and political and social diversity is respected.

richer getting more richer and poor geeting more poor

thats true this time i guess in every country protest is going on in india is because of so much corruption in usa uk coz of wall street problem every one is facing problem.n i guess country people only able to make it correct goverment never understand what we want unless we dont show them and that not correct that only rich got only money here in rajasthan udaipur (http://www.udaipurthoughts.com/2011/08/justice-conversation/) we have support same thing for the corruption.

Day 5 of Occupy Melbourne: still going strong

Posted on behalf of Sue Bolton, Occupy Melbourne

Day 5 of Occupy Melbourne is still going strong with around 45-50 tents in City Square. I estimate that there are around 100 people camping there each night with many others staying until late in the night. The occupation has been set up as a well established occupation with a 24-hour roster for the Info Desk and the kitchen. The kitchen is feeding homeless people who also use the square. The first general assembly passed a motion to welcome the homeless people who use the square. The kitchen has dispensed with meal rosters and is cooking 24-hours a day.

Now a People’s Cinema is being set up and there's even a People's Library and a Free Clothes Store.

The first general assembly, voted that it be a child-friendly space and there are families with children occupying.

Throughout each day, numerous people drop in to find out what the occupation is all about. There's a lot of curiosity but also public support.

The slogan of the campaign that "We are the 99% against the 1%" is very political, so that most people coming to the occupation to browse around the stalls are wanting to have big discussions about the future of society

So far, there've been no problems with cops. The logistics working group had extensive negotiations with the cops and the council in the lead-up to the occupation. I imagine the council thinks the occupation will fizzle out, but that is definitely not the case. The occupation is growing as more people hear about the occupation.

The numbers down at the occupation are very significant given that this is final assessment and exam period for students. There is one final year medical student who has taken a week of study to devote himself full-time to the occupation. I've heard many other stories like that.

The occupation has become a home for many, with many blown away by the caring and sharing atmosphere in Occupy Melbourne where people look after each other and everybody chips in to help out with various domestic chores.

Since the occupation began, there have been marches from Occupy Melbourne to various corporate targets. The first day of the occupation, October 15, coincided with a pre-planned Palestine solidarity protest against Israeli-owned chocolate shop Max Brenner. The protest at Max Brenner then returned to Occupy Melbourne, increasing the numbers at Occupy Melbourne.

On Day Two, October 16, there was a march to the exclusive Melbourne Club. The Melbourne Club is an exclusive male-only club that was set up in 1838 by the squatters. This is a club of the 1%.

On Day Three, October 17, we marched on the Stock Exchange and then had sit-downs and speakers at intersections on the way back to Occupy Melbourne. At the intersection of Bourke & Swanston St, two very well-dressed women who looked like they were dressed for the races, joined the sit-in and then joined the march back to Occupy Melbourne.

Each of these actions where marches have gone from Occupy Melbourne out into the street to a particular corporate target, have resulted in media coverage for the occupation, but also, have brought more people back to the occupation as bystanders have joined the march.

Day Four was a day of leafleting City Loop train stations and Day Five includes a march to Serco, the company that makes profits out of locking up refugees.

Occupy Melbourne has voted to support Friends of the Earth's action against the expansion of BHP's uranium mining on October 20, and has voted to organise a corporate scumbags tour on October 21. October 22 will be a day and night of indigenous films.

The general assemblies have mostly worked well, with most people working towards unity. Many motions have been passed on issues such as in support of refugees, opposition to the Northern Territory intervention, abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, support for the Qantas workers, troops out of Afghanistan.

There is now discussion about how Occupy Melbourne can develop a statement of aims. The general assemblies have passed motions on a range of issues but hasn't tackled the aims issue until now.

The occupiers are definitely seeing this as a permanent occupation. They aren't going anywhere. But eventually, the council and the police are likely to try to end the occupation. That means that there is a need to bring more unions and community groups down to Occupy Melbourne, in particular the climate groups.

occupy melbourne

This is a wonderful peice of news... OM.(occupy melbourne) i feel it you are going wonderful all that you wish for will manifest why cause you have passion down there in Melb ,thats why I am supporting everything you are doing from up here in Queensland..how about that ?Keep the faith. :)

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