Occupy: hope for a better world

(Speech delivered to the Defend the Occupy Movement Unity rally, November 5, King George Square, Brisbane.)

For the past three days, this Occupation has been chased around this city. Moved on. Fined, caged in and caged out of public spaces. The question that we have to ask Quirk, Bligh and the question that we have to pose to the whole world is: what are they afraid of?

They dismiss us as irrelevant; they say we are fading away. Then why resort to such measures? Because they know, just as we do, that we are not irrelevant. They know, just as we do that we are everything that matters right now because we are giving hope. Hope for a better world. That is all that matters. Because it is awakening people. It is bringing inspiration to the 99% who have suffered so long under their rule, their exploitation and their repression.


Occupy Brisbane rally, November 5, photo by Owain Lewis-Jones.

They are using every law in their book at the moment to try to silence us. They have scoured their by-laws to find anything they can use against us. No matter what we do, they will find some way to use their laws against us. Because the laws are written to protect their system. And the reality is that what we are facing now is nothing new. These laws are used every day against the poor and the dispossessed.

Being chased around the city and off communal land in the past few days โ€“ this has been the reality of Aboriginal people in this country for over 220 years. We must never forget that.

The laws of this system are designed to protect the 1%. And we must prepare ourselves to stand strong in what we know is right, not what they say is right. The legal protections that we have today are a product of the struggles of the past. And we must learn from those struggles and learn to rely on our own strength. We can’t beg. We can’t plead. We have to stand our ground and demand our rights. The rights of the 99% to stand up and fight for a better world.

We are growing in strength. We mustn’t get disheartened. We mustn’t let them wear us down. The support is out there. Of course, some people are threatened by the movement and many believe the lies about our movement and are taken in by the divide and rule tactics. People are so beaten down by this system and the constant struggle to survive that they can’t yet see that we are fighting for them and with them.

But our support will grow. It will happen because it has to โ€“ humanity has no alternative but to take control of society away from the 1%. It will happen โ€“ as long as we don’t give up. We have to believe in the people. We are the 99%. We shouldn’t see ourselves as separate and apart from those who are not yet with us.

And believing in the people starts with believing in ourselves. This is our movement. Every single one of us. Everyone matters here. No-one is more important than anyone else. No-one.

Every day this system tries to make us feel small. They promote celebrity and status to make us feel insignificant. To make us feel worthless. The political system disempowers us, the economic system alienates us. We are taught from day one to defer, to accept authority. The occupation movement is a giant school in once again learning to resist. Learning to be ourselves. We are reclaiming our dignity and our humanity. We have to hold onto that because right now nothing else matters.

The only thing that matters is our collective strength. The strength that we have built through working together to build this occupation. That strength is human solidarity. Human solidarity. That is what they fear. They want us fighting each other. Because if we are putting each other down. If we crush each other, then they don’t have to.

They tell us every day that humans are naturally greedy and selfish. We are proving them wrong. We are working for each other. We are working for a better world. We are taking control of our lives and collectively we can take control of the whole world. We can run this society in the interests of human need, not corporate greed.

And we know now that humanity really is beautiful. We’ve seen it. They can’t take that away from us. Human solidarity is a motivator a billion times more powerful than their filthy money. Their stinking careers. Their institutional power.

We’ve seen a glimpse of what human solidarity can achieve. They are trying to crush that because the more people that experience that, the harder it will be for them to put us down. As this movement grows, their efforts will intensify. They will use their laws. They will try to co-opt us. They will do whatever they can because they are desperate to stop the hope from spreading. That is what they are afraid of. We have to stand strong together. We have to be ready.

And we are ready. Because we have seen a glimpse of what a new society could look like. We will hold onto that vision. We will not let them extinguish the flame that this occupation has lit.

We will be true to ourselves. We will be true to the struggle. We will stand by each other and we will stand by the 99%. We will grow. We will win. Because we have finally found our strength. Human solidarity!