Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Melbourne: Are we the 1%?

There’s a cynical picture doing the rounds on Facebook. An Occupy Wall Street crowd annotated with the branding of their clothing, cosmetics and cameras, titled “Down With Evil Corporations!”

(image via Facebook attributed to Salvatore Charles Franzese)

So if we've taken to the streets to add our voice to the call for equality, we can't be taken seriously unless we’re wearing hand-woven sackcloth?

I’ve got to admit when I sat on the ground at City Square on the weekend I couldn’t help noticing that the woman next to me was wearing designer glasses, their flashy logo twinkling whenever she moved her head. Then I moved on and thought, at least she’s here. At least I’m here. Perhaps, here in Australia with our relative wealth, we are the 1% in the global economy right now?

I wonder what would happen if one of the bankers left his glass tower on Wall Street and sat on the footpath with the protesters and listened. That’s an image I’d prefer to have in my head, than him swilling champagne and laughing at the masses.

While Occupy Melbourne began as a movement that hadn’t found its feet, slowly it is coalescing into a more cohesive voice, one of solidarity with those who struggle around the world.

Should our relative comfort mean we ignore the discomfort of others? Should we stay quiet in the fear that merely talking about the elephant in the room, how capitalism is failing so many, could brings economic collapse to our comfortable corner of the world?

I don’t think so.

Everyone has a right to adequate food, shelter and love. Do I lose the right to voice this, just because I am lucky enough to have all three?

Read more: Jennifer Louden asks why occupy Wall Street matters to you?

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Anonymous NB said...

I totally agree with you AOF, I've had personal experience of attempts to shame me into silence when I've drawn attention to obvious inequality or greed. It's merely another nasty attack the messenger so you can ignore the message technique employed by cynical marketing types to avoid any meaningful diologue about the real issues. A sad, but effective means to draw attention away from feelings complicity and guilt bought on by these demonstrations. The best form of defense is attack!

9:17 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

What comes to mind is - I protested (loudly and repeatedly) in NZ/Uk in the '80s against apartheid and for the release of Nelson Mandala. No one told me and popular culture never implied that as a white woman I didn't have a right to do that.

9:22 am  
Blogger Clyde said...

Now I am feeling really guilty. I should have been there at Occupy Melbourne not to mention 50 other protests before it but I wasn't. Why...? Well, I guess for me it comes down to the fact that I am over greed big time. I have a low paying job that serves, a roof over my head and food in my belly and that in this life is enough for me. This said, I am not going to stop talking about this sort of stuff with those who will listen who, I might add seem few and far between in Australia. This saddens me and only serves to dampen further any motivation I drum up to attend rallies and protests etc. I am always complaining about the apathetic majority in this I one of them? Possibly, but I would like to think that by volunteering for The Greens and speaking my mind when I can I am different to those who watch the news glassy eyed and consider The Herald Sun Melbourne's real and possibly only paper worth reading.
AOF, thanks for this post. You motivate me to keep doing something and whilst I am doing that, I can make a difference.

7:48 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

What? There are papers other the then Herald Scum? Next you'll be telling me that Melbourne has more radio stations than MTR!

8:52 pm  

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