Occupy somewhere [without an occupation]


The Occupy Wall Street protests have a point. Income inequality in the states has exploded and the volatility of the economy means social equality is up shit creek.

They are an organised, articulate group of lobbyists who have a specific objection relevant to the country they're protesting in.

But what would happen if you removed the articulation and organisation, shifted the group to a country whose issues are similar but not as dire, and added a few bongs?

You would get Occupy Brisbane ... a group of jobless, hippy wannabees yearning for some kind of conflict to spice up their whimsical lives, whose demographics are a bizarre cocktail of the rebellious, the self-proclaimed free thinkers, the melodramatic attention seekers and the homeless.

Occupy Brisbane has fallen victim to the same brainwash mentality associated with cultish church services. Protesting looks fun, and the cause is general enough to translate into whatever language you want. You can even add a long list of your own beef with society. If anyone questions it, shit bro... they're part of the machine. To someone with a mental age perhaps slightly younger than their physical age, with more than a little time on their hands, an appetite for civil disobedience, and a general defeatist attitude about participating in society in some kind of meaningful way, the Occupy movement is irresistible.

Added to that is the negative reaction from the police and political figures, which has reaffirmed, in their own minds that they're onto something.

It could possibly be the most disorganised, disunified, mixed bag of a protest in history.

Just don't make the same mistake of too many journalists have already this month, by asking them what they're protesting about. Unless you've got a spare five hours to stand there with nothing to do but stare off into the distance while your sense of trust in authority is unnecessarily raped by an earbashing that Fred Phelps would consider over the top.

Every person in the group has a different take on it. For some, it's about the greedy corporate hand. For others, it's about climate change. Some rant about the illuminati. Others believe it's about Aboriginal land rights. And some think it's about Gina Rinehart.

I would argue that for most, it's about getting attention, but not quite knowing what to do when the spotlight is switched on.

It strikes me that the group has presented us with a microcosm of what would probably happen if the world they aspire to create ever came into being. It's like democracy on steroids, where there are no leaders, but 'organisers' ... yet, all power corrupts.

Arguments broke out, in-fighting reared its head, many grubby hands started reaching for the megaphone all at once, and it became difficult to reach a decision about what park to squat in next. In a group that is unhappy with the social order presenting themselves as a better alternative, they sure aren't arguing the case very well.

In a climate of job cuts to the state's police service, where the police union is constantly warning us of how thinly their front line is stretched, this group sure did waste a hell of a lot of resources. And as the officers struggled to boot the group out of Queen's park, and I watched as a young man yelled "this is NOT a policeman ... this is a corporate employee!" I couldn't help but scoff.

Maybe he was just a policeman, trying to deal with time-wasting dickheads without agitating the situation and giving you what you so desperately wanted ... resistance to your ridiculous whinging.

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