eight=”280″ />Distressing news this morning from the picturesque ‘Occupy’ protest in Auckland’s Aotea Square. Seems the boys and girls are not playing nicely.
One of the protesters, a Mr Andrew Hendrie, is complaining, (to the Council of all things), that the encampment is attracting the ‘Wrong Sort’ of activists and that something needs to be done. Let me quote from today’s Herald;
Mr Hendrie, a health activist, said he had been involved with the Occupy Auckland site from the first day on October 15, building the camp, running seminars and helping with police liaison.
“I was encouraged by the gathering and networking of numerous concerned citizens, with a broad spectrum of issues including environmental, poverty, children, regulatory and more,” he said in an email to the council on Monday.
Mr Hendrie said as the weeks rolled on he witnessed an erosion in the number of genuine campaigners, an increase in the number of homeless residents and a lack of controls around new members and their behaviour.
There had been “repeated hijacking of the general assemblies for issues not consistent with those which birthed the occupy movement”, he said.
That’s right folks he actually used the expression ‘Birthed the Occupy Movement’ in public. But let’s not get too distracted by his mangling of language, he is a ‘Health Activist’ after all, (Whatever one of those is) and doubtless knows more about this kind of thing than the rest of us. What he has against homeless people is likewise a mystery. But let us instead look at what is going awry in the Occupy Movement.
Now personally I’ve been too busy ‘Occupying’ a bar stool recently to have got to grips with the finer nuances of anti-capitalist rhetoric and activities, so I turned to my old friend Roland ‘Bolshy’ Anstruther, Joint Co-Chairperson of the Aotearoa Indignant Coalition to explain it all to me. Over an organic, fair trade chai latte at the university café he got down to the basics of the split that threatens to destabilise the protest.
“Basically,” he explained, “the Occupy movement started out as a protest against world capitalism, utilizing, broadly speaking, a banner waving and slogan chanting based approach to achieve change. We drew on a large number of petulant, disaffected middle class student poseurs to get the ball rolling, while holding our cadre of Dreadlock Wearing Crusties with facial piercings in reserve for when the pepper spray action got going. But for some reason that hasn’t happened so far. In fact as far as I know, nobody has even been tasered yet which is a huge letdown. Bloody Pigs! You just can’t rely on them for anything.
So that’s when things started to go wrong. The dreadlock guys felt that some really concerted Drum Circle action was needed. So, without any consultation with the General Assembly, they contacted the Scary Bad Tempered Women in Woolly Hats Collective and got hold of a load of drums. Now don’t get me wrong man, Drum Circles are seriously effective for issues like achieving World Peace and getting rid of nuclear energy. But for bringing about a total collapse of the capitalist banking system? Talk silly! It’s just never going to be workable. So that was when the split occurred between the Drummers and our comrades in the Aotearoa Indignant Coalition.”
“So what were you looking for?” I asked.
“Look…Basically, it seemed to us that real change was only going to happen if we adopted a seriously focused programme of Going To The Toilet In The Flower Beds.”
“Totally. Going To The Toilet In The Flower Beds. It’s the only language these Capitalists understand right? Now obviously the Crusties were already doing quite a bit of that. In fact they were dropping their bundles all over the place from Day One while our lot were still sneaking into the local cafes to use the facilities. But the point is, they didn’t clear any of this with the General Assembly so as a protest statement kind of thing it wasn’t really valid you know what I mean? After all, some of those jobbies might have been put there by drunks, or homeless people. There’s no way of telling.”
“Yes, I can see that might confuse the message. So what did you propose?”
“You mean putting actual stickers on the…….”
“Exactly. Draw attention to the fact that the deposit was left there by a concerned citizen as a valid statement about world capitalism.”
“So have you started doing that?”
“Well…Not as such. Just yet. You see the important thing is to get the wording on the stickers just right. We in the AIC wanted them to say “Down with the exploitative system of Global Capitalism right now please!” But when it came to the vote during Tuesday’s General Assembly we found that a number of our members had gone to WINZ to sign on that day and the other Joint Co-Chairperson had gone home ‘cos his Mum was insisting he changed his clothes. So we got voted down by the Grey Lynne Anarcho Syndicalist Co-operative, who, in my opinion are a bunch of bloody SPLITTERS who need shooting. They wanted to go with ‘Turd Power!’, which I thought was pathetic. But just as we were getting into negotiations we all got attacked by some Peace Activists who thought we ought to be using buckets instead.”
“It is man, it is. Still, nobody ever said bringing about a Workers Revolution was going to be easy. Actually, now I come to think about it I did say that. Anyway man, I gotta get back to the Square. We have a vote this afternoon on which trees we plan to uproot next. The Greens seem to think we shouldn’t be damaging plant life but what do they know eh? Bourgeois poofters. They’ll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes believe me!”