‘We are Hope’

Blackfella, whitefella
Yellafella, any fella
It doesn’t matter what your colour
As long as you are true fella
Are you the one who’s gonna stand up and be counted?

— Warumpi band ‘Black Fella, White Fella’

In Tahir Square in Cairo, in Damascus and Baghdad they shoot you if you call out for freedom, in Post Office Square, Brisbane if you call for democracy they evict you or hit you with $500 fines for illegal occupation of the city.

This is what democracy looks like from Baghdad to Brisbane – our rulers have made war against the people.

Cops from above - Occupy Melbourne

calle, fin, alan, culley, andy, sam, paul, ciaron, tayne, ryan, shannon, julie, julie, kathy, hamish, gary, alisa, kelly, kate, aren, bread,  jim, mark, kat, rebecca, tom, bev, thomas, ewan, jaime, jaime, ryan, ryan, shannon, ryan, culley, ian, berlin, george, corey, sam, sam(antha), morgan, dave, phil, hamish, waza, starrie, bernie, sarita,— these are the just some of the names of  people who are the core of the movement in Occupy Bris. For four weeks we have camped out in Brisbane CBD. We are now camped in Musgrave Park welcomed by aboriginal elders.

We marched around Brisbane yesterday in a unity rally to regroup and give strength to the OccupyBris movement. As we marched we sang out ‘human need not corporate greed’, ‘this is what democracy looks like’, ‘people united will never be defeated’, and ‘we are the 99%, you are the 99%’.

We were joined by academics, union reps, students, workers, all worried what’s in store for Australia in this the second capitalist crisis in 3 years. We decided at a five hour general assembly last night that we would march to sites around the city to where we have been occupying and continue on to Musgrave Park.

Kathy spoke for us all when she said:

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.

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 – 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 struggle and we 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 – humanity has no alternative but to take control of society away from the 1%. It will happen – 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 that anyone else. No-one.

Everyday 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!

— Speech delivered to the Defend the Occupy movement Unity rally, November 5, 2011, King George Square. 

The Occupation continues at Musgrave Park, West End. Please drop down and show your support.

Photo: Owain Jones

Defend the Occupy movement unity rally, November 5.

After police tried to stop us from speaking at Post Square we grew in determination.

We marched past Queens park to Brisbane Square we yelled to keep marching despite police insistence that they would arrest us, we marched across Victoria Street Bridge.

We stopped along the way to Musgrave Park to call for support. On arrival we were welcomed by the aboriginal owners and custodians.

For the next two hours people spoke about our achievements.

Podcast of OccupyBris@Musgrave Park

OccupyBris@Musgrave Park

We need to grow and to do that we need to go into workplaces and demonstrate the democracy that has given us control  over our own lives as a model for how better to run the system for people not profit.

It is inside the workplaces that we will determine the future of our movement and gain support from people with the the real power for change in our society, the workers and their organisations, the unions.

We have started the Occupy movement

Ian Curr
5 Nov 2011

Occupy Brisbane – Change is coming

Eviction #1

Queens Park

Eviction #3

Unity March & Occupy Musgrave Park


Watch live streaming video from occupybrisbanelive at livestream.com

8 thoughts on “‘We are Hope’

  1. Eviction from Post Office Square says:

    We received this one hour notice to remove our tents from Post Office Square

    “TAKE NOTICE that you are hereby advised that the erection of any tent, stand or other structure or the residing or occupying not in accordance with the purposes or objects for which the park is held and maintained or the camping or staying overnight in the area known as Post Office Square (Lot 1 on RP 127671) is prohibited and constitutes a contravention of the Numbered Ordinance Chapter 9 Parks (“Parks Local Law”).

    You are hereby advised that you are required to comply with the Parks Local Law by immediately ceasing and desisting any occupation, residence, camping or staying overnight in Post Office Square and by immediately vacating the premises.

    If you fail to comply with this direction and continue to contravene the Parks Local Law after 6.00am today, Wednesday, 2 November 2011, at the request of Brisbane City Council, Queensland Police Service Officers will remove all individuals and property remaining on Post Office Square pursuant to the powers under the Parks Local Law, Police Powers and Responsibilities Act and the Criminal Code.

    If you contravene the Parks Local Law you may be liable for a prosecution in a Court, which carries a maximum penalty of $5,000.00.

    If you fail to comply with this Notice and vacate the premises, you may be liable to removal by Queensland Police Service Officers.”



  2. Occupy Brisbane Live! March from King George Square to Post Office Square says:


  3. Obama is coming—Occupy Canberra says:

    Nicholoson Cartoon
    Nicholoson Cartoon

    Occupy Obama

  4. "We are from the Streets!" says:

    #OccupyBris march on Post Office sq
    #OccupyBris march on Post Office Sq 5 Saturday, Nov 2011
    “Let the winter dew fall on that grave
    Let me see the night sky blaze
    Joe Hill died, Che Gevera fought and Pemulwuy lay down dead
    If a person speaks out critically here you can get loaded down with lead
    How long can the majority wait for their story to unfold
    They took their life and liberty friend but they could not buy their soul”
    — Kev Carmody, ‘Cannot buy my soul’

    Last night Occupy Bris which has been going uninterrupted for a month moved for the sixth time (PO Sq, Queens Park, King G Sq, Emma Miller place, Musgrave park, Orleigh park). This was inevitable, if not last night, sometime.

    The people responsible for the decision to go to Musgrave had absented themselves, it was left to the vestiges of the occupy movement to pick up the pieces.

    Too much fighting with indigenous people at the park.

    A person from the self styled ‘Organising Committee’ [NOT the General Assembly (GA)]called the cops in on the aboriginal people because that person felt ‘un-comfortable’ and believed wrongly that is what Musgrave park elders wanted. That person wanted police to do shifts in the park late at night. In doing so the organising committee and those that follow them lost all credibility. It was an opportunist decision to go to Musgrave in the first place. Despite five hours of debate last Friday night where more experienced political people argued against going to Musgrave Park because

    (1) it took away from the purpose of the occupation (i.e. to occupy the places of power in the city);
    (2) it amounted to using the aboriginal struggle for their sacred land; and,
    (3) taking from that struggle to provide a sanctuary for the Occupy movement.

    But no we were to become ‘one more marginalized group on the fringe of the city’ — a ‘shanty town of hopelessness’.

    “For 200 years us blacks are beaten down here too long on the dole
    My dignity I’m losing here and mentally I’m old
    There’s a system here that nails us ain’t we left out in the cold
    They took our life and liberty friend but they couldn’t buy our soul”
    — Kev Carmody, ‘Cannot Buy My Soul’

    What right has one social movement to piggy back on another?

    Especially when the aboriginal movement has struggled for decades to establish their claim for the park. What does the GA know about the difficulty faced in the park?
    It was not tribal conflict that drove out the Occupy people, it was their own failure to come to grips with the repression of the bulliman (police) and Alderman Quirk and stand on their own feet to challenge that repression.

    When are the social movements ever going to understand the exercise of power and the repression that comes out of it? Media repression and police repression has been misconstrued. Neither force want fairness and none shall render it. Liberal notions of fairness are a lie. Where are the people from the GA who called out that police are our brothers and sisters? Are they at home making media releases with their insane delusion that the corporate media can be used or won over to our side? None of these delusional people were arrested at Post Office Square, they were not thrown out of Queen’s park, they were not given $500 fines at Emma Miller Place — they did not even camp there on the two nights when OccupyBris was on its arse.

    “The cleverman spoke precisely, humanity he said was done
    It’s creed of greed could not proceed if our struggle’s to be won
    For humanity’s more important here than that constant quest for gold
    You may take life and liberty friend but you cannot buy our soul”
    — Kev Carmody, ‘Cannot Buy My Soul’

    This situation is unfolding everywhere in the Occupy movement. in London the occupy people sought sanctuary from the church (St Pauls) rather than confront the repression. When are our leaders on the left going to realise that if we pin our fate to the church we will have ‘sold our souls’?

    Why didn’t the occupy movement in Brisbane go to St Stephens. It was, after all, the second choice. They knew that the church would chuck them out. They knew that the Archbishop would order in the police claiming the church’s right to control prime real estate in the city. But perhaps there would be some reprieve from the daily repression of the police and City Council – and we would still be in the city where corporate power lies.

    “It was only in Musgrave Park under the umbrella of the aboriginal people, that Occupy could survive” they argued, falsely. What of Centenary Place (the old Domain) where people have been speaking since the 1920s (Fred Paterson was arrested speaking there in 1929 and charged with conspiracy. He got off.

    On Anna Bligh’s website it says that 516 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders live in South Brisbane (see http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/elections/state/state2006/South%20Brisbane/Profile.pdf from 2001 Census).

    I doubt that these figures are accurate but they are the best data I could come up with. I have written to the electoral office to find out why more accurate information is not available.

    If Anna Bligh does not even know how many Murris and Torres Strait islanders live in South Brisbane how can she know how to target their needs?

    When will the organising committee get it? Anna Bligh may even lose her seat at the next election.

    The Labor Party may not even attain the status of infamous ‘cricket-team’opposition under Tom Burns in 1977 that opposed street marches in defiance after Bjelke-Petersen said ‘the day of the political street march is over.’

    “December 2, 1989 marked the election of the first Queensland Labor government in thirty-two years, the anniversary of Gough’s election in 1972 and the anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz where, as Gough said, ‘a crushing defeat was administered to a coalition, another ramshackle, reactionary coalition’. It was the end of the good ol’ days. It was the start of the good new days” — Matt Foley, Minister for the Arts, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice in the Labor Government.

    But, dear Matt, where are you now? The LNP are on their way back and with Bob Katter snapping at their heels, and Labor’s.

    Katter’s party may even win more votes than Labor.

    But at least, Matt, you have felt the policeman’s baton, you were arrested with 297 others 34 years ago, precisely. That was the eve of the state election on 12 Nov 1977, You were in my cell and you argues for the people to be bailed out and to contest the election and subsequent elections (the parliamentary road).

    But you know this sad refrain:

    “There’s a cold rain on the Autumn wind
    A brother murdered in Sydney Town
    Marrickville brother under supposed legal cover
    In his home they gunned him down
    We say oh oh oh oh oh ooooooh
    Gunned him down
    Sad river of tears
    Two hundred years in the rive of fear
    Gunned him down”
    — Kev Carmody, ‘River of Tears’

    To Brisbane City Council, police and Civil Authorities
    Take note – this asserts my right to assemble with others under the Peaceful Assembly Act 1992. We claim legal immunity from infringements such as

    “TAKE NOTICE that you are hereby advised that the erection of any tent, stand or other structure or the residing or occupying not in accordance with the purposes or objects for which the park is held and maintained or the camping or staying overnight in the area known as” i.e. Emma Miller Place, Post Office Square, Orleigh Park, Centenary Park.

    We will defend those rights won for us by past democratic rights struggles and defy any attempt to restrict those rights.

    Ian Curr
    11 November 2011


    Watch live streaming video from occupybrisbanelive at livestream.com
  5. Occupy Melbourne Evicted says:


  6. fyi

    This is really good working class development

    Facing foreclosure and in desperate need of help, Monique White turned to Occupy Minnesota, which had declared its opposition to the big banks.

    “I went down [to the General Assembly] and basically told my story,” White explained, “and they were willing to … help me in every way possible to keep my home.” Since then, the occupiers have been staying on the property to physically block her eviction.

    “If they want to take Monique out of her home, they’ll have to take me with her,” occupier Nick Espinosa told a local paper:

    source>> http://www.pslweb.org/liberationnews/news/occupy-class-struggle-foreclosure.html

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