[Editor’s Note: It is timely to remember our struggle at occupy of one year’s past – especially since people are trying so hard to keep the sacred fire alight in Musgrave Park. This is a defining speech at Brisbane Occupy given by KC Newnam in King George Square, Brisbane, prior to our march to each site that we had occupied in the previous three weeks during October and November 2011. We must learn from prior struggle.]
Three weeks people, three weeks!
We have held our ground, we have been chased arou nd the city … caged in and caged out of public spaces. The question we have to ask (mayor) Quirk and (premier) Bligh and the whole world is:
“What are they afraid of?”
They say we a fading away, they say that we are irrelevant.
If that is the case why are they treating us like this?
Why are they surveillancing? Why have we got people watching us twenty-four hours-a-day? They know just as we do that we are not irrelevant. We are not going away. They know that we are everything that matters at the moment because we are hope … hope of a fair world and that is all that matters because it is awakening people. It is bringing freedom to the 99% who have suffered for so long, under their rules, their exploitation their aggression.
They are using every law in the book at the moment to try to silence us. They have scoured their bi-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, being chased off communal land, this has been the reality of aboriginal people in this country for over 220 years and we must never forget that.
The whole of this system is designed to protect the wealth of the 1%. We must prepare ourselves to stand strong and do what we know is right. Not what they say is right. The legal protection that we had today is a product of the struggles of the past. We must learn from those struggles. And we must learn to rely on our own strength. We can’t plead; we must stand our ground and demand our rights.
For the right of the 99% to fight for a better world.
And we are growing in strength, we can’t afford to get disheartened in any way or allow ourselves to be worn down… the support is out there and is growing. Some people are threatened by this, some people in the 99% are threatened by this, some people believe the lie that they are wounded, some people are beaten down by the system and the constant struggle to survive, they can’t see that we are fighting for them and with them. But if we stay and we stand our ground, then people will realise who we are and what we are saying. It will happen because it has to, humanity has no other alternative than to take control of society from the 1%. We have to believe in the people, we are the 99%, and we shouldn’t see ourselves as shepherds on them. Believing in the people starts with believing in ourselves. It is our movement, not one of us is any more important than any other one of us. Everyone here matters, what we do matters. Everyday this system tries to make us feel small, tries to make us fell irrelevant. It promotes celebrity and status 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.
This occupation is a giant school in learning how to resist. Learning to be ourselves, we are reclaiming our dignity, we are re-claiming our humanity, we need to hold on to that because right now nothing else in this world matters.
The only thing that matters is our collective strength, our strength of standing together, the strength that we have built by working together to build through all sorts of barriers … three weeks, three weeks we have held our ground, that strength, that strength that built this occupation of building human solidarity, human solidarity and that is what they are afraid of. We are not fighting each other, if we are putting each other down; if we are hanging on each other then they don’t have to do it. They don’t have to oppress us. They tell us every day that humans are naturally selfish and greedy. Every day we are proving them wrong. We are working for a better world by taking control of our lives and collectively, and with more people joining this movement we will take control of society, we will in the interest of human needs. We have seen it, humanity is beautiful, they can’t take that away from us because human solidarity is a motivator a billion times more powerful than their filthy money, than their stinking careers, it is a billion times more powerful than their institutional power. We’ve seen what human solidarity can achieve, they are trying to crush us because they know if more people experience what we have in the occupation over the last three weeks, the more people that feel that, then there is no way they are going to be able to crush us.
They’ll try, they’ll use their laws, they will try to force us, they will do whatever they can to say we are hopeless and not ready, but we are ready we are going to hold onto that vision, we are not going to extinguish the flame of a new society, we will be true to ourselves we will be true to the struggle, stand by each other, stand by the 99%, we’ll grow, we’ll win because we have found our strength, we have found human solidarity.
KC Newnam at Occupy Brisbane
5 Nov 2011
[transcribed from YouTube video by David Jackmanson}