Posted by: Gregoryno6 | November 23, 2011

Occupy Perth: failure on the launch pad.

Local Occupiers staged a protest last week in support of the comrades evicted in New York a few days earlier. No word yet on OP’s plans to start crapping on police cars, let alone intimidating schoolchildren or luxuriating in swanky hotels – but change is always difficult, and even more so when self-defeating gestures are your weapon of choice.

The Occupy movement rolled into Perth right behind CHOGM and seemed destined at first blush to thrive, if only as a distraction for university students whose academic year is just concluding. With nabobs and bigshots from all around the world, the global media was for a change focused on Perth for something other than the America’s Cup or a shonky businessman’s collapse. OP leaders had reason to be optimistic. After the mayors of New York and other American cities chose the kiss-and-be-friends option, Perth’s contingent must have been hoping for a thumbs up from Lisa Scaffidi. And no doubt  a few relished the prospect of tasty video footage when Neanderthal cops demonstrated the violence inherent in the system.

They were outplayed. Perth City Council, reading from a different script, remained silent. And waited, letting the protesters stay in Forrest Place until CHOGM was over and assorted visitors were on their way home. There was little resistance when the rangers moved in on November 1 to enforce the relevant by-laws. With their moment in the media spotlight lost the Occupiers perhaps realised, even dimly, the irrelevance of the exercise. Or maybe they had to rush home and get into their waitperson’s attire for the Melbourne Cup events at Ascot.

They left, but vowed to return. On Remembrance Day the Occupukes were back to stage a  “Day of Peace and Remembrance”.  The timing – from 10.30am to 11.30pm, featuring “meditation, poetry, music, dance, and more” – suggests an intention to provoke hostile responses. No clashes were reported – in fact, the local media have apparently decided along with the wider population that OP is not worth their time.

Occupations will persist nevertheless. The Perth Cultural Centre is the venue favoured by those who need some passing foot traffic to disguise the small numbers of the truly committed. As people move between the cafes in Northbridge and the retail zone in the CBD they may inadvertently find themselves counted as an Occupier, even if they don’t pause for thirty seconds to find out what all the shouting is about. The slide show here gives a clue to OP’s size – or lack of it, as well as some (presumably) unintentional humour. Chalking OBAMA GO HOME on the footpath the day after the President’s departure – right on! We might live in the most isolated city on the face of the earth, but we’re not dumbarse hicks! We KNOW how to stick it to the Man!

“We are the 99%. We are here. We are growing.” Two of these statements are not borne out by the facts. OP’s Twitter page shows just over 3,000 followers. In a city of 1.7 million that’s not 99% of any known demographic – with the possible exception of blind lesbian amputees. Unlike their comrades in New York, Perth’s Occupiers can hope for some seasonal advantage with the onset of summer. Then again, hot sunny weather creates its own distractions. Beach and pub, or harangues and laughter yoga?

So, yes, they are here. But they’ve always been here. Only the slogans have changed. “Smash the system! Smash the state!” – that was the cry of old.  Apart from its redefinition of what constitutes a public toilet, the Occupy movement is just more Red claptrap.

So many people down on capitalism. So few migrating to North Korea.


Responses

  1. The majority of working-age Perth residents would probably fall into the 1% globally anyway. As highlighted in the WSJ last week, we’ve got 25-year-old highschool dropouts on over $200k/a out at the mines. “The rich” don’t appear to be having much success at “keeping the average joe down” or whatever, do they. That’s a bit of a conundrum right there.

    When there’s plenty of decent-paying work… plus top beaches and fine weather for your downtime… and a more-than-generous social safetynet for those who fall between the cracks… I can see why it’s hard for any more than a negligible fringe group to “maintain the rage” for very long.

  2. “OP’s Twitter page shows just over 3,000 followers”

    …and how many of those followers are only following for the amusement value? *raises hand*

    • You’re a baaaaad dog!

    • But, because you’re too modest to say so yourself, I’ll say it for you.
      Their followers: 3193.
      Your followers: 6090.
      (Figures as of 19:30 2011.11.25.)
      Doesn’t exactly imply a looming proletarian revolt.

  3. Is Perth the centre of capitalism? I’ve always thought it was rather a nice place, a bit out of the way for me perhaps (I’d love to visit).
    I think though that we need to think about the problems of the world in a different way than capitalism vs socialism. I don’t think either way offers any decent way of life. I might suggest radical absurdism instead.

    • Perth was the scene of a lot of dodgy business during the 1980s. There was a petrochemical plant that was sold around for millions even though it never existed beyond a plot of ground with a fence around it and a sign saying ‘This will be the location of a petrochemical plant’ or words to that effect.
      Capitalism isn’t perfect, but I think it’s less imperfect than the alternatives. It doesn’t divide the pie equally but it’s the best way so far to ensure that the maximum number get a share.
      I’d certainly give radical absurdism a chance, except that I think we have a rad-ab regime in Canberra right now.

  4. do you think there is only two systems that could only work or think of

    • History seems to point that way. On one side you have private ownership predominating, on the other is communal ownership. And the societies who followed the first have generally been more successful than those who followed the second.

  5. I have never even heard of Perth

    • Here’s a brief glimpse of Australia’s best-kept secret.

    • This is Perth:

      • Quite a contrast between these two…
        Er, Giant Sea Monster?

  6. Or, from The National Film Board 1954, “Postcard from Perth”

    • The narrator thought he was auditioning for the BBC.

    • Feed the Poor. Yeah, right. Feed them to her. Snack or a homeless or two, baby.

      An OPer comments on the story that it was part of a rally in support of Bradley Manning. I do get the feeling that the local Occupiers are just attaching themselves to any issue that gives them a chance to get in the public eye. But then I’m a swinish capitalist, so I would think that. Wouldn’t I?

      John Nolte’s piece drew a comment that I haven’t seen raised anywhere else. The reader pointed out that the Occupy boys had basically revealed themselves as powerless and ineffective and drawn mockery from successful males. Naturally the Occupods were the last to figure this out…

  7. […] Of all the Ossorted Occupations, the Perth franchise must rate among the most insignificant. Unlike their comrades elsewhere they found the city’s authorities unwilling to play Neville Chamberlain. […]


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