Leaving London for Adelaide presented me with a number of considerations. One entry in the “Con” column was an assumption that the type of political activity available in London, would not be available in Adelaide. Out of hope rather than expectation I today Australian-Googled “occu” and felt a tingle of excitement (along with a hint of embarassment) when the Google list of suggested searches included, third from the top, in all its glory, “occupy adelaide”.
Yes, Occupy Adelaide (OA) is alive and well. The camp was set up yesterday, and some hardy souls are currently occupying Hindmarsh Square (spare a thought for Occupy London Stock Exchange, who will increasingly need their thermals). I wrote a message on the OA Facebook wall and encouragingly, got a response within minutes.
The Vision Statement for OA brings attention to four prominent issues and calls for the following;
- a fundamental revision of the social, economic, and political structures that have given rise to those inequalities (of wealth and power), giving particular support to vulnerable and marginalised peoples and communities.
- transition to systems of renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, and we support the emergence of more resilient, local economies.
- a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,which acknowledges their rights as the original people of this land.
- Australia’s withdrawal from unjust overseas wars, the dismantling of our weapons industry, and the active pursuit of global peace.
I shall let my lesson be learned, and endeavour not to make assumptions about a place or a people again.
OA has 15 camped out making them relatively few in number and they have nothing like the media attention of Occupy LSX or Occupy Wall Street. In terms of online support, 1,200 people have indicated that they “like” OA on Facebook compared with 30,000 for LSX and 312,000 for Wall Street. But this is what makes them all the more deserving of our admiration and support. OA is a recent conception and this stage is the hard grind with relatively little to show for their efforts and only their principles and belief (as well as some tents and food donations) to keep them going. These people are true champions of fairness and equality, genuine heroes living in our time. They didn’t wait for someone else to take the lead or be content with whingeing over a cup of coffee, they got off their arses and are doing something about it. Everyone among us who sees injustice in this world should make role models of those currently occupying Hindmarsh Square.
Occupy Adelaide, you have my complete and utter respect.