Occupy Melbourne may have fallen out of the news, but several hundred people have still been meeting everyday on the steps of the State Library to continue their grassroots activities. It remains a vibrant community of passionate and compassionate people, and the energy levels have not been dampened but only enhanced by the executive beating we received a couple of weeks ago. Recently I set myself the goal of writing a one page declaration stating my vision of Occupy Melbourne, which I have posted below. I hasten to add that this declaration has not been authorised by the General Assembly and is instead simply my understanding (with the input of friends) of the nature of the movement, based on personal experience of it. A PDF of my short statement can be downloaded here.
If you would be interested in getting involved in Occupy Melbourne (whose General Assemblies, from now on, will be held at City Square not the State Library) the main website is here: http://occupymelbourne.org/. General Assemblies are at 6pm during the weekdays and 4pm on the weekends. Quite literally, everybody’s welcome.
ONE VISION OF OCCUPY MELBOURNE
We, Occupy Melbourne, are an open and evolving group of individuals and grassroots organisations engaged in working towards a genuine, inclusive, and sustainable democratic society. We stand in solidarity with the many Occupation Movements that are currently emerging in Australia and across the globe, and we stand resolutely in opposition to the unjust, unrepresentative, and unsustainable societies of our time.
Our movement welcomes, supports, and is comprised of all ethnicities, cultures, genders, generations, sexualities, and faiths. Because we are first and foremost a people’s movement, we choose not to be defined by any political party, organisation, leader, union, or terminology. We make decisions through an inclusive, participatory, and direct democratic process, where all voices are heard and actively listened to as we work to achieve consensus. Accordingly, we invite everyone to join us in this process of building new societies from the grassroots up, for we believe that there is nothing more powerful than an engaged people inspired by the vision of a better future. Coming to a shared vision is neither indulgence nor a waste of time, but a necessary step towards taking practical action to build a different type of society.
We have a vision of a just and compassionate society in which human beings of every community have an opportunity to flourish peacefully within the sustainable limits of our beautiful planet. That is the future of which we dream, and that is the future we are here to create together. Not only do we declare that another world is possible; we declare, as evidenced by the global Occupation Movements materialising before our very eyes, that this dawn is already upon us.
Our movement has many diverse concerns, but three prominent issues are as follows:
- A just and sustainable Australia must recognise that the inequalities of wealth and power that have arisen in our society, and especially globally, are socially and politically corrosive. In response to this, we call for a fundamental revision of the social, economic, and political structures that have given rise to those inequalities, giving particular support to vulnerable and marginalised peoples and communities.
- A just and sustainable Australia must recognise that our economy depends on a biosphere that has ecological limits. In recognition of this, we call for the transition to systems of renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, and we support the emergence of more resilient, local economies.
- A just and sustainable Australia must recognise the fundamental rights of all peoples – especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – to land and communal self-determination. In recognition of this, we call for a treaty between those Indigenous peoples and the Commonwealth Government of Australia.
We acknowledge, however, that it is not enough for us to demand fundamental changes from the top down and simply wait until that change arrives. No – we must begin building new societies at once, at the personal and community levels, irrespective of the political response. Therefore, we pledge to live our values to the best of our ability, by ensuring that our commitments to democracy, justice, community, and sustainability are reflected in our everyday actions. One of the most radical acts of liberation and opposition in a consumer culture is the ‘great refusal’ to consume more than we need.
Let us proceed now with unshakable conviction: humbly, joyfully, and with the fire of democracy in our eyes.
(A PDF of my “Ignite” address can be downloaded here: http://simplicitycollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/IgniteRevised1.pdf)