Occupy Melbourne was a strategy planned and executed, which ended the 24/7 occupation and in essence failed, due a massive lack of numbers that never returned from the Xmas/New Year shrinkage period.
67 days on, Occupy Melbourne stands as a testament to The Occupy Movement as a whole. We have faced in our own way some extraordinary obstacles & still we continue to fight for our right to protest.Tent Monsters was the catalyst for a radical shift in attitude from the 99% here in Melbourne. The initial shock of something so different & alien to the current status quo is beginning to wear off & now that we have local & international recognition & attention, it is time to show the world Occupy Melbourne will continue to provide significant contributions to the Movement as a whole.
This is a revolution of information. Information changes our perspectives. A lack of information underpins ignorance & causes one to make ill-informed choices. Without sounding elitist or noninclusive, those who have poured their bodies, hearts & minds into getting us up to this point have (and those who have listened to their points of information), on the whole, significantly more information available to them about the myriad of factors affecting OM in both positive & negative ways. OM 2.0 is simple – attempting to include as much of the positive as possible, as well as removing the negative.
Occupy Melbourne 2.0 has been circulating around for some time, initially as an ongoing strategic brainstorm, but was recently drawn up ‘officially’ by Nick Carson. Nick’s focus was a forward looking one, adopting many of the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Together strategies (ie Occupy Banks, Homes, Mines, etc). Using Nick’s plan as a template & consulting with as many people as possible over the past week (infusing constructive feedback), this is an attempt at being the most consensus-minded proposal possible.
The Occupy Movement is about strengthening a global community & OM must do everything possible to facilitate this. The internet & other media is great for information-sharing, but it does not replace the sense of community that overnight Occupying brings.The regular overnight Occupiers are being stretched far too thin & for far too long. An overnight Occupier’s job has become one of cleaning, tidying, damage control & round the clock monitoring of problematic behaviour exhibited by individuals outside of the Movement. Our Movement is suffering greatly from these negative factors & a Safebase will address & counter these problems immediately, as well as give some of the most dedicated individuals the chance to actually participate in actions & discussions.
A poll posted recently in OM’s Facebook page suggests we would have a sizeable overnight Occupiers population – this in itself shows there are many not Occupying (including many who haven’t Occupied overnight before), but want to. Overnight Occupying is a skill & for the most part a very rewarding one, connecting you intimately with the movement & it’s many interesting participants. A safe base will make this as viral as possible.
- Massive importance must be stressed for time spent at Safebase, as it connects one intimately to the Movement.
- Encourage as many people as possible, including those who felt the structureless system was unsafe as well as those on the ‘fringe’ of considering Occupying, to participate.
- Act as a support hub & open workshop for working groups.
- Support the mobile occupations (see below).
- Info Desk – first point of contact for visitors & movement participants. It will manage the display of event & workshop calendars, as well as other useful information;
- The People’s Kitchen – provides sustenance to the Movement’s participants through community engagement, ethical food production principles & freeganism. The People’s Kitchen aims to use fresh produce from ethical organisations, and/or food that would otherwise be wasted, as much as possible given available resources;
- Media Centre (utilising sustainable electricity) – facilitating the communications between the Occupations globally, the public & external organisations;
- Education Centre & Library – working with on-site & off-site academics, experts & activists to produce the highest quality of free education available; creating a space where learning & teaching can occur in an environment that is conducive to both;
- Logistics & Creative Workshops – aid the production & storage of Occupy Melbourne’s physical resources, facilitating the creation of art & other items;
- OM Safer Space – a calm & safe space to regenerate & rest without the worry of external pressures;
- F.A.C.T Centre – (First Aid & Care Teams) – a triage zone for treating basic injuries as well as providing services to support the emotional, psychological & spiritual well-being of all participants. The DREAM team will work alongside FACT in negotiating & facilitating communications within the Occupy Melbourne Movement;
- Overnight zone – accommodation & support of 24 hour political discourse.
The Safebase would ideally be somewhere in the CBD, as this minimises travel time between the Safebase & the Mobile Occupations. As it currently stands, there is no such option in the CBD. It is widely accepted that Father Bob’s church (the parish of Saint Peter & Paul’s http://sppchurch.org.au/) is the next best option. Currently a proposal for OM to occupy this space until late Feb has been submitted & awaiting deliberation. If a more suitable location is found, or this location is rejected, a separate proposal will be made to determine the location of the Safebase.
Mobile Occupations (MO)
This is the direct continuation of the 24/7 Occupation. MO’s will consist of dedicated, experienced, ‘professional’ (thanks for the advice Lord Doyle) occupiers, with 100% self-sufficiency (carry everything on persons), functioning as a combination of an information desk & protest group.
A roster for MO’s would be held at Safebase, as well as on forums or a doc. Interested occupiers will volunteer their time in blocks of 4-6 hours. The roster would take the form of a large whiteboard held at the media centre.
The Safebase will have on hand, a variety of protest messages/plans/strategies to choose from. Some examples of these are;
- Tent monsters
- Evading notices to comply for structures in an Occupation
- Lock-on defences
- Supporting other protests & vice-versa.
Depending on the protest message, Safebase strategists will have in place a locational plan for each night. The MO will move to each listed location & hold there either for a given time, or until a move-on is required by council. A locational plan can be 1 spot, or up to 10+, depending on the situation. This will greatly impede the authorities ability to control us. Instead of having one location to monitor, they will be left in a perpetual state of guessing where a MO will show up next, which will be literally anywhere in the CBD.
Principles of a MO
With such a focus on planning, self-sufficiency execution & even (minor) risk of arrest, principles must be strived towards, ensuring all activists willing to volunteer to a MO;
- Are competent at engaging the general public in discussing Why We Occupy;
- Are competent at engaging the M.C.C. officers & police, as well as understanding the legal rights regarding each location;
- Are organised & entirely self-sufficient.
If we have overflow at Safebase, this can only be a good thing. The more we Occupy together, the more we want to Occupy more & contribute on the ground. This viral nature of Occupation will lead to more volunteers for Working Groups & Mobile Occupations – even resulting in multiple MO’s.
- Short term – To consolidate the Movement structurally & logistically so that it can achieve its day-to-day & higher functions, as well as its political aims. Additionally, this will allow participants more time to concentrate on growing the movement, as well as providing for those who seek it, a safe place to connect intimately with the Movement.
- Medium term – As the Movement grows, so too can its aims; the larger mass of the Movement can enable disciplined, designed & discussed political action. Multiple MO’s can be assigned to different actions, like Occupying Homes, Banks, Mines, etc.
- Long term – Reshape existing political, economic & social structures to achieve greater sustainability & equity in all systems. Win.