What are they protesting about, anyway?

So what’s the point of the “occupy” protests? Obviously they weren’t going to get a sympathetic ear – or any kind of fair hearing (did you know that if you buy a mobile phone or a computer you’re agreeing with anything done by corporate Australia and may never object to it again?) – in the commercial media, but what were they trying to achieve? What has standing around in a crowd chanting slogans ever achieved?

Well, for one, it shows politicians that it’s not just the far-right who are angry with where things are going. The anti-carbon tax and “tea party” type protests have obviously sunk into the feeling of some of our politicians, who might be tempted to think – if everyone else remains silent – that they have some kind of popular support for passing ever more right-wing policies. Because for every person on the fringe angry enough to let Alan Jones bus them to Canberra, they might reason, there’s probably a few more voters angry but too busy to come. This could be the tip of the iceberg! I’d better do what they want.

So a protest from the other side helps balance out that pressure. Even if that’s all it does, it’s still arguably worthwhile for that reason alone.

Second, it lets politicians know that there are people out there – possibly many more than have simply attended the protest, for the reasons above – who think we’re going too far down the American path. Who want them to consider the public sphere, the poor, the community as a whole, when deciding whether or not to support legislation that either redresses the imbalances in our society or which makes them worse.

The protesters don’t need to come up with a set of specific policy proposals to have an important impact. What they’re calling for is clear – policies to redress inequality. The opposite of what the so-called “pro-business” low tax advocates lobby for in Canberra. And when legislation comes before the parliament on economic issues, the politicians are on notice that they’re being watched by voters who want the balance to go back the other way for a change.

Sure, there’ll always be a few ratbags at any protest. They don’t have bouncers. We saw it at the anti-Carbon tax rallies, too (although it did seem to be more than a few of them). Even the police had their ratbags, giving the rest of them, the ordinary, decent members, a bad name – those who removed their name badges and thumped people. But so what? That’s no reason to give up on the idea of popular protest.

Protests tell government the direction in which ordinary, engaged people would like it to go. When we have three years between elections and the blunt instrument of a mostly two-party system even then, where the voters’ precise directions are sometimes difficult to discern accurately, protests are a necessary and important part of the process of democracy.

Even if they’re inconvenient and annoying.

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74 responses to “What are they protesting about, anyway?

  1. My take on the protestors is that they are trying to tell the governemnt that we are a society first and an economy second.
    We’ve had enough of it been the other way around.
    Time to go back to first principles.

    Cheers

  2. Splatterbottom

    “we are a society first and an economy second.”

    How can you split the two? The economy is an important part of society, not least because it provides the ability for people to contribute to society and be rewarded for it by working. Those who don’t want to work so much can opt out and make do with less.

    The Occupationists seem to want to get hold of other people’s money to spend on themselves and their particular dreams. They must really hate people like George Soros who get their money by fucking over the monetary systems of third-world countries.

    Any society without an economy will be back in the stone age pretty quickly. Economic success permits civilisation to occur. It allows the pursuit of happiness by more people, and it all begins with property rights.

    The worst type of charlatans are those who prattle on about ‘improving society’ and demand to be given power to do so. History has shown them to be the greatest villains.

    The funny thing about these rag-tag ratbags is how little criticism they attract from the left. Unlike those evil carbon tax protesters – how many of them were arrested again?

  3. Oh Dear, SB!
    You’re losing control of your faculties.

    How can you split the two?

    I didn’t.

    Any society without an economy will be back in the stone age pretty quickly.

    Agreed. Can you point out anybody, much less me, who has advocated the dissolution of economic activity?

    I used to like you SB.
    You used to be a voice of reason.
    You’re now nothing more than an idiot.

    You’re slipping ole’ chap.
    You might think that by showing up here you’re speaking truth to those who are ignorant.
    You’re wrong.

    You’re just one of those guys who hates Leftists.
    That’s all you are.
    Unfortunately, that’s all you’ll ever be.

    I pity you daughters.
    They must need to work extra hard to counteract your predjudices.

    Cheers

  4. Obviously that last para should have read “your daughters” and “prejudices”.

    Anger tends to fuck-up grammar and spelling.

    Cheers.

  5. Don’t mistake him for someone interested in debate. The reaction he got from you is what he’s here for. They call it trolling.

  6. Being from Brisbane I’m a bit confused as to why Melbourne felt it needed to bring out the police and evict the occupiers. Were they violent or causing disruptions to people? The Brisbane group seemed pretty well behaved (last time I went past them there were a group of people wandering around picking up rubbish so they seemed to be going out of their way to be good tenants of the public space they were in). There are people and tents with signs on them (some ridiculous, some funny and some thought provoking). A couple of people approached me as I went past and went to great lengths to tell me why they were there (and didn’t get pushy if I declined to stop and listen to them). I’ve walked past them 4 or 5 times now and didn’t see a single police officer.

    Were the Melbourne people doing something different?

  7. A followup to my previous post – http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/brisbane-occupiers-protest-in-peace/story-e6freoof-1226174543050
    The Courier Mail is not known as a lefty leaning rag but they ran an article saying ‘Occupy Brisbane protesters at Post Office Square praised by police for peaceful approach to vigil ‘ – this is such a far cry from what occurred in Melbourne that I am *very* interested to know what the difference between the two groups was.

  8. narcoticmusing

    There is a big difference between the anti-carbon tax rally that was arranged by members of the opposition with corporate sponsorship, including paying for transport and catering – and the ‘occupationists’.

    It is entirely inappropriate for one of the few rights provided by the constitution, freedom of political speech, to be quashed by Melbourne city council. It would be different, perhaps, if they were on private property. They were not. They were on government land designed for public use. MCC simply didn’t want them to be there for the Queen’s visit – an idea that is abhorrent, that Doyle and his idiots wouldn’t want our Head of State to see and hear the views of her subjects. The Queen of Victoria (and yes, she is the Queen of Victoria and Australia and England etc) should hear Victorian’s views.

    I find it astounding SB that you, who advocate freedom of speech so strongly when it is ignorance and defamation being spouted would want these people silenced (inferred by your implicit agreement with their removal and arrest). I disagreed with the anti-carbon tax protests not because I disagreed with their view, but because it wasn’t their view. they weren’t grass roots, they were astro turf – evidenced by their outrageous sexist anti-gillard posters rather than anti-carbon tax posters.

    The MCC response to this is unconstitutional and MCC should have probably got some advice – if i were these protesters i’d be going to the High Court ala Lange; Newsnational; ACTV; etc

  9. I agree, and I can not believe how people are reacting. Even when I don’t agree with a protest I still think they should be allowed to protest. it seems the people on the other side of the aisle don’t show the same courtesy .

  10. narcoticmusing

    I’m in Manhattan atm and the occupy wall street protesters are cordoned off in a small space (just off wall st actually). They are on private land and their freedom of speech allows them to stay there indefinitely. Melbourne’s protesters were on public land designated for public space and use, and yet Doyle decided to kick them off. Land meant for public use. What an ass hat

  11. I love Doyle’s justification – “We let them stay there for a week, so that’s enough”. Sorry, is it up to YOU to decide the time limit of the protest?

  12. Splatterbottom

    Marek, obviously I didn’t make my point well enough. Let me try again.

    Your commented that “we are a society first and an economy second.
    We’ve had enough of it been the other way around.
    Time to go back to first principles.

    I don’t think this statement is at all meaningful. Surely the economy is the largest and most important component of society. It provides the livelihood of all members of society. Not only is it the case that without the economy there would be no society at all, but also that the more efficient the economy is the more people are kept out of poverty and the better lifestyles they enjoy. That is why societies with more efficient (market) economies are being overrun by refugees from societies with less efficient economies.

    Now, what does it mean to place society first and the economy second? This is a false dichotomy. Economy versus society is not a race or competition. The more effective an economy is, the better off are the citizens whether through earnings or welfare.

    My objection to much of the leftist agenda is that it seems to assume that “society” can be prioritised over the economy, hence the limitless welfare dreams which seem to be unconstrained by any idea of how to pay for them, and the fulfilment of which would diminish economic efficiency thereby undermining the ability to achieve the social agenda.

    The economy makes “society” possible and is the major component of society. It is wrong to see society and economy as distinct things. The economy is the most important part of society, not something in opposition to it so that one must be prioritised over the other.

  13. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “It is entirely inappropriate for one of the few rights provided by the constitution, freedom of political speech, to be quashed by Melbourne city council.

    This is arrant nonsense. Nobody is prosecuting these people for their speech. They are being stopped from taking over a public space in the heart of the city. They seem to be under the delusion that they can indefinitely occupy a public space. That is as arrogant and presumptuous as suggesting that their right to free speech means that the ABC must be dedicated to pushing their agenda! Oh wait …….. it is.

    I find it astounding SB that you, who advocate freedom of speech so strongly when it is ignorance and defamation being spouted would want these people silenced (inferred by your implicit agreement with their removal and arrest).

    My sympathy lies with people who are convicted and jailed for their speech, not with the anti-social rabble who believe that not only should prime public spaces be handed over to them indefinitely, but they should be provided with car spaces and wi-fi as well! Clearly, on your analysis, they are being silenced by not being put up in 5 star hotels each night!

    No one is shutting these people up. They have been given great publicity but have been singularly inarticulate in speaking their demands. They don’t want the right to speak – they already have a virtually unlimited opportunity to do that – they want to get in peoples’ faces, deny them the right to enjoy public spaces, they want ruin other peoples’ businesses, whack coppers on the head and generally behave like the spoilt brats they are. In short they want attention. They already have the right to free speech. They were indulged for a week by most cities, at public expense and now the 99.99% want their city squares back.

    This narcissistic Flea Party is not being denied free speech. Their real complaint is that they are unable to force people to listen to them.

  14. Splatterbottom

    RM, Doyle has a duty to reclaim the public square for the other 99.99% of the people who would like to see it fumigated and returned to public use.

  15. “I don’t think this statement is at all meaningful. Surely the economy is the largest and most important component of society.”

    So the people in the society are not the most important? OK, then.

    Economies are artificial constructs that society uses to achieve certain useful aims. Money itself was invented because carrying around bags of chickens for barter is unwieldy compared to bags of coins. But many early societies functioned just fine with barter for thousands of years.

    The economy isn’t everything. Millions of people give away software, art, opinions, etc every day without any hope or desire for compensation. Something like Wikipedia is basically impossible in world where the economy is considered more important than society’s longer term goals.

    Society can function in other ways, has, and does. The economy isn’t the most important thing and never was. It’s a tool. Right now it is a broken tool and we need to fix it.

  16. RM, Doyle has a duty to reclaim the public square for the other 99.99% of the people who would like to see it fumigated and returned to public use.

    SB, as a Sydneysider you’re probably not aware that City Square is a shitty little place that’s out of most people’s radar when they come to the city. It’s not Fed Square, smack bang in the middle. I didn’t drop in on OM but I imagine they made the space a bit more interesting. At least more interesting than the grey, shiny and corporate surroundings.

  17. Splatterbottom

    Unique: “So the people in the society are not the most important? OK, then.”

    Non-sequitur. Economic activity is what most people spend most of their waking lives engaged in.

    “The economy isn’t the most important thing and never was. It’s a tool. Right now it is a broken tool and we need to fix it.”

    The economy is important in that it allows people to live by enabling them to obtain the necessities of life. If you stop economic activity right now you will have several billion dead people on your hands.

    The economy is not a tool which can be manipulated at will. It is not well enough understood, the arrogance of reformers and activists notwithstanding. The way to improve it is to remove the dead hand of socialism which is trying to choke the life out of it.

    The real issue is for the state to provide enough regulation to allow the economy to function efficiently and to take enough in to provide adequate public welfare without stifling the economy or disincentivising citizens to provide for themselves.

  18. Splatterbottom

    RM in Sydney Martin Place is right in the centre of the city. It is up to the government to ensure public spaces are available to the public wherever they are located. Adequate provision is made for people who want to stage demos, but I fail to see why illiterate squatting ferals should make a permanent encampment in public space. And I don’t see why the local shop-keepers should have their businesses destroyed by a screaming overweening rabble who set up a colony on their doorsteps.

  19. narcoticmusing

    SB I find it shocking that such a passionate believer in free speech such as yourself is happy for what was peaceful protest to be stopped purely because you disagree with it, as did Doyle – his description of the protesters betrays his true motivations. There is no suggestion by anyone that it was other than peaceful prior to police forcefully removing people (nor was it disruptive economically as many businesses were making a tidy profit from it). Need I remind you that a person does have the right to passively resist arrest, they also can assert rights to liberty if there is no grounds for arrest (trespassing on public space doesn’t quite fit the arrest profile to me – what about you? I suppose if it were organised by Abbot/Bolt/Jones it would be a ‘rally’ and thus ok, but because it is a bunch of people – the real people you claim the left don’t represent – it is suddenly illegitimate.

    Interesting that Bolt defames people and violates racial discrimination legislation and he is being silenced. But everyday people without any power or multi-million dollar mantle to speak from (such as a TV show and a column in a major paper that is replicated) who are exercising what ALL recognised was a peaceful protest – well it is ok to silence that because freedom of speech has an expiry time, didn’t you know? Didn’t you know you are only allowed to exercise your freedom of speech in increments that compliment the hourly rates for astro-turfers who can hold up sexist banners?

    You talk about anti-welfare but ignore what is being protested: corporate welfare; profits on Australian limited assets without Australians making a proportional cut; Australians taking on all the risk while the CEOs/execs/board members paid to take on that risk get bonuses on the back of non-performance, tax avoidance and so on. It is the disproportionate favouritism.

  20. narcoticmusing

    A great sign I saw at the Wall Street protests today in Manhattan that you’ll all appreciate:

    “I’ll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.”

  21. If you stop economic activity right now you will have several billion dead people on your hands.

    Thanks, Captain Obvious. Once more, nobody is advocating the cessation of economic activity.

    The economy is not a tool which can be manipulated at will. It is not well enough understood, the arrogance of reformers and activists notwithstanding.

    Apparently, not as arrogant for you to proclaim superior knowledge to everyone else though – only for them to even purport to understand. And presumably the evidence that people don’t understand it enough is they have a different perspective to you, as you have no way of otherwise knowing what their understanding is. But they’re the arrogant ones. Sickening.

    The real issue is for the state to provide enough regulation to allow the economy to function efficiently and to take enough in to provide adequate public welfare without stifling the economy or disincentivising citizens to provide for themselves.

    Patronise much? Luckily, everyone agrees with you as to what constitutes “adequate public welfare” and generally as to exactly how our tax dollars should be spent.

  22. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, the eviction of the Occupationistas from public space has nothing to do with their right to speak. They were given ample opportunity to hold their protest in the middle of the city and their incoherent statements and illiterate signs were given national press coverage. They are still free to say whatever they like.

    Doyle’s description of them as “self-righteous, narcissistic, self-indulgent rabble” was spot on. These precious petals thought their ideas and feelings were so important they were entitled to set up a permanent encampment in the middle of the city. Doyle did the right thing returning the public space to the public and turfing the 0.01% out.

  23. Did the right things cracking people’s skulls open for engaging in a legal and peaceful protest. Spoken like the complete authoritarian you are. The public was so desperate to have this miniscule segment of the city returned to it that I guess no amount of police thuggery would have been over the top. After all, it was only stupid leftards’ heads getting split open. And it’s not as if Victoria Police’s reputation could sink any lower, so there was nothing to lose on that score. They want to inflict violence on leftards as much as some anti-left ideologues get a boner from watching it.

  24. Splatterbottom

    The protest ceased to be legal when the protesters refused to comply with the law. The protesters were responsible for all violence by their refusal to obey lawful instructions. The only head I saw cracked was a cop who was smashed in the skull with a metal torch by grubby thug protester.

    The anti-carbon protesters were far more civilised than the smelly illiterate Occupationistas. They didn’t bash any cops, they peacefully made their point and then went about their business.

  25. ” illiterate squatting ferals”

    I bet they’re more literate than the right wing anti carbon PRICE rabble that you admire. I’d put money on it.

    I love your generalisations SB, they’re hilarious.

    “They are being stopped from taking over a public space in the heart of the city.”

    But they’re members of the public too SB, admit it, you don’t agree with them, that’s your beef, it’s got bugger all to do with their right to peacefully protest in a public space.

    Why do you hate free speech?

  26. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy being a member of the public does not mean that you can get together with a bunch losers and set up camp in city spaces. Public spaces are meant to be shared with other members of the public, not colonised by morons.

    If these unlovely specimens really want to change anything they should get a platform together and stand for election. These Occupationistas seem to be more about attention-seeking than actual democracy.

  27. They weren’t inhibiting others from using the space, why do you feel the need to make things up?

  28. SB, the protesters of the Arab Spring were (and in some countries still are) occupying public squares as well. Do you support the actions of the authorities (Mubarak, Assad, etc) to move on the protesters and return the squares to the people? Your comments about “smelly illiterate Occupationistas” are quite striking in their similarity those of the authorities in Arab countries. That would seem to indicate your sympathies with oppressors rather than the oppressed. Perhaps you might want to clear things up for us as to which side you really are on?

  29. The protest ceased to be legal when the protesters refused to comply with the law. The protesters were responsible for all violence by their refusal to obey lawful instructions. The only head I saw cracked was a cop who was smashed in the skull with a metal torch by grubby thug protester.

    The anti-carbon protesters were far more civilised than the smelly illiterate Occupationistas. They didn’t bash any cops, they peacefully made their point and then went about their business.

    If you weren’t there, how is it that you know who was responsible for what? You weren’t there, and you live in another city, yet you think you can tell us what happened and what the protesters – none of whom you’ve met – are like. Are you joking?

    By the way, if you only saw one head cracked open and it belonged to a member of police, you haven’t looked into this much, so maybe you shouldn’t pretend to have something worthwhile to say about it. The police were responsible for the violence. The undisputed facts are (a) there was a completely lawful and peaceful protest underway, that was causing virtually no harm to anybody; (b) Victoria Police moved in; (c) violence occurred. The protesters were responsible for “all violence”? Aside from the fact that you couldn’t possibly have any idea whether that was true or not unless you were there, ask yourself what it is that leads you to side 100% with the police. Is it because you hate leftards and get your jollies seeing them get beaten up, or because you are an authoritarian coward?

    Imagine if the opposite occured in Melbourne – a leftwing government sent police in to crack protesters heads at an anti-carbon tax rally. I’m sure in that instance you would be wanking on endlessly about leftwing totalitarian jackbooted thugs and the shutting down of dissent.

  30. Splatterbottom

    Bobbbyboy they were a public nuisance.

    Unique, these people weren’t resisting a repressive regime. We already have a means of bringing about changes in government policy and making appropriate laws. That is the point with these faux revolutionaries. They don’t want to do hard work like put together coherent policies. They rather just clog up the city with their vacuous caterwauling. They have nothing to do with people seeking to overthrow oppressive regimes and breaking oppressive laws in the process. They are the opposite of that. The fact that you would even make the analogy is breathtaking.

    Buns when you can manage to actually tell the truth, you might be worth an argument. The point is that once this colony of cretins was asked to leave by the police and declined to do so, they were responsible for the necessary force used to evict them. Civilised demonstrators like those at the carbon tax rallies cheerfully comply with police directions. They hold their rally, make their point and go about their business. No violence necessary. Leftists at rallies often provoke violence by refusing to comply with lawful directions precisely so they can claim victim status.

  31. narcoticmusing

    SB exactly which part of the city were they ‘clogging up’? How were they preventing people’s use of the space? Police and MCC agreed it was entirely peaceful and lawful. Why is there a time limit on their freedom of speech? The carbon tax rally was orchestrated by the federal opposition and yet you pretend it was real. It was organised with speakers, catering, special transport. Yet you say that this group, a bunch of people from all over without a leader, just passionate voices, are faux/fake/every other undeserving insult you hurl at people simply because they disagree with you.

    Please point me to the case that says our freedom of political speech implied in the Constitution has a time limit.

    Please point me to the case that says a person cannot resist having their liberty deprived when they have committed no crime. Be careful on this one – a council order is not the same as a Court order. An agreement with the Council with one dude at the protests is not the same as an agreement with all. Why? Because they are all different people, that is why people like you cannot figure out what they are saying. Different people have different views – sure there are common themes but the fact that there are differences shows the legitimacy of it.

  32. SB,

    There’s a public nuisance that hassles women outside the abortion clinic in West Melbourne, been there for years, they’re an utter disgrace, Doyle won’t move them on. Tories are such hypocrites, free speech only for those they agree with!

  33. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “Why is there a time limit on their freedom of speech?”

    There is no time limit on their freedom of speech. There is a time limit on the right to camp in the city on public property.

    “Please point me to the case that says our freedom of political speech implied in the Constitution has a time limit.”

    Please make a rational argument.

    “Please point me to the case that says a person cannot resist having their liberty deprived when they have committed no crime.”

    Failure to obey a lawful direction then resisting arrest are not crimes?

    Bobbyboy, interesting to see you now support the rights of protesters to occupy public space outside abortion clinics! I would limit their rights to harass people there.

  34. “Bobbyboy, interesting to see you now support the rights of protesters to occupy public space outside abortion clinics! I would limit their rights to harass people there.

    Stop making things up SB, all I was doing was pointing out Doyle’s double standard, you happen to agree with Doyle who is an utter hypocrite. I support free speech regardless, you on the other hand support the right of the carbon price freaks yet oppose the rights of the occupy Melbourne mob, you SB are a hypocrite, just like Doyle!

  35. “Failure to obey a lawful direction then resisting arrest are not crimes?”

    I would say it’s a civil offence, not criminal but I’ll leave that up to the legal types.

  36. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy: “you on the other hand support the right of the carbon price freaks yet oppose the rights of the occupy Melbourne mob”

    I support the same rights for both. Trouble is the Occupationistas want more rights, the precious little dears.

  37. No they don’t they want to maintain their right to demonstrate peacefully in a public space. Stop making things up! You want to restrict that right.

  38. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy I support the right to demonstrate in public places. The local government has the task of balancing the right to demonstrate with the right of the 99.99% to enjoy the public space. People put up with all sorts of demonstrations which usually manage to get their publicity and their point across in a few hours. I’ve been to a few myself. The problem comes when a bunch of semi-literate losers want to set up a permanent flea-ridden encampment in the middle of the city.

  39. The problem comes when a bunch of semi-literate losers want to set up a permanent flea-ridden encampment in the middle of the city.

    Do you feel the same way about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra?

    Cheers.

  40. narcoticmusing

    Funny – there has been a consistent protest re nuclear weapons outside the White House for decades (mainly one woman, but others step in for her at times). Why? There is no time limit.

    SB, you know all too well that Doyle didn’t ask them to leave out of respect for others rights to use the space, the space was not being denied. He gave the eviction notice to deny them a voice when their Head of State visits. It is utterly disgusting. Did you go to the occupied area? It was actually very small space – and they didn’t restrict anyone passing through. They didn’t deny anyone liberty. Hell, you have a harder problem getting on and off a crowded train/tram than passing through the ‘occupied’ area. You are manipulating the situation to please your own motives.

    I thought more of you – you normally are very passionate in protecting freedom of speech – even at the expense of other rights. I have always admired that. I often argue with you that it is a balance and you are normally admirably passionate that we are all too precious and shouldn’t be so worried about being offended. Surely this is analogous that we shouldn’t worry about a minor diversion around some people and be proud that they are able to exercise their constitutional right that is not harming others (unlike in the example of Bolt and the carbon tax rally sign which was harmful). In this case, i see a situation where there is no harm done – a minor inconvenience perhaps – but no harm unlike in Bolt race vilification legislation breach situation and the carbon tax sexist woman hating signage. Nevertheless, you defend their right to harm others in the name of free speech and don’t defend these people to demonstrate in a public space that WAS NOT interfering with other peoples freedom of movement or access to the space.

    This is one circumstance we need to learn from the US.

  41. Splatterbottom

    No.

  42. “Did you go to the occupied area?”

    “Do you feel the same way about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra?”

    Which one were you answering SB?

  43. Splatterbottom

    The “no” was an answer to Marek’s question.

    Narcotic, I honestly don’t see this as free speech issue. They are free to say or publish what they please. What they are not free to do is set up a commune in the middle of the city.

    They sensibly decided not to disrupt the Queen’s visit. I commend them for that.

  44. OK, SB, did you visit the occupied area?

  45. There is a time limit on the right to camp in the city on public property.

    How long is that, exactly?

  46. jordanrastrick

    The freedom to peacefully assemble in public is traditionally listed explicitly and separately from related freedoms such as speech, for the perfectly good reason that it is an important democratic act capable of catalysing change in a way that can sometimes go well beyond what’s achievable by publishing a newspaper, or what have you. Surely you’re aware of as much, SB.

    Of course, contra narcotic, Australia’s constitution – unlike say the U.S. – may well not in fact guarantee us any such freedom; the implied right to free political communication is certainly not as wide ranging as the First Amendment, although I don’t believe the High Court has really explored its boundaries super thoroughly yet.

  47. The problem comes when a bunch of semi-literate losers want to set up a permanent flea-ridden encampment in the middle of the city.

    Fortunate then that that never happened.

    PS Your contempt for the people engaging in the protest isn’t really helping your already pissweak arguments.

  48. Splatterbottom

    Buns, there are probably some nice people involved, including some I might actually agree with on some issues. I think it was very decent of them not to disrupt the Queen’s visit. (I detest protests designed to intefere with other events.) But you know that people around here have been very nasty about the Carbon Tax demonstrators and I am merely getting into the spirit of things.

  49. Splatterbottom

    Jordan, might I say that you have been on fire lately with your comments.

    Now, I think the right to assembly is fundamentally important. But I don’t think that is really an issue here – the Occupationistas have had a fair go. It seems from their statements that they saw value in the encampment as a way of teaching their views. If that is what they want they should get a classroom. That is probably beyond the scope of the right to assembly. Maybe I should be granted a spot in Martin Place where I can protest and teach my particular brand of sanity?

    I think RM’s question of how long is enough time is a matter of facts and circumstances. At the end of the day, cities have to be administered for the benefit of all citizens.

  50. Ah SB, such a troll. And so absolutely full of shit.
    I was at Occupy Melbourne as much as I could be (I have a job in Software Development – not sure how someone as illiterate as me managed that, especially whilst i have fleas).
    Some of the other “losers” there were nurses, social workers, construction workers etc. But of course, much easier for the media to paint them as a bunch of ‘professional protesters’ and for dickheads like SB to gobble it up like so much O’Reilly skeet.
    As for inconveniencing local business – yeah, local business really hates it when there are all these extra people around buying coffee and food from them. In fact, our media group talked to the local business regarding the news that they were suffering because of OM and they all said they weren’t, but the reporter who came to report on it from one of the shitty 3UE type stations wouldn’t take “the OM is fine with us” for an answer. Eventually one of them said that he wasn’t getting as much EXTRA business as he had hoped, which was then used to tar the protest as bad for local business.

    Im mean seriously, there are comments deriding the OM people for probably drinking StarBucks (which of course goes against everything for a protest of this type) but at the same time say the OM is bad for local business

    My buddy also busted a channel 10 reporter dropping a bunch of garbage in the stream behind the OM camp so that he could report on how messy it all was. To which my buddy told the reporter he could have at least paid somebody else to do it instead of being so obvious.

    I also find it amusing the SB, having not been there can just determine what sort of person was there and who was assaulted. There is much video evidence of police assaulting protesters and even on lookers, especially on lookers videoing the scene.
    There is no video evidence that i have seen of protesters assaulting police, SB tries to assert. Please provide the evidence you disease ridden heap of pig shit.

    Oh and one other thing. Why does the media insist we have no coherent demands? We have many – all the media has to do is ask.
    Clearly they had to be worked out – nobody expected the Gillard government to just start churning out legislation straight away when they had other people making up the government with different interests – the Greens and a hand full of different independents.
    How would it be possibly for a movement with a variety of different Socialist, Anarchist, Greens and a whole host of individual unaligned people to start putting out demands and statements without first debating them?

    But a brief list would be:
    Repealing the ban on Gay Marriage
    Ending the NT intervention
    Troops out of Afghanistan
    Complying with the Nurses Federation pay and work conditions demands
    Same for the Public Sector Social Workers
    Abolishing the ABCC.

    Now these are some of the ‘no-brainers’ which most people agreed on. However for the more complex economical demands, they require some debate and discussion otherwise it would be the largest block just imposing their views on the rest.

    Marek
    I pity you daughters.
    They must need to work extra hard to counteract your predjudices.

    I said that as soon as i realised somebody was foolish enough to procreate with this cretin.

  51. Splatterbottom

    Buns: ” I said that as soon as i realised somebody was foolish enough to procreate with this cretin.”

    I was almost going to bother replying to you for a moment there.

  52. narcoticmusing

    Jordan – I think you’ll find that since Lange the implied freedom to political free speech in the Constitution is pretty settled, at least with regard to OM group. Far more than it was say, post ACTV and Nationwide . Indeed, the poster produced of the police officer, which was blamed on the OM group, would also fall over per Coleman v Power (2004) because that would likely be considered relevant communication (in Coleman a cop was singled out and branded corrupt – this was deemed political free speech as police are public servants and it was his corruption within the context of being a police officer that was being commented on, likewise with the poster singling out a cop and calling him violent in the context of his duties).

    BT – you harm debate with such insults.

    SB – this isn’t just an event though is it? This isn’t say, the Grand Prix where they are in the middle of the circuit. This is a bunch of people exercising free speech and you and Doyle think it is ok to silence them for their Head of State. The Queen is the Queen of Australia and the Queen of Victoria. She is our Sovereign. Our Head of State. If ever there was an event that should be allowed to be disrupted by free speech, this should be the one. She should want to hear from the public, her subjects.

  53. narcoticmusing

    I also think there is no comparison with carbon tax demonstrators. For one, they only went to a little ‘rally’ that was organised by the opposition attempting to pretend it is like the right in the US and has a tea party too. They had paid speakers. Paid transport. Paid catering. Some were there legit, I accept that. Most were not. Secondly, the issue we took to carbon tax protesters is that the weren’t protesting the carbon tax, they were insulting women using ha ha isn’t rape and degradation of women funny jokes. There were few carbon tax signs messages. Just pre-made signs parroting Abbot et al, made by Abbot et al. I dislike greatly protests that aren’t protests, but the opposition trying to pretend there was a protest.

  54. Splatterbottom

    Buns sorry i attributed BT’s crap comment to you.

    Narcotic I don’t think an angry minority should be able destroy a public spectacle for other people. That is were the selfish attention-seeking narcissism comes in.

    I don’t share your view of the carbon tax protesters, but that is probably because I know some of them quite well.

  55. “Narcotic I don’t think an angry minority should be able destroy a public spectacle for other people.”

    SB, apologies if you answered this earlier, have you ever been to Melbourne’s City Square? The back of a hotel isn’t much of a ‘spectacle’

  56. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy I have not been there. The best I can do is Google maps. I went up to Martin Place and saw the mob up there.

    I don’t think this is relevant. They set up camp in a public space for a week. I don’t think it is unreasonable to make them leave.

  57. BT – My comment about SB’s daughters was based on something he said years ago about them being clever people who were able to think independantly and arrive at principled decisions by themselves.

    As someone who grew up in a family that boasted out and proud racists on one side and Arab-hating Zionists on the other, I was making an empathetic statement about the difficulties of growing up around ideologues.
    It was an unsubtle jibe at SB that had its’ genesis over eight years ago.

    Had I known that you would use it as an actual attack on his family, I would never have writtten it.

    SB, my apologies.

  58. “I don’t think this is relevant.”

    It is rather relevant, a public space being used by the public to peacefully protest. You have a problem with that. They aren’t depriving anyone else of City Square which is something of an eyesore anyway (in my opinion).

  59. Ok, SB.
    You, presumably, have no problem with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
    That “occupation” of public space has been going on since 1972.
    Nearly 40 years!
    Surely, using your metric for judging these things, it’s time the Federal Police were called in to clear the place.
    No? …. Didn’t think so.

    I believe, as I’m sure you do, that Aboriginal Australians have a more important and just cause, than do the #occupy folks.
    However, unlike you, I’m not willing to let that value judgment morph into a justification for, or indifference to, the silencing of the protestors.

    Ultimately, your respect for Aboriginal Australians causes you to view their occupation favourably whilst your despite for the #occupy crowd produces an opposite outcome.
    It all seems to be based on the Emporer’s Favour.

    Not very principled, SB.

    Cheers

  60. Splatterbottom

    Thank you Marek. I never thought ill of you. I don’t take the heat of the moment stuff too seriously, not least because I am a serial offender. My only complaint against BT is that he doesn’t post here as much as he used to.

    Now, let’s get back to healthy and robust discussion.

    On the economic vs social point, our real difference, I suspect, is how to both how to order society so that it is economically sustainable and produces adequate social outcomes.

    Most likely societies formed due to the economic benefits of division of labour. Over time there have been many modes of social organisation which have produced differing outcomes. As we have become more economically productive there is more scope for social allocation of resources.

    I have a concern about the impact of welfare and state intervention on the ability of society to produce sufficient wealth to fund social goals.

    Is till don’t know what it means to say that we are a society first and economy second. We wouldn’t even have the luxury of thinking about such things without a strong economy.

  61. Another way of putting it then could be that the economy is there to serve society, not vice versa, hence these execs who pay themselves millions, even when they fail have it all wrong. They are effectively thieves, being very rich thieves governments (politicians) tend not to do anything about them (money is real lobbying power) Many of us have had a gut-full of the disparity and some are peacefully protesting in public spaces.

    The bankers stuff it up, the taxpayer bails them out, the execs maintain their obscene bonuses and you’re OK with that?

    Rampant capitalism stuffs up hence socialist policy is needed to rectify the stuff up.

  62. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy: “It is rather relevant, a public space being used by the public to peacefully protest. You have a problem with that. “

    No. I have a problem that they want to set up a permanent encampment there.

    Marek I think it is a matter of facts and circumstances. I don’t think groups have an absolute right to set up permanent encampments at will.

    I like the ebb and flow of city life and the various components of it, including the demonstrations and protests that regularly take place. I also think that if you allow every aggrieved person or group to set up permanent encampment in the public places of the city it will destroy the amenity of the city for the 99.99%.

  63. “No. I have a problem that they want to set up a permanent encampment there.”

    Well that’s just tough titties for you and Doyle then ;) I have no problems with peaceful protesters in public spaces, permanent means forever, indefinite would be a better word, i still have no problem because they aren’t restricting others from using the space.

    “I also think that if you allow every aggrieved person or group to set up permanent encampment in the public places of the city it will destroy the amenity of the city for the 99.99%.”

    You don’t speak for 99.99% though.

  64. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy: “You don’t speak for 99.99% though.”

    Unlike the Occupationistas, I am not claiming to do that.

    I was merely noting that if they permanently occupy particular part of the city they do so to the detriment of the rest of us.

  65. “I was merely noting that if they permanently occupy particular part of the city they do so to the detriment of the rest of us.”

    Yeah, 99.99% was your claim, you don’t speak for them so how can you make such a claim?

  66. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy, I am not claiming to speak for anyone but myself. I am merely observing that the 0.01% are infesting public space with their encampments to the detriment of the 99.99%.

    You might like to explain how the Flea Party purports to represent the 99%.

  67. SB isn’t speaking for the 99.99% who he claims are being negatively affected by the peaceful, occupy Melbourne people…. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    Well I didn’t attend the rally, I’m clearly one of the 99.99%? I don’t have any problem with protesters peacefully demonstrating in a public space.. So why do you continue to make things up? It isn’t to my detriment!

  68. My only complaint against BT is that he doesn’t post here as much as he used to.”

    I’ll give SB one thing, he doesn’t cry like a baby when given back some of his own medicine.
    As for not posting on here as much; I’m less into discussing what needs to be done and more into actually doing stuff that should be done.
    Plus my job is busier these days ;)

  69. Splatterbottom

    So Bobbyboy, do you think the Occupationistas should be able to camp there forever?

  70. Splatterbottom

    BT: “I’m less into discussing what needs to be done and more into actually doing stuff that should be done.”

    That is probably a whole lot more satisfying, but don’t forget your old friends here if you want to blow off some steam and be put to rights.

  71. “I’ll give SB one thing, he doesn’t cry like a baby when given back some of his own medicine.”

    Hear hear.

  72. “So Bobbyboy, do you think the Occupationistas should be able to camp there forever?”

    I’m into cosmology, forever is a long time, there may be no such thing but yeah, they should be able to protest peacefully in a public space indefinitely.

  73. jordanrastrick

    Jordan, might I say that you have been on fire lately with your comments.

    Thanks SB :-) Quality over quantity, perhaps.

    Any chance I could interest you in a highly convincing comment about climate change, in this case? :P

    @narcotic: Thanks for the rundown of the High Court free speech rulings. None of those cases pertain to assembly though, right? It might be interesting to see a test case argued with respect to those precedents.

  74. narcoticmusing

    Jordan – Np – and no, none of the cases discussed freedom of assembly per se, but several touched on the necessary incidents of free speech, which is the main area where rights in the Constitution is still grey. See, the law provides for what is written in the Constitution but also anything necessary to enable that to occur. So freedom of speech is necessary to enable people to have discussion etc to enable free election of government by the people. Necessary incidents of this freedom would logically include freedom of assembly and association. In any case, in Victoria at least, we still have the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, in which freedom of association and assembly are specific rights.

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