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What Do Occupy Melbourne Want?

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by Sean Goedecke (subscribe)
Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published October 19th 2011
They're here, they're loud, and they're living in tents - the Occupy Melbourne protests has been camped out in City Square, between Starbucks and Brunetti's, since October 15. They're inspired directly by the Occupy Wall Street protest in America, and indirectly by the Egyptian protests in Tahrir Square. The question everyone's asking, though, is what on earth do they want?

Occupy Melbourne
The Occupy Melbourne poster.


Unusually for a protest, Occupy Melbourne is unstructured - almost anarchic, in the strict sense of the word. None of the protesters have a clear single idea of what the protest is, but they all know that they love it. There are signs everywhere, protesting general left-wing causes from the mistreatment of Aborigines to the pollution of the environment.

Occupy Melbourne
The black statue in the back represents GM foods. No, really.


To get a better idea of what they want, there's an explanation on their website: It's time our elected representatives actually started representing the 99% of the population who don't have enormous wealth and political influence. Who suffer the social, economic and environmental consequences of corporate greed. Who work to generate enormous wealth for a mere 1% of the population. It's a democracy thing - they feel their voice is being ignored, and they're trying to get it back. However, "they" in this instance are the original creators of Occupy Melbourne, not the individual protesters, who can be found marching for the cause of anyone and anything.

Occupy Melbourne
They all agree that something's wrong.


However, there's only so much you can learn by looking at photos and reading the website. If you're really interested in what Occupy Melbourne want, go down there yourself. You can even take a poster of your own and add your own cause to the general mix. Do you have your own take on what Occupy Melbourne want? Share your ideas and stories in the comments - we'd love to hear from you.
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Haha, love this article!
I suspect most of them want a free place to pitch a tent.
They have identified that the problem is corporate greed, and disseminated their message using the iPhones they have purchased from big corporations. They have communicated what they don't want, but as for your question? They probably don't know what they collectively want. A few, judging from the posters in the crowd, want socialism, the rest seem to want to stay on partying in city square for awhile longer.
By Natasha Abrahams - senior reviewer
Monday, 24th of October @ 06:46 am
more money in their welfare cheque?
By karen237 - reader
Monday, 24th of October @ 09:23 am
There is a great book, many yeses and one no. It talks about the US and water supplies in South America, about Captain Starbuck and the genetically modified milk used in the USA. I believe there is a groundswell in the US, who have slightly stricker conditions than us when it comes to the rich vs poor. It is a statement that the system without being tweeked is not working for many and is in need of a few abstract adaptions.:). Its also a good way to get to meet the Vic Police force, give them some training on good policing and to voice the discontent of some really bright spirits.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer
Monday, 24th of October @ 09:38 am
@charm26 Did you mean to say ignorance is bliss?

It's a good thing to question our lifestyles, materialism, oppression of marginalised groups, damage to the environment. Whilst there are exceptions, a large number of people involved in Occupy Melbourne passionately protest but are not willing to change their own lifestyles (are you really representing 99% of the population if you're earning $100000?), or contribute to the solution.

Run or support the social enteprises, go and serve the refugees and the homeless, get into politics and make policies that are not greed centred. You can't advocate, criticise/educate others about their greed, when you're not being part of the solution.
By Winnie - senior reviewer
Thursday, 10th of November @ 05:29 am
Ahhh! It's like the left wing Australian version of the Tea Party!
By jengs - reader
Monday, 24th of October @ 01:54 am
ABC news interviewed a leader of the movement who said "to show solidarity with our American bretheren". How about establishing a movement that has substantial aims and aspirations and relevance to Australia, what a joke.
By jenna - reader
Monday, 24th of October @ 04:21 am
Well it's good to know that other people are as confused about the protests as we are. We went to the city on Friday afternoon to find half of Lygon St sealed off and a huge crowd of police.

I suppose it's Melbourne's version of "Occupy Wall Street", which started in September some time (search about it in Google). There too, the participants are shocked at arrests and claim to have exposed police brutality. With a very few exceptions, I would say most are doing their job to keep law and order in the community.
By Winnie - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 26th of October @ 06:10 am
Innocence is bliss, right? I suggest to all that have commented below do some further research on what Occupy Melb is really about. We are all part of it, whether we want to be or NOT. In an essence it's about ultimately the world powers creating one common law removing each countries individual freedom. Stop! our over purchasing, do we really need it? It It only feeds them more! The world is ruled by a Corporate Mafia in years to come, if we don't start acting now and changing our ways we all will be caught up in it and powerless. . This is not a quick fix but together we can fix our world. Next time ask questions of the protestors, don't pigeon hole them as just wanting a party or a place to pitch a tent. Many of those protestors are on $100,000 plus salaries. We have done our homework and with this information, wish to peacefully educate those around us to open their eyes as we don't want our futures taken away from us. Change is evident, now it's up to us how we make that change.
By charm26 - reader
Thursday, 3rd of November @ 06:20 am
why be against the compaines that have built wonderful hospitals that keep not only the children healthy, adults too.With out these companies that you say are the 1%ers that own the wourld econmies as it's more like 12% if you care to read MJ12 it will tell you more that what you know now. Whats that l hear your rich mummies and daddies calling. stop hiding behind the homeless banner and do som thing positive with your lifes insteed of time wasting pusshing your wrong information on people. from an honest person
By Anonymous
Friday, 30th of March @ 04:18 am

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