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Issue #1524      26 October 2011

All out on November 5

Despite all the babble from government about Australia missing out on the recession, Australians are suffering every day at the hands of the corporations and the financial sector which hold dominant economic and political power.


(Photo: Josephine Donnolley)

In Europe and elsewhere austerity measures have been imposed on workers, pensioners and the poor while the banks are bailed out, billionaires are let off scot-free, and CEOs get bonuses despite their woeful management of their companies.

Where is the justice in the Qantas boss getting $5 million while he refuses to negotiate with workers fighting for decent pay and working conditions?

What else is the move by the O’Farrell’s Liberal NSW government to restrict salary rises for teachers, nurses, fire fighters and other public service workers to 2.5 percent than an austerity measure?

Capitalism is designed to look after the rich, the small percentage (1%) while the rest of the people (the 99%) struggle to survive.

The 99% in Australia and around the world have had enough and they are saying so in loud and clear voices. They have had enough of poverty, hunger, unemployment, corporate greed, war, racism and environmental destruction.

They have had enough of the capitalist system.

The impact of capitalism on people’s lives is reflected in occupation slogans like:

“End Corporate Greed”, “Put Bankers On Trial”, “We Won’t Pay for Your Crisis”, “Sorry for the Inconvenience – We are Fixing the System” and “The 1% Broke It - Now Fix It”.

Lazy and biased, the corporate media dismisses the movement, declaring that the occupiers don’t know what they are protesting about or that they don’t have one demand.

But capitalism causes so much suffering as it penetrates every aspect of life in its hunger for profit that a hundred different demands would not be enough.

In Australia, corporate power was responsible for undermining the mining tax. Australians do not share in the mining boom as profits go to companies overseas.

Public assets are stolen by privatisation by both Liberal and Labor governments. Service goes down and prices go up.

The majority of the people want Australia out of Afghanistan but those in power ignore their voices.

While many genuine needs in the community go begging such as public health, housing and education, there is no cut in money spent on the military at over $70 million a day.

Victoria

In Melbourne the police moved into the City Square after fencing off the people camped there. They isolated and then arrested and hauled away people who refused to move. Police trashed the area and bashed or pepper sprayed anyone who got in their way. Almost 100 arrests were made. Most were released with no charge.

Tweeters and others swung into action and supporters came rushing in, including some workers from building sites. The crowd swelled. The intersection of Swanson and an other street was blocked for most of the day.

The occupiers moved to Trades Hall where they regrouped and prepared for a march to the offices of major corporations. When they came out of the building they found themselves and the Trades Hall surrounded by police.

The occupiers have vowed to continue protesting.

“The occupation movement is an expression of solidarity with all the people of Australia and the world who have had their resources stolen by major corporations and financial institutions”, said Andrew Irving, Victorian State Secretary of the CPA.

“The Melbourne occupation is very closely linked to similar occupations in other states of Australia and overseas.”

The Victorian CPA sent a resolution of condolence for the trade unionist killed in Greece during recent protests against the Greek government’s austerity measures.

In Sydney

A happy crowd swelled the seven-day occupation of Martin Place near the Reserve Bank for a show of support on Saturday October 22. Speakers, music and public debate occupied the crowd’s attention. Everywhere people were debating issues.

There was union support with an MUA sausage sizzle providing free food and encouragement to the occupiers and their supporters.

Communist Party of Australia members were out in force with a leaflet arguing that the problems people face are not caused by individual greed but are inherent in the capitalist system.

“Capitalism can’t be reformed. Capitalism has never met the needs of the people and creates massive worldwide suffering. There is no choice but to change the system. A socialist direction is what is needed”, the CPA leaflet said.

The buoyant mood was shattered at 4.45am the next morning as police mounted a brutal eviction of all those camped at Martin Place. People were bashed and thrown into police vehicles and their belongings thrown into garbage trucks. Around 40 people were arrested and then later released.

The occupiers moved to another city park and on Sunday evening held an open meeting to discuss the way forward. They decided to build for a better and stronger action on November 5.

Beginning with Occupy Wall Street, there are now occupations at well over 1,000 sites around the world.

The statement “we are the 99%” reflects an understanding of unfairness of the capitalist system and the power of the people united.

People’s consciousness is growing and the beginnings of a significant mass movement that has the potential to bring about real change can be seen.

The CPA leaflet says: “The occupy movement reflects the common interests of many who are feeling the dire consequences of corporate globalisation. The varied social forces must be brought together to fight this struggle in a unified way ...

“We believe that a broad coalition of left and progressive forces will be strong enough to stand up to the power of the corporations and be capable of changing the direction of politics in Australia, and taking steps to redistribute the country’s vast wealth.

“The CPA will be part of that struggle for a new type of government and for the development of a socialist system where people will be placed first.”  

Next article – Employer offensive spreads to waterfront

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