Monthly Archives: October 2012
The recent enquiry into the Occupy Melbourne eviction of 21st October 2011, Occupy Policing , asks questions about the lawfulness of moving on a public protest.
Here is the link:http://www.occupypolicing.org/Page_2.php
The short answer to this question is , of course: no. The Crimes Act 1914 states the following:
Crimes act 1914, section 28
“Interfering with political liberty
Any person who, by violence or by threats or intimidation of any kind, hinders or interferes with the free exercise or performance, by any other person, of any political right or duty, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.”
AND , also notable
Australian Constitution section 109
“When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.”
Move-on laws, which are state based statutory laws,do not apply to political protests. Trespass laws also do not apply to political protests, when the protest is held in a public place or a place of business. For example, the recent action in the building that houses the USA consulate was also held in a place of business, not in a private residence. The claim made by the building manager that we were on private property was a distortion of facts. The property is owned by someone, most likely a corporation, but it contains businesses that lease space there, so it is a place of business. Protesters were not interfering with anybody’s privacy, so according to constitutional; law they had every right to be there, even if their actions are seen as rude and invasive by some.
With regard to the City Square eviction, there was even more blatant disregard for the law, as the City Square is public and the people and things therein were part of a political protest. At the very least it was unlawful for police to fence in the protesters and forcibly remove them and their political messages. The legal team should have known about this and should have instructed protesters accordingly by handing out copies of the crimes act 1914 section 28. Interestingly, protesters were not evicted from Treasury Gardens and Flagstaff Gardens, probably because of public and international outcry, although some arrests still occurred (most notably two people being arrested for wearing tents).
What can we learn from this? Two things mainly:
1)Police who remove protesters, are hired thugs by corporations that consider themselves above the law. They can get away with this, because most protesters do not know their rights according to the constitution, which is above state based statutory laws.
2)If enough protesters acquire basic legal knowledge stated here and in the article called “How to talk to police”, things will, most likely , change. It is not sufficient to act like naughty children who have been caught trespassing. It is vital to assert your legal rights with police and video record the entire conversation. With the small numbers we have, knowledge of our basic constitutional rights is one of our best weapons, so let’s use it.
This article was written according to my current understanding of constitutional law. Comments and corrections are welcome.
While this is not an article about the reflects journal, a quick note is needed:
Currently a splinter group of Occupy Melbourne has relentlessly promoted a journal titled: “occupy Reflects”
On the surface it appears to be a collection of essays without any bias, or so it is promoted. Some are good and some give accounts, by people who never really camped or participated. However it may be easily assumed, as the subtlety of the title suggests, Reflects being a code word for something that has passed, suggesting its purpose is to bring to an end OM as a brand. The overall effect of the works gives a negative description of the movement and this is evidenced by the recent article in The Age News paper, whereby the anniversary of the Occupy Melbourne eviction received a very detrimental review, quoting information which it sourced from the Reflects journal. Even the OM legal team members have voiced their concerns about the paper, and leaves us wondering how this will help fair the court decision we are currently awaiting?
It is important to note that many members refused to contribute to the Reflects journal, due to the way it was carried out, causing divisions led by a splinter group headed by Nick Carson and Carl Scrase, who are seeking to converge the members of OM into new personal organisations, one of which is entitled “Real Democracy Australia” The cause of division stems from the controlled take over of the web entity of OM, that has censored on ground members and silenced the majority.
It is common knowledge that these individuals, along with a few, have tried to use OM for personal gains, building a political platform on which they may establish political careers. At a Reflects meeting Carl Scrase openly stated that he has a thirty year plan he wishes to pursue within Melbourne politics.
Thus we find ourselves in the predicament, organic vs synthetic!
When Occupy Melbourne started, it was an organic outburst of people who attended, and its growth was a natural response to the world movement that was taking place. It was not due to any organisers or any other form of contrived campaigns. It was natural, it was organic, and there were and are no leaders…
Tactics employed by Carson and Scrase have been utilised in order to brand themselves as heads of OM. A controlled take over of the web entity and media lists has caused much censorship and manipulation, forcing original participants to leave, and locking many others out of the scene, yet all in the while shamelessly promoting their own agendas. Much is to be said about this, and shall be analysed and documented in near future. A simple example however is warranted here in order to illustrate types of tactics used.
The main facebook and website of OM has not allowed sharing and or reporting of important works by on ground members. Currently this has been expanded to other outside connected groups, where they are spreading false reports of events, so that OM may be shut down, and converge into the synthetically formed groups that are headed by the aforementioned individuals.
The common fashion is to cut and paste other peoples ideas and existing org templates, and brand it as their own. In a group named “citizen media collective” Carson has continued to systematically cut out members events, even though many of us are not only members of OM but are also members in CMC as well.
The group page (http://www.facebook.com/CitMedCol?ref=ts&fref=ts) states that their mission is:
Free Media Through Mutual Aid – real stories, by real people, no corporate or state agenda
The CMC co-ordinates participating citizen media to be present in varying capacities at community events and actions in Melbourne and Victoria to capture images, write articles, livetweet, livestream and other supportive methods of community story-telling.
Yet this group is repeating not only the same censorship of Occupy Melbourne, that occurred in the main facebook page and websites, but in fact it is repeating the very same system of which we opposed and which is the very reason we as a people formed as a revolutionary movement, against state oppression.
Allow us to demonstrate:
In the recent Occupy Melbourne one year Anniversary of the City Square eviction posting on Citizen Media Collective page (see post here: http://www.facebook.com/CitMedCol/posts/126171167534299)
Carson has co-ordinated his friend photographer (former member who has left occupy) to censor the days events, and to purposely cut out the majority of members, who do not support his plans. The folowing is an example of the photos posted by Carson and Co, followed by a true photo of the days events.
WE OCCUPIED PARLIAMENT:
So we have to ask, Can you trust these individuals? How when even an offshoot page (which many of us are members, but are censored) cant report the simple truth, and favours personal agendas! They are politically inclined, for personal gains! This has been the source of division and discontent/mistrust within the OM movement. This has been the tactic on official OM pages, where they have blocked members, not mentioned events, and leaked to the media information that strengthens their causes, and leaves the damage to hard working occupiers etc.
They are attempting to create fake movement groups in every state, via the Real Democracy Template, as seen in the following pic, and eg of Scrase manufacturing this RDA org by adding the same group of friends in every group, to give the false impression that these groups are organically springing up, but are not, and have failed thus far. He is now attempting to combine it in a simplified form as Real Democracy Melbourne! Not to mention that the cut and paste method has been scorned by original creators, and is also not supported by the majority of occupiers!
notice above pic where all the people are added by Scrase, and no one participated! NOT ORGANIC!!!
in this video Scrase attempted another org “we make us” just prior to occupy, and is visual evidence of his ambition, without substance, megolomania! Note how he claims he is a pioneer, due to imagining a better world, as if to suggest that others dont imagine and want a better world? Watch the video, and make up your own mind:
and while his party failed at gaining any support, check out the following video of another failed attempt, but interesting where he supports a biological virus injected into a placenta.
Watch how he boasts that he is Carl Scrase after German artist Joseph Beuys etc
once again, you be the judge, but consider these facts:
1. Censorship of OM events
2. Blocking of access to web entity of OM (Carson changed passwords, and now claims he doesn’t have it, after successfully pushing out original participants etc)
3. Self promotion by Carson and Scrase through occupy brand
4. The Narcissistic tendencies, and admittance of corruptible by power (even the legal team has commented “imagine if these kids were given any political positions”)
5. The refusal to engage in conversations with people who attempted to converse with them…. The cause of animosity, as people see them shamelessly promote their agendas, and pretend not to be aware of other events.
6. offshoot groups such as Citizen Media Collective claim to represent Melbourne activist events as they happen, and yet censor OM activities.
7. they formed secret groups “iceland” etc and deny media contact lists, yet leak to the media, Occupy Reflects journal and other information that is damaging to OM, in order to converge certain members into their new groups,
and in doing so, not only has division been achieved, but such actions do not support the legal case and is in fact detrimental to the movement as a whole…
Such deceitful actions have caused a few to think that maybe Carson and Scrase are agents infiltrating the movement, others see them as spoilt rich kids who have ego problems, and a few are flattered and join in on their cause in hope to achieve positions within the new ranks, The majority of decent intelligent folk leave, not wanting to engage in such negative mind games. Regardless of which view is valid, it is of no concern, other than negative impact the actions of these individuals have caused…
more to come…
Four protesters are occupying a site where a company is waiting to cut down a 120 year old tree in Frankston.
The protesters say that they managed to protect the tree by sitting on it forcing the contractor to wait.
The protesters have requested help by anyone who is able to come down and support them, they plan to stay overnight and are willing to stay on.
ADDRESS IS: 138 Cranbourne-Frankston Rd Frankston EAST
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/367180730039723/367348803356249
Found a little dusty book in the back of the bookshelf. The essay “Civil Disobedience “by Henry David Thoreau is from 1849, but it almost reads like it was written yesterday.
Here is a link to the text: http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil.html
Here is a summary from Wikipedia:
Thoreau asserts that because governments are typically more harmful than helpful, they therefore cannot be justified. Democracy is no cure for this, as majorities simply by virtue of being majorities do not also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice. The judgment of an individual’s conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body or majority, and so “[i]t is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right… Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.” He adds, “I cannot for an instant recognize as my government [that] which is the slave’s government also.”
The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice. Because of this, it is “not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.”
Political philosophers have counseled caution about revolution because the upheaval of revolution typically causes a lot of expense and suffering. Thoreau contends that such a cost/benefit analysis is inappropriate when the government is actively facilitating an injustice as extreme as slavery. Such a fundamental immorality justifies any difficulty or expense to bring to an end. “This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.”
Thoreau tells his audience that they cannot blame this problem solely on pro-slavery Southern politicians, but must put the blame on those in, for instance, Massachusetts, “who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may… There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them.” (See also: Thoreau’s Slavery in Massachusetts which also advances this argument.)
He exhorts people not to just wait passively for an opportunity to vote for justice, because voting for justice is as ineffective as wishing for justice; what you need to do is to actually be just. This is not to say that you have an obligation to devote your life to fighting for justice, but you do have an obligation not to commit injustice and not to give injustice your practical support.
Paying taxes is one way in which otherwise well-meaning people collaborate in injustice. People who proclaim that the war in Mexico is wrong and that it is wrong to enforce slavery contradict themselves if they fund both things by paying taxes. Thoreau points out that the same people who applaud soldiers for refusing to fight an unjust war are not themselves willing to refuse to fund the government that started the war.
In a constitutional republic like the United States, people often think that the proper response to an unjust law is to try to use the political process to change the law, but to obey and respect the law until it is changed. But if the law is itself clearly unjust, and the lawmaking process is not designed to quickly obliterate such unjust laws, then Thoreau says the law deserves no respect and it should be broken. In the case of the United States, the Constitution itself enshrines the institution of slavery, and therefore falls under this condemnation. Abolitionists, in Thoreau’s opinion, should completely withdraw their support of the government and stop paying taxes, even if this means courting imprisonment.
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.… where the State places those who are not with her, but against her,– the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.… Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.
Because the government will retaliate, Thoreau says he prefers living simply because he therefore has less to lose. “I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts…. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case.”
He was briefly imprisoned for refusing to pay the poll tax, but even in jail felt freer than the people outside. He considered it an interesting experience and came out of it with a new perspective on his relationship to the government and its citizens. (He was released the next day when “someone interfered, and paid that tax.”)
Thoreau said he was willing to pay the highway tax, which went to pay for something of benefit to his neighbors, but that he was opposed to taxes that went to support the government itself—even if he could not tell if his particular contribution would eventually be spent on an unjust project or a beneficial one. “I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.”
Because government is man-made, not an element of nature or an act of God, Thoreau hoped that its makers could be reasoned with. As governments go, he felt, the U.S. government, with all its faults, was not the worst and even had some admirable qualities. But he felt we could and should insist on better. “The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.… Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”
“That government is best which governs least” – “That government is best which governs not at all”
An aphorism sometimes attributed to either Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, “That government is best which governs least…”, actually was first found in this essay. Thoreau was paraphrasing the motto of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review: “The best government is that which governs least.” Thoreau expanded it significantly: “…and I should like to see [the idea] acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”
The Big Tecoma Video Shoot/ Music Festival
Tomorrow, Sun 28th of October at 10.00am
at 1533 Burwood Hwy, Tecoma aka the Community Garden
All musicians and supporters invited. Video shoot of Brian Bakers No Maccas Song (The Ballad of Tecoma)
Please share with your friends!
This is an important website dedicated to expose the fact that the Commonwealth of Australia is , in actual fact, a corporation registered in Washington DC. Watch the 52 minute documentary and be prepared for a few surprises.
Today, another protest against the detainment of Bradley Manning, and the crimes against humanity committed by the US government exposed by Wikileaks, took place in front of the US consulate in Melbourne.
As it was already the third time we managed to organise this legal form of political protest, basically a sit-in, we were familiar with some people involved, like the friendly and sympathetic receptionist, and some of the police. The building manager had changed since we’ve been there last time. While he seemed less angry than the last one, he still didn’t like political protest in ‘his’ premises.
The last sit-in lasted three hours, so this time we were well prepared to enjoy ourselves while being there. We had some music and food, and prepared some little scenes and speeches to make it a joyful happening. The cause, however, is less funny – Obama’s drone war, Bradley Mannings incarceration for years, most of it in solitary confinement, declaring Wikileaks and its confederates as ‘Enemy of the state’, the Grand Jury against Assange, who is held hostage in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Learning from their last experience, whoever was responsible to enforce mob law on civil protestors, decided on a faster course of action. And yo a more intimidating and finally violent approach. Police observing the protest initially were quite edgy, carried their guns and actively engaged in house-keeping, removing the flyers we patched to the doors of the embassy.
CIRT (Critical Incidence Response Team), the muscle of the corporate impostor government, arrived with more troops in riot gear, squads from a variety of police stations got into their gloves, ready to rough up the protest.
As I have some good reasons not to get into violently enforced laws, I took care of the belongings of some of my friends, left the building and awaited for the inevitable unlawful eviction. I positioned myself in front of the door, sheltered from the rain and got my camera ready. One of the police clowns approached me and ask me to move on, which I politely declined initially.
‘Move away!’, ‘Sorry, sir, you got no right to ask me to move on’. ‘It’s for you own safety, it could dangerous for when we remove the protestors.’ ‘So you’re intending to do something dangerous?’ ‘I don’t engage with your semantics.’
The police officer then asked me about the things I put down temporarily, suggested I could join my mates to be forcefully removed, so I moved a couple of metres away, into the rain, still waiting for the eviction.
I dropped the things I took care of next to a table belonging to the cafe next door, still in good sight of the four police clowns readying themselves for some action. One of the youngest of them came over and asked me for ID, which I politely declined with: ‘I don’t think I’m obliged to give you my ID.’
He moved back, and when I dropped my cigarette butt (I know, smoking is bad, littering as well, but, hell, I got nervous and uncomfortable), one of the clowns marched over to me: ‘Give me your ID, I have to fine you for throwing away burning litter!’ Luckily, I got backup in the ensuing attempt to contract me to accept a fine, and managed to remove myself from police, put the belongings of my mates into the car and chill for a while.
When we went to debrief into a cafe opposite the embassy, things escalated again. Our independent journalist demanded to identify the cop that pushed him during the eviction, and got done badly. As we still could see what happened, most went back to look after him, and they arrested a young woman, pushed several others to the ground, and took her and the journo on a ride.
Similar to other evictions, they simply drove them off the scene and dropped them somewhere in St. Kilda on the side of the road. When we regrouped with the arrested, the woman had gone into shock, and lay on the pavement in the rain. By the time ambulance arrived to take care of her, people with video evidence could show the medics how police had assaulted her.
The amount of laws broken by police, and their attitude was mostly shocking. In first place, removing the protestors from the inside of the building was unlawful – places of business are similar to public space, and removing someone wanting to talk to a representative of the US consulate in front of it, causing neither damage or danger to persons and property, not even following any sort of protocol, is unlawful.
The rough handling of some the protestors technically is assault, and arresting someone nominally, without a charge, and just dropping them off somewhere constitutes basically kidnapping. The Stanford Prison Experiment has shown convincingly that entitling people with a uniform effectively removes them from personal responsibility, and often of empathy, and turns them into beasts.
While we did our best to alleviate the psychological harm and trauma inflicted, and the bruises caused by brutal handling won’t last for long, it’s simply unacceptable to have people ostensibly representing the government acting like the muscle of the mafia.
We stood up to injustice in non-violent, lawful ways, and the authorities came down on us like thugs of a fascist, impostor government. Because that’s what they are. They get paid to inflict injustice on regular people, while we do it to stand up for a healthy, just society. It’s kind of sad that it takes some of us getting beaten up to make a tiny media blip, especially if it’s just in Murdoch press.
Yet without resistance, the next generation will be born into inescapable servitude, and no one will remember the god-given right to freedom, so many people in history have fought for. And as we are aware of the policy of intimidation to enforce pretend law, we will not give up.
Today the Mildly Amusing Action Squad (MAAS) staged another political fun-day at the USA consulate in Melbourne , in support of Wikileaks and protesting against the incarceration of Bradley Manning for more than two years without a trial and the international witch-hunt against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been declared an enemy of the United States Of America.
About 20 protesters assembled peacefully, holding up signs and banners and requesting a meeting with consulate officials in order to deliver a letter, but instead we were asked to leave by the building manager , who did not seem to understand that move-on and trespass laws do not apply to political protests in a public place or a place of business.
Victoria police were called, yet again (This was our 3rd sit-in), and after about 2 hours about 30 of the arrived to remove the protesters. Police did not seem to be aware of the constitutional law of 1914, section 28, whereby interfering with political liberties is actually a jailable offence. They claim allegiance to the Queen, yet do not uphold her laws. Hmmm.
As they started dragging people out one by one, some protesters left the building voluntarily, while the majority sat in a tight circle nd had to be removed and carried outside.
Meanwhile, outside, the police made several requests to obtain the IDs of those protesters who had left voluntarily , but were denied (nice try, officers) There was an attempt to arrest someone for not wanting to give his ID by falsely accusing that person of trying to deposit “burning litter”.(?) The resulting conversation was a primary example of how to talk to the police in this kind of situation and ultimately the officer in question had to abandon his request, as he had no legal leg to stand on whatsoever, it was all just intimidation tactics.
After everyone had exited the building ,some protesters sat on the ground singing “We shall Overcome” for about 10 minutes and then most slowly began to retreat to the cafe across the road.
Unfortunately ,some twenty minutes later, a single protester ,who had stayed behind to argue some points with police , was arrested (Presumably for no reason other than asking too many uncomfortable questions,) This led to everyone returning and a confrontation in which a number of people got pushed and hurt and one female protester who was caught in the middle, was brutally dragged into the street (in front of approaching cars) , handcuffed and thrown into a police van. She was then taken to a location about 5 km away, where she was dumped on the footpath, requiring medical attention. Another example of Victoria Police illegally apprehending people and doing as they please in an orgy of lawlessness.
While it is unlikely that any of this will go to court, as most people simply do not have the money to do so, reports against the conduct of certain officers will most certainly be filed. The public needs to know, that while they supposedly have legal rights to certain types of political communication , these rights are constantly undermined by the state, as protester groups are often too small to fight a system which has become fascist.
70-80% of Australians support Julian Assange and many opposed the war in Iraq in 2003 and continue to do so, yet the voice of the people continues to be gagged by the corporate state and it’s hired thugs. Another fun day at the US consulate. Would it not be easier for them to come and talk to us, rather than continuing to waste taxpayers funds on nonviolent protesters?