So what's up at OccupyWellington?
It was a grey day, and it's getting to that stage where people are tired. Same thing happened with #OccupyWallStreet on the Wednesday and Thursday of the first week - it'd got enough coverage so some people knew about it, but hadn't yet grown into anything much. Meanwhile the haters were having a field day. This is happening here as well.
Yesterday morning I witnessed Sean Plunket (talkback radio host) having a conversation on Twitter. His schtick was "Any of you poverty-stricken occupiers want to phone me on your Android and tell me what you want?" In other words, same bullshit that's been levelled at the movement in the US as well - clearly you aren't poor enough to be pissed off because you can afford gadgets. Because there's a validity-meter on your anger, and it's hooked up to your income.
You know what? Fuck that shit. I'm in the top tax bracket and I'm pissed off. Not because I'm starving but because I can see where these problems come from and where they lead and how they are affecting everybody but particularly the poor, and I think this is wrong. Is it any less wrong because I'm not poor myself? Is my anger any less valid because I'm not poor?
Didn't fucking think so. Here was my original post on this topic, and I stand by what I said.
Meanwhile, this conversation - someone replied going "I note the quality of some of the tents, clearly trust fund hippies." Because you know, the quality of your (potentially borrowed, potentially gifted, potentially paid for after saving for three years) tent is evidence of the income of your parents. About an hour later, there was "And there are some really crap tents there too, obviously some folks' parents were dole bludging hippies." Because those people there that are in their forties? Still dependent on their parents, clearly - parents' income apparently being the yardstick by which we measure the validity of dissent.
So yeah, if your tent's flash you're too rich to be legitimate and if your tent's crap you're too poor to be legitimate. I say bollocks to that, and how about these people stop flinging shit from a distance, get their arses down there and talk to some of the people involved to see what they're about.
I sent Mr Plunket this cartoon:
Along with a comment saying "Removal of business ideology from state policy." Which he ignored in favour of more snide commentary. Which is exactly what happened with #occupywallstreet just before shit got real and they started to get some real support.
Last night while I was down there I witnessed a CEO having a conversation with a young Asian guy about the aims of the occupation. The CEO was saying he supports the movement but because of his employment in X (valid conflict of interest) he could not visibly participate. But, he was willing to leave an anonymous message of support on the board and his presence boosted morale quite a bit. Also, the DomPost is bringing them a paper a day and contributed this article as well. And the Postal Workers Union is bringing them a mailbox so they can have an address.
This is the sort of support that lends legitimacy to the occupation. Their cause is legitimate, and despite the tendency of media and others to focus on the fringe elements and use them as an excuse to discredit the entire group, people are beginning to realise this is not just a fly by night thing, that these people have genuine concerns that aren't just relevant to 'trust fund hippies'.
When I asked last night what they needed, the message was clear: people. They have the camping covered, what they need is people to come and hang out during the day, drop by, say hi, maybe sit a while, talk to other people. Sign the board, say what your occupation is, just be another body in support of the movement. During the day when everyone's at work is when they find it hardest to keep up morale, so then is a good time to go say hi.
I plan on going down there most lunchtimes for this reason. I'm unable to camp because of my life responsibilities, but the movement needs people like me and I'm not going to be one of those that agrees with the cause but won't support it because I don't want to be branded a hippy, or I can't be arsed, or I think someone should do something about the problem (but not me).
The other thing you can do if you have access to a photocopier, is print some flyers and take them down for them to hand out. There are some here, and I also have one on pdf that contains information and a consensus statement from #occupywellington that says what they are about. If you'd like a copy of this (it's made so 4 will fit on an A4 page) to run some off, email me tatjna (at) gmail (dot) com. I'm taking them 200 at lunch time, maybe see you there?
In the background you can see the inspiration for this TradeMe ad, which cracked me up. ;-)
By the way, I've also been told that most of the occupiers are quite happy to drink tap water, so I suggest if you take them some, just label it as such so those who choose not to drink tap water can avoid it.
Today I'm gonna leave you with this:
And this, the latest DomPost article in which the comments could use some Tats LJ flist style snark, just saying.