Statement by Occupy Workplaces

Statement - 21 October 2011 - by Occupy Workplaces via Facebook It might surprise some that despite a global economy in the most profound and sustained crisis since the Great Depression, that the top layer of bosses and executives in Australia are still raking it in. During this recent period of recovery in Australia, profits have soared by 27.5% to a record share of the national economy. You would think that after the hardship and tax-payer funded pump priming, that maybe ordinary people would be getting a bigger piece of these Super Profits? Well, no. Wages' share is now the lowest it's been since 1964! And despite all the political rhetoric about supporting 'working families', a person living on the minimum wage still scrapes by on just over $30k a year ($15/hr). Over the past year executive pay rose by 17.2%, while the average wage of a full-time worker rose by just 5.2%. And basic living expenses are soaring through the roof!

Many workers lost their jobs and large chunks of their compulsory superannuation contributions as a result of the latest crisis in capitalism—yet the CEOs continue to have the gall to syphon off $10 million PLUS salaries. And that's before all the perks we don't hear about. A typical CEO in Australia now takes home almost 100 times that of the average worker! And what do they really do to make this much money?? And more importantly, where does all this money come from? At the end of the day, the answer is that it comes from us.

Is the system working for us, the 99%, or is it all about the profits of that tiny minority? We sometimes put up with these injustices because we think there is no alternative, but now we see all over the world that the 99% are gaining in confidence and shaking things up.

Are you content to go to work making these obscene profits for your managers, or would you rather more time to spend with your family and friends, and doing productive things to help your community? With the squeeze that's on us, many of us don't get to even ask ourselves the question. When you look at the boom and slump economic model that we work within, it is apparent that it's only ever the wealthy that ever really benefit from the periods of strong economic growth. We get modest pay increases that barely keep up with inflation, and far from economic development making our lives better, Australians now work the longest hours amongst all the OECD countries—up to 7 hours of often unpaid overtime.

Over the previous decades we've seen our public services sold off and run into the ground. It's simply not true to say that we have a public healthcare or education system. Everything is being run for profit, and workers everywhere are being encouraged to work harder for less. There never seems to be the money in the system for a decent maternity leave scheme or doing something about the catastrophic climate change that is fast approaching. Yet there is always money for these massive CEO salaries, and to fund the policies that devastate worker both here and overseas—the racist NT Intervention, mandatory detention, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And when the system we live in goes into crisis it's ordinary workers and the poor, the 99%, who are being asked to pick up the bill for the crisis. As in the US, Australia's corporate elites are unaccountable and out of control. Our democracy is paltry at best—both parties serve the interests of this 1% before the rest of us. It's time for us to something about it.



I'm intrigued if there has been any attempt at dialogue for change. When visiting Spain recently, the occupation of Catalunya Plaza was centred around discussion and the group formation of alternatives to present to governments, community, business etc. This kind of initiative will see the protesters be taken more seriously, with a cause and expected outcome, rather than just a few headlines.

Because all major change comes from dialogue. What the 1% want is talk. Just talk. Dialogue. Preferably with the 99% doing the talking. Just like a slimy leech attached to your leg sucking your blood while injecting poison to make the blood flow easier would like you to talk to it rather than TAKE ACTION...

Oh and "taken more seriously"? This is a thinking style that may need to change... who is taking you seriously? and why does it matter? take the power back! WE decide who WE take seriously!

Here are some lessons we have unlearned after seven days living together at Occupy Sydney:
We don’t need leaders in order to decide;
We don’t need competition in order to survive;
We don’t need bosses in order to organise;
We don’t need money in order to find food;
We don’t need a war in order to find peace;
We don’t need countless possessions in order to find happiness;
We don’t need to take power in order to bring about change;
Hopefully we can continue to unlearn together and change our world for the better.

Are those the lessons learnt, or the ones unlearnt? Because at the moment you appear to be saying that those lessons are things that you have unlearnt, and I think you meant the opposite.

Occupy is a lost cause. You are not the voice of the 99%. You are the 1% you losers. Average age - too young in time or mind to know shit from clay. Some of you will grow up one day and own small businesses or big companies. You will learn to appreciate profit and differentiate between growth and greed. You might even work out the definition of greed if you actually get off your arses like the real 99%. Occupy personifies greed by wanting something for nothing. What are you bringing to the table? What are you actually doing? Contributing? Creating? If you don't have skills - learn some. Life is actually wonderful for vast majority. But you'd rather be the miserable minority sitting on your misguided arses wouldn't you? Good luck with that.

Actually I'd like to be in a motivated majority working together rather than in competition, I tried employment for a while: didn't like it. The boss was a bastard and the manager slimy. I came home each day exhausted and depressed knowing for sure that all the effort I had put in had only made the world a worse place and that I had neither the funds nor the influence to change it for the better and worse yet was drained and uninterested in spending my leisure time outside of my house.

The occupation of Melbourne inspired me, I was no longer bumming around depressed I was working towards a common goal, I could rove around the camp and find jobs to do and I knew my labour would be returned in kind. The people I met there were some of the most interesting and engaged I'd ever met and the social justice work we did (feeding the homeless and mentally ill and giving them a safe place to sleep at night without fear of being moved on) will stay with me as one of my proudest achievements.

I don't really think I can explain it, but basically it was a place were you could be an individual on your own terms, rather than buying individuality from a store, a place where the idealists came together and just tried things out.