Sunday, October 30, 2011

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

I just wanted to stop in and say the reason I've been absent from my own blog for so long is because I've been furiously working on my first novel, and I'm half way there. (I have selected a cover photo)...kidding!

Over the last 8 years or so I have received so much support from the blogosphere, which has strengthened me and made me believe I could actually do this thing I never ever previously believed that I could. Some of you have remained anonymous, and some have become real life friends.

So hang in there and be patient with me, I would love to share this collection of words with you all, and to let you know how much every comment has buoyed me and given me the belief to unleash a framed narrative that's a lot like Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales', only if it was written by Douglas Coupland and the screenwriter for Bruce Willis' 'Die hard Trilogy'.

I have purposefully avoided all of the rules of novel writing- it has no clear prologue, middle, beginning, end, denouement, epilogue or anything else stucturally related, and my use of semicolons is wanton and disrespectful to the Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.

It will take you some places that exist here in the real world that you wouldn't otherwise get to see, and believe it or not, there is absolutely no sex.

But you still might like it, so check back every couple of months, because I'm doing this for you.

I will link to it from here- it will get a blog of it's own, and it will be free for all.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Regarding the 'Occupy Melbourne' Protests.

Thankfully these protests have been gaining traction in the media of late, because the message is important, it affects most of us, and it is a good sign the media blackout and denial have lifted.

I agree with the message, that being, poor people shouldn't pay more tax than rich people, that Governmental representation should be equal for all people; not just those with money, that lobby groups that leverage lawmakers are funded by massive corporations, and that basically; most of everything is owned by a tiny minority, while the rest of us have to pay to live on planet Earth.

And we've all heard the argument- "They should spend more time working jobs than occupying the city". Sounds like a prima facie fair assessment, if it weren't for the fact that thousands and thousands of people in this country alone did work jobs, lost them when those jobs were farmed overseas to increase profit for the shareholders, and now have nothing to do but look for new jobs and protest about the unfair situation we're in.

With all that said, there is a right and wrong way of going about things.

In the link below you can watch a video of police moving protesters on:

This is their job, they were ordered to do it, and there is nothing wrong with moving protesters on when they have been formally informed that they have a time limit (which was generous in the first place), and that time limit has passed.

When you look at the footage, it shows standard operational tactics being employed, those tactics being correct usage of non aggressive body language (walking with arms clasped together at the front), moving the crowd back in a line and only using proportional force to the threat when necessary. If someone pushes back, it's assault, and they get dragged out of the line and cuffed. How much it hurts is entirely contingent upon their level of cooperation.

But I'm not writing this about the police, I want to talk about the protesters.

Who was the police liason for the protest group? Why didn't they brief the protesters in the correct way to act in a media based non violent action?

When the police move the line forward, you can clearly hear protesters screaming "Get your hands off me!", and generally screaming in general. No one was beating them. They were free to leave at any time, and if they put their hands up and broke the line, they would have been escorted away, not grabbed and dragged.

The point here is that screaming is not conducive to non violent protest. Non violent protest involves singing non confrontational and peaceful songs, linking arms, sitting down, staying calm, and above all- having someone in charge who at all times stands with and communicated with the police officer tasked with liason with the protesters.

If they really wanted to stay, they shouldn't scream at police and on camera, they should lock themselves to something with thumb cuffs (available from any sex shop) or a bicycle lock, and make their point that way.

Before you accuse me of being an armchair critic, I should point out that in the late '90s I was the nonviolent action coordinator for The Wilderness Society, North Queensland Conservation Council, The Sydney Environmental Defenders Office, and many other groups, leading peaceful and successful demonstrations all over Australia. My job was to brief all protestors in what is and isn't acceptable in a non violent action campaign, and to ensure those orders were carried out, or I would personally hand over any non compliant protesters to the police liason officer myself. I also shared my knowledge in lecture tours of all major Australian Universities.

If you want to have a protest or demonstration, the eyes of the world are on you more than ever. The media plays the biggest part in all of this now, and if you manage your protest effectively, you reach the eyes and ears of the REAL 99%.

If you mess it up acting like screaming victims of police brutality that isn't happening, the people on the other side of the TV screen write your cause off as anarchist bullshit, and you have lost the people you need to further build the momentum of your movement.

Downtown occupation isn't the point. It's only phase one. It's an emotional leaflet drop.

You need to reach the people at home. They need to sympathise with you and your cause (and this won't happen when everyone is wearing kaftans and dreadlocks, sorry). And when they sympathise, letters get written to politicians, massive boycotts are organised against offending companies, criminal proceedings are handed out to guilty politicians and bankers, and then you get the system you want.

It's a long drawn-out process, and you don't get two chances to get Mr and Mrs suburbia involved. Don't write them off as sheep, they are your target audience.

Appeal to them, and get them on board.

In the meantime, stop with the histrionics and disorganised campaigning, and work out how to get your message across positively utilising all forms of media.

Round 1: You've failed.

I'd quickly like to link to a blog that offers a differing perspective even though I don't agree with their thoughts on police tactics. I'm tired, so I won't go point-by-point, but if the author at a later stage wants to have a meaningful debate on it, I'd be happy to.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.