Let’s get something straight: this movement has issued no demands. It is not a protest. It’s an occupation. Rebellions don’t have demands.
The above statement is from issue two of the Occupy Wall St Journal and in that spirit we are currently occupying the heart of our city. We’ve set up our tents and kitchens, we’ve put up our banners, and we are refusing to leave. As we reclaim the city we are reclaiming our own minds.
We are not just a handful of dreamers - we are realists. We are not stupid – we know something is very, very wrong with the world. We are not cowards – we are stepping up and putting ourselves forward to take part in this movement. We are not naïve – we know the problem is not a few greedy people ruining the system, the problem is a system based on greed that ruins people.
We are not alone. We are all over the world. In hundreds of cities on every continent, we are sharing tents, sharing food, sharing ideas and imagining a world where we share everything. We are trying to change it all from the bottom up. We are the 99%.
It has not been easy and it shows no signs of getting easier. Torrential rain and freezing cold temperatures have plagued occupiers from Auckland to Invercargill. There are other threats too - in New York, police brutality has become an everyday reality for the peaceful occupiers in Zucotti Park. In Melbourne and Sydney, our brothers and sisters have been dragged from their beds at 5am to be punched, kicked, elbowed, choked and dragged across the concrete by hordes of police. Across the world, peaceful protesters have been met with the full force of a violent system that will stop at nothing to keep itself alive. The longer we stay, the more people hear our message… and the more desperate the 1% become to shut us up.
Social change is never easy. The transformation of an unjust society into something better was never going to happen overnight, and it was never going to happen without the ruling financial elites lashing out and trying to scare us into backing down. Now more than ever we must stand our ground. We must remain together, we must remain warm, friendly and welcoming to all the people who can be engaged with our message of fairness, freedom and love. We must talk to each other, share our ideas and experiences, and find a way to take this movement forward. This is only the beginning of a struggle to change the world. We are taking on the entire might of the corporate power structure and its servants in the government and the state apparatus. While they have money and guns, we have koha and aroha. It is up to us, the 99%, to show the world which is more powerful. - Alastair and Joel