Occupy Victoria needs focus

The trouble with revolution is that no one pays attention unless the message is clear.

The trouble with revolution is that no one pays attention unless the message is clear. Occupy Victoria’s message isn’t. When you break down what the organizers of this locally proposed massive sit-in are saying, their protest signs will read: “Something is wrong; we can’t agree on what, we don’t have any solutions, but we want it to change.”

Try honking your horn to that.

The most successful revolutions in recent history have all had a solid, easy-to-understand goal. Beginning in the mid to late 1800s, in both the U.S. and the U.K., women took to the street to lobby for change to the electoral system. The message: “Give women the vote.” In the U.S., the Suffragettes won their fight in 1920, and the U.K. followed in 1921.

In the 1950s and ’60s, the American Civil Rights Movement had a clear aim to outlaw racial discrimination against African Americans and to restore voting rights in Southern states. The message was crystal clear: “Equality for all.” This message was delivered by boycotts, sit-ins, marches, nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience.

Similar tactics were used to protest the war in Vietnam when students and anti-conscription activists across the U.S. chanted, “Hell no, we won’t go” and “Make love, not war.” This particular protest was so on message that it could be summed up by a single sticker stuck to the back of a VW van — the tie-dyed peace symbol. Now that’s clarity.

This year, things turned violent when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched with the singular message to oust President Hosni Mubarak from office. When Mubarak stepped down, the protests stopped.

If Occupy Victoria wants to be taken seriously, it needs to become a force for positive change. Without direction, the youth of today are going to become known as “Generation Whine” rather than “Generation Y.”

How do you make that change? Start with one topic and work up from there. Youth is a strong, important and valuable voting block. Apathy at the polls makes your concerns easy to dismiss — but with barely 50 per cent of the adult population voting in government elections, it’s simple to hijack.

If, for example, the plight of Victoria’s underprivilged is an issue that you really care about, then why not gather all of that passion and voting power and put a candidate that shares your concerns, such as homeless advocate Rose Henry, onto city council. You have the power to do that. All it takes is organization, clear direction and the ability to follow through.

Camping out in Centennial Square does absolutely nothing to create positive change. It’s not a revolution. It’s a party.

You have a chance to make a real difference in this world, and I for one would love to see you not piss it all away. M

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