Why ‘Occupy’ is making the 99% poorer

By Ruth Limkin

Last night I sat with a group of business people and we strategised about how to help the poor, and expand programs which are feeding the disadvantaged. It was a great meeting, and I was encouraged at the generosity of people who want to make a tangible difference.

The meeting was a part of what I’ve been doing to try to raise funds for our Fresh Start Program. Fresh Start provides nutritious food parcels to disadvantaged families, along with recipes and cooking classes, plus has breakfast clubs in six schools. It costs money to help those who suffer from poverty, but it’s a privilege to spend ourselves on their behalf.

And then I got home and read this article, and this quote in particular, speaking about the damages caused by Occupy Brisbane protesters:  “Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says the protesters caused up to $30,000 of damage to the square during their three-week occupation. Council now faces a race against time to re-turf it before Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11.”

In three weeks, the Occupy Brisbane protesters caused damage which the 99% will have to pay for through council rates and taxes.

They wasted $30,000 – which could have fed a lot of hungry and malnourished children.

One of the Occupy protestors said, “What people have achieved in the last couple of weeks has been momentous. It’s been a protest about everything.”

In fact, it’s a sad irony that their misguided passion and lack of strategy has resulted in a big bill for the 99%, and no tangible difference for the poor.

Instead, maybe they should have worked hard, donated to charity and lobbied in more effective ways.

Why is that such a radical idea?



4 thoughts on “Why ‘Occupy’ is making the 99% poorer

  1. The logic is superficial and flawed here. If there can be a ‘trickle-down’ effect to economically help the poor, then why not a political one? Or should no political action be taken because it might cost money that could otherwise have been donated? Shall we cancel elections and close down charities so that the money can be given directly to those we argue should be the beneficiaries of justice and charity?

    1. Thanks for the comment and apologies if I didn’t make clear that I wholeheartedly believe that there should be political action.
      However, like I mentioned, I think that we should lobby and take political action in ‘more effective ways’ than creating damage to public property.

  2. Having managed a turf farm I very much doubt the damage is $30,000. More like $3,000. The $30,000 figure is a mayoral and media beat-up because we can’t have some ‘ferals’ pointing out uncomfortable and obvious truths.

    To quote NT Wright: “a world where we spend billions to bail out the big banks when they suddenly run out of cash; but don’t lift a finger to help the poorest of the poor who are paying the banks interest so the banks can get rich again”.

    1. Thanks. I wonder though, even if it is $3000, whether there’s not a better way to help the poor?
      I’m not sure what solutions, remedies or changes are being proposed by the protestors. I’m certainly not sure that camping in the city, and damaging public property (which the 99% have to pay to fix) is lifting a finger to help the poorest of the poor.

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