There is no “right way” to protest or otherwise advocate for change

Be polite they say, don’t graffiti they say, don’t smash a window to break un unjust law. Don’t block the road, don’t camp there. Fill out this complaint form, submit to this enquiry, accept the status quo.

I’ve always been a “good girl”, not rocking the boat, trying to make peace in a house, in a group. Trying to keep things calm at the expense of what I believed was just. So I’m new to all this. New to rocking the boat. Hell  I’ve not yet don’t a port blockade because my father works the tugs and my mother doesn’t approve. But I’m learning what boundaries I’m happy to push, while maintaining the fluffy pink outer shell and making others comfortable.

The federal Health Minister has visited the Hunter, announcing a new urgent care clinic for either Newcastle, or Lake Macquarie.While it’s good news for patients, some say more needs to be done to improve access to bulk-billing.
Recently on the local news, complaining that no-one bulk bills anymore – video is here

Protest can’t be effective if it doesn’t inconvenience SOMEONE. I find extreme weather cause by climate change pretty inconvenient, the people being killed by it the ecosystems being destroyed, so I don’t see it as an overreaction to block a coal train to disrupt supply or shut down peak hour traffic to bring attention to the cause. You’ll never make everyone happy.

This week was winter solstice, and Vinnies’ biggest fundraising gig of the year – the CEO sleepout. This is where bosses and other bigwigs pretend to be homeless for a night by sleeping in brand new Kathmandu sleeping bags with Visy branded cardboard to protect them from any elements that may appear in the football field or parliament underground carpark that night. They get to network and go to sleep with a full belly, able to sleep through the night undisturbed by the weather, nightmares from trauma, police moving them on, critters at their toes or dickheads walking home from the pub trying to provoke them

How lovely and clean is the parliament house underground carpark? There’s toilet onsite, and guards to keep away those pesky actual homeless people who might see it as better than sleeping under the Lake Burley Griffin bridges. People have been pointing out the flaws in the event for years.

Mel aka Artist Affame is a good friend and recently too on the convener role at the Antipoverty Centre. She uses her wealth of “lived experience” to advocate for change, using her art to bring more eyes in, and has learned amazingly well how to express herself through her art and writing, and through the “proper channels” of meeting with politicians and attending consultation events and being generally awesome.

That didn’t stop her state’s premier’s media teams from blocking her on Twitter this week for questioning why he’d do the CEO sleepout when he has the power to actually change things for poor and homeless people in South Australia. or Vinnies themselves from also blocking her this week (they’ve previously blocked other antipoverty activists) after questioning the efficacy of the sleepout, and why they’d be doing that while still exploiting people through work for the dole. But I don’t think we have laws here where you can’t block your constituents for asking questions of you.

So, we’ll keep taking you petitions to ignore, making submission you’ll ignore and going through peer led advocacy which you’ll ignore, while you have lunch with ACOSS and still ignore their recommendations to stop keeping people poor. We held out hope that the Robodebt’s revealed horrors would be dealt with by the corruption commission, but no, people just got to remain nameless and move on. So, at some stage people are going to get more than a little frustrated that going through the right channels, being polite, being calm, that they’re not getting them anywhere.

And then we’ll see things burn.

drawing of a frog with a molitov cocktail with text be the light you want to see in the world

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