The 30A Mobilisation of Dissent
a message orginally posted 4 September 2005

Thank you! Thank you to all who converged on Forbes.

We were few but valiant. We did best we could. Bearing witness to corporate greed, we pushed edges artfully and we got noticed.

One of the things our witness revealed was how far gone is New South Wales as a police state. Our attempts at negotiating peaceful protest were denied, delayed, frustrated and obstructed.

Whatever well meaning police liaison officers might find agreement upon, come the time, the Operations Support Group (OSG), knuckle heads, paramilitias in blue overalls, black boots and tight belts, guns and elan, made the decisions. And the OSG command has it fixed in its bony head that protest equals public safety risk and thus it is their duty to neutralised, minimised and marginalised public expressions of dissent.

And they know they are right of course because they have guns and uniforms and we are but the rag tag poor. They will never see that the wall of fear that they create with ostentatious displays of police power is what prevents us from being any more than the ragtag poor.

How can we gather a broad based crowd of peaceful and concerned citizens if the police frustrate the means to do this by denying us access to public space, by denying us the means to make it pleasing for a crowd, by denying us planned production time, and most of all, by denying us the assurance of safety.

In these times resistance, needs be, takes on chaotic form, small cells operating with minimum communication and minimal organisational coherency, acting quickly and unexpectedly. Fleas biting in the skin folds of an elephant.

Or as K. said: "Dancing in the cracks of a decaying society."

And so it was that in the confusion of events and with our limited means, with the frailties of our bodies and in the face of a hostile corporate state, we stood together like tall trees, as friends and bore witness for peace, for justice and a sustaining Earth in these times.

Many friendships were affirmed. And for all the confusion, the fruit of our efforts was heartening. We got noticed and sustained our resistance to the Earth devouring, freedom denying, poverty making corporate state.

There are many I want to thank for their good work on the 30A mobilisation. Here are a few from the top of my list.

Heartfelt gratitude to Bob for his high energy commitment to 30A preparations. Silk screening this, fetching that, fixing this, making that, postering there and performing here, he was a human dynamo. It was Bob and our mate Joey who were in the costumes of the news pic of Ned Kelly arresting a Prime Minister Howard who wearing a US flag nappy and offering Australia as a cake for sale. That arresting, iconic image went out on Reuters to be printed and seen about the globe.

Big thank you to Bruce and Vince for their planning, preparation and web work. Hail the people skills of Bruce and the web skills of Vince! was a mighty powerful tool.

Dear thanks to Kirsten and Simon the Fireman for their good work in Union liaison. The immediate fruit of their efforts was small but they carried a light for liberty and direct action amongst an otherwise demoralised and benighted Union leadership. Lighting just one lit candle will dispel darkness.

They we also my partners and witness bearers in police liaison, efforts likewise frustrated and largely fruitless. But along the way we shared many a belly laugh. Thank you for coming along on the ride.

May K. hear my heartfelt admiration and gratitude for his dedication and artful efforts. Urban warrior on a scooter, stencil artist extraordinaire, dancer in the cracks of new possibilities.

Thanks to the residents of STUCCO for hosting the 30A Creative Workshop. It was a magic time for me, old man in a garden of youth and bright intelligence. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality. And special thanks to Phoung's mum for doing flag sewing.

A big thank you to Jess and her band of grrls for helping make the backpack skelly puppets and dancing them in the streets.

Thanks to the all the young warriors of all the student/mutiny blocs. Because of my police liaison work I wasn't trusted to know what you were doing or planning. So it had to be. But I was ever cheering your artful actions on.

Peacebus companion and fellow grey haired nomad, John Peace, though ill and frail, came to join me at STUCCO and where he quietly laboured to prepare flags, build the backpack puppets and be of service. In Customs House Square on 30 August, in response to threats by OSG police, John stood proud and strong before the Eureka flag and signalled by his fierce determination, that they would not take it down without an epic struggle.

On the evening of 1 September while to CEOs were occupying the Art Gallery of NSW (and denying general public access for the day and night) it was only John and I, in the witness of Kirsten and Simon, who carried lanterns to the police lines. Two old mates bearing light together. Thank you for the companionship dear friend. The peace road goes on and on.

And finally I want to thank our police liaison officers, Andrew Lahey and Leanne Wells, for their companionship on the path to 30A. The outcome of our negotiations in the two week lead up was ultimately betrayal. But it was the over the top policing response that gave 30A its leg up media and got us noticed. And it was Andrew who carried the messages.

Some of the most interesting and searching conversations I had about my mission and purpose during 30A preparations were with Andrew. He was well researched (he had access to police "Intell" and he had read, quick witted, responsive, attentive, respectful and in the end genuinely disappointed and contrite when the final betrayal was made from on high.

If asked to do it again even knowing the inevitability of betrayal, I would. Lao Tsu sez: "The Master trusts people who are trustworthy. She also trusts people who aren't trustworthy. This is true trust." And Andrew the long time undercover cop, would know exactly what Lao Tzu was talking about.

Many stories to be told. But the big story is that in the contest of culture making in this time, Forbes came to Sydney town and we nailed them as masters of greed, war whores and poverty pimps.

Courage in the face of tyranny, echoes of Eureka!

May all who read this take heart.

May all beings be happy.

Graeme Dunstan


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