The Week That Was - Tunnel Picket
|Yum! Thank you Thuy.|
The first week of the tunnel picket has been full of surprises.
For one thing, I never expected it to be a gastronomic event. But yesterday, when I turned up during the bitterly cold afternoon with warm banana cake in hand, I found that picketers had already been sampling cheese and biscuits, nuts and fruit. And this morning, after the briefing, a supporter called Thuy fed us the most delicious Vietnamese noodles.
I think it's great that we are starting out as we mean to continue, by taking care of ourselves. After all that is what opposition to the East-West Link is all about, tending to ourselves and the environment. One of my fellow picketers reminded me of the crucial importance of that just yesterday.
Helen, who is a New Zealander, is a veteran of the Occupy movement. One thing she took from that experience is a hightened appreciation of the need for activists to protect themselves from burnout by being good to themselves.
Something that makes me feel particularly good is that there is so much communication going on. The organisers are great at keeping people in the loop and adept at using social media to maximise connection. Although a lot of pertinent information never appears in the conventional media, we get to hear about it anyway, an example being Tony Abbott's visit to Melbourne yesterday for a secret meeting with the State government to discuss the protests.
I am also enjoying the camaraderie, diversity and generosity of the group. Thuy's breakfast bounty is one example. Another was the offer by a resident of the flats that abut the site. Protestors are not allowed to enter the flats area without an invitation, so Pat has officially invited us all to knock at his door next time we need water. And Mel, a young woman from the Socialist Party, has offered herself as the point of contact, 24/7, should people notice any signs of drilling activity, at which point a volunteer 'hard core' rapid response group will head to the designated spot.
Another thing that makes me feel good is that at the moment we are doing well. Drilling has halted for the full week the picket has been underway. And as one of the organisers, Antony, put it: 'We are winning the propaganda war'. We have had some press coverage and it's becoming increasingly difficult for us to be dismissed as mere rabble or a 'rent-a-crowd'. As the charming policeman who appeared yesterday said, surprised: 'You look just like mums and dads.'
There were many 'mums and dads', as well as others, at the picket site at 6.30 this morning.
|Mums, Dads, Aunties, Uncles and others|
There has been nothing other than 'good cop' to date. But lots of us are nervous about what might come next. To assist with that, there is a workshop scheduled for this Sunday at 12 noon, with an experienced facilitator presenting on effective civil disobedience. For more information, contact
Although the drilling has been suspended this week, it's likely that the company's next move will be to erect a fence to keep opponents off the site. As the drilling company is only licensed to work Monday to Friday, and the police have indicated that the moratorium is only temporary, next Monday could well be the witching hour. We might then see a change of official attitude, even be faced with 'bad cop'. But if we have a large enough presence, it will obviously be more difficult to move us on.
200 is the magic number of desired picketers. So if you and your friends and family (including any mums and dads you might know) would like to join us at 6.30 am at the corner of Rutland Street and Alexandra Parade East next Monday you would be very very welcome.
|Come and join us!|