PAVEMENT OCCUPIES LA: The Movement Finds It’s Message
The protest at City Hall in Los Angeles that L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez recently called an “endless slumber party” is waking up. A decidedly spirited, focused 400 person, unpermitted march through the streets of Los Angeles on the evening of November 3rd was peaceful and without incident.
The under reported, unpermitted action was focused primarily on police brutality and solidarity with the Oakland occupation and promoted support of an emerging plan for a general strike. Protesters said the march was aimed at empowerment to make the point that there is strength in numbers.
A young black man in his 20’s addressed the crown across the street from City Hall just after the march; “I want to remind everyone here that there has been no acts of violence in Los Angeles, this is a global movement.” he words amplified by a bull horn, “We will stand up and defend ourselves.”
The LAPD continues their current tactic of peaceful tolerance with the demonstrators. LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said yesterday the LAPD does not have any plans to evict the protesters at this time and is promoting nonviolence. “I think it’s a great opportunity for people to get together and express their First Amendment rights and make some changes that they want to make. On the other hand there are some concerns that this isn’t the proper place to do it. Hopefully we can find a balance and find a solution so everyone can get along, be heard and have a peace nonviolent solution.”
At the assembly after the march on the steps near the south lawn just outside the Mayor’s office the conversation has begun include the idea of implementing community norms in an effort contain the highly criticized chaos at Occupy Los Angeles.
Like the Civil Right Movement that started in Montgomery Alabama that was originally intended to be a one-day boycott, Occupy LA is fueled by the kind of anger and frustration that when organized potentially results in policy change. From its origin in 1955, the Civil Rights Movement resulted in The Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act.
The voices of Occupation in Los Angels are many and though they represent a wide range of specific issues, they are aligned along common themes, political corruption, the banking system, corporate greed and the many forms of oppression of the underclass.
Julia Wallace is a member of the Committee to End Police Brutality at Occupy LA. She was front and center for last nights march. “So many of us been harassed, beaten, targeted, followed and killed by the police. What’s our solution? Oakland is showing us that the solution is to organize labor through a general strike, to come together and say no more. We are going to use our economic weapon as members of the working class to fight back. The point is to start the discussion of organizing a general strike. We need 7-11 and hotels and janitors. We need to go to the union halls and talk to them and organize for power. We’re going to organize the working class against police brutality. We have the power. We have the numbers. There’s no amount of helicopters that can change that. We need to organize ourselves against the capitalists system. Organize, occupy, strike, power!” she chants and the crowd joins in. We need 7-11 and hotels and janitors. We need to go to the union halls and talk to them and organize for power.
John, a gay man in his 50’s from Los Angeles has been in the camp for weeks; “I’m here as a queer man representing my community. People are attempting build a new kind of community. People want an end to oppression.”
Occupy LA has been widely criticized for the carnival atmosphere where people with mental health issues from nearby skid row have become part of the camp; “That’s part of the problem that we’re trying to address here,” John says, “we don’t have good mental health facilities. This is a place where people are trying to at least treat people with compassion.”
Willie, a white man visiting from Wisconsin in a suite and tie in his late 60’s came by after drug reform conference at a downtown hotel. “I haven’t gotten to tear gassed since the 70s. This demonstration has a good formal look to it. It’s impressive. Too many people are listing to Rush Limbaugh. Government is wasting money on foreign wars. There are so many problems. There are many things to address. This country is going down the tube.
Max is a white man in his late 20’s focused exclusively on the economics and see’s the action against police brutality as off topic. He is a fixture at Occupy LA teaching economics on site.
“These people are coming together acknowledging that there is something terribly wrong with the efficiency of the economy. [They are] Bearing the burden of change.
We want to be recognized as financial equals. That’s not what we’re doing with the financial system that we have rite now. The main issue with the economy is that we all end up becoming submitted or forced investors in extremely large investment firms. Once we can establish a central accounting platform that enables us to comprehend everything that happening our economy and we can efficiently move resources to and from our public institutions. The it’s going to be the abundance of resources that enables us to address the other problems that are principally suffocating from the fact that we cant get resources to them in the first place; Poverty, education, ecology. We take care of the inefficient economy first, make it fair by establishing everyone as an financially equal, convert backs into regular investment firms, get rid of tax revenue to move more efficiently, then well have the resources to address other things.
Max sees the solution to the problem as education in the form of information.
“Rite now people still believes that banks is a legitimate business. That single idea that we need these institutions to be around, once they get past that and we demand that the Treasury establish a central accounting platform, then we can actually get out of here. I don’t want spend my life here,” he says.