imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

latest news
best of news



CopWatch LA


A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network: africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Occupy San Diego Draws Thousands Downtown Oct. 15

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Despite attacks by police wielding pepper spray and Mace, confiscation of their possession and a series of threats to evict them forcibly from the Civic Center Plaza, over 1,000 members and supporters of Occupy San Diego reclaimed their downtown space October 15. The day was busy, including three marches and two rallies as well as Occupy San Diego's usual open discussion about its goals.

Occupy San Diego Dra...
10_15_march_1_w_curtis.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x517

Occupy San Diego Draws Thousands Downtown Oct. 15
Failed Police Raid Doesn’t Stop the Anti-Corporate Activists


Copyright © 2011 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

PHOTOS, top to bottom:
March from Balboa Park to the Civic Center
Activists at the Civic Center
Michael Anderson
Chuck Stemke
Lorena Gonzalez
Justin Akers Chacón
The “independent” who called for Occupy and the Tea Party to unite
Martin Eder
Two shots of the 4 p.m. march

The police attempted to shut down Occupy San Diego and drive its anti-corporate activists out of the Civic Center Plaza downtown October 13 and 14. They threatened them with ever-changing deadlines — first midnight on the 13th, then 7 that night, then 6 a.m. on the 14th. They confiscated all their tents but one, which they allowed to stay as a symbol. They arrested two activists and assaulted others with pepper spray. But on Saturday, October 15 the occupiers came roaring back for a long day including a long-planned rally against austerity at Sixth and Grape in Balboa Park and a march to the Civic Center. Some of the occupiers defied police by starting at the Civic Center, marching to Sixth and Grape for the rally, and then marching back! After the march, protesters staged another rally, this one under Occupy’s own auspices and considerably more free-form than the one in the park, and after a short break they went off on their regular 4 p.m. march through downtown, followed by an open debate at 5 on the purposes and future of their action.

Occupy San Diego is an offshoot of the worldwide Occupy movement, which started five weeks earlier in the streets of New York as Occupy Wall Street. The New York activists were in turn inspired by the marches and rallies held by fed-up activists in Arab countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, which in the first two countries actually brought down long-established dictatorships. The Occupy movement has been criticized for not having a formal leadership structure or a pre-set list of demands, but its members clearly regard that as a strength, not a weakness. Certainly there was a dramatic contrast between the two rallies. The one in Balboa Park was a more traditional Leftist event, with speakers clearly identified and carefully selected to represent the groups in the coalition that had put it together. The Occupy event was much more elastic, with many speakers identifying themselves either by first names only or not at all, taking advantage of an open mike, talking about their personal experiences at the occupation site and telling their own stories to explain why they were there.

Not that there wasn’t a good deal of overlap between the events. The speakers in Balboa Park tended to be more specific about particular issues, while the Occupy speakers tended to speak more generally about what they feel corporations and their handmaidens in elective office have done to the U.S. and the world. But there was a great deal of passion at both rallies. Miguel, who MC’d the Balboa Park event, began it with a complaint about the state’s increases in community college tuition and how they’re cutting off an entire generation from higher education. “A simple fee increase of $10 [per unit] means a 30 percent reduction in the number of students that can afford to go to college,” he said. “There is money for war because it’s more profitable to bomb someone that looks like me than to give a youth a future.”

Ashley, a young student at UCSD, said similar things at the Civic Center about how the cutbacks in state education funding have affected her personally, not only by making her education more expensive but also harder to get into the classes she needs. “We’re sitting in 500-person classrooms and not learning anything,” she said. “We are finding out who our class oppressors are. Our response must include both action and serious reflection. We have to take what we’ve learned in the classrooms and do something with it.”

A woman named Kathy spoke in Balboa Park on behalf of the California Nurses’ Association and Nurses United. “Everyone knows our health-care system is not fair,” she said. “Millions of people in this country are denied health care. The system is corrupt and insurance companies have got rid of people who are really sick, just to save themselves money. We believe in fairness in health care and not only taxing the rich, but changing the entire system. Former governor Schwarzenegger called us a ‘special-interest group.’ Our interest is you and the welfare of the entire community.”

Michael Anderson, Queer activist with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) and one of the “Equality Nine” facing prosecution for a sit-in at the San Diego County Clerk’s office in August 2010, gave a roaring speech lambasting the Obama administration because all it’s done for Queer rights is repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy forbidding Queers from serving openly in the U.S. military. As far as Anderson is concerned, Queers shouldn’t want to serve in the U.S. military because all they’ll be doing is fighting, killing and dying to promote U.S. imperialism and the ability of U.S. corporations to rip off the resources of other countries.

“While our government spends a disproportionate amount of money on the war machine, Uncle Sam comes decorated with a rainbow pin and a finger pointed at you and says, ‘I want you,’” Anderson said. “He ignored us and demanded our silence in the 1980’s when the AIDS crisis first hit. He made us criminals in our own bedrooms until recently, and is still refusing us health care, surgery for Transgender people and protection against discrimination in employment. Homophobia in the law is rampant in this country. The government refuses to give benefits to the same-sex partners of [Queer] people in the military. We don’t even get the knock on the door to tell us our partner has died in combat. But we are being invited to join the military to keep imperialism going, make profits for the arms dealers and grab the resources of other countries. Uncle Sam may want me, but I say, ‘No, thank you.’”

Another S.A.M.E. and Equality Nine member, Chuck Stemke, led off Occupy San Diego’s own rally at the Civic Center. “We’ve been occupying this space for one week,” he said, “and yesterday we faced attacks from the police. Six months ago I was on my computer watching the demonstrations from Egypt, and the number of people occupying Tahrir Square. They had to face attacks from police and thugs. They stayed there, and every weekend they were joined by thousands of people, It’s a cult of resistance, it’s spread around the world and now it’s come to San Diego.”

Stemke called on Occupy San Diego members and supporters to “find the workers who are under attack” — including teachers and postal workers, both of whom face the threat of massive layoffs — and bring them into the movement. “We have terminal discontent in this country,” he said. “This movement will not die. If the Egyptians could overthrow a dictator who’d been entrenched for 30 years, we can overthrow a system that’s been screwing us for decades.”

Lorena Gonzalez, CEO and secretary-treasurer of the San Diego/Imperial Counties Central Labor Council, spoke at the Civic Center and asked the crowd for acknowledgment that the labor movement was supporting Occupy but wasn’t trying to dominate it. “I am proud to be a first-generation American, a Christian, a mother, a union leader and a member of the 99 percent,” she said — referring to Occupy’s rallying cry that they aren’t part of the richest 1 percent of America’s population who owns 50 percent of the nation’s wealth.

“Nothing we have done in the last 120 years has been as profound and got as much attention for workers’ rights” as the Occupy movement, said Gonzalez. “So when people say our problems are because trash collectors make too much money, or teachers make too much money and their class sizes are too small, or immigrants are here in this country, we say no. We’re going to target the real people who destroyed our economy.” Gonzalez ended her speech by promising the Occupy members that “as long as you accept us, we will be part of you.”

“I’m just 23, I’m not part of a corporation, and I’ve never had a political job, but San Diego, the U.S.A. and the world are my home and I’ve enjoyed every one of my 23 years,” said an unidentified young man. “This is my sixth day here. This is all we own. We’ve had a lot of things taken away. They took our tents. We don’t need tents. We don’t need shelter. We don’t need sleeping bags. You can take the pillow out from under my head and you can take the shirt off my back, this is still my home.”

“I’m not a political person,” said another unidentified young man at the Civic Center who came to the rally with an orange shirt, a guitar and an impressive head of long hair. “I just got sucked into this. Ever since I turned 18, my family threw me out of the nest and called me ‘lazy’ because I don’t have a job. I couldn’t get a job because my hair is long. Now I’m taking steps to pursue my goals, but I’m tired of Uncle Sam saying, ‘You can’t be top dog, you’re poor.’ I want my own home one day. I want to feed the people in the U.S., but how can I do that if I can’t even feed myself? I love you all and I’m glad the people are taking a stand and are sick of the corruption.”

Justin Akers Chacón, a San Diego City College teacher and union member, questioned the labor movement’s commitment to the goals of Occupy. “In our union we voted unanimously to endorse this campaign,” he said, “but then we started talking about joining Democratic campaigns and working within the Beltway. In this movement we’re taking control of our own destiny, and in every single space we are going to have to define what democracy means. We’re going to have to rebuild the tradition of bottom-up organizing, where every person is heard.”

Occupy San Diego’s willingness to listen to every voice was tested by a man who came up wearing a Ron Paul for President T-shirt and said he’d been attending Tea Party rallies for four months and called for “a happy medium” in which Occupy and the Tea Party could work together. “The point is to unify,” he said through a hail of boos from the crowd. “The Tea Party is angry at the 1 percent, just like you are, and if you don’t realize that, you will lose. I’m an independent. Learn about the message from the middle. If we stay divided, we will not win.”

By sheer chance, the next speaker after the self-proclaimed “independent” who urged Occupy to work with the Tea Party was Martin Eder, veteran Left activist and founder and director of Activist San Diego. “I don’t know what to say after that,” Eder began, “but I’m here representing the Left. We understand that the corporations have taken over education and culture, and if the Tea Party people can see through the brainwashing, we should welcome them. If they can stand with the unions, against the wars and for the rights of LGBT [Queer] people, we should welcome them.” (Ironically, Ron Paul is the only Republican Presidential candidate who has called for an end to the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.)

“I have been active a lifetime, since I saw the horrors in Viet Nam,” Eder said. “I saw the horrors. Millions were killed and genocide was committed in our name. It still is, and when we say ‘death and destruction,’ it’s not just American lives. You can hear the cries of the Iraqi and Afghan people.” Eder also noted that “this is the first time since the 1960’s and 1970’s that I’ve heard the word ‘revolution.’ We need a new Declaration of Independence against the plutocracy, against the corporations that have us enslaved. We need a new Constitution that recognizes the rights of the people and puts the corporations at the bottom of the pole, not the top. There is an empire based in New York and Washington, D.C., and it needs to be brought down.”

The rally at the Civic Center was disrupted by two people. One was a woman who came with a fifth of vodka in her purse and a bandage around one arm. The other was a man who proclaimed that he was running for President and asked people to visit his Facebook page. Ironically, though he was denied access to the (otherwise) open mike, the issue he wanted to address was one that the anti-corporate Left considered central a decade ago but which none of the speakers brought up: the recent overwhelming approval by the U.S. Senate of pro-corporate, U.S. job-killing “free trade agreements” with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

After the rally the occupiers rested briefly and then regrouped for their daily 4 p.m. march through downtown. Though the businesses in the financial district were closed, the activists had fun yelling abusive, sometimes obscene slogans against Bank of America and Wells Fargo as they passed their headquarters. They made sure a few people stayed behind to secure the one symbolic tent left at the Civic Center from any attempt by the police to remove it. Then they returned for another scheduled event, a 5 p.m. open discussion to work out the movement’s priorities and goals.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Activists at the Civic Center

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Activists at the Civ...
10_15_civic_center_crowd.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Michael Anderson

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Michael Anderson...
10_15_anderson.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x978

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Chuck Stemke

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Chuck Stemke...
10_15_stemke.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x800

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Lorena Gonzalez

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Lorena Gonzalez...
10_15_gonzalez.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x761

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Justin Akers Chac?n

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Justin Akers Chac?n...
10_15_akers.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x718

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

"Independent" who called for Occupy, Tea Party to unite

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

10_15_tea_partier.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 602x710

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Martin Eder

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Martin Eder...
10_15_eder.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x658

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

4 p.m. march pic 1

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

4 p.m. march pic 1...
10_15_4_p.m._march_1.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

4 p.m. march pic 2

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

4 p.m. march pic 2...
10_15_4_p.m._march_2.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Local News

Families Protest Abusive Foreclosure Practices of Wells Fargo Bank A26 10:37AM

How is CCSA's Ref Rodriguez hiding his billionaire and ideologue contributors? A21 12:08PM

What drives charter profiteer Ref Rodriguez? A21 12:04PM

Los Angeles Artist Threatens 40 Million Dollar Law Suit for Public Storage Illegal Auction A20 4:08PM

RAC-LA Community Center Grand Opening A20 1:44PM

KPFK and Pacifica- woes unrelenting... A19 4:20PM

RAC-LA Community Center Badly Needs Your Support A14 10:09PM

Meet Green elected school board members, Sunday, March 29 in LA - 4pm M26 2:36AM

Californians Shame Regulators For Teaching Big Oil How To Skirt Law and Pollute Our Water M25 5:28PM

Next "Star Wars" to score in Los Angeles for First Time in Franchise History M25 10:43AM

Los Angeles Stands Up for Women's Rights M10 9:25PM

American Flag Banned from UC Irvine M06 10:38PM

Conversations with 3 HOLES AND A SMOKING GUN M06 5:27PM

Indymedia and the Cyber Left M01 4:03PM


Open Letter to LA indymedia re hardly any more comments F27 12:07PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Rescued Animals go Back to the Jungle with Help from Peru’s Armed Forces A27 1:50PM

CDC Lies In Calling Cigarettes The Number 1 Cause Of Preventable Death A27 12:10PM

Aftershocks Pummel Highly Indebted Nepal: Poor Country Spends 217 Million Annually on Debt A27 7:56AM

Philippine Women's Group Gabriela blast President Aquino A27 6:09AM

A Divided Society A27 4:55AM

Media Activism in Argentina A26 7:25PM

Actualización del golpe de estado en Honduras en marzo de 2015 A26 4:16PM

Explication of Salient Events : fbi As Criminal Sovereignty A24 9:48AM

350 McDonalds Shut Down Since January 350 More Scheduled To Close A24 6:29AM

Les prisons intérieures A23 10:56PM

The Shortwave Report 04/24/15 Listen Globally! A23 2:46PM

Severely Injured Animals and Corrupt Cops A23 12:23AM

USA's Police State, Ungodly A22 2:56PM

San Francisco Supervisors ban wild animal performances A22 11:30AM

US Council of Muslim Organizations statement on Armenian incident A21 7:50AM

Politics Faded Out the Constitutional Offensiveness of Trade Agreements A21 4:14AM

Paraphysique de synecdoque A20 11:08PM

The fake sincerity of pro-Palestinian commentators A19 6:59PM

The Goodness of Mankind Is Threatened A19 1:26PM

Comments on the European Commission's approach to investor-state arbitration A18 11:02AM

World Bank Announces Package of Aid and Loans to Ebola-Affected Countries A17 7:13AM

Paraphysique de l'anarchisme A16 11:02PM

Overdue farewell to dogma A16 7:07PM

The Shortwave Report 04/17/15 Listen Globally! A16 5:04PM

The Sleazy Corporate Thieves of Public Storage: Ronald L. Havner Jr. , B. Wayne Hughes.... A16 2:02PM

Socialist Animalism A16 9:50AM

Federal agents being accused of gross misconduct & assassinations A15 11:31PM

4 Men Murdered 1983 San Pedro, Stat of WW III, Memory Returned 2014, Psych Ops, Video Link A15 8:50PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy