We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org 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

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

OccupyLA Still Here, and Coming Soon to a Hood Near You

by Federica Lorca Sunday, Nov. 06, 2011 at 2:10 PM
federicaglorca@gmail.com

In spite of some people's best efforts, OccupyLA has managed to re-create all the ills of the society we purport to change, right down to the do-gooders who want to tweak our system to make the problems less visible.

OccupyLA Still Here,...
img-20111015-00043sm.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x569


A couple of weeks ago, a young woman, a girl, really, who's been selling hot dogs on the Spring St. sidewalk next to City Hall, was surrounded by a group from Occupy Los Angeles. They yelled that she needed a health permit to sell food on their site. The girl was nearly in tears by the time her mother came around the corner and stepped in. The Occupiers turned their abuse on the older woman. Mario, who is quoted for nearly every newspaper interview, chats with the police on the City Hall patios, and is generally thought to be running for the City Council District 1 seat in 2013, was speechless until an African American gentleman with another group of Occupiers stepped up to defend the mother and daughter. Like most bullies, when they were challenged, the Occupation tormenters backed off and drifted away.



Occupy Los Angeles, as I suggested when all this occupation business began, is a strange, maybe unique, entity in the Occupation movement. I hoped we would build an Occupation that would be the story of the Occupy movement. I hoped, if some of us pushed hard enough, we would find our footing and become a space for something radical, something life-changing. I was glib then about the privilege and traps we face. That's over.

In spite of some people's best efforts, OccupyLA has managed to re-create all the ills of the society we purport to change, right down to the do-gooders who want to tweak our system to make the problems less visible.


We've created a shadow government. We have our very own 1%, although, if the Occupiers number about 600, it's more honestly the 5%, calling . They've dubbed themselves Point People. Members of this Soviet-style politburo are self-selecting and mostly anonymous. They meet to determine the Occupation's agenda, message, and key actions, and announce themselves as the Committee That Monitors the Other Communities, or some such thing.


The non-leader of this Committee on Committees (officially we have no leaders) is a CSULB student named Michael Lozano. Right behind him is a union organizer, Mario Brito. Mario is the non-leader who initiated and enforces the “Be nice to the cops and they'll be nice to us” OccupyLA mantra, the city council candidate I mentioned earlier.


There's another powerhouse grouping, waiting to step up when the City Hall campground crumbles. They're called Occupy the 'Hood and sometimes the Outreach Committee. They're fronted by a UCLA student name Emilio Lacques. Behind him is Kwazi Nkrumah, chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the Coffee Party (a liberal response to the Tea Party) and a union organizer. Occupy the Hood proclaims that it will Occupy your neighborhood, but so far they've only managed to organize in Pasadena.


Most, maybe all, of the 5% have been around since the very first meetings. They've concocted an ideological wasteland spread over an absurdly and dangerously (neo)liberal agenda. Their determination to offend no one inside or outside the movement should have left us impotent. Instead, the plethora of ideologies on the site has congealed around a simple dictum: spread the arrogance. We're positioning themselves to take over all the Occupation movements in the region with the lowest common denominator of a demand: force the banks to meet middle-class expectations of affluence.


The 5% are building a Brave New World of arrogance, acquiescence, obedience, denial, debauchery, and distraction.


OccupyLA is encamped on the lawn of Los Angeles's City Hall, across the street from Parker Center, home of LAPD. When we were planning all this, Mario said he would go to City Hall the next morning and get a permit to occupy the lawn. It actually took him two days, and in the first week of our tent city, we got the blessing of a supportive resolution from City Council. For Occupiers, there is no irony in these permissions to occupy. Two weeks after a pair of City Councilmembers and Mr. Mayor himself said our days on the lawn are numbered, we're still making nice. And all those sucking noises, coupled with the pervasive whiteness, may keep us safe from the cops, who knows. If you listen very closely to the lawn chair conversations, every once in a while you'll hear someone blaming the other Occupations for pissing off their cops. Yes, that's what I said: some in OccupyLA blame the Occupiers in New York and Oakland, Boston, Atlanta, San Diego for the police violence.


There is no revolution here. There is no demand for systemic, fundamental change. OccupyLA is the mildest, the nicest of reformist movements. Whatever significance there might be to claiming the City Hall park was lost once it was done with permission, although we keep assuring ourselves that camping on the lawn has some meaning. The public face of the governance process, the General Assembly, has finally accepted that a microphone is better than shouting the speaker's words to each other, except when they want to silence someone. Then the old chant re-emerges: “Mic check! Mic check! Mic check!” until we scream the transgressor into silence. Individual complaints, formerly relegated to the last few minutes of the General Assembly, are now shunted off to a separate meeting that no one except those with complaints attends. The bar for consensus has been lowered from 100% to 90%, but that hasn't changed the outcome: only the most benign and uncontroversial proposals can survive the gauntlet of political interests and anonymous opposition.


And we're determined to keep it that way. Any discussion of Planned Parenthood, or immigration, or racism is swept aside because someone might be offended and, omg, leave. We reject any political affiliation or position for fear of takeover on the one hand and fear of offending someone on the other. No matter that we're about changing the power dynamics between the 99% and those who govern them. Making political demands means making choices, and those choices might not be in the interests of some of those in the 99%. We would no longer represent those in the 99% who aspire to, or hope for largesse from, the 1%, for instance. We can't even decide what to do with provocateurs, since they're merely misguided members of the 99%, just like the police.


If you want to insult people here, call us hippies. But it's hippies who should be insulted. In their day, hippies were conscious that they were creating a community. They struggled with individualism and collectivism, with shared values, principles, food, with individual needs, with the intrusion of the leeches and destroyers into their communes and houses, with hierarchy and leadership. They dreamt of re-creating the world. And most of OccupyLA despises them.


It's not so odd that the few serious conversations about any of this are happening on the dozens of lists. Not so much at campsites or group meetings, and really not at the decision-making General Assembly or the public rant called the People's Forum. Occupiers have very little experience actually living in the material world. Until last month, most of these folks kept their social lives firmly at arm's length on Facebook. And so it's no surprise that their most thoughtful conversations are online.


Los Angeles's Occupiers are in complete denial that co-habiting, arranging their tents in like-minded communities, eating simultaneously (we haven't mastered communal dining and we complain when the people working get their meals delivered to their work areas), sharing toilets, and sorting out who belongs and who doesn't, requires more than an online chat and plopping down a row of administrative tables under tarps. There's no vision of how this might work, and so no conversations about what we're doing except for the occasional mention that we really should have a code of conduct. That ends when we can't figure out how to enforce it. The determined avoidance of any sociological discussion would seem pathological except that almost no one wants any real change to the status quo. The result of all this unconscious cohabitation is, you guessed it, a replication of pretty much everything that's wrong in the rest of Los Angeles.


They'd tell you their biggest problem is drug use on the lawn. Not racism, not assisting the long-term homeless who've migrated to the space, not coordinating a hodge-podge of ideologies that have never come together before, not the sexual assaults, not the financial inequities on the campsite, not the health department clamp down on preparing food, and not the lack of drinking water. It's that you can smell the pot. And yes, they've got a problem. A few weeks ago, while some of the more focused Occupiers were off bicycling through Echo Park and others carried signs outside a bank, the half who stayed at base camp marched around City Hall demanding the legalization of weed. They ended up on the south steps lecturing each other about how they are oppressed by the rest of the campers who've asked that they take the pot and booze a few blocks over, as they lit up within yards of the cops that stroll around in pairs smiling at the encampment. The straight edgers suggested the stoners move to a designated “drug, alcohol, and tobacco” zone. The stoners showed more sense than the sober crew in rejecting that offer. Meanwhile, everyone ignores the needles that keep showing up underfoot. Drop by during the week when we haven't cleaned up for tourists, and you can watch people shooting up. We've got a drug problem, and it's got nothing to do with legalizing pot.


Do you remember I said something about racism, the people without housing, the molestation, the ideological stew, the class differences, the looming logistics nightmares? Then your attention span has lasted longer than most of those camping in the middle of the problems.


OccupyLA still manages the small miracles, though. The Health Department shut down our food preparation facilities (too many homeless people eating, I suppose), but the food just keeps coming, brought in from nearby restaurants. The General Assembly decided not to incorporate (no corporations, remember?) so we aren't taking cash contributions. And still we managed to add more portapotties when the City demanded thaem How's it happening? That's anyone's guess.


You might remember that early on these we ran off Occupiers who wanted to affiliate as a Stop Police Brutality group. OccupyLA finally held a day of action on Stop Police Brutality Day last weekend. But somewhere in between, we divested ourselves of most of the people who've been victimized by the police. The mostly white Occupiers authorized a spin-off group called Occupy the 'Hood. Many of the Black and Brown Occupiers gravitated to the new group under the (leaderless) leadership of Emilio and Kwazi, and they set off to organize neighbors in the name of OccupyLA. Some of the Brown and Black organizers have since walked away from Occupy the 'Hood. You see, most Occupations confront financial institutions. Here in LA, we snuggle up to City Hall in our sleeping bags and send out delegations to occupy our neighborhoods. If anyone at the encampment is waiting for a report, so far Occupy the 'Hood has scheduled a street corner protest in Pasadena. No encampments in Boyle Heights or Watts yet. People with housing in those hoods might be a little reluctant to give it up to sleep in parks. Maybe. I could be wrong.


Meanwhile, back at City Hall, we're looking to consolidate all the southern California Occupations, from Lancaster to San Diego to Riverside, under the auspices of OccupyLA. We're organizing to teach other Occupations how to facilitate General Assemblies and how to build communities. It doesn't bother anybody that we haven't figured out how to run our own GAs—even the guy imported from New York couldn't make LA General Assemblies work—or that our online community is more communal than the people basking in the moonlight. I could play with the irony of occupying other occupations for paragraphs, but let me call this what it is: a microcosm of neoliberal neocolonization.


Did I mention that one of the Occupy Wall Street principles is the local autonomy of each Occupation?


Here Point People are sniffing at a solution to the problem of the stoners and the homeless folks who've gravitated to the food and companionship. Some are circumspectly putting out feelers to move, maybe to the Westside. The plan under discussion would move the chief OccupyLA site and leave a satellite on the City Hall lawn, populated by the stoners and the homeless people. Or maybe cart those people over to the Cornfields. Presumably, the move to the Westside would take place first, when the people left behind weren't looking, to keep the Westside-bound campers safe from the obligatory police invasion.

For three weeks now, the family farmers at the weekly market on the south side of the City Hall lawn have been relegated to a space across the Temple Street because some Occupiers refuse to move their tents for this portionsegment of the 99%. Each week, regular customers of the farmers market don't find the farmers or don't make their way across the street, and each week the farmers report losing money. That's what it means to Occupy Los Angeles.


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

add your comments


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
this is BS BS Trip Through Full Sunday, Nov. 06, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique du burnout post-démocratique J23 9:06AM

911 : establishment terror J22 11:18PM

Actor Patrick Kilpatrick Discusses and Signs his New Book Dying for Living J22 10:42PM

The Attack of Corporations and the Rich on the Rest of Society J22 2:36PM

bataclown J22 12:32PM

bataclone J21 8:08PM

VAN ATTACK HOAX J21 7:35PM

Mobile Royale Hack Online Generator - Get Unlimited Crystals J21 3:03PM

Unification, séparation et fragmentation J21 2:48PM

Testing Upload J21 7:10AM

FARCELONA.2 J20 7:18PM

FAKE NEWS POR SOROS J20 6:11PM

Chemtrails and Prince J20 2:43PM

Wages For Housework J20 2:41PM

Tutelle comportementaliste J20 9:18AM

A Mistake: Jesse Jackson-Toyota deal-in Lexington -Ky is .8 billion over 10 years 2018 J20 1:17AM

If Trump Declares a AantionalEmergency, He'll Be Breaking the Law J20 12:47AM

Jesse Jackson's Sneak Attck on Toyota Lexington Ky and it's workers 2018 J19 9:12PM

Video: Chris Herdges in Eugene, 1 hr 24 min J19 5:37PM

FAKE NEWS J19 2:31PM

MACROTHSCHILD.2 J19 11:03AM

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM

BATACLOWNS J18 9:28AM

FALSAS VICTIMAS J18 9:22AM

Paraphysique de proxémie guerrière J18 7:59AM

MACROTHSCHILD J17 9:38PM

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM

DEAD MAN LIVING J17 10:46AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 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