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Interview with Nathan, arrested at Long Beach Port shutdown

by Rockero Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM

December 15, 2011
LONG BEACH - On December 12, 2011, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Long Beach, Occupy Riverside, and many other people closed a terminal at the port of Long Beach. Only two people were arrested, and one of them, Nathaniel Sierdsma, speaks about his experiences.


ROCKERO: Today is Thursday, December 15th, 2011, and we are in San Bernardino. Can you tell me your name?

NS: Nathaniel Sierdsma.

ROCKERO: How old are you?

NS: I'm 18.

ROCKERO: What do you do--or, are you working now? Or what's...

NS: Not right now. I'm out of work.

ROCKERO: OK. What is your involvement with the Occupy movement?

NS: I've recently been helping a lot with the San Bernardino and San Bernardino Valley movement. I kinda helped get those up and running. And Ontario, I was also down there helping. For the latest action, I went down and helped Riverside.

ROCKERO: You're talking about Monday, right?

NS: Yeah.

ROCKERO: So what happened on Monday?

NS: Well, Monday, we--a big group went out there. I'd say at least a thousand people.

ROCKERO: Down to Long Beach, right?

NS: Yeah, there in Long Beach ports. And we were trying to shut down the ports. There was maybe twice as many cops out there. They just surrounded us.

ROCKERO: Uh-huh.

NS: And in the long run, I guess, they got me surrounded. I ended up getting arrested down there.

ROCKERO: Oh, OK. In the video footage and in the photos, it looks like they treat you pretty rough. Were you hurt?

NS: I was a little sore. It was really over a lot faster than--than looking at it. I could see, looking back on it, it was quite brutal.

ROCKERO: So how did the police treat you when they took you in?

NS: Oh, they spent the whole time just cracking jokes about the Occupy movement. It's kinda sad to see the way they were about it.

ROCKERO: They were hating on you?

NS: Yeah.

ROCKERO: How did the other prisoners treat you?

NS: They all saw me on the news! And they just kinda gave me props for that, I guess.

ROCKERO: They're all down with the class war, huh?

NS: Yeah.

ROCKERO: So did that experience affect how you think about the police?

NS: At least in Long Beach.

ROCKERO: Are they part of the 99%?

NS: They choose not to be.

ROCKERO: So, yesterday you were in court--we went to go get you. Can you tell us what happened yesterday?

NS: Well, the public defender told me basically I had to stay there if I didn't plead--or if I didn't plead guilty and take what they gave me, so I plead guilty. They dropped one of the charges and they gave me staying at the scene of a riot, which gives me thirty days CalTrans work and three years' summary probation.

ROCKERO: You have to pay any fines or anything?

NS: Yeah, I think I have some court fines, and I have to pay some money to actually do the CalTrans work.

ROCKERO: How are you gonna deal with that?

NS: I don't know. I'll have to figure something out.

ROCKERO: Do you think they're trying to keep you out of the movement?

NS: Yeah, they're trying to intimidate us. They're terrorists by nature. That's all they do, they try to get you to give up on what you believe in.

ROCKERO: Are you gonna stop occupying?

NS: No, absolutely not. I'll be out here until this movement gets something accomplished or they permanently take me out of the picture.

ROCKERO: Where would you like to see the Occupy movement going?

NS: Eventually, I want us to see--have enough power, and enough voter power present to actually get our own political system running. Maybe we could make it a political party so we could have our own candidates that we sponsor. And a big part of it is we wanna encourage voter registration, and it's kinda hard to pick Republican /Democrat when they're all paid off.

ROCKERO: Mm-hmmm. A lot of folks have really personal experiences that drive them to wanna make a better world, to make a change. Why do you, personally, occupy?

NS: Well, for the longest time, I been kinda doing my own research, and I've learned a lot through the years about how bad our situation is and why we're here. And, just, I've always had a personal conviction to try and stand against that.

ROCKERO: I notice you--you rock them cammies. Can you tell me about that?

NS: Yeah, this is actually my brother's BDU. I was wearing it for him when I went down.

ROCKERO: So your brother's in the service?

NS: He was.

ROCKERO: Did he--discharged, or...?

NS: No he just ran his service term.

ROCKERO: OK, so he's out and he's safe and at home and everything?

NS: Yeah.

ROCKERO: OK, cool. Is there anything else that you would wanna add?

NS: Um, occupy everything!

ROCKERO: All right, great, thanks for talking to us.

NS: All right. Thank you.
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