Los Angeles residents have been laying siege to the Central City Association for nearly a month. The people have been dutifully operating within the law, pitching tents at 9 p.m. and breaking down camp by 6 a.m. right in front of the “1%’s” lobby here in Los Angeles. In the day, we occupy Pershing Square and outreach, rest, and build our community. The people involved have been arrested and harassed, and it is escalating each day we camp at the doorsteps of corporate power.
Who exactly is the CCA? Their clients include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Boeing, Target, US Bank, Verizon, Chevron, Walmart, and AT&T. They have the ear of the City Council and mayor as they push pro-business, anti-people regulations and laws. They are the shockingly overt bridge between money and politics.
In short, they are the perfect villain – both symbolically and literally. They represent Wall St. and profits over people. They represent how policies driven by corporate cash work to oppress the poor, elderly, and communities of color. They are behind gentrification in downtown LA, evictions, rent hikes, harassment, LAPD thuggery, and government ordinances against the “99%”.
Occupiers, most of whom are themselves houseless, have been peacefully gathering every night to protest the Economic Development Meeting and the downtown 2020 plan to build new high rises, the AEG Stadium and further criminalize dissent and push out the homeless. These are some of the things they are lobbying for:
Action: Advocate for lifting the Jones settlement to enable equitable enforcement of laws that keep sidewalks available to all. (More info on Jones settlement) Action: Expand on efforts to end the pathological tolerance of the service-resistant and/or drug-addicted chronically homeless who choose to self-destruct on our public streets. Action: Partner with BIDs, LAPD, and City Attorney to identify problem areas and issues, then implement strategic, consistent law enforcement (e.g., aggressive panhandling, proliferation of shopping carts, intelligence-based graffiti removal).
So we had four arrests last night. Here are some thoughts and testimonies to the terror plot orchestrated by the LAPD around midnight, the night of June 21, 2012.
First thoughts written last night: ”4 Arrests in Midnight LAPD Raid on CCA Siege – Occupy Los Angeles – three of my best friends and roommates, and an unknown 4th man ARRESTED. Charges unknown. Police orchestrated tactical raid with 25+ cops, pepper spray out and batons were swinging. Captain Frank (at a compañera’s trial yesterday) pointed at her and said, “Don’t I know you?”. Another police officer told a fifth occupier that “You’re getting arrested tomorrow.”
I couldn’t move, trapped inside a tent and seeing silhouettes of gum-chewing cops, fidgety and in war-mode. LAPD’s true colors emerging.
You want to talk targeted kidnappings and terror? Cops were laughing as they pushed and hit us. Laughing as they sent 3 snatch squads and took my friends in the dead of night.”
We’re traumatized and enraged. Three of my roommates were snatched by LAPD last night. Bails are $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000…. they’ve been some of the most visible organizers with the siege on the Central City Association (1%’s lobby here in Los Angeles) for nearly a month. They have all been harassed, intimidated, brutalized, and arrested by the LAPD before. They have all been occupying for months and are inspiring in their defiance and rejection of the oppressive status quo.
It began, yet again, with chalk. We’ve had five arrests for chalking at #626Wilshire, despite the 9th circuit court decision of Mackinney vs. Neilson (1995) that states, “No chalk would damage a sidewalk.” This information along with a cease & desist letter from the National Lawyers’ Guild in Los Angeles has been sent to the LA Police Department. Clearly they don’t care, as the first arrest of the night was for chalking. An unknown man was quickly arrested as the raid materialized from around both corners.
I was in my tent sleeping and was awoken to screams, shouts, and crying. No sirens, no instructions on a bullhorn – there was a frightening SILENCE of legitimacy as 25+ LAPD officers came out of nowhere and ambushed the peaceful, LAWFUL encampment in front of the CCA. I did not go outside.
I did not go outside because I saw silhouettes of smiling cops with batons surrounding my tent. I did not go outside because I was threatened with arrest and flagged as a “leader” in El Segundo on Tuesday at an anti-drone military-industrial complex action. I did not go outside because the day before (June 20), I was nearly taken into custody for an alleged bench warrant. IN OPEN COURT in which I WAS A WITNESS YET TO TESTIFY. The judge said, “That reaks of witness intimidation” and wouldn’t allow it. I didn’t go outside because I heard some of the strongest comrades I know shouting in fear and uncontrollably crying in confusion and terror. The silence from the LAPD was deafening.
I did not go outside of my hiding place because I am a political dissident the State is targeting.
So I listened.
Here’s a report-back from an OccupyLA participant laying siege to the Central City Association:
THIS IS A POLICE STATE: 06/21/12 MIDNIGHT CCA RAID DEBRIEF
Tonight at 626Wilshire the police assaulted the camp because one lone participant was chalking. They surrounded him, wrestling him to the ground, unable to site the code they were enforcing. We reminded them that chalk is not vandalism, that it is not graffiti, it washes off, and at bare minimum it is free political speech.
We stood there, six peaceful protesters, standing our ground observing this injustice- filming the police. Questioning their authority. One pig tells us,“Move to the corner of the sidewalk” and “If you don’t do what I tell you, I will make you”.
We had not moved any closer, we were not any threat to the police officers. We were peaceful protesters. The police called back up. Squad car after squad car pulled up. They took out their batons. They took out their pepper spray. They began screaming in our face. They incited violence and began beating us. They dragged away three of our comrades. They were laughing. We stood our ground. They are the terrorists of the police state. Any fucking pig with a badge, baton and gun is a coward. LAPD is a fully funded, militarized gang.
#PERSONAL NOTE These are my comrades. We work together, we love each other, we learn with each other, we are inspired, and choose to be deliberately free. They are targeting us, it is almost unbearable. We are a threat to no one other than the status quo and those who choose to make themselves enemies of rebirth and revolution.
We liberate space in front of the lobbyists, the financial and political elite, the bankers to protest the targeting of the homeless, the herding and purge of the poor on behalf of the private property owning class. This is what we get, this is the price of resistance. Constant brutality and repression, the court sytem, the prison industrial complex, monitoring and fucking fascism. The same factors that work to keep the poor and working class oppressed everyday since the dawn of time.
It gets worse for those in the struggle, before it gets better for anyone else. Both borders of the United States are experiencing mass social unrest, and this country is teetering on the edge of an awakening so brutal it can only go one of two ways. We all have power, how will you play into the history that is unfolding? They will come for your neighbor, and then they will come for you. We must unify. We must resist tyranny.
I ask you to question the meaning of your life. I ask you to consider the centuries of oppression that have characterized humanity and to make a choice. Will you enable it?
Will you be complicit? When you see the world for what it is- famine, disease, oppression, greed, violence and torture- what will you do? Will you continue swimming in the status quo, keeping it afloat because you’re compelled? Do you realize they have you chasing ever elusive ‘stability’ determined by your oppressors? Do you realize your television is brainwashing you?
Will you despair? Will you revolt? We are all capable of revolting. It is in our nature as humyns to seek for a better world together, cooperatively. But you must ask yourself what it will take. And you must ask yourself… what is the meaning of your life?
There is a solution, we work together, we strengthen the hive mind. We build collective will and energy to smash the oppressive institutions that own our bodies. The tide of human history is changing. We can employ a dual strategy: discredit and dismantle the oppressive system that stands, while simultaneously building the alternative we imagine. WE CAN AND WILL TRANSITION OUT OF CAPITALISM. Whether you are in the streets or in a cubicle, it is your decision. Our life is meant to be more than production, conditioning and wage slavery. Take control over your life for the first time since you were born into this capitalist system.
Every time they beat us, our resolve is deepened. Every time they arrest us, they know not the demons they create. We are in solidarity with prisoners and resistors everywhere. Our actions, our inspirations, our resistance is more than our bodies and mind can bear. The human spirit guides us, the energies of all humyns who have fallen at the hands of the bloodthirsty monarchs and capitalists flows through our hearts. There will be no peace, until there is justice. There will be no justice, without revolt. I don’t think you understand.
The bureaucracy is dead. Long live the revolution!”
As I write this, I am listening to the streamer broadcasting the current but temporary eviction of Occupy Skid Row. 5 tickets have been issued, some of the VERY SAME cops from last night are taping off the area as dump trucks and bulldozers move in to continue criminalizing the homeless. Read about the Siege on the Central City Association here. Read about gentrification here. This fight is in the streets and the people have picked the perfect situation to build a hyper-localized community of resistance. To build revolution, as so many say, we must start from the ground up. The houseless, the disaffected, the broke and hungry… they’re in the streets, they’re in jail, and they’re fighting back. Join Us.
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