On Sunday I went down to Occupy LA with world traveler and gentleman of leisure, author Dr. Paul Koudounaris, whose book Empire of Death will be featured on Firedoglake’s Book Salon October 30, and we found ourselves in the midst of an Occupy LA March. So we traipsed along, picking up bottled water from a volunteer.
About 100 people stood on the sidewalks overlooking the 101 freeway and waved signs as cars honks and motorcyclists revved their engines. Then we charged off through Olivera Street, where tourists snapped pictures and locals enjoying a beauty pageant sponsored by a mole sauce company waved and cheered, as the scent of bacon wrapped hotdogs wafted through the air, ending up back on the freeway overpass before returning to camp.
At the camp, things were buzzing along. I spoke to the Zero Waste team who are working hard to make sure that there is, well, as little garbage as possible. Recycling containers are set up, but what they say would really help is if they had a large supply of reusable bowls, forks and spoons. The Los Angeles County Health Department had visited and said everything was tip-top and that the kitchen crew was doing everything right. The inspectors reminded people to wash their hands before eating or handing food, and suggested no cantaloup because of listeria outbreaks.
A handicapped porta-potty is now on site, and an American Sign Language interpreter has volunteered. The camp now will also have a Spanish language live stream. Occupy LA is looking for more bi-lingual volunteers to assist in interpreting.
People are hanging out, meeting each their neighbors, talking, finding common ground, people who under other circumstance might never have met. Is there an unified goal? I think so. I think everyone wants the same thing: A safe place to live, enough food, and congenial companions. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The sum of these is the American Dream.