Occupy San Diego: Small, Struggling, Committed

While Occupy Oakland has the support of a liberal community and national outrage on its side, and Occupy Los Angeles is basking in the shade at City Hall, Occupy San Diego is small and struggling against the conservative citizenry and lack of community support. Last week, in the wake of Oakland’s violent riots, the San Diego police and sheriffs broke up Occupy San Diego and arrested 53 people.

Today I drove over five hours round trip to visit Occupy San Diego which is still at Civic Center Plaza though the protestors are not allowed to have tents, sleeping bags, or coolers on the public property of the Plaza, as the police are enforcing San Diego’s no sleeping in public rule. The crowd of under 100, including union members who had brought lunches for the Occupiers, stood between the towering Bank of America and Wells Fargo buildings a block from the Civic Center then marched back to Civic Center where several people, including veterans cut up their bank ATM and credit cards in front of the assembled cameras and the small but cheering crowd–and a lot of police who seemed relaxed but definitely not inclined to join the 99%

Around the corner, another fifty or so people lounged on sleeping bags, sitting and talking, with cardboard signs and computers. Some are homeless, some are hipsters. They are all Occupying.

The police tell us to move and cash us out, but we come back

one dreadlocked post-teen girl told me.

Amir and Chase, two of the organizers, spoke with me explaining they have maybe 50 people who Occupy regularly. There is at this point little chance of an organized general strike in support of Oakland. The police are unhappy with Occupy still being in place and now nightly lock one of the entrances to the Plaza, while the other entrances have been narrowed or blocked all together with waterfilled barriers. Oddly one reason the police wanted Occupiers moved was that the fire marshal allegedly claimed that the Occupiers and their tents prevented safe egress from the surrounding buildings in case of fire. Yet the police barricades have impeded the exit and entrance of pedestrians.

The San Diego Occupy folks want to grow the Occupation, to attract more attention to the reasons behind the Occupy Movement and how it affects those in San Diego and the surrounding suburbs. But San Diego is a very conservative area and the outlying areas, Vista, Los Olivos, Del Mar and North County even more so. I remember my dad in the 1990s campaigning with the only other five Democrats–one of whom was his wife, my awesome stepmom–in his North County neighborhood to keep creationists off the local public school board. It hasn’t gotten much better in this century!

San Diego needs support, feet on the ground, more bodies showing up. A recent arrival, a chef just laid off from the University of San Diego had to give up his apartment in order to be able to live on his unemployment, and is spending his days at Occupy. Others, like Chase, have jobs yet manage to spend all their free time at Occupy. A nurse I spoke with has been down almost every night. Union support has been visible and welcome, and hopefully more seniors, church groups and other organizations and individuals will show up. But not having a permanent overnight spot, and lacking even begrudging support from the city council and mayor has definitely put a crimp in this Occupy.

But at least they have 24-hour access to toilets.

16 Responses to "Occupy San Diego: Small, Struggling, Committed"
nahant | Wednesday November 2, 2011 10:46 pm 1

Great reporting Lisa.. I sure hope they can get more bodies on the ground to help support the Effort!!

Bluetoe2 | Thursday November 3, 2011 09:56 am 2

The hope of the “Occupy” movement is that one day Congress will be occupied and the 1%ers will be headed for jail.

BSbafflesbrains | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:09 am 3

OWS is our only hope!

Bluetoe2 | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:09 am 4

nahant | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:11 am 5
In response to Bluetoe2 @ 2

I second that emotion!! In jail for crimes against the Citizens of a sovereign country ours and many others…

Bluetoe2 | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:15 am 6
In response to nahant @ 5

Nary a mention in the corporate media of Goldman Sachs role in the current crisis in Greece.

Occupy the World

Who are the 1%ers?

Twain | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:16 am 7

Democrats, and certainly Progressives, are hard to find in San Diego and I’ve never been able to figure out why. It’s one of the most gorgeous places in the world and I imagine that life is pretty good there – so why are they so hard-headed Republican?

cwaltz | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:25 am 8

It’s a darn shame that more military people and vets aren’t showing up in their civvies. You’d think with the cuts on the table for military coming from personnel that they’d show up and put in their 10 cents(inflation for 2 cents).

cwaltz | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:27 am 9
In response to Twain @ 7

It’s a military community. Generally speaking that makes things more difficult since military folks have to tread a fine line when it comes to protesting.

Twain | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:29 am 10
In response to cwaltz @ 9

Then just what in the hell did they fight for? Wasn’t it for our “freedoms?” The right to speak and protest? I would be interesting to know what the answers would be.

cwaltz | Thursday November 3, 2011 10:40 am 11
In response to Twain @ 10

You give up your freedoms while in uniform to a small extent. Before you write your Congressperson you are supposed to send your grievance through the chain of command. You aren’t allowed to protest in uniform. You have to be careful with statement you make(several who made comments against CiC have been punished.)

Additionally, unlike your civilian counterparts, the military justice system has a catchall that allows punishment for infractions that aren’t violations for civilians. Oh and if they decide to court martial you, you end up with a felony on your record. It’s an adversarial guantlet that was created to maintain order and discipline. While it can be onerous, it means that soldiers don’t spend alot of time questioning the orders they are given.

Soundcollector | Thursday November 3, 2011 12:01 pm 12

“Last week, in the wake of Oakland’s violent riots, the San Diego police and sheriffs broke up Occupy San Diego and arrested 53 people.”

Which “violent riots” where those? You mean the part where the police attacked peaceful demonstrators?

Also, on a related note — why in so many of the reports is the term “clash” being used. It’s become the automatic adjective to describe what happens when police attack peaceful demonstrators.

BSbafflesbrains | Thursday November 3, 2011 01:00 pm 13
In response to Soundcollector @ 12

They (MSM) are directed to use certain terms, it’s Orwellian and it no longer works as well as it did since we the people have other sources for primary info.

BSbafflesbrains | Thursday November 3, 2011 01:01 pm 14

It won’t be long til O’RiledE and Cooper are calling us Insurgents instead of protestors.

dbmetzger | Thursday November 3, 2011 02:47 pm 15

meanwhile across the pond things did not go that smoothly

Clashes in Parliament Square Squatters’ Protest
At least 12 people arrested as protesters demonstrate outside Houses of Parliament over plans to criminalize squatting. http://www.newslook.com/videos/367932-clashes-in-parliament-square-squatters-protest?autoplay=true

Hannibal | Sunday November 6, 2011 09:52 pm 16
In response to Twain @ 7

Lots of defense contractors. I think that has more to do with it than the military presence itself. But, two out of the five congressional districts in San Diego are held by Democrats. Susan Davis in the 53rd, and Bob Filner in the 51st.

As for getting people to show up to something in SD, Need to start calling it Over The Line, that’s about the only thing that gets big attendance anymore. I’ll forgo expressing my thoughts on that faux sport, and those who participate in it.

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