Occupy LA Day 3: Sign Here!

 

This is the city. This is Los Angeles. Occupy LA has moved to the smaller north lawn of City Hall because a movie is shooting on the south lawn.

I don’t know the title, but I know that Ryan Gosling is hot!

exclaims an Occupy LA  volunteer at the media tent. Gosling didn’t stop over to say hi to the Occupiers, but the coordinator, multi-tasking at a computer, pack of Pall Malls and pad of paper as people ask her heaps of questions, said that she took a few extra breaks to catch a look at the Drive star.

The movie is Gangster Squad, a true tale about the Los Angeles Police Department’s efforts in the late 1940s and 50s to keep the mob out of Los Angeles. Sean Penn co-stars as the notorious Mickey Cohen.

City Councilman Richard Alarcon had dropped by earlier in the day. And Rocket Pizza delivered pizza! NBC, ABC, and both CBS stations had broadcast  trucks parked  and reporters scouring for interviews. There is no media blackout, but the media might get bored.

During General Assembly the announcer thanked the LAPD and the city council for allowing the Occupy LA to continue to assemble without permits, which are in the works. A huge round of applause went up and continued as the speaker introduced Vincent from Occupy Wall Street.  Vincent informed the crowd of almost 200 that the Occupy Movement was now in 70 cities.

Vincent said he was amazed at how organized Occupy LA was in only three days.

There are more people here tonight than we had in three days. You have a microphone, we didn’t have a microphone.

Tall, with a shaved head and full sleeve tattoos, Vincent said he is a anarchist and after he started doing Occupy WS, he saw how true leaderless government worked.  After much hand-waving and applause from the Occupiers, Vincent stepped back , Rose from La Puenta stepped up the mic with her story. A  single mom, Rose was late on a mortgage payment and the bank began foreclosure. She has decided to stay in her house and invited any Occupiers who would like to join her.

Come on down. There are fliers with my address.

La Puenta is twenty miles east of City Hall.

Next up, Brian from the International Workers of the World who began to explain how the consensus process works (basically if you like it or can live with it, don’t block it) which is designed to give everyone an equal voice and avoid power dynamics.

To keep groups from getting shut out, women of color. Queers.

Much applause and cheers from the LGBTQ in the crowd.

Then I overhead

How cute! A mom and her daughter just came with sandwiches they made!

My friends, Teresa the voter registration lady and her daughter Ava had arrived with a tin of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a huge stack of voter registration forms, which were very hard to find; there were none at three post offices, but luckily the post office at by the Grove, a celeb-studded outdoor mall had a huge stack.

I walked around with Teresa and her eight-year old as they asked people if they were registered to vote. The majority said yes, but those that weren’t happily took forms. Voting is important says Teresa because:

The three branches of the government are bought and sold, but the people can’t be. It’s not just electing officials, there are lots of propositions on ballots. And  judges.

Theresa also dropped off a stack of the forms at volunteer tables. One volunteer, who I had spoken to yesterday, asked her if she thought he should tell his boss–he works in finance and having just come from the office,  was wearing a button down shirt and tie–that he is spending his evenings and weekends at Occupy LA.

Ava and I ate bacon wrapped hotdogs–her first!–to celebrate her first time at a political event and we finished strolling around the camps.

This mornng I woke up and the rain had started. Occupy LA needs tarps, blankets, socks and toilet paper. They would also like reusable bowls, drinking glasses and flatwear which will be passed out to campers and washed to cut down on waste. There’s a PayPal donation button here, along with more info about what is needed.

 

Occupy LA Day 2: Dudes Abide in Peace

Well, things are going pretty smoothly at Occupy LA. A mini-tent city which now holds about 300 people most in their 20s and 30s, though there some in their 40s and upwards, and an array of Anonymous. Drum circles, a massage table, dogs and a crystal healing area make it a mini-fest, while the bacon wrapped hotdogs lend a truly Angeleno flavor (they are a revolution in food!).

There were groups doing signing making and others holding meetings about media training, outreach and other matters.Names are placed in a “stack” (the list/queue), you state your point and people wave “spirit fingers” (peace symbol) for yes, wave hands for applause/enough, cross arms if they disagree. During a hot button issue,  it can look like a St Vitus dance in time to the  “Hokey-Pokey.” But it works.

A table  for volunteers is up. American Sign Language interpreters are needed, and they would also like fluent Spanish speakers, as well as those fluent in Armenian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, etc.

It’s pretty funny to see signs saying

The revolution will not be televised

since Occupy LA has been covered since it started, due in part to the major media noticing what was going on in NY. It doesn’t hurt that this a mega-media savvy city (the porta-potties were rented from Sir Reel, which supplies film shoots; I passed a slew of them parked for a shoot on Sunset Blvd as I was driving to downtown). The media tent is up and running, there are cameras and citizen journalists everywhere and Occupy LA has been in the Los Angeles Times, and on local news channels, though the KTLA story was a little histrionic. The trial of Dr. Conrad Murry in the death of Michael Jackson, just two blocks away with worldwide coverage and lots of satellite TV cameras, resumes Monday.

It has been almost 90 degrees this weekend, and rain is expected Wednesday, with cooler temperatures all week.

They have lots of food donations. One guy on his cellphone excited exclaimed

I have a tent now!

A man and woman dropped off half a dozen brand new blankets (no smallpox!) which were taken to the first aid tent. The couple happily said:

These are made in America!

A group of occupiers staged an action today where they went to the Metro and rode LA’s subways wearing bandanas decoracted with

99%

gagging their mouths. Difficulty arose when a portion of the group expressed their dislike of the policeto the police’s face and attempted to instigate a conflict. I was the the campground while there was a meeting and listened while people expressed upset over

police brutality

though the LAPD have been pretty much ignoring the City Hall campers, even when a few overstayed on the lawn pass the deadline of 10:30pm. LAPD headquarters is across the street (as is the LA Times).

There have been no arrests, so police brutality is not an issue for Occupy LA  yet, as more than one speaker pointed out. And it be an issue won’t be unless agitators try to provoke things. Granted there are people at Occupy LA who have experienced police brutality in other communities and in other circumstance, but trying to provoke the police to get that specific point across is simply short-sighted and selfish. It puts the entire Occupy LA at risk, and creates fissures in the group’s cohesive ideals and integrity. Seriously, please find an “affinity group” elsewhere.

“Hey, the cops are being cool!”                                  This man discussed the French Revolution

Monday night at  5pm, Occupy LA, or at least those so inclined, will march in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street to protest the mass arrests this weekend and last weekend’s macings and arrests. Hopefully the those dislike the LAPD will find it in their consciences to look at the bigger picture, stay on the sidewalks and cross on the green lights.

Looks like the City Council is behind the occupation, at least in the short term. Blogger/filmmaker Clay Claiborne shared this letter with me from LA City Councilman Richard Alarcon which kinda spells out how it’s gonna be, unless people start making trouble.:

A lone, and empty police car is parked at LAPD’s headquarters, Parker Center, across from City Hall.

The dudes abide. In peace!


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