Roaming around the dozens of tents and several
hundred people encamped on the north lawn of Los Angeles City Hall last
week, my mind wandered back nearly 50 years to a time when my college
campus was alive with angry passions about the Vietnam War and the
denial of civil rights to the nation’s blacks.
mayor and City Council have endorsed Occupy Los Angeles and the cops are
escorting them around town during protest forays.
In a lot of ways, it’s more like a love fest than a protest, Whether it goes anywhere remains to be seen, but the Only in L.A. is it officially sanctioned and supported by the The irony is not lost on the Occupy L.A. organizers, who are not As delighted as they are to be granted privileges no one else At their nightly “General Assembly” meetings, everyone gets to That’s what happened one night when the question came up about Participatory democracy isn’t easy, and it’s a lot uglier than
with yoga classes and discussions about the virtues of Kangan water and
its alkaline health qualities. This revolution is being televised on the
Internet (http://occupylosangeles.org/), and it’s great reality TV for all its chaos and confusion.
confrontational Occupy Wall Street protest has spawned clone occupations
all over America and hit a raw nerve among young people like nothing
since the ’60s.
very people against whom they are protesting. The politicians at City
Hall are controlled by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor in
collaboration with the wealthy developers and corporations that make up
the 1 percent who control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. They are
definitely not the “99 percent” the occupiers
be confused with leaders since the very idea of leaders is anathema to
in town gets, they have read through the lengthy resolution the City
Council will vote to approve on Tuesday. They have figured out the
resolution only supports their right to exercise their First Amendment
rights peacefully, while twisting the economic injustices at the heart
of the movement into a way to shakedown bankers for campaign
make proposals, which are approved or rejected by consensus unless
someone really doesn’t like the idea and imposes a “hard block,” meaning
they find it totally unacceptable and believe it threatens the
what to call the committee that would propose the movement’s goals:
Demands Committee or Objectives Committee? There were a lot of “hard
blocks” on both sides of the question, and it was tabled after 20
minutes of passionate debate.
making sausage. When you can’t use microphones and every phrase people
say has to be repeated in unison like a call and response jazz riff, it
can get really complicated.
A spark of life in the conversation
Born and raised in Glendale, a Boy Scout and a graduate of Flintridge Prep, Joe Briones now calls the streets of downtown Los Angeles his home.
In a lot of ways, it’s more like a love fest than a protest,
Whether it goes anywhere remains to be seen, but the
Only in L.A. is it officially sanctioned and supported by the
The irony is not lost on the Occupy L.A. organizers, who are not
As delighted as they are to be granted privileges no one else
At their nightly “General Assembly” meetings, everyone gets to
That’s what happened one night when the question came up about
Participatory democracy isn’t easy, and it’s a lot uglier than
“This is that moment that I’ve been waiting for, when the people can take back control of their lives from the interests of business,” he said.
Briones’ political views are about as far left as you can go, past socialism to anarchism.
“Anarchists get a bad name,” he said. “It’s not about destruction and chaos. It’s about creating a system of social organization without hierarchy. That’s one of the things that makes the Occupation movement so great — we are leaderless. Past movements, you cut off the head and the body dies. That isn’t possible here.”
The 200 mostly 20-something protesters sleeping in dozens of tents on City Hall’s north lawn represent a lot of different political views, a sort of leftist counterpoint to the Tea Party, a political phenomenon that is gaining momentum even as it is searching for its identity.
Yet, they sometimes sound like Congressman Ron Paul, with frequent calls to “End the Fed,” blaming much of the nation’s economic problems on the Federal Reserve and its close ties to the banks and Wall Street.
And they denounce President Obama for the bank bailout, the continuing wars and the failure to deliver on his promises.