After less than one week in planning, the sit-in protest over economic inequalities, called “Occupy LA,” descended upon City Hall yesterday with hundreds of demonstrators in tow.
Beginning from Pershing Square, approximately 400 protesters marched to City Hall, with the intention of staying. Police blocked traffic along the way, providing demonstrators safe passage.
Once they arrived their numbers swelled, peaking at an estimated 2,000, a turnout that even surprised organizers.
By noon, according to Emilio Arreola, the acting head of security for the group Occupy Los Angeles, said police had called off several units because “we have it under control.”
“Our goal is to keep it peaceful,” he said. “We are non-violent.”
Protesters carried placards, some reading “We are the 99 percent,” “We’ve been bitch-slapped by the ‘invisible hand’” and “Where’s the trickle-down?” The signs are representative of a group of people, mostly young, who are angry over Wall Street greed, corporate influence in politics and the richest one percent of Americans gaining more wealth during a period of time while the majority face unemployment, growing poverty rates and austerity measures.
Edwin Everhart, a grad student at UCLA, likened America’s current wealth distribution to a banana republic.
Continue reading at: http://www.laactivist.com/2011/10/02/occupied/
I have spent the last two days at the Occupy Wall Street gathering. It was a beautiful display of peaceful action: so much kindness and gentleness in the camp, so much belief in our world and democracy. And so many different kinds of people all looking for a chance at the dream that America had promised them.
When people critique this movement and say spurious things about the protesters’ clothes or their jobs or the general way they look, they are showing how shallow we have become as a nation. They forget that these people have taken time out of their lives to stand up for values that are purely American and in the interest of our democracy. They forget that these people are encamped in an urban park, where they are not allowed to have tents or other normal camping gear. They are living far outside their comfort zone to protect and celebrate liberty, equality and the rule of law.
It is a thing of beauty to see so many people in love with the ideal of democracy, so alive with its promise, so committed to its continuity in the face of crony capitalism and corporate rule. That should be celebrated. It should be respected and admired.
Their message is very clear and simple: get money out of the political process; strive for equality in taxation and equal rights for all regardless of race, gender, social status, sexual preference or age. We must stop poisoning our food, air and water for corporate greed. The people on Wall Street and in the banking industrial complex that destroyed our economy must be investigated and brought to justice under the law for what they have done by stealing people’s homes and savings.
Jobs can and must be created. Family farms must be saved. The oil and gas industry must be divested of its political power and cheap, reliable alternative energy must be made available.
By Ben Manski
Monday Oct 3, 2011
The protests that began in Wisconsin this year, and which now also fill the streets of Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, and this week, Washington D.C., have gotten the attention of the American political class. And how could they not? 2011 is becoming a remake of the 1999 Battle of Seattle, except this time the protests are ongoing, national and global, and the target is not just the World Trade Organization, but the entire edifice of corporate capitalism.
So the political class, rather than ignore this wave of protests, pulls a card from the past. They know we are angry, they say. They just don’t understand what we want. We speak in too many voices. According to the American Pravda, The New York Times (which tells the professional classes their truth), we are a “hodgepodge” and “confused” movement with “unclear goals” and “nowhere to go.” Why can’t we settle on a couple key demands?
What some can’t accept, they pretend not to understand. And the political class can’t accept that the common demand of the current protest wave is for democratic revolution. We want them gone. We want power.
We haven’t been secretive about our goals. The Wisconsin Wave was launched in February as a “democracy movement.” Occupy Wall Street calls for an “American Revolution.” The October2011.org occupation of Freedom Plaza in D.C. intends to “Create a New World.” Perhaps, as Thomas Paine once penned, “The birthday of a new world is at hand.”
Democracy is a simple idea. It means “the people rule.” The promise of the United States is democracy. The reality is that corporate elites rule. The contradiction between the promise and reality of America has produced a movement to make the promise the new reality.
We believe it our birthright to directly participate in power. Elections were always a poor substitute for participatory democracy. And elections delegate power from the people to a tiny elite easily browbeaten or bought off by major corporations. Most Americans intuitively know this.