‘Occupation’ date set for Los Angeles
Tonight, members of Occupy Los Angeles, have decided that Oct. 1 will be the day they begin their occupation of Los Angeles.
Meeting in Pershing Square, and surrounded by the corporate citadels of financial power, – the skyscrapers of City National Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and others – approximately 60 activists hashed out the details of the growing “occupation movement” that is attempting to challenge corporate power in America.
After much debate, organizers voted to begin their occupation at City Hall, as it sends a message to local government regarding their displeasure with corporate influence and money within the democratic process. Some wanted the location to be Pershing Square, however the lack of visibility and the likelihood of being boxed in by law enforcement weighed against the park.
The group also decided to work with the Los Angeles Police Department to obtain permits and cooperation, hoping to avoid altercations with police.
“If we have an adversarial relationship with the cops, it’s not going to work,” said Mario Brito, the meeting’s moderator.
Occupy LA is an offshoot of “Occupy Wall Street,” a demonstration that is now in its ninth day. An “occupy” movement is also growing Chicago.
The LA group intends to stay autonomous of any political parties, and deciding to organize under the banner “We are the 99 percent,” which calls attention to America’s wealth and power disparity.
It is one percent of Americans who own 40 percent of the country’s wealth and earns 25 percent of the income. The fact that the super-rich have been obtaining more wealth since the Great Recession is a point of frustration for many who face high unemployment, growing poverty and austerity measures.
Tomorrow, Occupy LA will make an appearance in West Hollywood for President Obama’s fundraising visit. The plan is not to protest the president, but to reach out to other activist groups, something that has been missing from LA’s occupation movement.
After a sometimes frustrating organizing process that is filled with many diverse points of view, Brito said protesters are unified.
“We agree on one thing, that the economic inequalities in this country have to stop,” he said. “We have to fight back on this issue. We have to hold corporate America responsible, and the politicians that support them.”
The group holds meetings every night and is leaderless. Brito was tonight’s moderator, and after the meeting, another moderator was voted in for the next day. Although people of all ages are present, the majority are youths.
“I think that politicians who ignore these young people, and the bureaucrats who just feel they are kids and hippies, are really missing the whole concept,” said Brito. “They are actually hitting on an issue that is becoming more and more apparent for a lot people.”