Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"How 1% of the Fanatics Co-opted Occupy LA"

A profoundly moving and insightful article by Dorothy Anderson, Occupy supporter and LA resident, at Mad Mike's America. I, too, have been a supporter of Occupy, but - like many others - have had some concerns since the beginning about just this kind of thing.

How 1% of the Fanatics Co-opted Occupy LA
A few Occupy LA left wing tea fanatics destroyed opportunity for economic parity.

There has been horrible violence all over the country. Not in LA. Occupy LA was the shining star of the Occupy movement. Demonstrators blew it by making the point of the protests about everything but the most important goal— ending economic disparity across the world —and confused the primary issue with unnecessary minutia.

On 28 November 2011, beginning at midnight, the Occupy LA tent city was peacefully dismantled by the LAPD. The Los Angeles Weekly. The Los Angeles City Council passed a unanimous resolution to support Occupy LA. This resolution was supported by Democrats and Republicans.

Our publisher authored an article entitled Occupy movement filled with hypocrisy—contradictions, noting Their approval ratings are down by 20% since last month. They claim to have a message but sometimes those messages are filled with contradictions.

Those very contradictions destroyed what could have a nationwide, grassroots movement. I expressed opinions similar to the following content on the Occupy LA Facebook site. I commented: apparently, it has been deleted. If not, can someone help me find it? If it’s not there, I ask the following: Where is my Free Speech?

One kind person tried to help on the Occupy LA Facebook site: You may have forgotten to click “send” it Dorothy. I do that pretty often.

I responded Thank you… I still can’t find it, but I appreciate you help very much. I am so sad that we couldn’t find a way to succeed. I have been vehemently supportive of the movement. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

According to the Huffington Post:
One reason [for the non-violent interaction] was the leadership of the liberal Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who ordered the eviction but also no beatings, tear-gassing or police violence. Another was the leadership of the Los Angeles Police Department, eager to show a new approach after years of controversy. The City Council came out early in support. Organized labor and local clergy joined the Occupiers and insisted the mayor do the right thing. And the Occupiers themselves adhered to a code of non-violence in an effort to keep the focus on Wall Street.
I write the following, partially with my dear friend, Boston Maggie, in mind, because she saw this disjunction far before me. Perhaps she was right, after all: that modern-day, lazy hippies co-opted Occupy. Those of us who just wanted a fair shake economically got shoved aside.

There has been violence in Oakland, Boston, New York, Davis, and many, many other places across America. OLA is claiming victory. There is no victory: just sad irony.

Occupy LA squandered a golden opportunity. I don’t expect—and frankly don’t care—if my view is supported. As a native Angeleno, I was hoping Los Angeles would become that nationwide mobilization point for the Occupy movement based on the continued support of the Los Angeles City Council and the LAPD. I called more than one person out on Facebook. Two of my comments disappeared on the OLA FB page.

The LAPD actively supported OLA. Officers brought food, medical supplies, and even clothing to protesters in tent city. I spoke to four police officers: each of them told me that they supported the movement, noting their pensions were on the line. Their attitude sharply contrasted from those NYPD officers to whom I spoke: New York’s finest were reluctant to make any comments, even off the record.

The City Council wanted to give protesters 10,000 sq. ft. office space, farm land, and space for a homeless shelter for $1.00 per year. Opponents stated they did not want to be locked away in some obscure office area.

The planned office was located across the street from City Hall adjacent to the LAPD HQ. As LA Police Chief Charlie Beck surveyed the OLA, The LA Weekly, in an article entitled “The Zen of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck,” quoted him as follows: Marijuana use doesn’t disturb me. The behavior of the group disturbs me, and the behavior of the group’s been good.

All went well, except for the dismantling of the movement by those who I call the fanatic far left tea party. The OLA tea party contingent is still proclaiming “solidarity!”

With who?

One sage soul wrote:
The problem with some of us Occupiers is that we want to get frustrated and start calling folks ignorant because they haven’t grasped what our message is. Instead what we should do is realize that perhaps we have failed to project the proper image and hammer home a clear message that the average Joe can grasp. Not everyone has truthout, counterpunch, etc. on their RSS feed. Many are working people that come home, watch hours of TV, maybe catch some of the local news and perhaps catches a few headline stories online. Our message is jumbled and we need to market ourselves better. Some of the people that are “leaders” in the movement do not know how to sell, which is a vital survival tool that many folks with liberal arts backgrounds and little experience in the business have. We need simple slogans like “Get money out of politics”, “Regulate Wall St”, “Citizens over Corporations” , etc. Instead we push long lists of demands, wordy press releases, and try to push 10 issues at once. Then we wonder why people think we’re just lazy hippies camping out and looking for a free ride.
I wish more protestors in Occupy LA felt this way.

Occupy Irvine wrote in support “From your neighbors to the south.” Another commenter called LAPD action: “Like a thief in the night…THE WHOLE W0RLD iS WATCHING…” [sic]

Neither the LAPD nor the Los Angeles City Council acted like thieves. Rather, city officials handed OLA the opportunity to mobilize—and potentially create—a national Occupy movement that could have forced the hands of the wealthy 1%. Occupy LA lost the opportunity to become a focal point of the Occupy movement across America.

The less than 1% of the 99% have stolen our opportunity to effect real change. Even the LAPD’s disbandment of OLA was peaceful.

While many Occupy movements suffering from alleged police violence across the country, the LAPD was not a part of these actions. Sadly, Occupy LA became a free-for-all with a lot of people bitching and moaning, ill-informed and unable to focus on the primary goal of economic parity.

Occupy has now lost a nationwide mobilization point that could have helped people protesting in the ultra conservative fringe areas across America. Protestors were offered every opportunity to establish a base across the street from city hall, not in some out of the way place.

Meanwhile, Black Friday sales were up 7%. Megalithic corporations owned by the richest one percent banded together and successfully increased the bottom line.

The irony.

The reactionary, left-wing tea party stole our voices hoping for a positive outcome. That we had so much support here, which was vehemently refused, has given the richest 1% the grounds to cite that Los Angeles government officials did all it could and protesters could not work in a unified manner for a single, unified goals. OLA’s failure to accept this offer has given powerful ammo to the richest .1%.

I am the 98%.


Another insightful article, If Occupy is only sound and fury it will signify, and change, nothing - found at Oh!Pinion.

UPDATE: It seems even the Occupiers are thinking about and planning the next phase, so I guess some of us are not too far off base.

"One who has been watching the Occupy movement closely is Van Jones, an activist who once worked in the Obama White House, and who now heads an organization called Rebuild the Dream. Jones has spoken at Occupy encampments and met with those working on the next steps. He thinks that the movement can work on multiple fronts. Protests and demonstrations are important, Jones says, but so too are elections.
'There's no reason to do an either or here. This can be one of the biggest movements in the history of the country,' he says"
Occupy Protesters Consider Political Future from NPR.


  1. I feel like I'm missing something here. Occupy seems to be a grassroots movement with no great leaders, but this does not mean they still aren't effective. At least that 1% of the 99% are out there. I can't say that for myself. I'm just happy someone, anyone, is saying anything at all.
    I support Occupy and so don't care to criticize them from the outside.

  2. @Rubye: I don't think anyone is saying that Occupy has not been effective but in some cases, maybe they haven't always acted with good sense - as in LA. SCOTUS ruled in 1984 that park services have the right to ban tents. The LA mayor, who supports Occupy, made a pretty decent offer as an alternative. I agree with Dorothy that to reject it wasn't the best decision.

    Maybe it's time to regroup and re-evaluate where the movement is going from this point on and how they're going to get there.

    There are a lot of people who, for a variety of very valid reasons, can't protest and camp out today but who were in the trenches in times gone by. I think there's a lot they could teach those of today about what real non-violent protest and passive resistance is.

    I also believe that constructive criticism is a hell of a lot healthier than blind loyalty. Isn't that what we criticize the right for doing?

  3. I had a three paragragh reply to your post Leslie.

    It stunk.

    Your post was fine and ddidn't need my help.

  4. @Joe: Awww, I'm disappointed. Doubt if it stunk nearly as badly as the crap a certain Anonymous troll has been dropping off every day for four months.

    But I have something up my sleeve which may make this rat fink reconsider the situation. How about a little exposure? Like his email address(es) and his name(s) published right here on Parsley's Pics? And all his isp's and the different towns he sends from?

    I'm tired of this crazy bastard.

  5. I, too, support Occupy. The problem here is that OLA got amazing support from the City Council and the LAPD.

    What I do not support is that OLA rejected an opportunity to mobilize. The mayor and city council offered protestors 10,000 sq ft of office space, as well as farm land and an area to use that would end up as a place for homeless Angelenos.

    As a Socialist, I feel strongly that refusing this offer was an egregious error on OLA's part.

    I stand firmly in Leslie's corner on this point: "constructive criticism is a hell of a lot healthier than blind loyalty." Think about the type of people who are blindly loyal to the detriment of rational thought.

    We are better than that.

    Here's the biggest problem: we are not adhering to the goals to which we originally ascribed, but are clouding the most important issue with minutia.

    The most important issue is economic parity. If we lose our focus, we lose Occupy. That's pretty much what happened in LA.