They need to protest this http://www.latimes.com/news/op...
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The organizers worked to get the word out via social media. By that point, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations had entered the mainstream consciousness, largely thanks to the New York Police Department.
The organizers were overwhelmed by the turnout. "We figured if we were successful, we'd have 500 people," Brito says.
At least twice that, maybe more, turned out. The first night, only about 100 decided to sleep at City Hall. By the end of the first week, the encampment had swelled to more than 200 tents and was still growing. By the end of the third week, the number stood at nearly 400 tents, and the encampment had spilled over into Fletcher Bowron Square and the courtyard of the Police Administration Building. It was becoming a village.
"It's extraordinarily idealistic," Sulzdorf says. "It's a little like I'm a member of a Greek city-state."
Organizers set up a food tent, a day care area, a meditation temple, a library and a medical tent, where occupiers could get first aid and basic health care supplies. (Who says this is no better than a Tea Party rally? At one meeting, a medical team member announced, "We need condoms." The Venice Family Clinic quickly came through with a donation of 2,000, of which about 100 had been distributed within a few days.)
Following the lead of Occupy Wall Street, the organizers ran their meetings from the early days with a formal, consensus-based process. The process has a long history in leftist movements, dating back to the 1970s, and it has many advantages. But in a large group — some "general assembly" meetings have had more than 600 people — it can be difficult to reach consensus.
Any one person can block the group from taking action. This makes the U.S. Senate, with its 60 percent threshold to stop a filibuster, look like a model of procedural efficiency. Small wonder, then, that three weeks into the occupation, the group was spending more time discussing its own process than anything else — a messy issue that has persisted and looms as a big threat to the L.A. movement.
This is not a new problem in left-wing politics. Since the left adopted consensus decision making as its primary means of getting things done, activists and scholars have been refining it to try to minimize its most obvious shortcomings.
First, some of the history. If your image of left-wing protest is mass demonstrations for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, then your image needs updating. History has not stood still since then, and neither has the history of protest.
The consensus process was borrowed from the Quakers, taken up in the early '70s by feminist collectives and later by anti–nuclear power demonstrators. The idea is that the group decides what to do by reaching a collective understanding rather than by voting. The theory is this reduces the power imbalances within groups and allows each member to participate as an equal.
The Clamshell Alliance, an anti-nuclear group, was a major early adopter of consensus decision making. The process has been applied and altered in subsequent movements, including, most recently, the demonstrations against globalization in the late '90s and early '00s. Those movements developed hand signals. "Twinkling" fingers — also known as "spirit fingers" or "jazz hands" — conveys support. Crossed arms indicates a "hard block" — a veto. Facilitators and "stackers" keep the process going.
Consensus can stop a lot of half-baked ideas from gaining traction. But the process has drawbacks as well.
Consider, for example, the Movement for a New Society, a leftist collective that was founded in 1971 and dissolved in 1988. Part of the reason for its undoing was its consensus process, which resulted in endless discussions. Over time, there was a bias toward inaction — because it became harder and harder to agree to anything.
"It was easier for the organization to stay the same than it was to change," says Andrew Cornell, author of Oppose and Propose, a history of the Movement for a New Society. "Consensus decision making was seen as ... a goal rather than a process."
Consensus also contributed to the stalling out of the antiglobalization movement, Cornell says. "There needs to be a balance between these things. I am concerned that too much focus will be placed on the internal conversations at the Occupy sites."
Unions are more hierarchical, and so all of this was somewhat new for Brito, the former union organizer. "I'm used to when someone has a problem, you curse each other out and then go have a beer," he says. "Here you've got to work it out."
That can be difficult when the movement itself doesn't know quite what it stands for. On the broadest level, there is a class consciousness implicit in the phrase "We are the 99 percent."
There also seems to be broad agreement on the corrosive power of money in politics. Beyond that, it's hard to get a handle on what Occupy L.A. represents.
That's been the gist of a lot of the outside criticism: Where are your demands?
To the extent that criticism is in bad faith, it can be disregarded. (As The Onion put it, "Nation Waiting for Protesters to Clearly Articulate Demands Before Ignoring Them.")
They need to protest this http://www.latimes.com/news/op...
I have participated in occupation-like protests, that involved camping out in buildings for periods of time. I was not lazy or unemployed or crazy. I got up in the morning and went to my professional office job and worked all day. The people participating in these protests are diverse... many do work full time jobs and are participating in their free time in the protests. Some have been hopelessly unemployed or underemployed for a long time, despite all their efforts otherwise. Times are bad, and the message is partly to put a bunch of faces to the news we hear everyday about tough economic times and high unemployment. I'm one of the lucky ones-- I graduated with a master's degree 5 years ago and landed a job quickly and have been lucky to not get laid off (although there were some close calls in the past 3 years, even with my stable job.)
If you are criticizing these people for participating in a protest in which they are representing the vast majority of us, then you ought to think again. Don't judge another unless you've walked in their shoes. You may be in the same situation some day, at the rate of how things are going in this country. You can ridicule and criticize the protests, but keep in mind that nothing changes without people who step forward and start trying to figure out how to change things. If it wasn't for protesters, Black people would still be riding at the back of the bus, beaten and arrested by police with no reason, lynched without justice. Blacks and women would still not be allowed to vote, with the reason given that they (we) have no souls and therefore no rights. Protests bring visibility to dissent when things go wrong in a society, and then, if press and other mechanisms show such dissent to the public, things start to change because people start to think and realize that there's a vast public opinion that hasn't been heard... protests are the harbingers of change. Open your eyes if you think things are fine. Things are really NOT ok in this country anymore and it's getting worse. You'll end up the fool if you don't start opening your eyes, listening, considering some of the words of protesters and supportive politicians... because things are getting bad right under your nose, and dangerously quietly. Wake up before your rights have been totally undermined and twisted out from under you.
To the posters who just resort to the old canard of assuming the protesters are just lazy or homeless or should "get a job"...that will not fix the growing wealth disparity in our nation. Making light of this protest will not correct the ever-growing corruption by those with vast wealth over our government. The truth is more and more of this nation's wealth is being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. That equals less actual items being bought, which equals less demand, resulting in less jobs. And this cycle will get worse.You should be mad, and the protesters are helping raise awareness that we ALL should be mad.
John Kobylt nails it: The Occupy movement has set up outdoor mental institutions around the country.
Here are some of the latest photos from Occupy LA: http://www.flickr.com/photos/s...
If people wouldn't file-share, they wouldn't feel robbed by 'corporate greed'. if you steal from musicians...or anyone..by not paying your credit card bills, or anything else that constitutes stealing, directly or indirectly(though you don't think so), then you reap what you sow..or karma...or whatever terminology. but you get back what you put out. you never thought that was the case, did you? it's a universal law, that applies to everybody. it doesn't matter how long it takes to happen...the bottom line is, it happens.
the "99%" all have iphones, drink starbucks, use google and buy publicly traded merchandise. all the time you're wasting protesting you could be starting your own business or something else more productive.
Corporations wouldn't necessarily have to be so bad, if so many of them weren't all about huge salaries for a few individuals at the top. The problem is the greed aspect. Plenty of corporations and companies manage to be successful as businesses, providing goods and services to people, without exploiting cheap labor, without unfairly high salaries for top execs, without pouring money corruptly into the pockets of politicians. The problem is the corrupt crap that so many of them are participating in. Just because someone owns a cell phone, uses google, etc., and protests corporate greed and corruption, that doesn't mean they are anti-business. They are just anti-corporate greed and corruption and calling for change and increased regulation in favor of the common person.
It has been suggested that the Occupy movement should make specific demands, so that they can be duly ignored. I suggest just one demand. The demand is that the law cease to treat corporations as persons. It might require an amendment of the US Constitution. It would create widespread disorder and perhaps temporary disempowerment, effecting not just big for-profit companies but also unions, non-profits, political and social organizations. But it would demand that we stand face to face. We haven't just created a monster. We've created a monster-making factory that makes more monster-making factories. We need to stop, tear what doesn't work down, and rebuild.
I know it's a big city to cover, but is the Weekly not covering the "Grim Sleeper" case anymore? Why? Becasue Pelisek got hired by The Daily Beast? The L.A. Times are just basically quoting the LAPD and adding zero analysis or insight - could use some Weekly input on the latest developements this week. For example: the LAPD now claim that Lonnie Franklin's voice matches the 911 caller's voice in 1987.
Wake up, Weekly!
By Occupy existence it has provided what people are seeking -- shelter, medical care, food and child care. It is an example of their goals. Occupy a consensus on that. This article has proven our government does represent the citizens' inability to agree.Audrey
This is news? A bunch of professionally and economically unsuccessful people in L.A. are complaining about folks who have done better than they?
Where's the story? Folks on the left throwing fits and then having a difficult time voicing a coherent message is hardly unprecedented or even terribly newsworthy. Particularly in SoCal.
I cannot imagine anyone getting upset or excited about this article, as it is incredibly boring. So so boring. Also, Adbusters = "Glossy anarchist magazine"? Nope!
http://www.surrealla.com has covered the Occupy movement as well and included several interviews in their Occupy LA episode of the Surreal LA podcast. Check it out.
Nice way to make this seem leftist... This is isn't "anti capitalist". It is anti greed, it is anti corporate involvement in government.. It is about giving people their voice back in a government that has been bought by corporations that put profits over ethics and suffer no accountability because they bribed our government into drafting legislation to make it legal for them to rob the American people.
Some of us here at Occupy LA would like to thank the LA Weekly and others who wonder when "the movement" will find its "direction." Your insinuation that such a direction will be the answer to many American's (indeed, many people all over the world) grievances is almost as flattering as your expectation of those directions solidifying in a matter of weeks since we first unrolled our sleeping bags on Wall Street. While we wait on those one or two simple answers I'd like to report OccupyLA is actively providing shelter, food, medical treatment, information, education (from how to build your own solar powered systems to what a sustainable economy might look like, from an introduction to organic farming to a history of non-violent protests), and many other services for those who need it most, free of charge. These are not simply entitlements but every human's intrinsic right, along with the radical idea that people should have a say in the things that effect their lives. Wait a second... Perhaps there are a few answers here already? This is what democracy looks like. This is Occupy LA. ~SC
Everything can not be smooth to do this for them, especially when you are facing the gove and much more people than them.
I can't Waite untill the fighting begins , burnning buildings, looting, public flogging forget camping out we can do that at the beach, it's time to take back what's ours!and the only way to do it is with the two hands God gave us.
Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Los Angeles, and all the factions in between stand in peaceful non-violent solidarity with one another. We do not condone police OR protestor violence. In fact, a militant non-violent response is the only path forward. This is one of the few points all Occupations agree on. Eldiablolucky13's comments do not represent the opinions of Occupy Wall Street. ~SC
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