Occupy Los Angeles fades with the rest - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Occupy Los Angeles fades with the rest

There’s an old sad story about throwing a party where no one comes. There’s a sadder story about throwing the party where everyone comes … and then everyone goes home and nothing changes.

Not quite nothing, in the case of Occupy Wall Street. There are still plenty of t-shirts and novelty panties to help support the movement, and even Wal-Mart is getting in on the action. Preserve your anti-capitalist memories with this Zucotti Park poster for $42.75!

More than two years after the Occupy movement began in New York its message is still loud and clear: The 99 percent are very unhappy with the current state of inequality, bank bailouts and government dithering. But the purveyors of that message are scattered, its cultural awakening concussed.

Here in Los Angeles the movement is disintegrated, its website a skeleton whose Resources section includes flyers, transportation routes, parking spots and “Other,” which directs the user to two articles on the Occupy movement and a Tumblr blog last updated on October 14th.

Day 14 of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, September 30, 2011. (Photo via Wikipedia)

Day 14 of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, September 30, 2011.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

What Happened to Occupy LA?

Occupy Los Angeles’ official Facebook page designates October 1, 2011 as the movement’s inception, but Angelinos were actually marching in September not long after the first protesters made camp in Zucotti Park. By October the Occupy movement had grown beyond the east and west coasts of the United States and expanded through Europe, Africa and Asia, to over 900 cities.

Ben Walker, a university teacher from Norwich, England, told the Washington Post how excited he was to join this “sense of international solidarity.”

In Los Angeles Occupiers made camp on the south lawn of City Hall, at first with the implicit permission of the city. In a past life Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had been president of the Los Angeles ACLU and a union organizer so he was well aware of the delicate political rules of this engagement. A patch of grass in southern California was not the nerve center of American business that Wall Street represented, but strong-arming the disenfranchised never makes for good publicity. City leaders hoped to overcome the Occupiers with patience, that several weeks of sleeping in the California autumn would cool the tempers of the 99 percent.

Hand signals were developed for communicating while people are talking during their meetings. (Photo via Wikipedia)

Hand signals were developed for communicating while people are talking during their meetings.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

With no real agenda beyond its ardent dislike of corporations and their beneficiaries, Occupy LA was willing to play that waiting game. It lasted two months.

When asked what finally brought the force of law to City Hall, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Villaraigosa cited the fact that children were living in the Occupy encampment, a fact they had previously overlooked. At its height, the camp boasted approximately 500 inhabitants and had organized itself into committees that oversaw its daily business, established a library and even scheduled yoga classes. “The chaos out there could produce something awful,” said Mayor Villaraigosa, speaking on behalf of the children.

On November 29, 2011, Broadway and 1st Street were blocked off, as well as Temple, 3rd Street and Alameda. That evening an LAPD chopper circled the steps of City Hall and cut through the crowd chanting “Occupy LA!” with its searchlight, adding its roar to the oncoming clatter of police batons. Approximately 1,400 officers descended on the camp to destroy the tents and arrest almost 300 of the Occupiers.

Various labor groups got involved with the Occupy movement, including National Nurses United. (Photo via Wikipedia)

Various labor groups got involved with the Occupy movement, including National Nurses United.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

Patrick Meighan, a writer for the television show Family Guy, was among those arrested. He has shared his experience with police brutality and excessive force in writing and in a series of video interviews. Meighan recounts bitterly how a First Aid and Wellness tent was dismantled, the canopy shredded, and then reported as “30 tons of garbage…abandoned” by Occupy LA.

Occupy LA would later file a class action suit against the city for its alleged violation of their constitutional rights. They were reminded that signs had been posted before the raid explaining that the lawn they were camping on was subject to closure at night. City officials lamented that the police action and the damage to the lawn would cost taxpayers’ $4 million to restore.

The Return of the Thing

Scene at the Occupy Fresno demonstration. (Photo via Wikipedia)

Scene at the Occupy Fresno demonstration.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

This was not the last gasp of Occupy LA. They would return in the summer of 2012 to protest arrests of their members for drawing on the sidewalk. On the afternoon of July 12, this message was posted on the group’s Facebook:

“Tonight, #ArtWalk in #DTLA becomes #ChalkWalk! Occupy Los Angeles has had a laughably ridiculous 12 arrests the past 6 weeks for children’s sidewalk chalk. Tonight from 7-9pm, occupiers, artists, enthusiasts, rebels, and the intrigued will defend the First Amendment and freedom of speech.”

Downtown’s monthly ArtWalk became the site of a pitched battle between Occupiers and police. Occupiers threw bottles and stones, the police responded with batons, beanbags and rubber bullets. Four officers were injured, one with a mild concussion. Seventeen protesters were arrested, two for assault with a deadly weapon.

The Rest is Silence

On November 18,2011 protestors at the Occupy UC-Davis protest were pepper-sprayed at point-blank range. (Photo via Wikipedia)

On November 18,2011 protestors at the Occupy UC-Davis protest were pepper-sprayed at point-blank range.
(Photo via Wikipedia)

This past September CNNMoney commemorated the second anniversary of the Occupy movement with special guest speakers, among them Occupier Mark Bray. He explained that the real goal of the movement “was about creating a vision of a different world. A world where people actually have their needs met. A humane society.”

Through this lens Occupy LA can only be seen as a spectacular failure.

It has come to light that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, as well as local police and businesses all collaborated during the Occupy movement to shut down the protests in Anchorage, Tampa and cities across the nation. FBI documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund reveal that “intelligence agencies were monitoring and reporting on Occupy Wall Street before the first tent even went up in Zucotti Park.” Treated as insurrectionists and potential terrorist threats, the Occupiers only served to consolidate their government’s surveillance machine.

Occupy Los Angeles weathered this opposition no better than its sister movements. It was a sudden, passionate explosion of social consciousness that managed the distinctly Californian stunt to both burn out and fade away.





About the author

Pierce Nahigyan

Pierce Nahigyan is a writer and performer living in the Southland. A graduate of Northwestern University, he has made his living as a toymaker, waiter, tour guide, ship's cook and marketing copywriter. Today he works as a staff writer for the progressive newsletter Nation of Change as well as an editor and columnist for the feminist website DearVagina.com. In his spare time he collects rejection letters for his novel and moonlights as a general fool for the Orange County Improv Collective. Contact the author.
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13 Comments

  1. sickofthelies says:

    can anybody find the author and knock his teeth out.

    Reply
  2. GreyWolf62 says:

    My husband and I are not in a Los Angeles jail right now thanks to Occupy Los Angeles, so I disagree with your assertion that they are dead. If you really want to cover a story relevant to both Baltimore and Los Angeles, please contact me. My husband and I are both graduates or Baltimore Polytechnic Institute but the City Prosecutor hid the truth and convinced twelve strangers that we are con artists from Detroit, a place neither of us has ever been. Thank you.

    Mr. Feuer,
    [I have fired my attorney. I am my Private Attorney.]

    It was my hope that you would bring discipline and honor to your office, but instead the crimes against innocent Brown and Black people continue, clearly with profit or hate as the motivation.

    My husband and I were wrongfully and maliciously prosecuted by Don Kass and Keith de la Rosa in case 0CA01173. I need a copy of their bonds and oaths of office. I have already posted some of the emails where they indicate that they don’t care about the truth but instead want to incarcerate me, steal my wealth and break up my family because I am belligerent. I forgot that Blacks and women aren’t allowed to speak for themselves in California! Silly me for thinking federal laws applied in this state!

    He absolutely knows that (1) my husband built our 4200 square foot million dollar home from start-to-finish with no outside labor – we are willing to provide receipts that it cost us less than $30 per square foot; (2) his witnesses were not credible and irrelevant to the phony charges; (3) that we had a working relationship with the four-time divorced Thomas Drummond, including projects during the period in question; (4) that the victim was a wealthy institutional investor with multiple properties including properties overseas — Mr. de la Rose broke violated his sworn oath of office when he told lies to convict us of a crime he knows we did not commit!; (5) that the Filipino victim harassed us during our son’s two brain surgeries over Christmas 2007 and that we still performed to our contracts, yet Keith de la Rosa portrayed the incident as us harassing her and stealing her money! (6) that I have multiple degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and a masters from the Harvard Kennedy School and was qualified to run the project, i.e. NOT a con artist!

    In short, he knows that we never lied to the client, did all of the work, earned the money, followed the law, but that we happen to be Black and proud. That is why we are being punished and persecuted.

    Please have him investigated and relieved of duty at once. Take a look at the one-sided investigation done by Autumn Holmes (an incompetent overworked person), her conclusion that I was “rude and arrogant” and must therefore be a criminal, his prosecution of the case, and then expect that I will have federal investigators and lawyers do the same.

    I do not expect to face the liar Keith de la Rosa in court on Tuesday morning at my Motion for a New Trial unless he is in handcuffs. If he shows, I will demand that he be sworn in and required to make every single statement under oath. He has shown that he does not take his Oath of Office seriously. Perhaps penalty of perjury will mean something to him, although suborning perjury clearly does not.

    I look forward to seeing your plan as to how you intend to resolve this, with full truth and the correct parties being prosecuted for their crimes.

    Yours Truly,

    Karen Michele Rozier, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Former Navy Rocket Scientist.

    Reply
    • GreyWolf62 says:

      Our neighbors were willing to testify that they saw my husband build our home and have written letters on his behalf. I was not allowed to testify and my background was excluded. My court appointed attorney waited until jury deliberations to reveal that his son works for Bank of America, a bank I have been chasing and suing successfully for quite some time. We were previously represented by the Cochran Firm Los Angeles. My understanding is that the firm was disbanded due to a pattern of mispresentation by lawyer Richard Barnwell, According to the person I spoke with at the former Cohran Firm when I called their offices, the LA office was disbanded more than four months ago. According to the State Bar of California, the Cochran Firm still exists and there are no PUBLIC records of complaints against Mr. Barnwell.

      Even if our particular story doesn’t interest you, please investigate how many people were wrongfully prosecuted after paying the Cochran Firm, believing they were paying for competent representation?

      Please investigate if the California State Bar is knowingly allowing innocent people to languish in jail or suffer other custodian interference while the Board covers up the actions of The Cohran Firm Los Angeles.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  3. Tim Brown says:

    If Occupy is “dead”, what was that thing I went to in Cincinnati yesterday?

    Reply
  4. Mike Peake says:

    Also, Occupiers had left chalkwalk by the time bottles were being thrown at police for the police’s blatantly aggressive arrests. Passers-by were shot with rubber bullets; an EMT was grabbed while talking to police and taken away, voicing disbelief clearly heard on video. The resistance was the voice of downtown rising against obvious police instigation. On video, there are clearly ten to twenty Occupiers present early on, and by the time riot cops swept through, there were hundreds upon hundreds upon the streets. This is verifiable through livestreams and youtube video.

    Reply
  5. Patti Beers says:

    Wow! Did you bother checking with Occupy LA before writing this?

    Reply
    • Pierce Nahigyan says:

      Hello, Patti. Yes, I did attempt to contact Occupy LA through their website but was unable to reach anyone

      Reply

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