The Occupation of Los Angeles - Part 2 - 10/01/2011
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
After the embarrassing failure of the first attempt to occupy Los Angeles, the organizers of this "organic", "leaderless", "spontaneous", "popular uprising" scheduled a new date and spread the word through Facebook and other social media. This time they put a little more thought into the location. Everyone - in solidarity with the brave occupiers of Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street in New York City - were going to gather at Pershing Square in the very center of Downtown Los Angeles and march to City Hall where the plan was to "occupy" the South Lawn of City Hall Park. Now somebody was thinking this time. City Hall Park is a picturesque and comfortable place. With a big grassy lawn shaded by old trees and a pretty fountain at its center, I couldn’t think of a nicer place to spend a few months outdoors in the middle of Los Angeles. The date was set for the first of October… People were advised to bring water, tents and sleeping bags.
I was running a little late on the morning of the big day so rather than head to Pershing Square for the march, I took the subway straight to City Hall Park. When I arrived at the South Lawn of City Hall I was surprised, and amused, to see that there were already more than a hundred people in the park - but they weren’t protesters; they were the guests of an LAPD fun-raiser enjoying a catered brunch in the shade of the trees.
But no police fund-raiser was going to stop the revolution! Further down the street I could hear the faint roar of an angry mob. And as I looked north toward the main entrance I could see a growing mass of angry people assembled on the front steps of City Hall chanting slogans, banging drums and waving signs… The only things missing were pitchforks and torches.
And more of them were pouring out of the subway Station and across the street.
At this point there were perhaps 200 angry, fed-up citizens shaking their fists, waving placards and chanting, "We are the 99%".
The police had put up a yellow "Police Line - Do Not Cross" tape to prevent the protesters from reaching the top of the steps. Within a few minutes the police line had been broken and stomped upon.
Soon more police officers descended from the building with serious looks on their faces. They joked a bit with the demonstrators as they put up a new yellow line - and this time they held it. All the while the mob chanted, "Hell No! We Won’t Go!"
Soon there were hundreds of people on the steps and down the sidewalk.
The police warned the demonstrators that they had to stay off the street or they would be cited for disrupting traffic. As the crowd grew denser people instinctively began to move onto the smaller North Lawn of City Hall Park, and within minutes they had commandeered the side entrance steps and began taking over the terrace overlooking the lawn.
Within a half hour the North Lawn, as well as the northern half of the West Lawn, of City Hall was "occupied" by a ragtag rebellion of well over 1000 angry plebeians.
Almost immediately people began shouting anti-capitalist speeches through megaphones and portable P.A. systems.
Now let’s take a little walk through the crowd and have a closer look at the protesters and their messages.
The 99% slogan that you see on many of the placards is a motto created by the faceless organizers of this "leaderless", "spontaneous", "organic" rebellion. "We are the 99%" so the slogan goes, standing up against the 1% that control all the money - the rich bastards who toss us just enough crumbs to keep us virtual slaves of the evil bankers and Wall Street money barons. If you’re not part of the 1% - the super rich - then you are part of the 99%, and these brave "occupiers" protesting against the injustice of "the system" are here representing you!
Yes, these "Occupy" protests are easy to mock, and we should mock them and laugh at them. They are clowns and tools and useful idiots deserving of ridicule. But they’re also dangerous, because they’re dead serious. The teenagers and twenty-somethings here in the park with their homemade signs may actually believe that this is an "organic" "leaderless" movement, but anyone with a bit of experience with, and knowledge of, the hard left can see the hidden forces lurking behind this "popular uprising". SEIU members were on hand, as were other labor unions. Organizers from International A.N.S.W.E.R. provided a P.A. system and many of the speakers were members of various Socialist and Communist organizations such as the Workers World Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Party for Socialism & Liberation - although none of them introduce themselves as such.
Bob Avakian’s Revolutionary Communist Party set up a booth and handed out literature.
There were also numerous anarchists and "anarcho-syndicalist" groups and individuals handing out literature, including quite a few members of the I.W.W. (aka the Wobblies).
This "occupation movement" is sinister precisely because it has no singular demand or apparent purpose. This is exactly the way that the surreptitious cast of characters pulling the levers behind the "occupation movement" want it. Like Hope & Change, anyone with a grievance can come and hang his hat here. You’re pissed off, come join us - we’re pissed off too. What they want to create is a permanent state of protest against "the system". They want to fan the flames of discontent and anger, the ultimate goal of which is nothing less than revolution.
The following speaker makes no attempt to mask the ultimate purpose of the protests - "This gathering should be aimed ultimately to organize the workers to battle the capitalist system, to destroy the capitalist system".
He goes on to say that in the end violence will be necessary and calls for something akin to the French Revolution - "Ultimately the bourgeoisie will not go without violent means" - He ends by saying, "Long live the Revolution! Long live Socialism!"
Now the speaker in the above video was just one of dozens that spoke throughout the day at what were ostensibly "open microphones". Many of the speakers actually were ordinary people, in the sense that they were not protest veterans or Marxist college professors, but just young students who felt the need to come up and give short impromptu speeches.
Here, a high school student tries to explain why he’s come out to protest - "I’m sick and tired of being trashed! I’m sick and tired of not being able to speak out! I’m tired of it! I’m tired of no one taking me seriously!"…
And another high school student became so emotional he broke down in tears, barely able to raise a power fist.
Yes, it’s funny, but it’s also sad and pathetic. These are the young people who the Marxists and the radicals and the revolutionaries behind this endless protest will prey upon.
Shortly after those two young men spoke a college professor took the mic. His name is Dennis Loo. He’s a professor of sociology at Cal Poly University and an organizer for World Can’t Wait, which is a creation of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Here’s a sample of his short speech.
Professor Loo’s comments were tame compared to his usual fare, but this movement is still young, and I have no doubt he’ll ramp it a notch when the time is right.
A common thread among many of the speakers was the idea that America is a fascist country. This woman’s confused speech was typical…
Now let’s end Part 2 of my ongoing report on the Occupation of Los Angeles with a poem courtesy of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, it’s a catchy little diddy called, "Tax The Rich!"
Stay tuned for The Occupation of Los Angeles Part 3.
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