We are occupying!!!
Join LA CAN, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Skid Row and Occupy Los Angeles at Wilshire/Hope (626 Wilshire Blvd.) at 8:30pm tonight to fight gentrification and the corrupt practices of the lobby group Central City Association. BRING TENT.
We are peacefully gathering to protest the Economic Development Meeting and the downtown 2020 plan to build new high rises, the AEG Stadium and further criminalize and push out the homeless. The CCA is the localized manifestation and microcosm of everything wrong with policy, the 1% and obsession with wealth and prestige. In this hyper-localized resistance, everyone must fight the bully in their respective backyards, as a community.
We have power in numbers and will be OCCUPYING the CCA, who monitors the public spaces of downtown with private security for the one percent. Red shirt, green shirt, purple shirt, police all working together to criminalize the homeless, communities of color and more recently, to patrol protesters in the area.
We wrapped on what was a productive and spirited second day, occupiers! Throughout the day yesterday, activists were in direct action affinity group discussions, action meetings, and planning dialogues. The Los Angeles General Assembly consented upon an action in support of B. Manning for June 6th. After a laborious discussion surrounding the concept of an "Extraordinary General Assembly", the People came to consensus! We had a lot of solidarity claps and sincere people recognize that, "we're not going slow, we're going far"... and it paid off. Get involved and take ownership of this process of improvement. All power to the People!
Following the general assembly, about seventy occupiers took to the streets to march to the ongoing occupation of the Central City Association. We had a lot more people than the previous night, and the energy felt euphoric and tactile, much like the tribes around City Hall in last year. Young and old helping set up tents, an artist painting on canvas, and cardboard codes of conduct taped to trees. Pots, pans, guitars, boom boxes, and voices… all doing their part in clanging, strumming, thumping, and singing about solidarity and the revolution. Check out the photos here, thanks E.H.!
Some delicious vegan food showed up around 10:15 p.m. or so (Thank you, M.T.!) and we sat down with some hot tea and got to chalk-uppying the sidewalk. This was a new element, and along with the boost in occupiers, tents, and activities, made it feel like Solidarity Park last fall.
The camp groggily started to stir at about 5:45 a.m., when the 6 a.m. warning calls were being issued. (The rule throughout the city is tents can stay up from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) The LAPD had waited until about 7 a.m. on Day One to mobilize, but this morning they were only two minutes late. The same cops as yesterday strutted up and repeated their dance for the 1%. We didn't.
The discipline and militancy of the first day was echoed for Day Two. The tents were immediately in the air. No one talked to the pigs. Yet still, one man was arrested for chalking on the sidewalk. Chalk is not graffiti… it has been deemed Constitutionally-protected free speech. He was chalking the names of Black Panthers who were killed by the police. They waited until he was finished, approached him and told him he was under arrest. No warning was given even though others had been chalking.
We spent the rest of the morning protesting the CCA on the corners and handing out flyers to the community. I noticed a markedly more positive response to outreach efforts. Some said they had seen us yesterday and were wondering what we were about. Others couldn’t help but grin as they said, “Good morning AGAIN!” to the adamant stalwarts lining the sidewalk. In this suffocating urban rat race, music and laughter and courtesy and compassion are becoming contagious as we occupiers remain vigilant.
The siege continues. We’ll see you all there tonight. Friday’s numbers will be huge as Venice, the 805 area, Whittier, and other surrounding occupations mobilize in solidarity. We gather at 8:30pm, 626 Wilshire Blvd. (Wilshire/Hope). Bring People. Bring Pots and Pans. Bring Food. Bring Tent.