Occupy LA 11/25 observations

Published online 25 November 2011.

This Friday was Black Friday, a day of idiocy for consumerist America as a whole, and thus a ripe opportunity for the creative minds of Occupy LA.  However, the obsession on this particular day was Antonio Villaraigosa’s planned eviction of Occupy LA, punctuated by a press conference at 4pm at which Villaraigosa, accompanied merely by the Police Chief, told the Occupiers he would evict them at 12:01am Monday.

I managed to arrive at Occupy LA at around 3pm and encountered the Raid Committee in full swing — they were planning the meeting that would occur at noon (with a prior meeting at 10am) Saturday to “plan” the raid and, presumably, the situation post-raid.  It was well-attended.

There was an announcement at the Media Tent about some sort of protest at 3pm at Goldman Sachs.  Never mind.

Someone has lodged an appeal for a Federal injunction against the raid.  But, as I heard later from the individual staffing the Wellness Tent, Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyer’s Guild does not think there will be any Federal injunction at all.

The Facilitation Committee meeting, at around 5pm, planned out the general assembly.  Affinity group announcements, then proposals, then discussion period, then individual announcements.  It was clear that the general assembly on that day was going to be dominated by the Raid Committee, and that there were going to be working groups composed of 1) people who were planning to be arrested Monday morning and 2) people who weren’t planning to be arrested but who wanted to support those who were.  There will also be a press conference Monday or Tuesday to discuss the aftermath.

At around 6pm I chatted with the young man staffing the Wellness Tent.  Inside was first aid equipment and a stretcher.  He said he was looking for housing for fifteen or twenty people, and not having much luck.

The Resources Committee meeting, at around 630pm, started out with a report from the Raid Committee, and continued with a discussion of bail policy.  Who was Resources going to bail out, and who would simply have to stay in jail.  As Resources had (at that point) $12,000 all told, and as only a portion of that would go to bail money, a decision would have to be made at some point.  Resources reminded itself that ultimate decisions would be made by the general assembly and that they were really there to moderate the process.  Someone from the Legal Team suggested that the standard procedure (as Martin Luther King Jr. followed on the nonviolence campaigns he led) would be to have the public defender attempt to reduce the bail amounts in court.

Discussion proceeded to that of storage resources.  One person was looking into a warehouse; another had a lead on donated space in Glendale.  An emergency allocation of $250 was agreed for immediate storage purposes.

Housing was also considered.  There would be considerable housing needs after the eviction.  Once again a warehouse was mentioned, and it was proposed that members cold-call supportive agencies looking for free space for Occupiers.  As the meeting adjourned, a proposal for an Adbusters campaign called “Occupy Xmas” was tabled.

Occupy is also still processing Russell Simmons’ donations, generous, but entirely in-kind.

The General Assembly went as predicted.  There was at one point a statement of solidarity from the South Central Farmers to Occupy LA.

As for the breakout groups in prep for the raid, it seemed as if nearly half of the participants in the assembly (not counting the crowd outside) were willing to risk arrest, though it was difficult to get any exact head count.

Concluding thoughts:

It is obvious that the capitalists have organized the system such that the right to sleep has largely been made contingent upon the obligation to pay a member of the gentry for rental space.  The most revolutionary aspect of Occupy, as I pointed out in my previous diary, is its mode of operation, which (among other things) defies this contingency by liberating space for sleeping.  Thus it is obvious that “elected” government would attempt to destroy the ability of Occupy to liberate sleeping space.  Having someone donate warehouse space for the Occupiers will certainly give them a place to rest their heads — but it won’t be the same.

NB: Occupy Los Angeles will STILL need your donations!  You may contribute at the link on the website or at the Welcome Tent.

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