Published online 26 October 2011.
4:48 it’s been a quiet day – lots of talk and not much action. This morning, I am told, the Occupy San Diego story was told to a general assembly, and a contingent was sent down to San Diego.
There was some cleanup at the site across the street from Occupy LA, but mostly there were a bunch of people talking about what everyone was going to do. I spent some time hanging out with people who I’ve met; some of them went to other committee meetings. I will try to get reports from them. It appears to have been a slow day overall. Right now I am at the donations table – a couple of gentlemen are trying to obtain a tent and are confronted with a waiting list for tents. We are trying to persuade them to come to the Resources Committee meeting.
“We’re scaring our donators,” a woman (Diana Vance) tells us. Diana is half-Native American and claims that she has been talking to all of the “tribes,” and she reports a lot of fighting between people. There are people who are leaving because it’s like a rave here. “You have a lot of clown acts here.” She suggests talking to Occupy Marines. She suggests that there’s a problem with thieves here. Diana thinks that the LA City Council has chosen to leave us alone because they think we will self-destruct. She takes some of the kids here home and helps them with sickness and lets them take showers at her place.
There is obviously a carnival element here; it’s probably most of what counts as Occupy LA. The Pomona College newspaper, “The Student Life,” tried to run a piece on Occupy LA — it was a rather drab piece because the reporter didn’t really do too much serious investigation into what was going on and was instead captivated by the carnival element. Action committee is talking about occupying workplaces. The moderator of the action committee is suggesting that to a certain extent LAPD supports us.
I am being told that Occupy Long Beach is in real trouble — there are only about five people down there, and that there was discord between some older activists who were trying to run everything, and the younger activists. There was also some rather terrifying police harassment going on down there. So the action committee is going to send a delegation down there Thursday into Friday to help.
Here I am watching some people who are new to Occupy LA, being introduced to the framework, the “structure of everything we do here.” Occupy LA is going to get a donation of “stuff” but the donor needs transportation and unloading help.
Lisa over at media tells me that the police presence I saw earlier was a matter of the cops trying to catch a stalker, who was released on bail and has probably hightailed out of here. Teri says she’s going to go over to the site and conduct soil tests.
6:30 I walk into the Resources Committee meeting in full swing. There are several new participants. We are still dealing with the impromptu structure set up at the beginning, in which Occupy LA was financially entrusted to four individual accounts. Hopefully the new participants can do something about this situation, as the regulars appear to have given up on the 501 (c) 4 arrangement they were so fiercely promoting last week. The question at hand is one of what will pass consensus at the general assembly meetings. A woman there is passing out copies of a possible charter for distribution. There is discussion of a safe deposit box — who will hold the keys to the box, and what would happen if someone were to put a lien on the contents of the box?
It is also mentioned at this meeting, as an aside, that if Occupy LA had chosen to go with a 501 (c) 4 setup, there would be some sort of reconciliation between the Food Tent and the city’s Health Department, and there would be enough food for everyone at Occupy LA. To quote Lisa Derrick’s excellent blog:
…meals must now be delivered from restaurants or “catered” by certified kitchens in order to comply with the health department until the proper permits are in place. Occupy LA’s cook staff did have access to a kitchen for the first two weeks andthey are still looking for another. Pizza is still coming in and people are also relying on their own resources, providing food for themselves and those around them.
The meeting breaks up at 7:25pm and I leave, since I can’t really deal with food or sleeping arrangements at Occupy LA as it is currently constituted.
Concluding reflections: I fully recognize that many people reading this blog will be transfixed by the current situations in Oakland and in Atlanta, where police violence has impacted the Occupy movement. In Los Angeles protesters have a moment to seize the day, although it definitely wasn’t this particular day (Tuesday). Instead, Occupy LA spends days like this dealing with its problems: infiltration by thieves and fools, police surveillance, the fact that Occupy Long Beach is being terrorized by the cops, the fact that they can’t get the drummers to stop at night, the fact that they still have a bunch of big male egos who call “meetings” to tell everyone “what we’re going to do.” The Occupy movement needs more constructive, knowledgeable doers.