Tuesday 10/18 Occupy LA notes

Published online 19 October 2011.

3:30 I came here about 90 minutes ago and this place still rocks.  There is a group (“All tribes”) meeting (and broadcasting on Twitter: https:/twitter.com#!/search/occupygreennow ) near the solar panels every day @ 1pm (Indian time) which is planning an ecovillage (at a secret location) uniting all of the Occupy LA groups (Venice, Long Beach, and so on).  One of my friends did some outreach in East LA where ther eis going to be another Occupy group. He apprised me on the state of the committees, some of which need to be significantly reorganized (or so he said).  Another of my friends was at Occupy Long Beach last night, where she “slept” on the pavement and was hassled by cops all night.

The Health Department has for all practical purposes shut down the Food Tent here; so food is distributed in clandestine fashion.  There are valid health concerns about improper food preparation and distribution, one of which is that if nobody gets any food we all starve.

There is a wonderful “university” on the north end of the block in which a number of classes are now being taught.

Later, people at the media tent (especially a fellow named “Robert”) are interested in my discussion of the decline of capitalism.

4pm a group of people from LAUSD is organizing an “Occupy LAUSD” march and speakout and press conference over at the school board headquarters.  Marching up 1st street will take 1/2 hour and they’re going to be there at 5 o’clock.  Channel 9 and KNX radio is covering it.

4:50 I am at a rather raucous protest at the LAUSD headquarters.  I’ve been talking to a high school math teacher who will give me a contribution later and has given me a UTLA handout.  there are helicopters overhead and a large contingent both of squad cars and “regular” cars carrying plainclothes police.  I had no idea the LAPD had such a large plainclothes contingent!  The media is out in force here.  There are gobs of teachers here and it’s kind of like a faculty room meeting.

Anonymous would like to comment:

I’m a new teacher in lausd.  so far i have experienced a constant threat of layoff, and a general insecurity that has affected both my ability to plan and teach, and the overall educational stability of my students.  It has been difficult to establish the types of deep relationships necessary to bond with students and help them develop academically when it is so uncertain if I will be at the school the following year.

I met peace voter here and had a discussion of Kos with her and some police officers showed up and asked whose tent this was.  Peace Voter tells Jose that Sgt. Miller says the tents are OK.

I asked these protesters to explain the sign.  The answer was more or less:

“There was 55 million given back to LAUSD from the state for rehiring teachers and LAUSD is not spending the money that way and 1300 teachers were laid off.”

That was the complaint voiced at the rally outside of LAUSD headquarters — where there is a tiny strip of pavement for a sidewalk, and then a busy street next to the 110 Freeway.  Not a lot of room for pedestrians.

I left the LAUSD rally early to go back to the main encampment (it was a long hike) and rested before the Finance Committee meeting.  At about 6:45 the regular attendees hadn’t showed up, so Claire called the meeting to order and continued with what she had.

At the meeting, the idea of changing meeting  times (so that more people could attend) was floated.  There was some discussion of the increased money Occupy LA would have to shell out because the Health Department demanded that it get more porta-potties.  There was also some discussion (prompted by yours truly) of the timeline for how Occupy LA was going to get its 501 (c) 4 status if that’s what it was going to do.  There was a request for bail money from an arrestee in Long Beach.  There was a very lively discussion of alternative financial set-ups.  The Finance Committee meeting adjourned late, so I would have missed a portion of the General Assembly anyway.  I went over to the south side, found a tiny bit of food on offer, and left the encampment for bed at around 8:30.

General reflections: Indeed it is true that the Occupy movement is a movement against f*cked-up economics, and in favor of what OPOL calls the “hippies.”  Yet nevertheless there persists this thing called “economics.”  People eat and poop, and so they go in search of food and of somewhere to go.  Eventually there will be green solutions to all this — we will use compost toilets instead of porta-potties, and we will eat food cooked in solar ovens and harvested in local community gardens.  Until then, we have donations pouring in and must be able to manage them so that checks can be cashed and their moneys used appropriately.  Thus the Finance Committee, and its drama of trying to establish a financial structure for Occupy LA.  Life goes on.

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