Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WHAT OCCUPY TAUGHT

MANY PEOPLE WONDER

Temecula, CA – Today whenever people gather even at protest activism events, the question is always “What was Occupy about?” when my OLA background comes up. For some, me included, that has always been a difficult question to answer in a concise manner.

My original answer was more on the aspect of 'you just had to be there' because the significance of the political event hadn't made itself known. Indeed, it's possible many of us wondered the same thing. Did we expect the world to change because we decided to set up tents on City Hall lawns?


Yet when you were there, at least at the LA Occupy site, the feeling in the air was one of optimism. Underneath those giant ancient trees in the south side park, you felt in another world outside the 'real world' where buses, cars, and office workers were busy commuting. Of course you heard this activity and it was visible, but inside the campsite the air was different. So what did we expect? As an embed I asked the same question.

At first the expectation was a sit down for a grievance airing, just an airing with the powers that be. Those powers would be the ones the police protect, the property owners. We had assembled peaceably to protest as afforded any citizen of the United States, per The Constitution and Bill of Rights. The first thing that Occupy taught was when the government buys something with public funds, aka taxes, it becomes government property and no longer belongs to the public. Also you now have to get a permit for the right to assemble, which cost you money.


Having made this discovery of stolen citizenship rights, the main goal was still at hand, public communication via the news. After all, all the mayors were having press conferences as if they had been invaded by Martians. Meanwhile the OWS scene in New York was more focused on the money angle. But not LA.

Not being at the heart of the capitalism system, LA's Occupy took on the rest of society's ills but also included money on the debt side; housing mortgage seizures, fraud loans, student loan debt, and the main villain, The Federal Reserve.

The next big bug-a-boo was this entity represented as the kraken on the OLA mural but symbolizing globalization, with the head Darth, Monsanto. Corruption in politics had its most vocal group being the police brutality pre-Black Lives Matter Latino groups over the black groups. Indigenous Rights groups came to ceremonially dance along with other groups too numerous to remember. What I did remember was the cleverness found in the wording of so many different causes by so many various and sundry people.

Touring camp as everyone got ready for the press to arrive, I snapped picture after picture of slick, grass-roots political slogans that I never saw in pictures from any other Occupy site gathering. I was awed at the cleverness of words used to express a point of social contention. Gone is '50 words or less', now it was twitter-sized.

Though we were streaming live, no outside news source picked up our feed, or even announced that it was available as I saw. The news and news photographers seemed to pick out the most Woodstock lookalikes possible to interview, which is not to say that there weren't plenty of people who fit that bill. When I saw the finished news product, the verdict was in. 


Either the people who cover the news are picked just to report the facts because that's what they are paid to do, or they just lack the sixth sense that makes the reporters on the silver screen so romantic. Perhaps as Grampa Simpson would say, “It's a little from column A and a little from column B.”

The news coverage was atrocious. They came looking for a story and it stared them back right in the face. It was the message expressed in the individual signage, not the quirky fashion looks. It was the message of the button, not the leather vest it was pinned to. It was in the petition, it was in the group or coalition, and it was in the name of the various Occupy committees.

There was a committee for everything since everything was volunteer, and even the marches were volunteer. That notion caused the legit press a lot of logistical headaches. But the 'reporters' were looking in the wrong place and thinking inside the box. What Occupy, and especially Occupy LA, was, was a general wildcat strike called by people fed up with the Status quo. The story wasn't a single headline, it was the laundry list of ills that the total camp had signs for. The story was so big that the so-called reporters missed it in their sound-bite 15 second headline news fashion.

All the 'rags' that consider themselves fearless, like Mother Jones, the WSJ, and Rolling Stone were MIA. Beside the Temecula Calendar, only LA WEEKLY and maybe DTLA made a mention beyond the hyped 'Holy Shit, these hippies' exclamation. What Occupy taught was that there is a wide path to perdition, like a parade, and the people shouting about the parade are judged by who they are, not what the message is.

Perhaps people don't really want to know what the message is. I still find people who are unaware of the daily chem-trails and the theory expressed in the underground YouTube film, 'Loose Change'. At Occupy everyone learned the truth to globalism, every social ill is connected by money. It matters not what the problem is, the root rub is getting the buck, always at something or someone else's expense. This is a lesson not yet learned by all the various activist causes, from BLM to Food Democracy Now.

Exclusive LA art diner featuring nude centerpieces while OLA was taking place

What Occupy taught was something Bernie Sanders has been saying in his campaign, there may be more of us than them but it does no good unless we all join the fight and stand together to stop this hollowing out of the middle class in America by the 0ne Percent.

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