My name is See. I’m sure some of you reading this know who I am. I’ve
also been apart of the http://Livestream.com/OWSLosAngeles since the
last week of September. To get to the point of this open letter, I am
very concerned as far as focus for this movement and how we’re
achieving any of our goals we might have at this point.
Bare with me as I give fluffy details around items I deem to be very
important and relevant to this movement.
First and foremost I’d like to remind the many Occupiers of OLA in the
first General Assembly on September 23rd, that many of us wanted to
call attention towards this growing movement. We knew that there would
be local issues, but we would need to think on a global scale and to
be inclusive. This was a movement unlike any other. Our message isn’t
only about the 99% vs the 1% but social and global change in how we as
a people are fighting for Economic Justice as regulation as just one
of many goals. Messaging is important because if we don’t have it,
we’ve lost our connection to the 99% since we are occupiers. I feel it
is important to state my personal opinion that we as a Occupied-whole
are continuing to lose focus about who the 99% are. You might be
wondering when I think we lost focus, and I’d say as soon as we
couldn’t trust one another in this movement we lost focus and have
divided this movement in Los Angeles. Our goal like Russel Simmons has
made it his goal should be to unite the 99% and the 1% so we as a
people can be the 100%. We are not angry at the rich, we are angry at
those who cheated to be rich. We are about equality and fairness so we
should treat one another with those same principles. Should we do
anything less than that would we not be stooping down to 1%’s level?
As of recent many of the discussions and proposals from the General
Assembly have been about internal process and micro-managing OLA
rather than doing out reach to communities, organizations and those
who were sitting on the side of the fences.
Allow me to bring you back to a moment when this movement was clear
about focus, clear about who the 99% were and what we were going to do
as a movement based in Los Angeles with a video clip.
In the YouTube video Ryan Rice is recorded saying...
“We are very peaceful, we are very respective of police. We want
them on our side. Uhh.. Lets see here... We want to encourage outreach
with other Activist groups, because whatever their single issue is I’m
sure it resonates well with the 99%. And the fact that the common
enemy is a corporation some where. So as far as specific messaging,
you can do what you want. That’s the beauty of this. But we need to
make sure we are inclusive, I mean its the 99%, that's who we need to
build and talk with”
...This is followed by whom I believe is Toby (I can’t remember all
the names and faces I’ve met through Occupy)...
“Real quick, I’ve had really good results with talking to people
about money and the money issues. Let them know that corporations
aren’t paying taxes. Let them know that these investment banks aren’t
paying taxes. People really connect on that. You know religion doesn’t
matter, race doesn’t matter, where you’re from doesn’t matter.
Everyone is hurting right now in the pockets. Lets get to them all now
so that when we assemble we can start talking about what we do want.”
Early on many of us were self appointed people because there was no
one in these roles to lead Occupy LA before we knew it would encamp on
City Hall Lawn. I remember clarity in this movement through the first
six days of the Occupation encampment. Only when we couldn’t keep
track of the many participants and previous decisions at each and
every General Assembly did we get overwhelmed and allowed hysteria,
paranoia and anger to thrive in the encampment and has become a cancer
to the movement. Many people felt that people were being exclusive
with funds, supplies, meetings and information that they felt
discouraged and enraged. The truth of the matter is that many of us
were overwhelmed. Quickly we’ve allowed ourselves to not trust one
another with not only each others words or actions but also their
presence. This consumed most of our time with internal camp issues and
internal politics which led to infest the General Assembly. My opinion
about whats happened in the course of the past 3 months is that we’ve
been so busy with internal issues and process that we can no longer
think about who and what the 99% are. We used to spend 90% of our time
and energy on internal camp related issues before the raid. Now we
spend 80% of our time trying to deal with internal “Transparency”
issues because we can not trust each other. Our Idea of inclusiveness
has only had the definition of who the 99% were rather than who we
were being inclusive internally and currently active. Hostility and
misperception is what’s driving most of the conversations through
listservs and general discussions I’ve been hearing about. I admit to
these faults and have continually done so while unsure how to really
repair this problem inside our Occupy Movement here in Los Angeles.
In the midst of the days leading up the raid on Novemeber 30th I
decided to back out of Occupy Los Angeles. My reasoning for this was
that I wanted to stick to my principles of why I occupied. Like many
in the Occupy Movement this is my first form of political activism.
This is also the first time I’ve decided to really speak and side with
any political force which has and will always remain neutral from the
political Left and the political Right. On a personal note, I didn’t
come to camp or to face the LAPD. I joined Occupy to spread the news
about a growing movement that would change the world to safe my
friends, family and the future of the world. I wanted to make sure
that those who felt they were powerless had power. We’ve lost focus
and have not truly acknowledge the large split in this movement in Los
Angeles. We spoke as Occupiers through consensus. We did not speak as
99%ers. We were too focused on our internal issues and no longer
concerned with reaching out to the 99%ers who didn’t know who we were,
why we were occupying and what we were going to do about it.
In the time I’ve spent away from Occupy LA I found myself asking why
did I leave? Was it good that I left? Was I the only one who left? How
many people were pushed away through out our existence as a movement?
What does the public really think of this movement? What do my friends
and family think? As you can see, I’ve had many questions pop up. I’ve
also had many on going conversations with my friends about this
movement. Many of my friends I talked to were well established
Comedians and Visual Effects Artists (This is where my real background
and profession comes from). I wanted to see how I could connect these
dots and bridge the conversations. These are local issues here in Los
Angeles. I saw that we as a movement have done a poor job in
communicating to our communities, and I too am to blame. The Industry
I once worked in is dying through radical competitive markets where LA
is competing against foreign counties. A job where I can be paid $25
an hour can be done in another country for $25 a day for 15 artists.
Its an issue of facilities here in Los Angeles competing against other
cities in the USA as well as the overseas cities with facilities that
can do things for next to nothing. VFX facilities in LA are closing
down one after another (I was caught in the corssfire) and the 10
major studios are making record breaking profits. The VFX Artists are
talking about unionizing. Theres also talks about starting a Trade
Organization to facilitate the process of this industry that is
quickly dying in Hollywood. If you need numbers of how many VFX
Artists there probably are, I’d say nearly 20,000 in California alone.
This is a Hollywood dirty secret--and this movement needs to point out
these on going events. We need to wake up!
As of right now the world as we know it is changing. People are
loosing their jobs, their homes and their futures. I hope the we as
Occupy and the public realize the reality that the presence at City
Hall was glimpse of what things would be like should we fail as a
movement. This movement needs to educate the public of whats
happening in each and every industry that is effected by poorly
regulated systems in its industry. The executives of corporations and
banks tend to receive bonuses while their employees are being fired
before they can benefit from their jobs. I honestly feel that many
people see the loop holes and use them because no one is regulating
them. We as a people need to stick to message about regulating the
systems that have failed to benefit everyone on a national and global
scale. As of right now if we look from the outside of the Occupy
Movement we are probably the most vocal and spirited individuals in
support of this movement who feel the need to be apart of this
movement. Lets ask ourselves, would the actions we do as individuals
and as a whole interest our mothers to join the Occupy Movement?
I'm currently slowly working my way back into the Occupy Movement due
to the many inquiries I get from those who need my help. If you'd like
to know what I'm doing or want to talk more, feel free to get a hold
of me. I'm open for discussions for bridging the Occupy Movement and
the 99% and not about debates about internal politics.
I know that many of you reading this will be reacting in many
different ways. I’d only like you to think about the things you’d say
before you’d say them and how they will effect this movement.
Especially since we all know how crazy Listservs, Facebook statuses
and general discussions can be. We need to make this movement less
about our internal issues but more about rallying up the world behind
this movement. We need to stop fighting each other and start working
together. We need to stop making this about the process and about the
people. We need to change the future. I need to be going, I’ve spent 4
hours writing this. Lastly, LOVE CHECK!