I still have Stephen's projector.
I had rented it for a discounted rate, an amazing $25 he quoted, since what I was doing was a righteous grass root event. 100 TPC - World Poetry Festival - Los Angeles was another global event with more than 700 events in 600 cities and 95 countries worldwide, all taking place on September 24th. I had been on the gig since May. Exactly one week after the 24th of September was October 1st, the date that a team of Angelenos and others launched Occupy Los Angeles, the segment of the revolution today and what was soon after to become part of a global movement. And here I came, and here I have been ever since. I am an Occupier and I live in a 3 section tent with Comrade John Barrymore and his dog Comradine Jazmine. And I would love to sit in a bubble bath. For a couple of hours... couple of days actually.
The intended use of Stephen's projector didn't happen on the 24th. There was a lack of media techs on hand. I wanted to project the revolving live stream of the cities that were streaming their events. I was swamped and whoever gave it a try that day, failed. Stephen asked for his projector afterward, but never made an effort to pick it up. Oh well. I told him I was at Occupy Los Angeles, "Come pick it up," I told him, "Since it's pretty close to you and you know, I don't drive, I brought it here so you can come get it." I was sure to add.
But these days, while driving has become a luxury for many in the 99%, I won't take the Red Line either, not after what John told me, "..twice now." he said. "The Sheriff's Deputys are on the metro making arrests for people with no tickets."
Wow, yeah. I had a weird feeling the other night when I hopped on. One of those feelings that I've learned to just... trust. I know this, security guards patrols the metro for travelers that believe the ride to and from Downtown L.A. operates on the "honor system."
I have been on the Red Line and watched them myself. They stroll up the aisles and ask for tickets. I suppose having security guards do it instead of a metro/bus driver or a metro/porter is a two-fold benny. The transportation system thus the City of Los Angeles, saves bread,and the coppers meet quotas in regard to traffic citations.
But when J.B. told me that, it hit me as one of those things that were so not the norm, and I asked. "So... the Sheriff huh?" He says, "Yeah, the Sheriff."
A couple of days go by, and this morning while we're both using Internet elsewhere, and while trying to get up to speed with emails, revolution and coffee I ask further, "So... which direction were you headed when you saw the Sheriffs making arrests for no tickets?" And John answers, "I know what you're thinking, yes, they were arresting people that look like us." And what direction?" he asks, repeating my question to answer it, and says, "People that were getting off here, at Civic Center."
Great. I thought.
So, the LAPD and City Hall remain publicly gracious, just because they said they would which is cool, because we all know they regret it. Poor things, nice guys.
And so, when Stephen's projector actually got used for the first time while in my possession since September 24th, the projector's use was actually one of a major significance, and was also an instrument of a more definite camaraderie or, a bonding for some of us here at Camp OLA. And sadly, a defining moment for many occupiers since it bought an understanding of more clearly who everyone actually is, in terms of being a revolutionary. On the night that Occupy Wall Street got raided, I pulled Stephen's projector out of my tent and...
let me say here, there is no shortage of media techs here. Occupy Los Angeles is pretty bad ass when it comes to a little ol' projector. Think about it, Los Angeles is Hollywood, and the greater Los Angeles area is now the major employer of artists in the U.S. so of course, every art here includes the media tech that accompanies every art form and long story short, we hooked up the projector like turning on a microwave to heat up the coffee, and the campers/occupiers sat together to watch the live streaming wrath of the brutal NYPD. It was horrible.
Thank you Stephan, please come to City Hall and pick up your projector,
I don't want to be responsible for it anymore. Maybe this will help. In San Francisco they bulldozed over our Occupy brothers' and sisters' media tents. Which is why we sent 10 of Los Angeles' media team members up north. But that's another Occupy war story, sadly, one of way too many and anyway at this time we're talking about the root of our Solidarity, The catalysts, pioneers, original team of occupiers in Zucotti Park that are the now famous Occupy Wall Street A-Team of whom the world is standing in solidarity with.
Oh man, while watching the live stream all of us were dead silent. At first, while brother John hooked up the projector, there was the normal stuff going on, people were in groups of twos or threes just talking and whatever, smoking. Talking about revolution has become less a baptismal elation, and more of an analytical dialogue of hope.
Then, using the white tarp of the media tent we all gathered, the vibe of famiy movies as we each found a spot on the concrete landing at the top of the South Lawn steps of City Hall. It was the most blatant display of total disregard for the very fellow human beings these men were supposed to be the guardians and protectors of that we had ever seen in our lifetimes. We were speechless. I myself, teary eyed with my mouth hanging open.
Brother Anthony spoke first.
"I don't know about you guys, but... does this not just PISS YOU RIGHT THE FU*K OFF!!!???
Directions: Place opener upon rim of can. Squeeze handles tight until the lid of can is pierced through. Twist. When nearly completing one full revolution around can of worms, pull back lid. Wait.
And there it was. It crawled out of the can Stephen's projector had laid on the table. It crawled out of the can and sat there looking up at each one of us, staring us in the face. we all stared back at it. We looked at one another, recognizing the animal on the table. Staring at the creature was like looking in a mirror. This thing, was our true Inner Revolutionaries. And I can't remember who it was, Anthony or another brother. It didnt' matter. We all felt it. I don't actually know who shouted it, maybe a few people at the same time.
LET'S MARCH RIGHT NOW IN SOLIDARITY FOR WALL STREET!!!! LET'S MARCH RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW! LET'S GO ACROSS THE STREET!!! AND MARCH TO THE LAPD!!!
Alrighty then. Ohhh - kay. It was that last part that did it. That defined us as individuals in the decentralized state of revolutionaries. The “leaderless” soldiers that we were. It defined and divided us right then and there. The familiar General Assembly screaming amongst ourselves ensued... ick! No! Why now? SHIT!! shit shit shit!
What would I do? Of course, the mother in me came out first. I'm sure Anthony was younger than my son. I have seen police brutality up close. It was traumatic. I never wanted to see it again. Especially right then, at that moment. I was not ready to witness violence unleashed upon these young men and women that I have come to know and love in the past 46 days, these people I lived with in a tribal fashion, all of us soldiers of the battalion Occupy Los Angeles. I realized that some of us were actually the clerical, the journalists and chroniclers at the front lines of this war. And I realized also, that some of us were the actual sharpshooters, the parachutists, the grenade launchers, the machine gunners and the one on one face to face combat hard ass muther-fu*er troops. I don't know if anyone has the same eyesight that I do, but I saw them, us, for who we are here in Camp Ola.
I ran with the angry ones to the edge of the camp after waking up Mark and the revolutionaries up in the artist colony of the camp, up behind media. “MARK!!! GET UP! THEY RAIDED NEW YORK AND EVERYONE HERE IS LEAVING TO MARCH IN SOLIDARITY!!! GET UP! They got up, Brother Mark showing up in his panda bear cap. “Aye caramba!” I thought when I saw him. So cute in that stupid cap which was , “...so wrong for this revolutionary moment, I thought. Oh whatever, he's an artist that is actually a bad ass when it comes to wartime and actually gettin' down.
I ran down to my tent to wake up J.B. On the way down, I saw Roberto Moreno the Freedom Fighter running with the occupiers who were all fired up now and preparing for marching. I called to him, “ROBERTO!!”
I ran to Roberto, ready to do whatever Roberto thought was right, him being the freedom fighter from all that mess in South America. “Roberto... what is the right thing to do here?” He answered, “ MARCH!!! OF course! MAKE THEM SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING!!
"Really!!?? I said to him, "Okay Roberto! It's the right thing to do then! I have to go and wake up John Barrymore!”
I got to my tent and woke John up."JOHN! GET UP! THEY TORE UP ZUCOTTI PARK AND EVERYHONE HERE IS SO PISSED OFF THAT THEY WANT TO MARCH ON TO THE LAPD STATION TO SHOW SOLIDARITY!"
JB said, “Ah shit! I was just falling asleep! Gaddammit!”
John Barrymore. To one generation, he was the grandson of the great John Barrymore, to Hollywood, he was one of the greatest actors that ever lived. To another generation, he was Drew Barrymore's brother. To me, he was my comrade in the the truest definition of the word. The translation of comrade is “bunk mate” a reference to soldiers at war at the front lines. In tents. In reality we were Felix and Oscar. I have known John for 27 years from the poetry scene back in the day, when both he and Drew were in the scene. Yes, Drew actually wrote poetry.
I told John, “Dude. Relax, they may or may not come. Just pack a bag of the shit you absolutely can't live without or cannot replace. Leave everything else. You always realized this part of all this, right? He answered from his side of the 3 bedroom tent, “Yeah, yeah, I'm doing it right now. Shit ! Shit! Shit!
It was a beautiful thing to realize. The self governing troops in their self assignments and self deployment. And the post battle's events, the handing over the files to media who are the clericals, the media techs trained in media whose jobs started at post battle.
And granted, we are blessed somehow. The LAPD did what they did in their own self defining moments of restraint as they faced our motley crew of angry occupiers. I can't help it, I talked smackers about the troops out there running around in their passionate anger taking the streets at one in the morning chanting slogans and flying flags and signs. They faced off with the cops.
I made jokes abou "not forgetting to tip the babysitters." I'm sorry. I really am. But what are we supposed to do? Be ashamed that we have not had our faces beaten in by batons and our tents and computers smashed to bits?
And what of the LAPD? They are a bad ass force of soldiers themselves. Do you not think they are sick of the stagnant state of our Occupy? Of course I joked about them too.
Next, Beth stayed on the walkie with the troops as her contact there radioed in to give us the move by move status of them and us. The first report was, “We are on Broadway and First facing the LAPD in riot gear right now!!
Beth reported that to us, those of us that were still at OLA. Next, they said, they were on their way back to camp, and that the cops were following them. As they marched, the LAPD followed them all the way.
I said, "Oh my God! They are bringing them back to US! SHIT! Right then, Beth grabbed me saying, "You're PR Yvonne! Let's go, we have to talk to the cops before they get here!" Beth and I ended up running to meet them when our occupiers came nearer to Camp Ola, the LAPD following them the whole way. We took a detour from the marchers and spoke to LAPD parked at the corner of 1st and Spring Street. I got it. I felt a little bit of whatever that thing is we feel when in the fight for our rights. It's awesome and exhilerating, to say the least.
God Bless 'em. Us too. God bless us all. It's not going to stay this way forever. I really don't think so, but that's just me. We all in our hearts wonder what's really gonna go down here at Camp OLA. Last night at the GA, it was emotionally charged. Emotions were way high. I felt bad for the LAPD, that they don't get the opportunity to sit in a circle and scream at each other. I can't stand that they and we are all in it together, pitted against each other. This modern war, these end times. New times. There's a Golden Age coming y'all. And while we can't know the details of that future that surely comes soon for OLA, we do know that another river has been crossed and we sit together upon yet another new plateau in this great journey.
And we are still committed. And we still stand. And we are fearful. And we are courageous.
And always,we are hopeful. And we are all united here in Los Angeles and around the globe.
We Occupy everywhere. Zucotti Park was raided in retaliation for the 5 billion dollars we withdrew from the banks. All I can say to Wall Street for that is, “That's the way the cookie crumbles, yo. It's wartime. Where's the rest of it?”
God Bless Occupy Wall Street, we here in Lala, love them so very, very much. As lucky as we are, some of us guilty for it, some of us not. But our sadness is deep for OWS. From here we send our love and respect.
SOLIDARITY! Love from Occupy Los Angeles!!!! God Bless and God Speed, here's to your quick recovery Brothers and Sisters!
Them and us. Somehow, and for some strange reason, this fact appears to be true to me.
When Anthony came back I told him and his buddies as they walked through the camp exhilarated from the face-off with our LAPD in riot gear, I said “Hey... listen. I guarantee you - the LAPD had a hell of good time out there too.” The boys got it, they laughed. We all laughed. They said the cops were laughing too. Shit, a beautiful thing.
And Stephen needs to pick up his projector... soon.