Occupy Los Angeles is a peaceful-nonviolent movement. We are at a critical juncture in our occupation, when conflict with the police seems inevitable. They have announced that they intend to remove us next week with 72 hours notice. We have a great opportunity to demonstrate the best methods of non-violent resistance that we can muster. For the next few days, I and many of us will be pledging our commitment to non-violence and peaceful resistance. Many of us believe Occupy Los Angeles should resist police calmly and non-violently, and then reoccupy as necessary.
The voice of “Occupy Los Angeles”, “Occupy L.A., OLA” etc., is the General Assembly. However, there are a lot of voices at Tent City. As a movement we are peaceful, but as a bunch of broke hungry folks at city hall, peace is going to take work. In spite of camp setbacks, we are confident that we can achieve victory over violence.
We have tried to remain as inclusive as possible. Unfortunately, that is a double-edged sword. Downtown Los Angeles has all sorts of people at various levels of mental health. As it turns out, we have been good neighbors to plenty of people who aren't as dedicated to remaining peaceful as we are. One member of my web team has been punched in the face, and another has been threatened constantly to the point she feels the need to chase people who are not in solidarity with the movement and who are flagrantly disregarding our community guidelines, which already are much more relaxed than New York's.
Meanwhile, our camp is toxic. Since we don't have enough room or supplies to clean thoroughly, and since we have been drastically slow to occupy other locations (as we agreed to do in one of our earliest General Assemblies at Pershing Square), We have a severe mold epidemic on the underside of tents, and residents of the south lawn are having respiratory problems. We have no sanitation except the portable toilets. We have food shortages and a population who mistakenly thinks that Occupy Los Angeles exists simply to acquire donations and distribute them to needy people in D.T.L.A. We have had fights broken up by the police. We have violent, competitive people camping around the food and donation tents. Our media tent is under constant threat as well, and our security tent has been turned into a dormitory.
This has been a successful experiment in social science. We have determined that our current occupational model needs adjustment in order to work properly.
We have some things in our favor: we have had the largest occupation camp in the United States. We have attracted a lot of support and even more attention, which has been our bane and our boon (corporate media has been ridiculing us from one side of its mouth and addressing our cause from the other side). We have developed and are perfecting a process for direct participatory democracy. We have protected first amendment rights for ourselves and for the rest of the country. We have set precedents for creating a liberated space. We have housed and fed hundreds of people with limited supplies and donations, and space. We have brought together people from every social, economic, and ethnic background and have formed an intentional community (well, sort of intentional). In the process, we have made life-long friends.
Circles of friends at Occupy L.A. have, to a greater or lesser extent, banded together into many self-proclaimed tribes, including a sovereign nation. Many of the world's most peaceful, sustainable civilizations were nomadic and were organized in such a tribal fashion. Occupy Los Angeles is well on its way to following the same model. “Hunter-gatherer” is a malapropism; nomadic civilizations often tended natural landscapes to produce renewable food and energy sources, a technique we now know of as “food forestry”. By following a similar model, Occupy Los Angeles can expand throughout the entire city while giving back to the community that has been so supportive. Any "tribe" should be able to win endorsement and support from the G.A. and remain a part of Occupy Los Angeles simply by following the principles, guidelines, and occupational tactics anywhere in L.A.
Should we re-occupy city hall? Absolutely, but not to the exclusion of other groups. In other words, we can not and should not try to keep the whole south lawn. It is bad for public support (nobody except the most dedicated of us would prefer a moldy stinky tarp mess to a cool, grassy shady spot). This has been our only legal downfall; as long as we do not extinguish our commons—as long as we do not take ALL of city hall lawn – it is my understanding that we can legally stay as long as we want and our first amendment rights are protected by the Supreme Court.
In addition to city hall, there are plenty of places we can go: for example, foreclosed homes.
Gather information and share it: We are fighting corruption that has wormed its way into every aspect of our lives. We have taken our cause to City Hall, and we will win it. But there are so many centers of power in this economic and cultural capital. Los Angeles is the dreamer of our world-wide postmodern nightmare, and for the world to be free, the information war must be won here. If we are going to properly Occupy Los Angeles, we need to Occupy all of Los Angeles.
I'm Daniil Dillenger and I speak for my goddamned self.
Happy Giving Thanks.