A week ago a friend and I went to Occupy LA, which is the local variation of the Occupy Wall Street ‘movement’. It is considerably more… well… occupied than the other different Occupy <Location> movements I’ve seen as I’ve been travelling around the US.
Occupy Chicago only seemed to be a handful of people on one lonely street corner, being made to walk in a very small circle lest they be arrested by the band of police officers watching over them. They looked desolate and down-trodden, and understandably so – it was cold in Chicago, and they we being pretty heavily oppressed from what I could tell.
Occupy Denver was just as bad, but in a completely different way. Occupy Denver seemed to be made up of two groups of people: angry, whiny teenagers, and the homeless. I actually came across the Denver bunch completely by accident. My walk from the train station to the hostel took me right past the grounds where they were set up (for want of a better term). I spent a little time there trying to get a feel for what people thought, what they wanted, and how they themselves felt. I did not succeed.
As I mentioned a moment ago, the people there seemed to be made up of disillusioned teenagers and scattered groups of homeless people. There was a central meeting where the… activists, were holding an open forum, and spreading out from that the homeless people just seemed to have grabbed onto the thought of free food (provided for the people Occupying), a chance to be given some sleeping materials (same again), and probably the chance at having someone to talk to.
Listening to the group bicker and argue over whether they should march violently or non-violently, having to vote on whether to, I shit you not, call another vote, and shouting “mic check” every God damned moment really did illustrate exactly why they’re having trouble being taken seriously and certainly aren’t achieving anything. They need some organisation. I’m not saying I could do it better if I were plotting a revolution, but I could.
Anyway, I digress. Occupy LA.
Occupy LA seemed to be a lot more substantial at the very least, and almost exhibited (yo dawg) signs of some kind of organisation. The friend I’m staying with has been down there quite frequently and is actively involved in trying to make a difference – getting the people sleeping there in tents flu vaccinations, for instance (didn’t make it past a vote…). We went down there because some people from Enrich LA, along with people Occupying, were going to be making an edible garden so that the people staying there would have an on-site food source, and we were going to help them build it.
Well, I mostly occupied the space by taking pictures to document the happenings, but I pitched in with some measuring, marking, lifting and carrying at times. My friend, to her complete bewilderment, was somehow put in charge of the placement of the mobile garden plant beds. We spent a few hours there building, painting, moving and organising the mobile garden, but sadly to no end. I’m not sure of the specifics, but the organiser of the event was told that if the plant beds (six foot wooden boxes) were left on City Hall property then he’d be arrested, so they had to be moved.
At that point, my friend and I left for unrelated reasons. But I did take some photos, so here they are. Oh, and PotLRtN has been updated.