The occupy movements have hit the country by storm, there is no doubt about that. Not only has the movement literally sprouted from New York to Los Angeles, but there is even Occupy in other countries. I have spent a good amount of time at the Occupy Long Beach site, so I have a pretty good feeling of just how many people support, and who is part of this very small 99%.
About 60 people come and go at Occupy Long Beach. Granted, Lincoln Park is not known for its large fields of grass and ample space. It seems almost like a cultivated group of people that feel comfortable here. "A lot of these people seem like they don't have much else to do, even if they weren't here," said Amber S., a local resident who was walking her dog near the park.
Occupy Long Beach does not seem to be very organized and when someone offered unity between a lot of the Occupy movements, everyone rejected it. The protesters did not seem too happy about the way that the LBPD treated them on their first night so some decided to do some civil disobedience. A grand total of 4 people decided to stay in their tents afther LBPD made it clear the park was closed and they would get arrested. Two people, including Louis (above), simply got citations and were released after a few minutes. The other two got taken away, one of which was taken for resisting arrest. The crowd chanted ther names as the police escoted the detainees to some near-by vans and the "We love you!" was heard throughout the mass. Funny it seems that a couple kids in their early 20s, a man in his 60s and a 17 year old are the ones getting in legal trouble but suddenly the crowd is all for following the law.
The Occupy Wall Street, with its "bail us out" message, is one that many can get behind. Occupy Long Beach is a bit unclear with their message. I understand that everyone is there for their own reasons, but without a unifying cause, you get little support. It is a great idea with poor execution.
Have you passed by the Occupy Long Beach site? If so, what have you seen? What do you REALLY think about OLB?
Thank you for addressing me as a human being. I really do appreciate it. I've studied hard and researched endlessly to come to an understanding of what's happening to our country, how it started, who's involved, as well as any and all means of appropriate action(s) available to the citizenry to reverse its course.
It's very frustrating. I see a lot of passion in the occupy movement. But I don't see or hear a lot of well-researched issues. I hear the same talking points from group to group to group. And that's fine - except the conversation usually doesn't go past the same rote statements.
I make a concerted effort to ask questions that require the use of critical thinking skills. I'll ask the same question a few different ways. I'll speak in analogies to add tangibility to conceptual ideals - I have discovered, for the most part - that a lot of the movement is based on talking points and process but, is severely lacking in substance.
If one sets out to change an entire governmental, financial, economic, and societal system - one needs to be able to understand all of the intricacies of that system inside-out, upside-down, side-to-side, and front-to-back. One needs to be able to participate in civil discourse with those with whom they don't agree. If a statement is made that one doesn't agree with, don't just dismiss it as being fabricated, dismiss the information becuase of where it was printed, or dismiss the person stating it as being a paid instigator - therefore discounting anything that person has to say; wrong, right, or indifferent.
When stating something in writing as fact, cite a reputable source or sources. Because we all know that mistruths and untruths wind up being treated as fact once they have been widely propagated online or in print.
Anybody who merely accepts something that is published, without the benefit of knowing the source, is not going to be able to support their argument in favor or against that subject, which is why a good amount of occupiers wind up answering common sense questions by saying, "We are the 99%." That's not an answer, it's a talking point. It's a cool slogan, but it's not a truism. Another answer commonly received is, "do you know what the banks do?" That's not an answer either. The list is lengthy. It ranges from, "we're doing this for you," and "I want healthcare for my children," to "I have the constitutional right to freedom of speech, therefore I can remain on public property indefinitely." after that, one is either called a liar, a troll, or insulted.
Nobody wants to listen, but I'll say it anyway - The reason that the occupations are filling up with drug addicts, the homeless, the non-productive, the thieves, the rapists, the troublemakers, and the antisemite/anti-zionists is because of the disjointed message. Occupy has pretty much put out an open invitation to the bottom-most rung of the social ladder. Think about it. All inclusive 99%, so you have to accept them. A stated goal of eliminating social injustice; none have been the victims of social injustice more than have the social outcasts, 24 hour environment; perfect for drug addicts and party animals, disobedient to authority; prime locale for trouble-makers and loud mouths, and the underlying common goal that nobody need ever go without; exactly what the non-productive want most from life, to get everything they need without having to make an effort.
At some point - right about here, a bunch of people are going to start shaking their heads and getting ready to attack me for what they perceive to be my attack against the group - I will be called a liar and my message will be lost. Let me say that I read the minutes from the GA meetings of a lot of your groups - everything I have stated above are issues that the GA's are constantly dealing with. This is not from Fox news, or Glenn Beck, or the Koch Brothers or anywhere else but from my hard earned research. Why do I bother?
I am very concerned for my country. I'm downright terrified.
As a result of the occupy movements' inability to focus, they stand a good chance of being subsumed by a larger, more-organized, better-funded, front group with not so good intentions. And it really bothers me on a human level every time I read a statement, from any of the occupy groups, disavowing the homeless - stating that the homeless are not representative of their group. How can group who claims to represent 99% stand scrutiny when said group is practicing exclusivity?
I believe that the occupiers are frustrated, as are we all. I believe that this minimizes that sense of helplessness that we have all been feeling - some of us longer than others. I believe that doing their best to comply with the format of the General Assembly Process as set forth by OWS - Although I don't now how many have stepped back and taken an objective look at it. It's created in a circular fashion so that the only thing ever accomplished is completing the process.
And... the fact that so many Americans have been taught that this country is a democracy is probably the most frightening thing of all. The schools have failed us. I cringe each time an elected representative publicly makes a statement about our democracy, or when our representatives refer to themselves as leaders. the powers that be have spent the better part of the last three decades propagating a lie, and it's probably an impossibility to convince those that were taught in this manner that everything they were taught about America's democratic prices was a lie. In my opinion, that is by far the most destructive thing the 1% has done to this country, because hit causes dissent, envy, divisiveness, and downright disregard of our fellows - all in an effort to be in the group with the most power or greater numbers - because in a democracy... the majority rules.
I wrote this in response to a friend who was talking about how she can't be at 'Occupy' because she's too busy actually helping people, and she wonders at the 'see and be seen' aspect of it.
"Hi XXX! You are more...evolved than many who are participating, in that you do help people, and see things from the perspective of 'get out there and DO something'. But let's stop a minute and be the person who does not feel that capable yet. The Occupy movement is a very baby first step in creating an active, interdependant, awake community, should it go that far. With the Occupy actions, folk can see, first and foremost, that they are not alone. Many have had for a long time a vague sense of 'something isn't right' and have had no focus for that feeling. Now there is at least a place to put it, and others to support the realization. People who have never participated in *anything* before are coming to the rallys. Beautiful! We are waking up! The next step is for the movement to define itself further, and have some leaders step up to show those who don't know what to do, what needs to be done. This includes everything you described and more. Let's look kindly on those who are just learning that they have power and can effect change. It is a profound and destabilizing time to step out of 'victim' and into 'sovereign', you know? These rallys provide a place for that, and the support for that. Whatever it takes to empower individuals, communities, a nation, this is a great good thing, in my ever humble opinion."
I am currently in Mexico working, so I am watching from afar. If I was in LB, I'd be there. Who knows where this is going. What I do know is that it's good to be visible with the discontent. So there are 60 people, okay, I'm not going to judge them because they may not look like they have day jobs. That would be disgusting and the antithesis of what I feel the current best benefit to Occupy is: that we are all together, we are not alone. Splitting people off by age, color, socioeconomic status, whether they look like they'd be 'comfortable' in a park for days, enough of that already, right?
If you think it's unorganized, how will you organize it?
There is a place for criticism. Sure. What will you do to change what you are criticizing?
beautifully written :)
I see what you're saying. But maybe that question at the end of your comment should be posed to those OLB people. If they don't have their goals outlined or a strategic PLAN to make change or even try to make it public with whatever they have, how are THEY going to change what THEY are criticizing?
If they are angry at the banks, and Wall Street, what are they going to do to change it instead of just criticizing it? I hope it's not sitting in front of buildings or parks....
What does that mean "we are all together, we are not alone?" It sounds nice to say but, it doesn't mean anything.
"We are all together, we are not alone". I feel sad it doesn't mean anything to you.
I myself have a concrete sense that I am part of a large and global movement to effect change. I am not alone, I have worldwide friends who are doing massive things on multiple levels to effect the changes that need to take place. I feel wonderful knowing this, and not sitting on my hands criticizing.
You think I should pose my question to 'those OLB people'. This cracks me up. I AM 'those OLB people'. I am part of this community. What am I ("THEY") going to do?
A very important part of any beginning movement is to be visible, to show others (those who think they are isolated and can't effect change, people who may be stuck in victim mentality or perpetual pessimism) that there is a place to at least do something, even if it's congregating in a public place with like minded people. Most of us have a sense that things aren't right. To be with others who think the same begins the think tank, begins the focusing of passion, begins a dissolution of the learned helplessness. This, in and of itself, it incredible worthy.
TheMan, if you are good at strategizing, will you offer your time and energy?
Again, I am in Mexico, but I have not stopped working for this, this larger movement, of change. It's what I'm here doing. Effecting change. One person at a time, but the good work never ends.
Many who feel lonely and isolated and ineffective will be the first ones to pull an Eeyore, to say "Oh bother, this isn't right, everything is bad, not worth trying for anyway." This is pessimism and apathy. OLB and the entire Occupy movement is pulling people out of pessimistic apathy. Frikkin brilliant. And if that's all it amounts to EVER, it is enough.
BW, I wish you were here to see for yourself the face of the group/movement. the longer it goes on, the less organized it becomes. Visibility is important, but the face you present is even more important.
The Organizers are joining the occupation
Americans tend to ignore ideas that originate outside of their borders, but I believe that the Occupy movement began in Chili more than 5 months ago.
The difficulty I have in wrapping my mind around the Occupy movement is that, if there is one message that emerges from all the divergent 'noise' of individual concerns, it is that the socio-economic paradigm under which most of the world now lives is no longer acceptable, and needs to change. I don't necessarily disagree with this, but cannot see how sitting around in or near a park will, in any way, advance this cause. I have yet to see anyone outline a path from where we are to where they want to be. I've seen demands, but not solutions.
So, if my belief is true that the Occupy movement cannot, on its own, achieve the goals they've articulated, then the movement is a waste of time. As has been said elsewhere, if everyone now 'occupying' were to, tomorrow, go and volunteer for Habitat For Humanity, or the local food bank, or a women's shelter, or any of the many groups and organizations that do amazing work right here in our own community, they would produce a profound and positive change in the lives of many. This, however, isn't what the occupiers want. They want to feel good without actually doing anything good.
Worse still, prior to the start of last weekend's occupation, the OLB folks were asked by the City Manager's office, and by the LBPD, to not use Lincoln Park as their base of operations. Why? Because many homeless individuals use the park as a 'safe haven,' and do so without being bothered by the police. By being there, and occupying Lincoln Park, the PD would be forced to evacuate everyone at 10 PM, including those homeless people who call the park home. The OLB group knew this and staged their activities there anyway. Why? Because, according to their media liaison, the OLBers wanted to be 'comfortable.'
So, while I am sympathetic to the frustration and helplessness that people feel, I also believe that these individuals could be a very powerful engine for social change if they were willing to direct their energies toward meaningful and productive community efforts. That they choose not to is mystifying.
One last thing. The Occupy movement is not based on any tried and true protest movement. The Civil Rights movement of the 60s, and Gandhi's movement in India, involved peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience. This means breaking the law, getting arrested, thrown in jail, and fighting things in the court system. Rosa Parks didn't 'occupy' a bus seat. She knowingly and intentionally broke the law so that she would get arrested. I defy anyone to show me an example of an occupy movement that has accomplished anything. Please, show me! I really want to know.
Oh, and just so you know, some of my friends have been involved in the OLB movement since it first started, and I was there for the march last Saturday, so it isn't that I haven't taken the time to hear what people have to say, or that I just don't "get it."
Eloquently written sir, however your statement "As has been said elsewhere, if everyone now 'occupying' were to, tomorrow, go and volunteer for Habitat For Humanity, or the local food bank, or a women's shelter, or any of the many groups and organizations that do amazing work right here in our own community, they would produce a profound and positive change in the lives of many. This, however, isn't what the occupiers want. They want to feel good without actually doing anything good" is completely absurd.
First, because many of the people I have met at OLB are already volunteers and are the people that instead of going home after work or school and watch tv, they attend community meetings, offer there services to the homeless or mentor the youth, as I happen to do.
Second, people involved want to affect the people that run our world and if changes are made (like the ending of all Corporate Welfare Tax Payers that should not be subsidizing for profit companies and Governments should not be in the business of picking winners and losers with Taxpayer money) then the non-profits like Habitat For Humanity and people seeking shelter have a greater possibility of providing a life for themselves after the are given the first step from these non-profits.
And how about if the people that are not doing anything go and volunteer, rather than you suggesting the people that are organizing an attempt at the very least to affect our country's corruption, go and volunteer. That would be a suggestion because then maybe 99% might really be helping our community.
ANd yes, actually the Occupy movement is based on tried and true protest movement. One in specific that really started OWS is the Arab Spring and of course it is not exactly like other protests, but organizers are trying to learn from the successes and failures of many of them. So far for the Arab Spring protests (taking place in the Middle EaSt, Yemen, North Africa etc) there has been the overthrow of three head of states. I hope we can overthrow the offshore corporate tax loopholes, create a tax penalty for corporations that ship jobs outside our country and put our corporations under the same laws that sentenced Bernard Madoff.
Molly, respectfully, I do not think you understood my point. I'm not talking about people who 'could' or 'have in the past' volunteered. I'm talking about the people, right now, who are sitting or standing or walking as part of the occupy movement. These people could, right now, be making a significant difference in their own communities, but choose not to because, instead, they choose to occupy whatever bit of public land they're on. They want to make a difference, but nobody really believes that the Occupy movement will accomplish anything substantive. Why? Because the occupiers themselves have no solutions.
Also, I do not mean to be disrespectful, but to compare the occupy movement to the Arab Spring is, frankly, laughable. While there is no doubt that our government is corrupt to its very core, we never the less enjoy a quality of life that is unequaled in most of the world. If you compare our 99% to the rest of the world's population, we look like the 1% to them.
Those who rose up in Tunisia did so because one individual, Mohamed Bouazizi, was willing to make the supreme sacrifice, both out of despair and faith, of ending his life in a very public and dramatic way. Those who rose up after him did so knowing full well that the despotic and totalitarian governments they suffered under would respond with terminal violence. No such circumstance has so far arisen here, and I very much doubt that it will.
Very well-stated. I hope it doesn't fall on deaf ears. There's a foodbank on PCH, just East of the freeway on-ramp, behind the Salvation Army, that could really use the manpower.