On Saturday, October 8, 2011 Occupy LA commemorated it’s first week of occupancy outside of City Hall. I was amazed at the collection of people who were gathered to engage in much needed conversation about the current state of affairs in our country. What I found were all ages, all ideologies, and all ethnicities coming together to discuss how to best serve our future. The weekend drew a lot of support from working professionals who were discussing economic issues and voicing their frustrations with the current administration. Representatives from the LaRouche Political Action Committee promoted the Glass-Steagall Act next to protestors holding End the Fed and Ron Paul signs. An 18 year old, who had innocently come out that afternoon to discover first hand what the movement was about, said,
“There’s this idea that protesting is bad, but its not. It’s a constitutional right to assemble and to protest. That’s what our founding fathers did.”
Occupy LA’s camp-out protest has been in compliance with city laws and has remained peaceful. Actor/Activist, Danny Glover, who spoke on Saturday in support of the effort, said,
“In 2008, young people like yourself, and people who had been working and struggling, figured that they had some hope for change. We were fooled. We know that right now they are listening to us. They see that business will not happen as usual.”
Glover then addressed the President’s jobs bill, “We have to say to D.C. and the Administration that this jobs program is inadequate. That doesn’t solve the problem, that doesn’t do anything but create false hope…we have to stand up for the future of the world. 99% won’t do…we need 100%.” Glover later told Gen Y TV, “You can’t sit in concert with those who want to eliminate your power.”
Within the last week, protestors have raised a number of issues and causes which has made the movement hard to define. A 35 year old professional woman said, “This needs to be an age of reinvention. Everyone needs to walk outside and begin the dialogue of how do we make our world a better place.” The majority of the people though had a lot to offer on the economic crisis. An older gentleman said, “I don’t agree with the bailouts. There needs to be more emphasis placed on the people instead of the corporations. Let them fall.”
Although there is a leftist undertone (much more than meets the eye), there are many moderates and fiscally conservative people amongst the protestors. Yes, there are a lot of people there for the wrong reasons, but yes, there are a lot of people there for the right reasons. I was fortunate enough to come across those who understood the need to sustain ourselves without government. They are legitimate protesters, and their ideology is similar to the fiscal principles of the Tea Party. Furthermore, the occupancy should be taken as a compliment by the TP because in essence the youth is emulating their initiative by voicing their discord with the system (albeit in a gritty, 1960s kind of way). There is common ground in this fight to take back our personal liberties and restore our collective freedom. Start with fiscal responsibility or political accountability and move on from there.
On a side note, Occupy Wall Street and Main Street have proven that people can gather in large numbers with the intention of bettering our country. With so many people eager to donate food, supplies, and money to the protestors, imagine what could be collected on behalf of the local shelters and food pantries if the tent community used just 8 of their 24 hours to collect canned goods, clothing, and blankets for the needy from drive-by supporters. Now that would be demonstrating change!
View GYTV’s Occupy LA update: