The news out of Occupy Los Angeles has been slow these past days. Is the movement losing steam? On a national level, I would say no. It is symbolic to have hundreds of occupations across the country, and now the globe. However, each occupation has its own challenges. Occupy Los Angeles has its own: its ability to remain relevant.
Today Van Jones visited the encampment. He spoke to a 50-member crowd. After what should have been an empowering speech for the 99% masses, he walked down the steps to join the people, to meet with them and to, “learn” as he called it. As he stood, listening to members of the crowd, someone came over to Van Jones and asked him to move away from the courtyard area. The reason? A performance was going to happen right there and he…was in the way.
He was very considerate, did not question the request, and moved right along. The performance turned out to be some rather unique performance art. The attempt at art was in the right place, beginning with an interpretive dance behind a guy mouthing along as the Tramp’s speech from Chaplin’s The Great Dictator played over the loud speaker, but ultimately not as effective as Van Jones, the founder of Rebuild The Dream, inspiring the 99% could have been.
Looking at the occupation calendar of events, one may wonder if there is any planning committee at all. The general assembly does in fact meet daily. There is an actions committee as well as an actions affinity committee which discusses potential events that are not met by consensus but that may still draw people to participate in.
Yet this week currently has the twice-a-day highway march and yoga class scheduled. The twice a day highway march is an interesting attempt at outreach. Small groups have been marching to a local freeway overpass with signs from the occupation site. Their intention is to stand at the freeway overpass and hold signs up, hoping that the stalled traffic of state Freeway 101 will glance up and take notice.
There is no doubt that these groups are meeting, however. They are meeting and discussing potential avenues. Yet, it seems, however, that action is stalled. Possibly the process is too slow to create action quickly enough? In the meantime, while democracy is at work, or not, depending on ones perspective and that is entirely up to the eye of the beholder, the landscape of the occupation continues to morph.
The large group of American working class who stood on the corner of Spring and Temple with determination and hope, have disappeared. There are 500 tents at Occupy LA, and only five people standing on the corner on a given day. There are still many members of the encampment who wish to see change, but also many members of an alienated group of people who have taken to the streets, many who no longer feel they fit into the process of accepted society and when asked if they are part of the movement, they proudly say, “no.”
There is also a drug problem and an apathy problem. Or maybe it is more concern for the internal process that is taking people away from the street corner. Although it is difficult to see how playing guitar is more important than a good old fashioned march. The last big march that occupiers participated in was this Saturday, when about 50 occupiers joined in the police brutality march where leaders of the march shouted, “FTP!” That is, F**k The Police. Perhaps a possible conflict of interest, considering the strong support the police have given to the occupiers at City Hall.
It has been difficult to cover the occupation this past week and without massive actions it seems to be another hard news week. Insight Out News will not disappear but we will adapt. Over the next few weeks we will be developing an “in-studio” show that will begin to focus on national politics that are relevant to the the occupation movement on a whole. Issues such as the current SEC investigation into several banking corporations, or the 21-membered state attorney general body that has been working on a settlement with some of the major players that created the financial crisis.
Occupy LA will still be a big news breaking story, and in the field reporting at Occupy LA is priority. However, we do not want to disappear just because occupation activity is currently at a low point.
So thank you for the patience and continued loyalty. New Occupy LA video will be recorded tomorrow.
Insight Out News
Copyright 2011 LA Progressive