OCCUPY L.A. :The Story: 24 Hours until eviction? (PART ONE)By: Brett Redmayne-Titley
An Activist Gets Off the Couch-
I have two conflicting packing lists as I prepare to document and, at the same time, show my support for the OCCUPY movement despite what appears to be the closing of one of the last OCCUPY camps. Los Angeles Major Villaraigosa and his Police Chief, Charlie Beck, have, throughout today ( Sunday), stated on radio and T.V. news that their patience with the OCCUPY LA movement’s experiment with the First Amendment is over in Los Angeles effectively tomorrow ( Monday) at Midnight. This is one of the last remaining, yet largest, OCCUPY protests against the status quo. Conflict is brewing.
My preparations start with; three pads of paper, six pens ,my digital recorder, my camera, three throw away cameras( insurance?),select CDs, cold weather gear( sans sleeping bag and tent), four sandwiches, and a left-over turkey leg, all nicely ordered in my very portable day pack.
Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times previously reported, “When Occupy protesters set up camp on the City Hall lawn seven weeks ago, officials went out of their way to welcome them. The City Council passed a resolution in support of the demonstration, and council President Eric Garcetti invited protesters to “stay as long as you need to.” But the political tide inside City Hall has turned against those camped outside…’ ”. The precedent set by other city councils must have been on their minds.
As I pack I keep in mind the final tragic, police filled, evictions of the other OCCUPY camps in New York, Portland, Seattle, San Diego (my home town), etc; etc; and in our sister cities of Vancouver and Toronto. So, with the pragmatist of the Eagle Scout, I also pack my three bottles of eye wash, several small towels, one hooded sweat shirt, and all my pairs of swim goggles. These are not just for me. I may have to help.
For solace I include my newly acquired 1963 copy of Chalmers Johnson’s, “Revolutionary Change”. The parallels of our current times speak to this historically researched and well- reasoned book.
As I make these preparations I am sincerely torn between my obligations as a journalist and those of a world citizen. As a journalist I have been lazy. I have not, yet, immersed myself into this movement; merely content to pontificate from the fringe. To this end I prepare my questions and lists of those I hope to interview. I want to be even handed. I will try to interview the police; from the brass to the guys in the masks holding the pepper spray. (They have opinions, too. ) I will also talk to the many folks who have been there for all of these monumental two months. Will they stay despite the deadline? Will they go? And I will ask both sides: What will YOU do at 12AM Monday?
My activist side remembers that I have packed my swim goggles. This is the movement I prayed, begged, screamed, shouted, and made an ass of myself at parties and family gatherings, for. The past 20 plus years I have seen the understanding of the necessity of this movement brewing so very, very, slowly. It is here.
But I have been lazy; I ponder and consider, knowing I must speak; I speak when I should act. The OCCUPY movement is here, it is necessary, and it will continue. I must be there tonight.
In the next 24 hours I will be reporting from OCCUPY L.A. A conflict is avoidable. But it will happen because the voices of reason, these days, are far too few. But the voices of the few are becoming louder and are, indeed, being heard. The call is being answered.
The historically accurate words of Chalmers Johnson will be in my mind as I prepare to get a few hours sleep before I leave for L.A. at 6 A.M. From,” Revolutionary Change”, “When the authority of the status holders [elite]….. rests only in their monopoly of force, and when there is no foreseeable prospect for a procedural change…revolution is at hand”.
The next 24 hours will be an enlightening story. Indeed.