"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you,
then they fight you, then you win."
Not a lot of people noticed the 99% Movement when the group first started organizing. The mainstream media interviewed a few people and threw in some jokes. A month later, a person gets shot in the head with a grenade launcher in Oakland. How time flies.
Like most U.S. citizens I feel that most of the government has been stolen by big business, right-wing political extremists, and the 1% that only wants to make a profit off the hard work of normal tax payers without giving back to America.
Like most Americans I'm a normal citizen who's somewhere in the political middle. I'm writing about Occupy Los Angeles because the mainstream media can and will only do so much. Our government only works if every citizen is involved in the political process.
I spoke to a media rep for Occupy Los Angeles, who led me on a tour of the camp.The mood down at LA City Hall is not like Oakland or New York City. Nobody seemed particularly angry at the police or the local government. The frustration is directed at the system, the banks, and the lack of influence normal people seem to have when it comes to running the country.
Most of the stories I heard had a lot of passion. Each person had many reasons for being there. Most of all, they wanted to get involved, and they want change.Otherwise, the energy of the place was positive.
Compared to Oakland and San Diego, the police at Occupy Los Angeles were casual. Aside from a police helicopter that occasionally hovered in the distance within view of the camp, there wasn't any sort of confrontational tone. A block away from OLS, you wouldn't even know it was going on.
The people organizing the protest have a pretty sophisticated set up. Walking into the back tent I saw servers and monitors and other equipment connected by bundles of cable. There was even a car battery plugged into something that needed juice. Solar panels keep it all going.
A media rep for the movement explained to me how right now, the camp has positive currency. As long as this positive currency exists, they can be there. Once the currency runs out, a police crackdown would be inevitable.
He explained that many little things chip away at this positive currency, and as it's exhausted the Occupy Los Angeles demonstration runs out of time. Garbage lying on the ground, pointless graffiti, a lack of portable toilets and the wrong people causing trouble will end the existence of the camp prematurely.
The movement needs food, portable toilets, support, cleaning products, and more participation by the American public. When weirdos show up, leech off the resources, scare off the more constructive protesters who'd otherwise stay, and walk around looking like the kind of individuals cops should be arresting, it does more damage to the movement than five flash bang grenades.
History has proven that as long as a non-violent, peaceful, committed movement persists, it will win. Because the 99% Movement has held on, they are getting noticed. People who hate politics, hate the Tea Party and know they are being screwed without knowing why are waking up. They have a voice, after all.
A month after political protests like these appeared around cities in America, the movement has already won. People are showing up to the protests, including police officers, military veterans and anyone who wants real change. The media is paying attention. Even politicians are offering their support. Washington, D.C. is listening.
Here's how you can help to bring real participating democracy back to the American government. Money, letters of support, supplies...everything counts.
You can donate to Occupy Wall Street, here.
You can donate to Occupy Los Angeles, here. They recently posted this request on their Facebook page:
"We are in need of a few things to stay within health department code:pump soap for hand washing, pump hand sanitizer, 5 gallon water bottles w/ spigot. Please help if you can. Donations are now accepted at the welcome tent on 1st Street.~OF"
Here's a link to their Amazon wish list.
The mayor has been incredibly supportive of the protesters. You can support him right back, here.
Governor Jerry Brown could take out Occupy Los Angeles with a single phone call. Write him a letter and thank him for the support.
A letter to the LAPD in support of the demonstrations and a big donation to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation will help the movement. Remember, cops are also the 99%.