Occupy Los Angeles: City Hall Demonstration Draws Support Of City Hall Workers, Teachers Union
Protesters sat down to express their disdain for an array of issues ranging from the execution of Troy Davis to the practices of the Federal Reserve. Hailing from all sides of the political spectrum, the demonstrators – some affiliated with Occupy Wall Street – found solidarity in their lack of organization and their desire to just protest.
Standing outside watching the protesters, City Hall employees expressed not disdain but rather approval of the event.
“I’m all for it,” said one city employee, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to comment on the demonstrations. “It’s about time people started taking to the streets.”
“I marched for civil rights in the ‘60s,” the employee continued. “I marched against the Vietnam War in 1970, right after I got back from it. It’s been 30 years since people have taken to the streets, and I think it’s about time.”
“I think it’s a good thing that people can come together and protest regardless of what the issue is,” said another city employee who also asked to remain anonymous. The employee mentioned that while she could not make out a singular issue at hand, she admired what Occupy Los Angeles was doing and would not mind joining the demonstrators if their demands encompassed “something I believe in.”
Yet for many on the lawn, Occupy Los Angeles’ greatest asset was its lack of a clear cut goal.
“It’s a very organic structure,” said Robert Schwartz, who has been helping Occupy Los Angeles with food and water since Saturday. “It kind of amorphously happens as it needs to happen.”
For Allison Miller, differences within Occupy Los Angeles were only an issue of wording.
“I can’t speak for everyone,” she said, “but that’s inherent within a group of people.”
And with demonstrators seeing their own ends and calling for their own demands, Occupy Los Angeles thrives. The movement has drawn in support from the likes of celebrities to the teachers union United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA); back on the lawn, Occupy Los Angeles participants discuss how to manage their newfound partners.
“The media is going to send out celebrities,” mused one demonstrator, sitting in the center of a circle of demonstrators listening to him. “They can join us, but we are not going to give them a podium. We don’t want them to co-op the movement.”
“Use them,” he added, “Don’t let them use you.”
Away from the circle, protesters worked on organizing a joint protest with UTLA later in the afternoon. They welcomed the UTLA with open arms.
“The teachers are part of the 99 percent,” said another demonstrator, referring to the movement’s slogan that “99 percent” of the population are abject to the actions of the “1 percent” that they claim holds a disproportionate amount of wealth. She asked not to be named on conditions of privacy.
“They are the most underrepresented, overworked, underpaid people in the country,” she added.
Some of the protesters felt the movement needed more structure. Mitchell Goodwin said the movement’s lack of organization brought about more costs than benefits.
“There’s no order here,” he said. “Somebody needs to stand up and be a leader.”
Back to the circle, Vincent Vibbert, one of the protesters from New York, told the crowd of what he got out of the protests.
“I personally just want my democracy back” he said as the protesters applauded. “I’m sure if you asked a hundred people here, they’d give you a hundred answers.”
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