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On April 27th, 2012, CNN published a misleading, inaccurate and damaging article entitled ‘LA May day observances split immigration’. While the various immigration groups who have traditionally marched on May Day have naturally been in various stages of ideological and sometimes political conflict, Occupy LA has never been part of these internal differences, and stands firmly in support of im/migrant rights. The General Strike Preparation Committee, as part of its planning for May Day 2012, actively put out the call for various immigration groups and organizations to join Occupy in building a coalition to participate in a May 1st General Strike. Despite numerous calls, these groups were not interested in participating in a coordinated effort on May Day, and preferred to stick to holding their own separate marches, rallies and events on the day. Occupy LA supports this decision, and as a mark of their respect for these groups’ work and the meaning of May Day in Los Angeles, the General Strike Preparation Committee made sure that they prioritized Im/migrant rights on their list of demands for the General Strike.
On 4pm May 1st, 2012, Occupy LA has committed to marching with the Southern Californian Immigration Coalition with their full support. The SCIC is a group which, back in October, voted NOT to participate or organize within Occupy. Occupy LA has urged all participants on their Four Winds Caravan to join this march, with SCIC’s cooperation. Occupy LA respects all groups working and organizing in Los Angeles, and recognizes and appreciates their autonomy and right not to participate in Occupy LA actions, without any ill-will or disrespect. Viva La Revolución! All Power to All People!
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It has come to our attention that Sam Resnik, a sexual predator that assaulted one of our sisters is planning on attending G.A Friday (April 27th).
Below is the email that the Radical Womyn’s Circle sent him.
It has come to our attention that you will be attempting to attend G.A (Friday April 27th) to issue an “apology” and to be perfectly blunt, this is unacceptable. This is completely disrespectful to —-anonymous—- and the Radical Womyn’s Circle. Especially since you did not show up to a set meeting to begin attempts at a reconcilation process. You have failed to comply with the simpliest of demands from the person you victimized and this attempted action does nothing more than prove your complete and utter failure to accept any form of accountablity. This is clearly a sneaky and under-handed attempt to divide our community which you have already made unsafe. You did not sexually assault the G.A.
You sexually assaulted —anonymous—.
If for some reason you forgot the demands that were originally listed they are below:
1. Your agreement to come to a meeting with a group of women speaking about the experiences they have had with sexual assault to give you the opportunity to understand the damage that these type of experiences cause to us.
2. For one month you agree not to attend any actions or events (G.A’s included) that —anonymous— will be attending with the understanding that you are giving her time to heal and feel comfortable within our community.
3. Within this time you take space you need to reflect on the situation and give —anonymous—- an apology that is genuine and is given with the understanding that you have hurt her and she deserves honest closure.
There is already a large organized group of people that are willing to call you out and let everyone know in detail the reason why we do not want you there. We have been in contact with the wimmin from PCC as well and have become well informed of what transpired there. Next time you try to think of a way to fix things- you should strongly consider the fact that regardless of what you think this IS NOT YOUR “OWN PERSONAL ISSUE.” This is not going to go away easily and we refuse to stay silent as you violate more of our sisters and make a mockery of our community by thinking we are so ignorant that an incident of this magnitude could be swept aside with an empty apology.
We are organized.
We are unafraid.
and we will not stop.
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Power To The People! Revolutionary Greetings!
The Black Riders considers itself to be the new generation Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. We are a Black Revolutionary organization based in South LA that stands against terrorism, racism, capitalism, and imperialism. Our organization was created in 1996. We started off by organizing numerous Bloods and Crips to stop gangbanging and committing Black on Black violence. We helped to transform the criminal gangsta mentality into a positive Revolutionary mentality. We also created a ‘watch a pig’ program to patrol our community and police the police. Since then our organization has been subjected to military style raids, harassment, and arrests of numerous members on trumped up charges. Our leader, General T.A.C.O has received the brunt of the repression. He has been set up and politically imprisoned many times in the past. The state has strapped a G.P.S. tracking device on his leg and has banned him from political activity and association. We will continue to fight back and exercise our 2nd amendment Constitutional right to bear arms and defend ourselves against any and all attacks. May day represents a day of resistance to capitalism, racism, and Imperialism across the planet. As we work together in solidarity with Occupy L.A and others, it will raise awareness amongst poor oppressed people that our fight against oppression should be based on a race and class struggle!
Power To The People!!!
Power To The People!!!
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WTF is M1GS? What are the caravans? 4 winds? There’s too much happening - how do I get involved? I don’t have a car. What’s the point? Yeah, I’m hearing this all day long. So here’s your handy 101 guide to getting involved, complete with links.
#M1GS stands for May 1st General Strike. Occupy LA called for a General Strike back in November. It was approved by the GA, and all the other Occupations took up the call, along with those unions in contract disputes, unions not in contract dispute who want to participate without going against Taft-Hartley, The Black Riders, The Brown Berets, and various other radical left organizations in and around LA.
How are we going to have a General Strike if folks can’t ‘officially’ strike? By calling in sick to work. By school walk outs. And by disrupting the flow of Capital on Mayday. This isn’t that hard to do. Mayday is a big day for immigrants rights in LA. Marches happen all day long. People are used to taking the day off to march. It’s what you do on Mayday. And this Mayday will be no different. Except we’re not just going to march from point A to point B, to protest against the injustices immigrants have to endure in this country. We’re going to converge on downtown LA from four distinct points: NORTH, SOUTH, EAST and WEST with the intent to shut this city down in order to clearly and forcefully articulate the voice that the establishment continues to ignore, our voice which proclaims: we have had enough. We have had enough of being treated like dirt because we are im/migrants, we are brown, we are black, we are poor, we are women, we are queer, we are workers, we are students, we are young, we are old. The 1%’s deliberate oppression and fostering of divisions in order to maintain their iron grip on the government and finances of this country must end.
So what happens on the day? You need to locate a Wind near you on OccupyMay1st.Org. Each wind will be comprised of caravans of moving vehicles - MAYDAY MOBILES. These will be decorated cars, vans, bicycles, skateboarders, rollerbladers - anything and everything. We need to reach CRITICAL MASS with a variety of vehicles, and we need folks to commit to bringing their transportation along to a chosen wind, and giving people rides on the day. Each wind will start in the late morning, from about 10am to 11am, park somewhere nearby, and converge on foot to 6th and Main Street in downtown LA at around 2.30 / 3pm, for food and a secret direct action.
It’s really important people commit to a wind, not just the convergence block party / action, and while we love folks who show up on the day, giving us a concrete commitment now would make us very happy activists. You can locate the East, South and West Wind Planning Teams on facebook, or look at the routes and times on OccupyMay1st.Org. While Occupy San Fernando Valley is coming from the North on May 1st, they will be using the Metro, and we still do not have caravan details for the North planned out, so we’re looking for a group who want to take this on.
After the convergence, our Mayday group will join the Southern Californian Immigration Coalition March at 4pm. This march should end at approximately 6pm, giving folks an hour to enjoy music, eat some food and cause financial disruption before having an Occupy LA hosted General Assembly at 7pm.
As we draw closer to M1GS, times and locations may change. Keep checking OccupyMay1st.Org. But whatever happens, we’ll need you and your Mayday Mobiles. If you’d like to be involved in legal support on the day, please email email@example.com
If you are unable to participate in M1GS, but would like to help with a financial or other contribution, our WePay donations page is here, and we are always grateful for loans / donations of food, water, phones, radios, PA systems, trucks, plain black t-shirts / hoodies, bullhorns, mobile hotspots, battery packs for livestreamers and whatever else you can think of!
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A screwdriver. To the industrious, it’s a tool for driving screws. To the IKEA-assembling poorgeoisie, it’s the only implement they’ll ever need to make their self-conscious-but-still consumerist hovel the hip, sleek, and well-appointed abode they fetishize in their near-pornographic collection of furniture catalogues from Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, and the like. To still others, a screwdriver is a popular vodka and orange juice cocktail.
For much of my life, I probably subscribed to the latter category, but that’s just because I once considered myself a professional lush.
“Sure, I use ‘screwdrivers’ at work. How else am I going to hammer out this tortured, self-mythologizing tome in which I quite plainly make the case for my own sexual selectability, hoping women read my words and adore me despite my glaring inadequacies as a human incapable of readily expressing emotion - if I don’t drink screwdrivers? I’m a writer.”
“Writer,” it should be noted, is often used as a euphemism for “open and unabashed alcoholic.” Forget MFA programs. Forget newspaper offices. Forget the WGA. If you want to find the largest group of people who openly self-identify as “writers,” they’re probably reciting the Serenity Prayer, mic-checking people’s names, and chain-smoking cigarettes outside a church basement somewhere in your neighborhood tonight.
All self-referential, chemical-dependency in-jokes aside: in Los Angeles, if you’re not white - a screwdriver is a deadly weapon. Possession of a screwdriver, if you have a certain pigmentation or a previous arrest, is itself felonious. Of course, in Florida, a bag of skittles and a hooded sweatshirt is enough to get you killed. But let’s stay local today. That’s kinda the point. This is about our own community. And how fucked up the LAPD are.
If the police stopped me and found a screwdriver on me in my neighborhood, they’d assume I was off “screwing things” and allow me on my way. Hell, they’d probably offer me a ride. No problem. Not anything to make a case about. I sure as fuck wouldn’t get 72 hours awaiting arraignment for the “offense.”
Such was not the situation, however, for a 68 year old POC I met during a recent visit to Los Angeles’ new, $74 million Metropolitan Detention Center at 180 North Los Angeles Street. Like me, my new friend was spending his pre-arraignment time being ritually dehumanized in the LAPD’s highly-touted, highly-lauded facility there for nothing more than being charged with a non-violent “crime.” And when I acknowledged how fucked up that was - he hardly shrugged.
That he wasn’t as indignant about it as I was isn’t a reflection that he wasn’t cognizant of how fucked up it truly was - but because his experience over so many years has been so systematized that he believes there truly is nothing he can do.
Indignation is the province of people who still think they have a recourse for their indignation. I am a dreamer. That’s precisely why I fucking hate so much that I see. And I’ve been afforded that luxury. This man, however, had done longer bids for lesser offenses, and had long since decided his anger wasn’t going to change anything. I wasn’t so sure, myself.
However, for most people at the New Glass House - the Orwellian name given to MDC - there is nothing they can do. They don’t have money. And once the state gets you in its grasp, it will never let you go. Have priors and forget to take the screwdriver out of your pocket when you go out to the local market while fixing your own home? Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not even think about collecting $200 dollars, and shut the fuck up. You are a criminal. Fuck the presumption of innocence. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat is just a slogan, just like “the 99%,” except snootier. Blackstone’s formulation is less known in this country than the distance to the nearest Coldstone.
You scream, I scream, we all scream “shit is fucked up and bullshit!”
After my arraignment, after I was released on my own recognizance because I don’t have so much as a speeding ticket in 16 years, I sat through another 2 hours of (joyous) incarceration with the luckier of my fellow inmates. Yet even that was spoiled by the Sheriff’s Department thugs.
To each of my less-pasty complexioned comrades, the Deputy in charge sneered, “You may be leaving this time - but I know I’ll see you all again real soon!” She also made sure to remind them that if they failed to cooperate (these free men who had yet been convicted of nothing) with processing out even in the slightest, she had to power to drag out this release for hours. I would’ve protested - but I didn’t want to delay the sunshine.
While I was a tourist in their world for a mere 72 hours, and yes - my own indignation admittedly bears all the hallmarks of high-falutin’, moralistic, crusading bullshit I will now urge everyone to be wary of - we need to address this as a civilization if we’re going to continue to call ourselves that.
If I could talk to George Clooney, I’d tell him I don’t have to go to Sudan to find injustice to worry about. I can see it with my own eyes in my own neighborhood. I don’t need a high-profile arrest of a celebrity like his or even a publicly masturbating Christian zealot utilizing a slick, overwrought, and decade-late viral video sensation to tell me that shit is fucked up and bullshit. These facts are all around me. I just have to know where to look.
The first place I’d suggest people look isn’t in some remote corner of the world, far away from America’s shores- it’s within the sound-proofed walls of the LAPD’s newfangled MDC. Shit is fucked up and bullshit all over America, and we aren’t doing the people of Sudan or Uganda any favors by overlooking the plight of those around us and continually externalizing injustice as something that happens “over there.” On that score - fuck you, Clooney. And fuck Jason Russell, too. Take off your parachutes and come on down to Skid Row.
For all of you “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Martin Luther King, Jr. rote-reciting pacifists - I expect to see you out in full force at every FTP, noise demonstration, and anti-police brutality action. Because selective enforcement, such as described in simple story of the possession of a screwdriver, is a hallmark of tyranny. And such tyranny is rampant in these United States of America today. And that injustice happens every day in your community.
I’m not an expert on incarceration or the prison industrial complex. I spent 72 hours in jail. As a white guy. Without so much as a speeding ticket in the last 15 years of his life. Be advised: your personal experience in the Prison Industrial Complex may vary.However, as a white male entering jail, the first thing you’ll notice is that the “presumption of innocence” is not just a myth, but an outright lie. There is no such thing. If you aren’t bailed out awaiting arraignment, you are considered guilty. That is the natural order of things.
If you aren’t convinced by the way the police treat you when they brutally arrest you, observe the jailers. They aren’t carrying those green shotguns into your “pod” every two hours because they respect that you have merely been accused of a crime and have yet to be convicted of anything. To them, your incarceration is proof enough of your guilt. You are a criminal. If you weren’t, you’d have posted bail. In its simplest form - in America, money equals innocence, poverty equals guilt. There is no other way to parse that reality once you’ve awaited arraignment in jail.
If the presumption of innocence was real, the time it took to process you out of jail would be a lot different. You’d constantly be receiving apologies for how long it was taking to get you out. The staff would fete you and empathize with the inconvenience they were causing you.
“We’re so sorry the judge can’t see you until Monday, fellow citizen,” jailers would say. “Is there anything we can do for you to make your stay here more enjoyable? Would you perhaps like your pillows fluffed or a chiatsu massage? Tomorrow, we’ll be having our daily yoga session in South Block C. I hope you plan to attend. It’ll do wonders for your chi.”
Which brings me to my next point: if you get arrested as an activist, have no prior convictions - and force the movement to post your bail before even your arraignment - you are a fucking asshole. You are wasting the movement’s limited money.
Do the time. Talk to fellow inmates. See the judge. Go home and tell everyone what you learned. Even if all you learned is that mystery-meat slurry is not your favorite amuse bouche. Even if what you learned is so laden with bourgeois bullshit, like this…
Yes - jail is fucking scary. There are dangerous assholes in there. They look at you as if you are inhuman. They will point at you and whisper. They will yell at you and taunt you. They will take your food from you, physically accost you, threaten you, systematically abuse you, and do things purely to put fear into your heart, and they will openly and unapologetically try to reduce you to nothing more than a quivering pile of teary, human-shaped pulp if you let them. They will break you down so you don’t know what time it is, what day it is, and they will leave you forever guessing what is going on. And the ones doing this will invariably be the ones with the badges on.
But yeah - “presumption of innocence.” That fucking canard! When you are in jail, probably for nothing more than wearing provocative clothing (like a black hoodie), you will soon realize that the only thing jail serves is someone’s bottom line. That’s why people are released after midnight (how else to pad your numbers to claim ever more funding from state and federal troughs?) That’s why the jailers seem so unsympathetic.
It’s funny that the words “capitalism” and “capital” come from chattel (“cattle,” too). Private property in the terms of the PIC reduces humanity to a head count at bed check. That’s what matters. How many inmates they hold. It’s how they receive funding. Cui bono? The people who keep you in there as long as they can.
In jail, you are chattel. Nothing more. Your presence there is the reason the jailer has a job, the reason builders and architects are getting paid to draft elaborate designs for ever-fancier facilities, and the reason that R & D at major weapons manufacturers continue to explore new “less than lethal” toys to sell to municipalities charged with “securing” these facilities. The Bail Bond Industrial Complex, the Legal Services Industrial Complex, the City/District Attorney Office Complex, and on and on. Anything tangentially related to the courts and so-called “justice” has a fundamental interest in making more money. And how do they do that? Convict more people. Twist more people in the intricate (and oft-inescapable) web of the so-called “justice system.”
The “free market” so adored by neoliberal theorists will create only what is most profitable. And what is most profitable for the few is the subjugation of the many. Let’s at least recognize that. And fight it.
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Six Months of InTentCity #M17
OLA Flash occupation & street festival
12 PM Saturday March 17, 2012
Solidarity Park at 100 W. 1st Street
Help us create a world where all may thrive
It’s been six months. A sigh escapes my lips as I gaze into an empty Solidarity Park. It feels Jurassic. It’s nearing midnight in a desolate downtown LA, and I’m contemplating some tired ferns and ghostly mist. This isn’t a public square, it’s an exhibit. Where are the dinosaurs and monsters that once roamed downtown Los Angeles? Where are the psychedelic freak shows and the legions of determined youth in Guy Fawkes masks? The yoga instructors, the People’s Collective University guest professors, the pot activists, the spirited drum circles and breakout discussion groups and consensus pizza games… where are they?
The rational side of my brain knows the answer as I look to where Star Tribe used to make camp. All that remains is a scrawled anarchist “A” and a forgotten bicycle tire still locked to the City Hall grate. I remember when City Hall was more than just cold stone and rows of tired flags. I remember when City Hall was alive. Do you?
Before there was the Fascist Fence, there was Love Tribe and Kids’ Village. Before there was police tape and intimidation patrols, there was a bucket of humanity splattered around the seats of power in Los Angeles. Ninety-niners from all walks of life came to Solidarity Park for what is was - both real and imagined. It was a haven for the downtrodden, where basic medical services and food were provided free of charge. It was a boisterous declaration of what could be better, and it was fought for by handing out delicious organic carrot juice or painting a magnificent purple vampire octopus or by living in a fucking tent for sixty days.
It’s been six months. The perspective on that time frame is hard to judge, especially since my pocket watch doesn’t tell time. A cherished gift from a loved one, the timepiece is engraved with my initials and the words, “An Occupier of the People’s Evolution - 10/1/11” The damned thing hasn’t kept time since I received it - which is exactly how a revolutionary watch should be. There is no winning or losing the revolution, there is only the struggle, which is ongoing.
The false urgency the mainstream media shoves down your throat doesn’t matter. The election is a farce, that’s why we began occupying in the first place. The only true urgency can be found in the wisdom of a fellow occupier. When asked what his demand is, he replied, “Come outside.” We have an urgent and immediate duty to come outside and occupy space. We must be visible, we must speak truth to power, and we must come together.
It’s been six months. Six months since those brave few in Manhattan pitched tents and planted black flags for freedom. But its also been years for the Egyptians, decades for the Palestinians, and centuries for indigenous peoples and our comrades of color. This oppressive system is not simply going to roll over and die. We must smash it.
In these few months we’ve seen the sophomoric debt ceiling argument fade away to be replaced by mentions of capitalism and income inequality. We’ve witnessed tens of thousands take the streets. We’ve had the pleasure to facilitate over a million people move their money to credit unions and pressured Bank of America into hastily reversing their $5 debit card fee. In just six months, millions of Americans have been shocked awake to the gross realities of illegal foreclosures and police brutality. What comes next in this revolution?
It’s up to us. The rollercoaster of activism is filled with joys and miseries, victories and setbacks. Luckily for us, this revolution is also sometimes blessedly funny. It’s funny because there will be cuddle puddles and safety breaks at this festival. Emma would be proud because this revolutionary festival also has dancing, courtesy of DJ M1GS and all you movers and shakers out there. This revolution has tasty vegan food, courtesy of volunteers in our Food Committee and Food Not Bombs. This revolution has truth, courtesy of teach-outs and OLA’s Freedom School. The revolution will not be televised… you’ve got to Come Outside.
We’re still here, and we’re growing. This Saturday, Spring is here.