Beaten, Broken, or Brilliant? (Occupy LA)

Dear Occupants of Los Angeles,

It’s me, one of the 99%ers. I’ve seen you around town. I’ve had some conversations with people who claim to represent the movement. However, I still am full of questions and concern.

Now, let’s discuss the start of this. I mean, we should start from the beginning, right? From what I’ve gathered, you Angelinos were inspired by the New Yorkers, right?

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has been named the start of “the revolution.”

PATROL – Two Los Angeles Police Department officers, who wished to be nameless, patrol the Occupy camp at City Hall the first day of the protest. Photo by: Erin Stone

The movement began on September 17, 2011 in Manhattan’s Financial District. I understand the location of OWS. It makes sense. This was a people-powered movement to let the nation know that the people of the United States are demanding the separation of “State” and “Corporation.”

For those who feel that the “Occupants” have done nothing, that is a legitimate argument.

The original occupants were enraged at the thought that their tax dollars went to bail out banks that steal from their customers.

In the midst of the revolution, Bank of America (BofA) decided it’s a great time to announce a new $5 monthly fee for customers to use a debit card.

Wait a second. Seriously, BofA? When there are people on the streets getting tear gassed because they’re shouting that your bank is evil, you decide to charge them a monthly fee to use their money?

Then, as the commotion grew bigger and the Occupants got hundreds of more sign ideas thanks to this move by BofA, the company decided to not go through with these new fees.

It was never officially announced that because of the Occupants the fee was denied, but some people at the Occupy Los Angeles (OLA) camp have said, “Put two and two together. It’s clear.”

At this point, I agree with the movement. I agree that government officials should not be paid after they have done their duty in office. I agree that those people who work in Congress should get the same health care that is offered to every other American. I agree that major corporations should not fund political campaigns or parties.

In other words, I agree that the Americans who represent us should be like the average American, the 99%ers.

I agreed. So I closed my own bank account, which has been an incredible inconvenience.

So, I did what anyone who agreed with OWS did. I went Occupy Los Angeles to see what it was about.

At first, it was overwhelming. I truly thought I was watching the beginning of the change we were promised four years ago.

Quickly, that overwhelming feeling turned into confusion.

OCCUPANT – Kayla, 23, an art student at College of the Canyons showcases her artistic style on her protest sign at Occupy LA. Photo by: Erin Stone

I had watched videos of OWS, seen them on the news, watched the live stream, read the blogs and articles. Everyone who is part of OWS was on the same page, shouting about the same thing. For crying out loud, even Kanye West was there, on the same page as the 99%ers.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, I concluded that people were merely shouting, hoping to be the loudest voice in the crowd.

This wasn’t the only thing that confused me. I was curious if those ones shouting the loudest, knew what the definitions of the words were that spewed out of their mouths.

For starters, camping at OLA is a nightmare. It seems as though half of the Occupants are upset that Burning Man is over and are trying to turn City Hall into a personal “Rite of Passage.”

This means people are awake until 5 a.m., partying in the name of revolution, I think. Did you think you were going to get sleep after 5 a.m.? Think again. From the center of camp, you will hear such things as a woman banging on drums, screaming at the top of her lungs, “CAPITALISM DOESN’T SLEEP, YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER! CAPITILISM DOESN’T SLEEP, YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER!”

Not only do I not really understand what this woman is trying to say, it’s offensive. I do sleep. I enjoy sleep. OK, you proved that capitalism is stronger than me. Let me sleep.

Not only are the spoken words confusing, the words written are misleading, to say the least.

Walking around the camp, there are hundreds of signs about losing a home, the high cost of student loans and evil corporations. However, quite frequently, there are some signs that just don’t belong.

A personal favorite of these signs is the man who carries a sign that reads, “I like turtles.” I’m really glad he likes turtles. I like turtles as well. So, what are you so angry about? Are banks killing turtles now?

Aside from the completely random, there are still people shouting about the wars in the Middle East. And some people are angry about seal clubbing. I’m sorry, OLA participants; I think you’re at the wrong protest. Now, please grab a “99%” patch and tell us more about capitalism.

The last thing that made me question the Occupy Movement is the outcome. The question that has yet to be answered for me is, “What happens next?”

The Occupants are here until December. What’s next? There has yet to be a list of solutions to the problems. After December, are these people simply going to go home and think, “Well, we tried!” Does it count as trying if a solution hasn’t been discovered?

PATRIOTS – Protestors march in the streets of downtown Los Angeles to support Occupy LA. Photo by: Erin Stone

I understand the movement, still. But the route it has been traveling is dark, and I think I see a brick wall straight ahead.

Do you want an outcome? Don’t wait for the problems to solve themselves. Think of REASONABLE possible solutions. Try to get everyone shouting, shouting about the same thing.

Here it is, Occupants, straight and raw: How are the lawmakers, the 1%, the nation, going to take this seriously, if you don’t take yourselves seriously?