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Patch Blog: Occupy L.A.--Think for Yourself, Question Authority

Sophomore blog entry of my own experiences as part of Occupy Los Angeles ... give it a read, give it some thought, pass it along and let's talk about it?

Think for yourself… Question authority.

Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities, the political, the religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness; chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself.

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In the past weeks since my debut post, I’ve found a recurring comment from people each time I’ve shared about my Occupy LA Blog. Family and friends alike have posed the questions, “Aren’t you too late?" and Is it still around?” 

What surely remains are the barricades and fencing around the south lawn of City Hall affectionately referred to as “Solidarity Park” throughout the course of the Occupation of City Hall.  Did you know that this same space, long before tents were pitched, was dedicated Plaza Simon Bolivar in April 14, 1944 in honor of Simon Bolivar  who is often referred to as the “George Washington of Latin America”? A man considered the most responsible for expelling the Spanish out of South America in the 1820s.  What better a place for Occupy Los Angeles to have converged, in dissent, than in a space whose name still echoes the sounds of revolt?  But again, what has become of the movement?

Our local affiliates of the Mainstream Media no longer have much interest in covering Occupy, but they continue to do a great job of not informing the public that regular GA (General Assembly) meetings are still held on the west steps of City Hall – several times a week, encouraging community and action. 

Our local media does little to share the impact that Occupy has had on us all, whether we’re aware of it or even like it. Occupy has become a household name, recognized throughout this great land when referred to as the 98% by President Obama in his recent State of the Union address.

Our local media has not shared that Occupy has brought a new awareness of the inequalities affecting the 99%...or 98%.

What the media shares is what is in their best interest and ultimately in the best interest of their corporate sponsors. Those same corporations are the same “persons” who steer our politicians are steering the media to provide you and I, the viewing and listening public, a steady drip of the information they want you to consume.

Corporate sponsorship isn’t in the interest of sharing news such as people acting in community to support their neighbors when faced with the threat of foreclosure from the same banks that we, as tax payers helped keep from going underwater themselves.  These same financial institutions that preyed upon the weak and ill-informed, should be held responsible as much as the irresponsible consumers who took out a loan far beyond their respective levels of affordability.  Fiscal responsibility is a two way street.  But I digress…

What the media wants us to focus on is the negative impact Occupy has had through wasted resources and damages to public areas. The Media didn’t widely broadcast on the destruction of the OWS Library or food distribution and offers of simple medical care. Rather they promoted the authority’s stance that it was becoming a health hazard.  Many have said how these millions of wasted city dollars could have been better spent.  But no one seems to elaborate “how” they could be better spent.  They share how similar complaints from other Occupy locations are posted up on various media outlets. But where the Media and pundits fail is in the fact that Occupy is succeeding.  Occupy is on their minds…and this new, uncharted place we’re travelling towards makes them uncomfortable. It makes them vulnerable.  They’re lacking control.

The recent vandalism and aggressive actions of a few in Oakland allow the media to influence public opinion and fuel their impressions that these are the intentions of the whole.  As an occupier I want to see this struggle continue on the non-violent path to success.  The Movement should continue to take on the status quo but should also strive to gain empathy from others, build a larger fan base and not turn people off.

What’s become of the movement? The Movement is very much alive. I participated in a conference call where nearly 60 participants were sounding off from places like Davis, El Paso, Madison, Syracuse, etc. This was the Booster Shot I personally needed to ease the frustrations that are part of the birthing of a new movement. 

Wouldn’t it be great to hear a local news affiliate, maybe Channel 5 News at 10, announce the open invitation to attend your local GA meeting in Los Angeles, Whittier, Venice, The Valley, Culver City, etc.?

This Movement is very much alive and it is moving beyond just the physical occupation of space. 

Seek for yourself. Draw your own conclusions and "Question authority" as once shared by the late Dr. Timothy Leary, Ph.D.

If you'd like to read the OCCUPIED Los Angeles Times, please click here.
If you'd like to read more about Occupy Los Angeles, please click here.
If you'd like to read more about Occupy Wall Street, please click here.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Julio T. February 06, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Very insightful entry. It kills me that the same financial institutions who used unscrupulous ways to take advantage of hard working people are bailed out or rewarded (thru bonuses) when they should be reprimanded. What message does that send to us average folks or to young people? Sucks to think that for some the rules do not apply.
Julie Walmsley February 07, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Alex, I hope you'll do a follow-up piece once costs are tabulated and share your thoughts. As for the issue of media coverage, I can't speak for editors who have staff reporters to assign and explain why there isn't more coverage of an issue so salient, but there are plenty of freelancers like myself who have the interest and have done the research, but just can't find editors with freelance budget. I'm following the costs motion through PSC and hope to report on it in the future.
Alex Candelaria February 07, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Thanks for your comments Julio. As you mentioned, the message is that there are a number of "scenarios" to abide by. Younger people may feel that regardless of their efforts, and playing by the rules, you'll end up losing. Significant potential to supress their hope, just as in the failed Electoral College system that is a big turnoff to voters because regardless of the view of the populace, someone in the electorate is going to vote in "their" favor.
Alex Candelaria February 07, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Hi Julie, this would be an interesting follow-up indeed and I agree that there are a number of freelance and independent reporters and news outlets. My concern is that the general public looks for the "Cliff Notes" approach and takes headlines from Mainstream Media, slants and all, as gospel without due diligence on their respective parts to confirm that what they are taking in, is in fact...factual. The American public needs to ease off the trigger finger of emotional response, take a little time to digest and be more objective in discovering the truth for themselves. I look forward to your findings and continuing this conversation. Thanks or sharing!
Julie Walmsley March 01, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Hi Alex, checking in re: City Council PSC motion to obtain Occupy LA Costs. It was supposed to be continued to the 24th, but then was not on the agenda. I sent an e-mail to the City to follow up. Do you know what happened?

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