LOS ANGELES - On Oct 1 people in Los Angeles came together from all walks of life to join in solidarity with the Occupy Movement on Wall Street, calling on the banks to pay their fair share.
Chanting "Banks got bailed our, we got sold out" and "We are the 99 percent" referring the fact that 1 percent of the people make up the wealthiest while the 99 percent are losing their jobs and their homes, while students are burdened with crushing debt but have no prospects to finding a job.
Over 2,000 people came out, marching from Pershing Square to City Hall, where 300 plus camped out the first night. People are urged to join the Occupation, when they can, participate in the many committees formed to deal with the varied tasks.
According to participants, the occupation is a people's movement to show that you are sick and tired of this system and it needs changing. Over 100 cities across the country are organizing their own actions.
Occupy Los Angeles has been in the making since Sept. 23, working in solidarity with all the occupation movements around the country. As the case across the country, the majority of Occupy Los Angeles is made up of young people and students.
Andy Diaz, a journalism major at East Los Angeles College said, "We were promised a change in this country and I haven't seen it thus far. If you look at the doctrine of capitalism, it's just 'get wealthy by all means.' I believe we should work collectively, for the wellbeing of humanity in general."
Many local officials and other community members that feel affected by the economic crisis have begun to participate.
Mario Brito, Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Councilmember, said, "You have 99 percent of the nation's wealth in the one percent's hands. You have to deal with the fact that banks were bailed out while people are being evicted. This country, you know, if there ever was ever an American Dream, that American Dream has surely become a nightmare."
Occupy Los Angeles made use of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr to mobilize and encourage people to attend the meetings. The Los Angeles group's Facebook has grown on a daily basis.
Protest signs and fliers depict the popular Twitter hashtag: #OccupyLA, #OccupyLosAngeles, #OWSLosAngeles. They are riddled in thousands of tweets, and every occupation effort has a Facebook page, where local members post events or news updates, some doing so by the hour, by the minute and featuring live video streaming. Self-described Internet activist hacking group Anonymous has publically endorsed the occupation movements.
An anonymous video was uploaded on Sept. 26 by YouTube user xouchthathurtzx announcing its support of the occupation movement.
"Already we have made tremendous progress. In just a little over a week occupy initiatives have sprung up in over 30 U.S. cities. This is now bigger than you, or me. It is about us, a collective 99 percent that will no longer stand for the corruption, greed and inequality that is rampant within our governing bodies," Anonymous said in the video.
Nadir Romo, international affairs major at New York's New School of Social Research, has been following Occupy Wall Street and had this to say, "If people think we live in a democracy, then this is an example of how we do not live in a democracy because our resources are being diverted for financial gain against the people. I think that this is a very important event - the occupation is something that, I think, will continue to grow."
Joe Briones, cinema production major and member of the Ralph Bunches Scholar's program at Los Angeles City College, commented on how the Occupy movement affects students directly:
"One of the demands that the Occupy Wall Street group has come up with is that the wars end immediately and that the money be spent on infrastructure and schools. If they ended the wars, you know how much money there'd be for financial aid? Eliminating this whole student loan system. You're thousands of dollars in debt and there's no job to pay off the debt? That's a fucked up situation. If you're unhappy with those things, come to Occupy Los Angeles!"
Photo: Oct. 1 in Los Angeles. Rossana Cambron/PW