Thursday, November 10, 2011

Protest Expectations - What are they?

Civic Center Red line Station
Tents of Protestors on the lawn at City Hall
Many Camera and Crew with  Laptops
Occupy 99 started out as Occupy Wall Street.  It was born on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square within Manhattan''s financial district.  This is a protest that is all about the people pushing back against the destructive power of major banks, large corporations, and Wall Street's responsibility in what has become the greatest economic decline in decades. I could not begin to explain all that has been going on with Ocoupy99 all over the world, as the working class people speak out. This declaration explains more about the movement.   [caption id="attachment_1028" align="aligncenter" width="684" caption="Tents of protestors on City Hall's lawn."][/caption]     Here in Los Angeles, Occupy99LA is set up near city hall and has been quite peaceful. These protestors were initially welcomed by the local politicians as well as the mayor, but they are beginning to tire of it all.  Duh, ...being sick and tired is what this whole thing is about.   October 1, 2011 was the day that Angeleons decided to stand with Occupy Wall Street and occupy Los Angeles at City Hall on Spring Street. Thirty-Six days later, on Saturday November 5, 2011, I decided that I was going to head downtown and witness this for myself. Sorry to say,I was pretty disappointed.  There were not near as many people as I expected.  I probably should not have too much to say in reference to the turnout, when I am not out there myself.  It just didn't feel like what I expected a protest to be.  I have never experienced any sort of organized protest, therefore I don't have a point of reference.  This was the reason why I went down to city hall, to get a feel for it all.  I know the main reason for my going should have been to stand with the protestors.  I do support their efforts and their reasons for sure, but I no longer have that kind of fight in my heart.  At this stage in my life, I can just decided not to participate and live with that decision. Young people need to be out there in massive numbers, scattered with some veterans, because they are the future, and at the rate things are going now, that future  is not looking too bright.  There are so many of our young people graduating from college, because we made them believe that without education life will be hard, and hell, now with education life is hard.  I know many are pissed not because they could have been working and possibly have a little savings at this point, but instead they are coming out of college still depending on their parents, with mounds of debt and no jobs. I was pretty excited about experiencing a public protest and left home armed with my camera gear.  I decided to take the Metro from San Fernando Valley to downtown Los Angeles because City Hall is easily accessible from the Civic Center's Red-line station. [caption id="attachment_989" align="alignright" width="570" caption="Rather empty Civic Center Red-line Station"][/caption] As I alighted from the train, I was surprised to see that there were not many people in the station. During the week, this station is rather busy again because of its close proximity to City Hall. I expected it to be busy this Saturday for the exact same reason.   [caption id="attachment_988" align="alignleft" width="570" caption="Going up the escalator to the civic center district."]

While going up this escalator, I start to feel excited again. I was going to my first protest and definitely a cause that I have been privately fighting for some time. For the past 4+ years I have been downsizing my life so as not to be enslaved any longer by this capitalist society. The hardest thing to adjust was what I wanted for my life, was it really that bill of goods on the "American Dream", or was it to be able to determine my dream and my desires for my life. Well I chose the latter, knowing that it was going to take some rather painful re-adjustment of my belief and value system. Oh, but this was not about me, oops sorry.  However, it is relevant to the working American wanting to take back their lives.   One of the first things that I noticed as I approached the corner of 1st and Spring streets, was law enforcement sprinkled throughout the area. The second thing that I noticed were the large number of people out there with camera and video equipment, and now as I approach I will be adding to that number since my camera is also strapped to my right hand.                                  
As I started to walk through this park, I remembered a news report on how this protest is costing taxpayers money, and my immediate thought was "here we go", the use of the media to control the minds of the public.  The reason for the possible bill to taxpayers would come from the alleged damage done to the lawn on the side of City Hall that faces 1st Street. First of all, there is a weekly Farmers Market that is usually held in this exact same spot, on this very same lawn, so do you think the lawn was plush prior to this protest? No it was not, mostly because there are a great deal of large trees that doesn't allow enough sun to come through for the grass to be plush. On top of that most of these trees have large exposed roots. So you take a look and see if you think that there was once plush grass there.                                        As I walked further in the midst of the people and all of the tents, I started to get a headache. The place was very clean, no trash on the ground, no decaying food, not even the smell of urine. What was immediately causing my sinuses to go bonkers was the strong smell of marijuana. It was coming from the tents as well as those just standing around smoking it as if the police officers were not less than 5o ft away. Only in California would this be possible. So I walked around and talked with a few people, listened to a couple of people speak, but knew that I would not be able to hang around too long, because now I had a full-blown sinus headache that was not going to let go. So I wished many good luck, smiled, and walked across Spring street on my way back to the Red-line station. Feeling disappointed in this experience, not having  known what to expect, and obviously expecting too much. I hoped that stopping to get something to eat at the Highland Center on my way home, and taking something for this blazing headache, would help me to put all of this in perspective. So here I am sharing it with you. More Photos

Things are not what they seem.

When I took this photo at the Occupy99LA last weekend, I noticed this guy about thirty minutes prior to taking this shot, but around the corner in the front of the building.  When I saw him again I  thought  it was interesting how he covered himself in this way.  When I took this shot, the guy with the scarf, was quite a distance behind this young woman. If this photo was shown in another context it could be considered  a threatening moment.  This photo would definitely instill fear in many people.  It is merely the camera angle.  Taking a photo such as this would be the intention of many photographers and for many reasons. It could be to instill fear whether it was for sensationalism or just for a movie poster. This is how easily things can be skewed, regardless of whether  it was intentional or accidental. I would imagine that this is something that the tabloids are use to  and have probably studied in order to have the photo support the story.   This video explains the same tactic even more