By Edgar Pagaza
Occupy LA is now on its third week and, although some in the media have painted it as a counter-culture movement reminiscent of Woodstock, a close look reveals a different side of who’s taking over and who is making the demands.
Unlike many reports that seem to suggest that the Occupy Wall Street protests are a “hippie movement” of the unemployed, it is evident that such is not the case. The occupiers that have taken over City Hall in downtown Los Angeles and are a far cry from the Skid Row scene that is just a few blocks away also in downtown L.A. For the most part, the protesters are professionals, students and blue-collar workers who didn’t just drop out of society, but instead simply demand more from a government they feel has abandoned them.
The protesters are a well-organized group with a board of activities and lectures that are taking place every day, they also have a designated area for trash, media, movies, and have tents that are fairly clean and not the anarchists some have wanted to portray.
Amber and Jerome, two students from Saddleback College, head from South Orange County to Los Angeles every weekend since the protests started to demand an end to all wars and occupations that the U.S. is waging around the world.
“We’ll be here for a while. I think this is only the beginning and hopefully we can all get together and agree peacefully on what we want out of this,” says Jerome, who plans on coming back often to continue protesting.
Throughout the camp there is a strong sense of community which may be reminiscent of the hippie movement, yet there isn’t a single trace of marijuana smoke or decadent behavior by the occupiers.
The closest thing to anarchism is near the stage where some girls dance to the music a local band plays. In reality, all is very innocent and no different than any other small concert scene anywhere else except for the message to an end of corporate greed.
Diana Prado, an attorney for tenants rights came to demand change in leadership that will not only represent the banking interests of the country and the Federal Reserve.
“The banks are being run by the Federal Reserve,” she says. “The government is not being run by the people we elect, but the elites in the banking industry.”
Although she couldn’t camp overnight, Prado says that she will come back again to show support for the people and their demands.
Josh Liddy, a graphic designer who also comes out on the weekends because of his hectic work schedule during the week, also wants the U.S. to withdraw troops from every country they are currently in. He says that money could be used at home where is most needed instead of abroad.
“I don’t see a difference between Obama and Bush,” says Liddy. ” He has flipped-flopped on pretty much everything.”
Prado agrees saying that being disappointed by Obama is a “huge understatement.”