Earlier this week I tweeted to Occupy Wall Street asking for support for AT&T technicians who were on strike. I figured the strike was as good an example of the 99% (workers) fighting the 1% (AT&T with their billions in annual profit) as one will ever find. Occupy Wall Street was kind enough to re-tweet my request to their hundred thousand plus followers including, I assume, many in the Los Angeles area. Sadly, no contingent of 99% Occupy supporters showed up.
My apologies for any confusion, but isn’t Occupy’s message about stripping the power of corporate America? I quit following Occupy LA and other similar groups on social media after seeing too many examples of occupiers crying wolf amid their sometimes nonsensical actions. The final straw was after last months Art Walk in LA, a great event designed to draw throngs of diverse people together downtown to enjoy various art. The very large crowds are a welcome boon to many small business owners in the area who count on the influx of money, especially during the summer months when the crowds swelled with long days and great weather. But last month Occupy drew all the attention to themselves by creating a “chalking” event which led to a melee with police that made the news. Immediately, Occupy LA took to Twitter and Facebook screaming police brutality and showing bruises from projectiles. They claimed their protest resulted in a “city wide shutdown”, a laughable claim since it was a couple of square blocks. I replied to them that a “city wide shutdown” is something that occurred during the Watts and LA riots, not a chalking event. In essence, I’d heard enough and clicked out. But the damage was done and the ones who will suffer are, again, the actual 99%ers. Sure, occupiers spend a night or two in jail, but the small businesses will see a drop in attendance and money as patrons stay away, especially given Occupy LA’s promise to return to Art Walk. (This is reminiscent of the small business people who worked the weekly Farmers Market at LA City hall, all of whom were driven out by the occupiers last year and lost good chunks of money as a result).
Occupy LA is again taking on the LAPD. They will return to “chalking”, claiming it is free speech and LAPD should not interfere. LAPD claims it’s vandalism. A bus with Oakland occupiers is in LA to show support for today’s “chalking” event that coincides with this month’s Art Walk LA. Confrontations are expected and arrests sure to follow. Then the news, then social media claims will follow. But how is this helping the 99%ers? How does this help the small businesses who were loving the Art Walk event?
This is the problem with Occupy, at least in the LA area. They are bringing in busloads of protesters to make a point about chalking when nearly 20,000 working class Americans in LA are walking picket lines (and working without a contract) to protest AT&T, one of the country’s larges corporations. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t supporting the working class against giant corporations at the core of Occupy’s mission?
What a joke.
A sad joke, because the workers could really use the support, but I guess drawing catchy slogans on sidewalks and playing cat-and-mouse with LAPD is much more important than walking the picket line with the real 99%, real American workers who are fighting a corporate behemoth to hold on to health benefits and a decent wage.
What a joke.