Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How To Participate If You're Not At The Protest

I had just finished a spot on the Proof Negative Radio Show, discussing the latest developments of OccupyLA: the eviction notice, the deadline that came and went, and the people who turned out to support the movement.  Proof and his co-host YounaTuber discussed it at length for a while, took some calls, And he asked me how long I thought it would be before they dropped the hammer, and I said, "Soon. Probably the next week or two, but I think sooner rather than later. And they won't give notice again. They won't give us time to rally people to get down to City Hall to stand with us, they'll just come in and take away whoever happens to be there that night."

Man, I gotta quit thinking out loud.

Not long after I got off the phone, I started seeing messages about activity with the LAPD. I can't remember what time that was; I was working on an editing project, so was kind of oblivious to that. But I remember seeing something about Dodger Stadium being set up to act as a processing area for the Occupiers, a technique I'm told was learned from a situation in Chile a while back.

Sure, we can import that kind of civic-minded, prisoner-detention education to America, but we can't learn from other countries' health care systems. Awesome.

I hopped on the Social Media Network and started trying to keep up with the action. Tweets were flying by as fast as you could read them. I started to share information as soon as I had a handle on what was going on.

The first message I shared was confirmation of the Dodger Stadium rumor (see what I did there? Confirming a rumor? Now, THAT's good journalism) : 

And on the heels of that:

Then, I heard that there was a partial press blackout...from Wesley Crusher of the U.S.S. Enterprise...?


Right, I follow some celebrities, no time to think, it's all happening too fast. I will select a few of the Tweets and re-Tweets I sent out so you can see how the night looked, from my computer screen.  These are in order, so you can sometimes see the Tweet that prompted some joke or observation from me.

Some, like the above posts, were to let people inside Solidarity Park know what was going on. Some were just biting and funny in their sarcasm...

Info on how the cops were traveling...

 And, on the heels of that, this from a buddy I made at Bank Of America Plaza on the 17th.

At this same time, as things were escalating in LA, we got word Occupation Philly was also being closed down.

And even though they were about to be evicted, the Occupiers were taking care of business like Bachman-Turner Overdrive on a reunion tour:

Okay, I'll be honest: when I first saw that Tweet, I didn't pick up that it was a misspelling of "bandanas", which they were wearing to help cut the effects of tear gas.

I genuinely wondered, "Man. What are they gonna do with those bananas...?"

For people who think the Occupiers are just smelly hippies, there were patriotic sentiments you need to see:

Freedom Fireworks beats the Hell out of Freedom Fires that our government actually wasted time debating a few years ago...

And some people's patriotism is overcome by the appeal of sudden, unexpected fireworks to the kid in all of us:

More bad news about the press blackout that occurred, that our American press agreed to:

At this point in my frustration, my girlfriend came home, so I went to catch her up, have some food and watch the news together for a while. Occasionally, I would hear something and be driven to run madly up the flight of steps to my office to Tweet indignantly.

 I suddenly noticed my friend, and my planned guest for Wednesday's show, was downtown.

She was great on the show, BTW.

 Damn, Philly. Indeed.

YES! Wesley Crusher for President! Make it so, Number One.

No kidding. Just because we protest doesn't mean we're poo-flinging monkeys. How badly do you have to try to discredit a movement that is clearly supporting economic justice in order to serve your masters properly? Man.

According to the story, the cop kinda smiled and said, "Really?" like he was considering it. What a great end to the Occupation that would have been.

"All right, Everybody, good protest. Let's hug it out!"

 I had to get back to editing and had to close the Twitter down, or I would have never stopped There were dozens upon dozens more posts, smart-ass comment and re-Tweets I'm sparing you from, believe me. And those were just from me.

The social network was buzzing, which is great, since it seems our press has given up the ghost.  There's no more reporting the news, it's reporting the news we want you to see.  Let's be wary of that, People.

Following a night of work and too little sleep, I went in and had a wonderful show with Tina Dupuy, who is Managing Editor of, a columnist and funny chick. We've known each other for a few years, reconnecting at Occupy LA on Day One, so being incredibly over-tired and talking about what happened on the night of Day 61 felt pretty all right.

And this, on Day 62, was a welcome sight:

 Business as usual returns. Sweet. It isn't over yet.  And this is why it isn't over yet:

Do you get that?

If you think the problem is gone because our little tent city around City Hall is gone, you're wrong. The problem was there before us, and it's still there, until we can put the fixes in place. We all need to work on that, like we need it to survive, because we just might.

I wish I could have been down there last night, for even a while, standing next to the friends I made at the park over the last couple of months, laughing, planning, chanting, trying to convince a city to change its mind, for yet another night.

But most of all, I wish I could have seen what they were gonna do with those damn vinegar bananas.

•   •   •   •   •

"Independent Thinking With Steve Gelder" airs on, every weekday morning at 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern. 

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