Intern-Occupation Communication Field Report
We at the Occupation Communication Committee at OccupyLA are collecting as much info as we can about other occupy sites and need the participation of people like you to help us understand the differences between camps. We want to learn from other occupations so that we may better ourselves. Please take the time to gather this information and share it with us periodically.
Field Report: (You can either write out answers to these questions or do a video tour of the camp where you answer the questions as you walk around) • Where is this site within the city or town? • What date and time did these observations occur? • How is space used within the site? How is the encampment laid out? • What soft infrastructure is in place? Welcome, food, medical, ...? • What hard infrastructure is in place? Bathrooms, power, internet, ...? • What kinds of activities do you see? Workshops, discussions, performances, ...? • Do you observe police among the assembled people? • Do you observe news media covering the occupied site? • Did you observe a General Assembly? How do they reach consensus? • What committees, work groups, or affinity groups are being formed? • Are any committees, work groups, or affinity groups controversial within the site? • What actions/rallies/marches has this occupation carried out and for what reason?
Please video or audio tape one-on-one interviews with occupiers or visitors:
Please be sure to ask for permission to videotape any one-on-one interviews (get this consent on tape) and tell them that their participation is voluntary and becomes public information/oral history that may be used for academic, journalistic, and movement purposes. These interviews and field reports will be shared publicly through a creative commons license for anyone to use. • How did you hear about this? (Try to get people to be as specific as possible) • What does the location of the occupation mean for this city (or town)? (For instance, NY occupies a park, while LA occupies city hall which creates different effects) • If you came in from another area or neighborhood, where would you occupy in your area and why? • Are you part of any committees, work groups, or affinity groups? What are you working on? • What does it mean to "occupy"? • What does your participation aim to change? (Aim to get them to tell a personal story that has brought them to the occupation) • How does this occupation connect to OccupyWallStreet? • Who are the 1%?
Please submit this information to [email protected] Any additional concerns call Joan @ 858-952-8061
So, it seems that the success of the LA camp has a lot to do with reaching out to the city council early with a clear message that our occupation will remain peaceful, but that we are not leaving until there is justice for those who caused the financial crisis. The LA site also attends city hall meetings and participates in politics in order to get politicians to stop doing business as usual. This has been very effective and has contributed to a relaxed atmosphere on camp. Our civic engagement committee helps our occupiers know the rules of city hall so that we can be effective at sustaining camp.
For the San Diego occupation, relations with the city council do not exist they are experiencing police pressure to leave. Know your city ordinances about camping and squatting and reach out to sympathetic legal advice. As well, when they took up their site they did not expect the large homeless population who have needed medical care and food. As a result, the medical tent spends most of their time caring for this population who have been denied access to medicine and food for so long. In LA, the homeless have been given tents and sleeping bags and spend the night in the occupation, but we have many more resources than smaller sites.
Inter-occupation Field Report: October2011 Movement
1. Where is the occupation located? In Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC at 14th and Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Close to the White House and has a direct view of the Capitol. Also close to K St and the Chamber of Commerce.
2. We began occupying on the morning of Oct. 6. Today is Oct. 16.
3. We have a large marble and brick plaza. Today we made a site plan and moved some things around. The media tent and information tent are close to each other. There is a storage tent (for people going off site to store bags), a medical tent, a food tent and a legal tent. There is a central space for the assemblies. There is an arts area. And the tents for sleeping are around the perimeter.
4. Soft infrastructure – information tent for greeting visitors, has handouts and daily schedule. There is a legal tent staffed by lawyers. Green hats go out on every action. The legal team has forms filled out on every person who risks arrest. There is a food tent that provides 3 meals a day, coffee and snacks. Food is prepared on site. There is a medical tent that provides basic first aid and sends medical team members on actions with a basic medical kit including towels, saline and T-shirts in case of pepper spray. There is a media tent from which we livestream, send press releases and handle media interviews. There is a storage tent. There is an arts tent for making signs, banners and props. There are lots of signs scattered around for visitors and passers by to see.
5. Hard infrastructure – there are porta-potties, electricity is available in the park (free for first amendment activities) and we have mifi plus nearby wireless signal. We use local hoses for water and are ordering a water buffalo.
6. Activities – morning and evening assemblies, classes and workshops, committee meetings, speakers and music, outreach actions and daily resistance actions and marches. There are evening community discussions every night on a different topic. We have drumming, music, dances and community dinners.
7. Police – we have an excellent relationship with the police. We have had infiltrators (hard to say if police or not) and secret service members in plain clothes (not too hard to spot).
8. We have had excellent media coverage – independent, local, national and international.
9. We have regular General Assemblies using different facilitators and currently using consensus but thinking of switching to consensus minus two (as we did in planning phase).
10. We have committees for issues like housing, committees for activities like logistics, outreach, action planning, media, food and committees for those who want to form them on topics such as racism and religion.
11. There are no controversial committees as of yet.
12. The following actions have been carried out:
March to close down Chamber of Commerce, then proceeded down K St and back to Plaza.
March to shut down General Atomics (maker of drones).
March to die-in at Smithsonian Air and Space Museum drone display – was infiltrated and turned aggressive by two people resulting in pepper spray (1 arrested).
March to homeless shelter for outreach.
March to Wells Fargo to protest foreclosures.
Leafletting of local festivals and other outreach.
March to United States Arms Conference (weapons display)
Shut down the Hart Senate office building due to protest inside (6 arrested).
Disruption of Senate Finance Committee hearing on Free Trade Agreement (3 arrested).
Support of Egyptian students protesting for right to vote.
Disruption of Armed Forces Hearing with Leon Panetta (8 arrested).
Disruption of “Wall Street Comes to Washington Health Care Conference.”
March with local labor to support them.
Freeze Flash Mob for outreach and leafleting.
March on the banks and treasury (banks closed down).
Protest at Supreme Court (17 arrested).
Please see or website for articles, press releases and video: october2011.org
13. We started planning in April of this year for an occupation to begin in Oct. 6. We have been in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street since Adbusters first called for it. We see ourselves as part of the “occupy” movement – but a part that is immune to co-option by Democrats, MoveOn and Unions by virtue of the reputation of our organizers.
14. Symbolism of the location – the name “Freedom Plaza” and the central location in DC.
15. Occupy to us means taking a public space and holding it, rather than a one day action, to bring people together to talk about the issues. We are trying to model the kind of society we would like to create – nonviolent, nonhierarchical, based on participatory democracy, that provides for human needs, that educates and that causes disruption of the corporate/militaristic machine.
16. We see this as the beginning of an independent, nonviolent, broad-based and transformational movement. We believe the first tasks are building an independent movement and independent media. We then see this as moving towards a common platform, working in local communities to weaken the pillars that support the current system (especially the economic pillars) and then moving to legislative and electoral work down the road.
17. The 1% are the power elite who influence policy in order to continue the funneling of wealth to the top. They control the political process and the media message. We are less concerned about targeting individuals and more concerned with using nonviolent tactics (including noncooperation) to shift power away from the 1%.