LA PL’ers Defy Occupy LA ‘Leaders’; Spark March vs. Racist Police

LOS ANGELES —In the Occupy movement here, PL’ers led a roaring march of about 50 people — which grew as we marched — around City Hall, chanting, “Stop racist police brutality, stand with Boston in solidarity.” OccupyLA is approaching its 30th day here. To date, the occupiers have gotten very little resistance from the police — in contrast to Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, Boston and New York, where hundreds bravely fought against the cops. The participants here include a hodgepodge of individuals ranging from union hacks and pro-democracy types to fake leftists, undercover cops and disrupters. But most important are the honest youth, students and workers, employed and unemployed, who are enraged at the horrors of capitalism. We found this out first-hand when we helped spark the march against police brutality.

One of the growing frustrations in the camp has been the ineffectiveness of the General Assembly, which is essentially the “leaderless” leadership body with rules that allow one or two individuals to prevent a proposal from passing despite the large majority in agreement. A group trying to form an anti-police brutality committee was shut down and called provocateurs by “leaders” taking advantage of these rules.

But at one meeting we met a few individuals who were upset about the General Assembly.  A small discussion started, and it was announced that up to 100 people had been arrested in Boston. The discussion turned to racist police brutality, and what, if anything, to do about it. Some of the misleaders who later joined the gathering tried to “facilitate” (that is, take over) the meeting. They called for a moment of silence in solidarity with our Boston brothers and sisters. They did not want to “provoke the police” or fight racism and argued that the cops were “part of the 99%.”

The gathering grew to about 50 people, which showed younger comrades how sharp ideas can influence a larger body. More important, it was good for them to see that many people supported our idea of calling the police racist defenders of the state and Wall Street, in opposition to the more visible “leaders.”  It was a great moment of unity in the fight against racism. That’s when we led this march around City Hall, especially significant after the demoralizing General Assembly.

Friendships that started with this action have become a small base for our Party as we organize anti-racist actions, ignoring the reformist “leadership” group. Our work is a small step in the right direction, but we need do a better job at mobilizing all our clubs and friends to get involved on a more consistent basis. We need to improve our open presence with CHALLENGE.

However, with the modest efforts of some comrades, we’ve gotten to know a few individuals fairly well and more recently have discussed CHALLENGE with one. We’ve also helped mobilize members of one church to participate on a few occasions. One of them has participated in PL events and wants to learn how the Party organizes in such situation.

We know the bosses’ only interest in allowing such Occupy movements to exist is to push patriotism in their “pro-democracy” rhetoric and to lead them toward the voting booth. But they can also be schools for communism if we and our friends are there, in the muck and mire and sleeping bags and tents. Join the struggle! Join Progressive Labor Party!

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