In the wake of its eviction from City Hall ("Solidarity") Park, Occupy L.A., like the Occupy movements in other cities across the country, is in recovery and transformation mode.
The 24-hour-a-day encampment has been destroyed, at least for the moment. But what remains after the tents have been destroyed?
Below are five ways that Occupy L.A. continues, post eviction:
Most obviously, there is the continuity in the set of grievances that motivated the movement in the first place. Economic injustice has certainly not been evicted along with the camp, and this grievance continues to be shared, not only by by movement participants, but also, according to recent polls, by a majority of U.S. Americans. Reaching out to these people who sympathize with the goals of the movement, but who have not yet participated, is a major challenge to occupiers in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
2. General Assembly and Committee Meetings
The resilience of Occupy L.A. can be seen in the fact that its General Assembly (GA) continued as usual - yet in a different location - the very night after the traumatic experience of forced eviction by means of 1,400 police officers (and despite the fact that hundreds of the local movement's most committed participants were still locked up). That post-raid GA wasn't even particularly small. In fact, there were many new faces among the assembled that night, and the nightly tradition continues despite constant new obstacles.
Moreover, the various committees and affinity groups of Occupy L.A. continue to meet as well, even if schedules and tasks have changed with the disappearance of the camp. These open groups continue to meet and discuss policy, strategy, action, logistics, facilitation and more.
3. Digital Infrastructure
A smooth transition to what participants refer to as "Phase 2" of the occupation is due to, in part, the digital infrastructure that emerged from the activities of the destroyed camp. Email addresses have been exchanged, and already up an running are the listserves, the websites, the live streams, the Twitter feeds, the Tumbler pages, the Facebook groups and YouTube channels.
These technologies continue to facilitate communication between participants who have already come to know each other through face-to-face interaction in the camp.
4. Protests, Marches and Direct Actions
With digital infrastructure in place, there is nothing to prevent continued organization of focused protests, such as today's "Occupy Our Homes" anti-foreclosure action.
There is a more fundamental continuity at work here, one that underlies and unites the movement as it transitions to its post-eviction mode, and that is the continuity of its horizontal decision making process.
In my opinion (and I am not alone), this "horizontalidad" is the heart and soul and strength of the movement, though people who have yet to participate often find it difficult to see what is so attractive about people who are willing to go to jail by the hundreds in order to defend the areas in which it is practiced.
It is this process which brings together the disparate elements of the Occupy Movement - libertarians and socialists, anarchists and moderate reformers, religious people and atheists, all of whom differ also in ethnicity, gender and class - and seeks to hear each voice in order to forge a true consensus on how to identify and respond to the most fundamental social, political, economic and environmental challenges we all face.
Merely having this discussion in public space is a monumental achievement, and it shows no signs of abating despite inclement weather, police repression or the enormity of the challenges we face.
Still, what happens next is up to whoever participates, and participation is open to all who show up.
Jason Rosencrantz is a Downtown resident who has become an active participant in Occupy Los Angeles. Read his previous posts here.
Photo by Tom Andrews via Flickr, used with permission.
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