“It takes a long time, and it’s not as exciting or dramatic as camping out in front of City Hall,” he adds with a laugh, “but that’s how grassroots change happens.”
The team behind “Occupy Los Angeles” is finding its own way. They just have their own way of going about it. Taking a page from the Wall Street playbook, the dozens of Angelenos hunkered down Wednesday in the first big rain of the season say they meet every night at 7:30 on the steps of City Hall.
“Everyone is welcome,” says Lisa Clapier, who directs media for the group from a small tent with tables filled with laptops, coffee makers, donated donuts, coolers, and a small generator. But, she adds, “They have to come as an individual. They may not come as a group with their own agenda.”
She notes that a local activist ensemble tried to press its concerns on the group at the Tuesday night meeting. “We kicked them out as a group,” she says, adding, “but let them know they were welcome to voice their individual issues any time.”
As unions and other traditionally Democratic groups have joined marches and expressed support for the Occupy movement, many original members have shared their concern that the movement will be co-opted by these organizations with strong political ties.
“We’re happy to have them be in solidarity with us,” says Ms. Clapier, “but we don’t want to be tied to their positions.”
Interviews with those at the “Occupy Los Angeles” encampment outside City Hall – the 300 or so people who spend the nights here pitch their tents on the sidewalk to comply with “don’t sleep on the grass” ordinances – show most participants feel this movement is just beginning and getting more structured every day.