It Can’t Happen Here?

Posted on October 26, 2011 by

Unlike Oakland, political leaders in Los Angeles would not allow police to use tear gas and “bean bag rounds” to contain, move or discipline Occupy LA protesters. 

Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor’s staff, council members and civic authorities deserve enormous credit so far for their handling of the occupation outside city hall.  Support for the demonstrators is genuine and the spirit of cooperation is exemplary. 

Also, LAPD culture has been transformed since the Daryl Gates / Rodney King era and – more recently – in the aftermath of the May Day /MacArthur Park crackdown.

Of course, tensions could flair over conditions at the site, or protesters could make a strategic decision to become more provocative. 

Here’s where the Los Angeles Labor Movement can be particularly helpful.  Many union-led actions over the past several years – including civil disobedience – involve the police in advance.  This dramatically reduces the chance of excessive force. 

Keep in mind, LA’s political and winter climate could make it a magnet for “occupiers” from other regions.  I suspect and hope that our leaders are preparing for that possibility.

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