A LITTLE UNITY, PLEASE
Let's hope American Arabs in Anaheim can overcome the divisions that have destroyed Chicago's community, fractured Detroit's and made the New York/New Jersey ones irrelevant and ineffective when it comes to national politics [Gabriel San Roman's "Little Arabia Grows Up," Jan. 27]. It would be nice to have one success in this country after 152 years of being here.
Ray Hanania, via ocweekly.com
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STORMING OF THE BASTILLE, THIS IS NOT
Fuck Orange County, the worst place for social activism in America [Brandon Ferguson's "Courting Disaster," Jan. 27]. The article couldn't have put it better: "Rather than a boisterous crowd of angry 99-percenters threatening to storm the halls of injustice, passersby were greeted with hackneyed street theater." Disgusting. If you want to see true Occupy activism, go north of the nasty, wimpy Orange Curtain. As a matter of fact, go anywhere but here.
DJ Justice, via ocweekly.com
The main point of Occupy activism is to get public attention to turn to the real issues that Occupy Wall Street affiliates target. For about a year before Occupy began, the main economic proposals being considered addressed fake issues (such as the supposed need to cut the deficit—except for defense spending and tax cuts for the wealthy) during a recession.
Occupy changed that. The big question now is: How do we keep it fresh and interesting? The smaller question is: Is it necessary to only do the best and biggest events, or are there other paths?
The genius of Occupy Wall Street was that it was not a one-day event, but a continuing one, which gave the persistent message that something was out of place. And New York, just as was the case in Oakland, was a place where getting arrested and/or beaten up by cops was a way to attract new people, media attention and public sympathy.
That was not going to work in Orange County. Occupy Santa Ana gave it a valiant try, and most OC residents recoiled from the civil disobedience. Many people move here to get away from that sort of thing. Civil disobedience is a valid tactic, and it has its place—I don't knock it. But it's not the only path to reach public consciousness. Another is sheer persistence—simply lasting for a long time. That gets noticed, while creating a base for individual, person-to-person activism that doesn't make headlines.
Orange County is, from what I can tell, the second-longest occupation in the U.S. You can disparage it if you want, but you're holding us to an unreasonably high standard. I don't take slaps at OC Weekly for not being a bigger enterprise; it does fairly well for its environment. So does Occupy OC. And we're doing it at a time when Occupation in many parts of the country is fallow.
As has been mentioned, the continuous occupation is just one aspect of what is going on. I hope that D'Marie Mulattieri and those working with her are very successful with one-day marches. I hope the Sustainability Group and the anti-Foreclosure Group and the Move Your Money group all have great success. We're all paddling in pretty much the same direction, after all. But despite our "failure" to close down the Federal Building (and did you really think we were trying to close down a federal building?), people came out and had a good time and reached a lot of people. It's not Tahrir Square—but then, it doesn't have to be, does it?
Occupy OC will show itself to have been a modest evergreen that sustained itself all winter. You can celebrate that, or you can mock it. I celebrate it. It's better than what would be happening otherwise. The struggle continues.
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Greg Diamond, via ocweekly.com
Brandon is cracking us up with his agenda. I hope he was trying to spur us on. Storming the Ronald Reagan Federal Building was not on the day's agenda. Sorry, it just wasn't. Theater, guest speakers, community marching were on the agenda in order to gather support and create unity for future actions "within the system." Occupy is a multilevel occupation, not a merit badge for popping up tents—within the system, outside the system, over and under the system. Brandon, every time I saw you that day, you were shaking your head. Were you hoping for more or less?
S.A. Artist, via ocweekly.com