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City Columnist Camps Out at Occupy LA

A month in, critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its many nationwide offshoots continue to complain about the lack of a clear, consensus message.  So, as the sun set on Columbus Day, LA Times city columnist Steve Lopez decided to sound out the nearby downtown LA nucleus for himself by pitching an overnight tent.

Most of what Lopez discovered confirms the idea of a spontaneous grassroots movement still scrambling to organize itself. The night’s “General Assembly” open-mike discussion for example was a rambling affair, prompting 57-year-old Occupy LA organizer Kwazi Nkrumah to finally step in:

Nkrumah took the microphone to announce that in the future, official positions on certain topics would be hammered out by a supercommittee rather than being endlessly discussed. But he’s pleased overall with how things are going…

Going forward, though, Nkrumah said, the demonstrators will need to plan more specific “actions” such as marches and occupations at the doorsteps of the region’s financial behemoths if they want to have a real impact.

Lopez ends his piece with a line from Nkrumah’s partner in protest, unemployed union organizer Mario Brito: “It’s messy. It’s democracy.” Only time will tell how this particular strand cleans up.

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