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The Atlantic All Over Occupy LA

Don’t see too many stories about LA in The Atlantic, for relatively obvious geographical reasons. But the mag has run back-to-back stories on its website about the Occupy LA movement–despite the fact similar protests are happening much closer to their home.

First, former Fishbowler Tina Dupuy took a formal tour of the LA City Hall encampment from medical marijuana advocate Cheryl Aichele–who, Dupuy informs us, is staying in a “large tent with a production company logo on it (this is how we roll in LA).”

More from Dupuy:

Sure, there are hippies dancing. And yes, there are drum circles. It’s LA, so there’s also “medicinal” marijuana wafting about. But mostly the crowd looks like LA: Half Latino, a quarter African-American and Asian and mostly middle-class. And that’s who is in the meetings, not the hippies. In the meetings, people discuss things like Glass-Steagall, plans of actions and politicians to reach out to. There’s a general sense that this is something big and they need to figure out what to do with it. All is reported at the General Assembly or GA every night at 7:30 p.m. Participants use Quaker consensus decision-making hand signals in all meetings. Participants can indicate if they agree, disagree, kind of agree or oppose vehemently — all non-verbally. So speakers get to see the reaction of the crowd in real time. It’s public polling and it’s painfully slow and tedious. Meaning: this is what democracy looks like. Everyone has a voice and not all of them are poignant. Some of them are repetitive — and there’s a hand signal for that, too.

Dupuy’s piece was well over 1,000 words. But that wasn’t all from The Atlantic. Today, Mary A. Fischer wrote another lengthy piece about a visit she paid to Occupy LA. Her headline indicates the piece has something to do with Hollywood’s elite helping the protesters. But the nut of the story is more about LA’s various contrasts with the movement in New York.

LA protesters are allowed to pitch and sleep in tents overnight–a luxury not afforded to their counterparts in privately owned Zuccotti Park. For the first week, the LAPD forced campers to move their tents onto the sidewalk by 10 each night to comply with a city code that makes it illegal to sleep in city parks. In the morning, they moved back to the lawn, but logistics soon became unmanageable and as of this Tuesday, the city council passed a resolution that allows them to stay on the grass 24/7.

Another stark bi-coastal contrast: L.A protesters have a mostly peaceful relationship with the police and support of the mayor and city council. “Stay as long as you need, we’re here to support you,” Eric Garcetti, president of the city council, announced to the protestors, who are grateful yet wary of politicians who may try and to align disaffected protestors with their political parties.

Fischer also acknowledges the success Occupy LA has had in teaming up with homeowners facing eviction. There are no shortage of those in the Southland. Seems like that strategy could continue to draw media attention for quite some time.

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