Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

On Dec. 6th, Occupy goes “home” for the holidays

Four years ago Wall Street bankers crashed our economy after reckless gambling with our homes and our livelihoods. Then they looted our Treasury for bailouts and bonuses while their 1% allies used the economic chaos as an excuse to rob us of the investments we've made in helping every Californian achieve the American Dream. But since September 17, the simmering anger at Wall Street has found a powerful expression through the Occupy movement, massive campus mobilizations and increasing numbers of homeowners standing up to wrongful bank evictions by organizing community-led “home defenses.”

This month, the Occupy Wall Street movement is joining with brave homeowners (underwater and foreclosure victims alike), renters fighting foreclosure-related evictions, and other community members personally affected by Wall Street's greed around the country to say, “Enough is enough – we're not going to let them take our homes.” On December 6th hundreds of homeowners and renters facing foreclosure are announcing that they are not leaving when the sheriff comes. Some are even taking the bold step of moving back in to the homes from which they have been evicted. Collectively, the 99% are taking a stand against Wall Street and their 1% allies a step further by demanding negotiations instead of fraudulent foreclosures and justice instead of avarice.

Here in California, one of the path-breakers in taking this type of action is Rose Gudiel, a member of the Alliance of Californians of Community Empowerment (ACCE) and the ReFund California campaign. In October, she successfully defended her home and family from a foreclosure eviction by taking decisive action. She was arrested for protesting outside of a Fannie Mae office in Pasadena. After her arrest, Fannie Mae agreed to halt her eviction and then met with her to negotiate a modification of her loan. Other home defenses have sprouted in places such as Atlanta,Cleveland,Minneapolis and San Francisco.

25% of homeowners in America are underwater and by the end of 2012 nearly 13 million homes will be in some stage of the foreclosure process. There is no shortage of families being pushed to the brink and the December 6th Occupy Our Homes Day of Action represents the launch of an effort to support families that are ready to stand up to Wall Street. Everyone has a right to decent, affordable housing. The website, occupyourhomes.org was launched to help the 99% fight for this right. It features an online action toolkit and a “Pledge in Defense of Homes and Neighborhoods” that anyone around the country can sign as a signal of their willingness to take action in defense of their own home or their willingness to stand in solidary with others taking that bold step. The goal is to get 50,000 people to take the pledge in the coming weeks.

Rose Gudiel and others that have stood up to their banks know that eviction defenses and home occupations should not be taken on lightly. That's why the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) has put together a teach-in called “Know Your Rights: How to Defend Your Home from Illegal Bank Actions” to help would be home defenders. Most teach-ins will take place this Saturday, December 3: anyone can sign up at www.calorganize.org/knowyourrights

On the day before Thanksgiving, appropriately, Occupy Wall Street in New York announced that they were supporting December 6th as a national day of action and encouraging people across the country to defend their homes against illegal bank actions. Throughout California and across the country people are organizing a variety of actions and many will publically announce that they are refusing to leave when faced with an unfair eviction.

As OWS member Max Berger told Salon, “This is a shift from protesting Wall Street fraud to taking action on behalf of people who were harmed by it. It brings the movement into the neighborhoods and gives people a sense of what's really at stake.”

Are you ready to be the next Rose Gudiel? Are you ready to stand by a neighbor or friend that is resisting a wrongful foreclosure? Sign up for a teach-in at www.calorganize.org/knowyourrights and then take the pledge at occupyourhomes.org

California has one option left to stop the bleeding

This piece was cross-posted in the Huffington Post. It was also co-authored by Joshua Pechthalt and Anthony Thigpenn.

When we think of California, we imagine the state that allowed the three of us to be who we are, a state that gave us the California Dream. For years now, that dream has been quickly slipping away and now it’s in danger of being lost forever.

California is not in crisis; crises are sudden and acute. California is in a chronic, grinding decline and it’s providing a window into America’s tomorrow.  Here we have the richest and poorest, the most diverse population, high technology centers which lead the globe. And yet, here with 38 million people – 20% of the United States – we cannot find a path to leave the bounty that invigorated us for the next generation.

The answer will not come from Sacramento, just as on the national level it cannot come from Washington. It needs to come from all of us. It’s simple: government has a central role in providing the basics of civilization and that costs money.

The first step is admitting that we need more money to pay for our present, much less our future. That’s why it’s time for the 1%, those who benefited the most from our state’s past investments, to invest in our state’s future. Our state needs perhaps $20 billion a year in new revenue to assure that kids grow up to lead. That will take time, but for now, we see a clear path to $6 billion or so a year that would at the very least restore a large portion of the most recent cuts to education, healthcare, safety and transportation. All it takes is the 1% chipping in and paying more income tax.

Warren Buffett said it best: “If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further. But I think that people at the high end – people like myself – should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it.”

It’s been a brutal decade for most Californians. Our schools, universities, hospitals, roads, and bridges – which used to be the envy of the nation – are in tatters. The unemployment rate hovers around 12%, and Sacramento continues to talk only about what to cut next, perpetuating the downward spiral.  

Students are rightfully disgusted as they take to the streets and create their own Occupy encampments to protest the relentless inflation of tuition at California’s legendary colleges and universities. Working families who dream of providing their children with a higher education watch in horror as costs continue to skyrocket.

A couple of weeks from now, we face a massive $2 billion in additional cuts that will be “triggered” based on a summer budget deal passed on a wishful premise that the economy will get better before it gets worse. On the front lines once again will be children, the elderly, and disabled. The axe will fall on everything from public schools (where California already ranks 47th in per pupil spending) to in-home health care.

A Washington Post-Bloomberg News Poll from last month shows that 68% of all Americans support raising taxes on households with incomes of $250,000 per year and higher. Gov. Brown could also take his cue from the patron saint of fiscally conservative Republicans, former California governor Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes as governor and president numerous times, knowing it was for the good of our state and country.

Should every child in California have access to an excellent, rigorous, free education through college and beyond?  Should they have healthcare to assure that their minds are sharp and their bodies fit? Should they know that at any point after high school, whether they choose college or another path, they can find a good job?  Should they be the sail that lifts our economy to new heights in energy and technology solutions of tomorrow?


We believe in our state. We believe in our country. We are patriots of the first order who know that true love of state or country manifests not in slogans, but in deeds that offer a brighter future to the next generation than to ours.

The time has come to say yes to our dreams. The time has come for the 1% to join the fray and help rebuild our state and our country. Let them come forth and pledge with us to invest in tomorrow, starting today.

Joshua Pechthalt is the president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing over 100,000 teachers and education workers. Anthony Thigpenn is president and founder of California Calls, a statewide alliance of 26 community-based organizations who have built a base of 328,000 supporters of a progressive, economic agenda. Rick Jacobs is the founder and chair of the Courage Campaign, a California-based online progressive organizing network of more than 750,000 members around the country.

Occupy Oakland Evicted

These officers have no identifying info - no names or numbers... on TwitpicOfficers act on notice of eviction sent out last week

by Brian Leubitz

Let’s just put it this way. It isn’t easy to get recalled as a Mayor in Oakland.  The activist set has been plenty mad with previous Mayors, but nothing on the scale of Jean Quan.  Quan has so botched Occupy Oakland that Vegas would surely put some pretty long odds on her being mayor this time next year.

Last week, Quan used a shooting near 14th and Broadway as an excuse to put out a notice of eviction to the Occupy Oakland encampment.  Now, the police, the administration, and the Occupiers all say the shooting has nothing to do with Occupy Oakland, but apparently #oo is taking time away from Oakland Police from their other activities.

Now, I don’t mean to belittle Oakland’s other priorities, as they are legion.  Oakland still has a high crime rate, and the well-respected police chief Anthony Batts just resigned, rumors being that he just couldn’t work with Quan and the Council any longer.  So, hardly a walk in the park there.  OPD’s resources are spread very thin, as they now tell Oakland Citizens that they won’t even show up for many 911 calls that don’t involve somebody in physical danger. Whatever presence OPD has at #oo are resources not available elsewhere.

So, this morning Quan ordered the raid on the occupy encampments.  Or, well, at least we assume she ordered it, as last time she apparently said that somebody else did it. Who knows?

Police cleared the Occupy Oakland encampment early Monday morning in what has so far been a peaceful raid.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street overnight in anticipation of the eviction, and of many tents remained in the camp when lines of police in riot gear began moving in.

However, dozens of occupiers had moved their tents out of the plaza as the city issued repeated eviction notices over the weekend, and rumors of an early morning raid intensified.

“It feels pretty sad because we built a community here, and now they can just come and destroy it,” said Lara Bitar, 28, who helped collapse three of the camp’s four tents early Monday morning. “At the same time, this movement is about more than just the space here.”(Bay Area News Group)

The raid began this morning around 5AM, but the rumors of the raid had been coming for a while.  Many of the protesters had already packed up, and the raid itself was largely peaceful.  A far different affair than the last time around.  And hey, apparently a couple got married in front of the police line. So, congrats on that!

From the latest #oo twitter feed, General Assembly will meet at 4PM at the main Oakland public library (125 14th Street, I think). I’m sure it will be a lively affair for those that can make it.

From spectator to participant: How the last week changed my relationship with Occupy Oakland

(Cross-posted from Living in the O.)

When Occupy Oakland first started, I was skeptical and frankly unimpressed. I stopped by the rally on that first Monday at 4pm and was underwhelmed by the turnout. At most, a couple hundred people were there. The rally took place on the corner of 14th and Broadway and the sound system (or maybe just a bullhorn) wasn’t loud enough and it was difficult to hear. I chatted with some friends I ran into and went back to work.

Day by day tents went up in Frank Ogawa Plaza and I became much less underwhelmed, especially once infrastructure was developed. The occupiers organized a communal kitchen, library, schedule of events, and of course port-o-potties. I work in Frank Ogawa Plaza so passed the encampment every day, often multiple times per day. I appreciated that it was mostly quiet during the day and amplified sound never started until 4 or 5pm. At night I felt safer walking around in the area, as there were tons of people around. I developed an admiration for the occupation and defended the occupiers to friends who were frightened and annoyed by the encampment.

Yet I was still skeptical. I expressed to many that while I thought the Occupy movement was doing a great job changing the dialogue in our country, it wasn’t a movement I could participate in because I didn’t understand the end game. I’ve taken part in much advocacy and several movements, and I’ve always had a clear goal in mind (even if it was a goal I knew wouldn’t be attained for many years, like stopping the federal attacks on medical marijuana – a goal I chipped away at for nearly a decade and which still hasn’t been met).

I didn’t understand the goals of Occupy Oakland. Did they just plan to occupy our municipal plaza forever? What would constitute victory? Without understanding the end game, no matter how much I respected what Occupy Oakland was doing, I didn’t see a point in participating.

My skepticism started to fade a week ago, when I woke up on Tuesday morning to hundreds of tweets and dozens of stories about the police raid of Occupy Oakland. It hit me that morning, sitting at home, how much people had been putting themselves on the line for something they believed in. That was something I can relate to, as I developed and grew as an activist under the wings of two amazing mentors who firmly believed in the power of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience.

Police Line

My admiration for the occupiers and their supporters grew on Tuesday night, as I watched from the safety of my home the horror that occurred in downtown Oakland. Many people withstood multiple rounds of teargassing  (and some much worse), yet they stood their ground for their right to occupy Frank Ogawa Plaza and stood up against the jailing of their fellow occupiers.

By Wednesday, I realized something big was happening, especially when I saw thousands of people gather in Frank Ogawa Plaza at night. Still though, I was just a spectator. I watched the general assembly and left before folks split up into groups, going home to follow what was happening on Twitter.

But I was drawn in enough to come back on Thursday night. I planned to just watch again, but when I arrived at 6pm for the general strike planning meeting, almost immediately groups split off to plan things like media, outreach, and logistics. So I joined the (huge) media team and just listened – there were dozens of people and with so much process, little seemed to be getting done. Finally a few people suggested we split into smaller groups, and we did. I joined the group to work on the general strike press release and press conference and am so glad I did.

I was blown away by our group of about 15 people and have been continually impressed by them over the past several days. About 2/3 of the participants were media professionals – several worked for independent media outlets, a few of us did media work for non-profits or campaigns, one guy worked at Pandora, another worked for an ad agency. We talked about what we needed to do for the media advisory, press release and press conference. And I say we for the first time because all of a sudden I was no longer a spectator. I hadn’t planned to, but I was participating.

I woke up the next morning to an email from one of the participants with a link to an online workspace she had built for us to use. All of us had equal access to this workspace. By mid-day two women had drafted the advisory and press release. A few of us met again that evening and further hammered out details, deciding that we needed to identify some Occupy Oakland storytellers (since there are no official spokespeople for Occupy Oakland). I went home and put together a media contact list and uploaded it to the workspace. And over the weekend people in our group met some more (I was unable to join them but appreciated reading the notes). They planned the general strike press conference that happened yesterday afternoon and sent out a media advisory.

The press conference, which I attended yesterday, was a huge success. (If you missed it, you can watch the video of it here.) The speakers were all incredibly powerful and shared their stories of why they’re taking part in the general strike. One woman’s home was being foreclosed by Chase bank, another woman was an educator who was frustrated by the diminishing funding for education, and someone from the ILWU union spoke about the issues facing workers and about Oakland’s 1946 general strike. I was amazed that in just four days a small group of people – most of whom had never even met – were able to pull this off.

Being involved in this small group made me remember that the end goal isn’t the only important part of a social movement. The process itself can be very powerful.

Occupy Oakland has brought together thousands of activists and Oakland residents, many of whom probably never would have worked together otherwise. It’s brought media attention to the economic inequities in our country and in our city. The small number of people who have committed acts of vandalism and violence during Occupy marches have spurred a much larger group of people to organize as peacekeepers, and they were incredibly effective at keeping the peace during Saturday night’s march.

I must admit that I still don’t know what the end game is for Occupy Oakland. I don’t know what it would take for occupiers to feel like they have met enough goals for them to end the occupation.

But I’m okay with that, especially since I’m not planning to camp with Occupy Oakland. At this point I’m satisfied with participating in ways that make sense to me, like helping with media, donating books to the library, and tweeting as much as I can about what’s happening.

Because that’s the beauty of the Occupy movement. Everyone can participate in their own way, and that might not even involve coming to Frank Ogawa Plaza or taking off work for the general strike.

I love what one small, locally owned business is doing, for example. Awaken Cafe is staying open tomorrow during the general strike but will be donating 10% of its sales to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and 10% to the Ella Baker Center. That is Awaken’s way of standing up for the 99%.

Yesterday, I talked to one of the volunteers who’s organized Occupy Oakland’s library. He works at the Oakland Public Library and will not be striking tomorrow because he feels it’s important for the libraries to continue to serve the people of Oakland.

I hope you’ll join me tomorrow, November 2nd at the general strike or will find your own way to support Occupy Oakland and the 99%. Join us at the mass gatherings at 14th & Broadway at 9am, 12pm and 5pm. Here’s the poster and you can find out more details on the strike web page.

Maybe you can’t strike tomorrow or don’t want to participate that way. Some are suggesting to buy nothing. I suggest buying locally. Skip Starbucks and go to your local coffee shop. Skip fast food and buy lunch at a local restaurant.

I know some Oaklanders who are very concerned about independent local businesses being targeted during the strike. I not only hope that that will not happen but will be participating to help ensure that it does not happen. On Saturday night a few dozen peacekeepers were able to stop violence and vandalism. Imagine what hundreds of us can do.

Occupy Oakland Calls for a General Strike for Nov 2

Activists and city leaders still asking questions about police actions

by Brian Leubitz

Last night was general calm at Occupy Oakland, as Oakland PD generally just watched as the occupiers retook the plaza.  Apparently video of a cop throwing a flash grenade at people trying to help an injured victim made the police a little skittish of another confrontation.

Well, it looks like there might be more to worry about on Nov. 2, as the Oakland PD will have to deal with calls for a general strike:


We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city. (Occupy Oakland)

Read the full text over the flip.  I’ve not heard any word about the response for the strike call, but I would expect a fairly large crowd to show up given the media attention.

Note by Brian: The Google transparency update was actually from an earlier request from a different law enforcement agency, so I have removed it.

Below is the proposal passed by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Wednesday October 26, 2011 in reclaimed Oscar Grant Plaza. 1607 people voted. 1484 voted in favor of the resolution, 77 abstained and 46 voted against it, passing the proposal at 96.9%. The General Assembly operates on a modified consensus process that passes proposals with 90% in favor and with abstaining votes removed from the final count.


We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.

All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.

The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.

Oakland Police Cleared Occupy Protestors with Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets. Is LA Far Behind?

Occupy Oakland injuryLess than 24 hours after Oakland police forcibly cleared the encampments of Occupy Oakland with tear gas and rubber bullets, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl is telling Occupy protestors in Los Angeles it’s “time to move on.”

“They’ve made their statement. I agree with their statement, but it is time to move on. The trees are in the process of being impacted. The grass is being impacted. Other activities that we need to do on the lawns are being put on the back burner,” said Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

In Oakland, where nearly 200 Occupy protesters had taken up residence, police moved in, claiming the encampment had become a health hazard. Police in riot gear arrested 85 protesters on Tuesday….

Some Los Angeles protesters said despite concerns about damaged grass and run-ins with police at similar encampments across the country, they plan to stand their ground on the lawn of City Hall…..

“I frankly think if we can be civil about it, they should get the message that it’s time to move on from our lawn at City Hall. It is everybody’s lawn, not just those with their tents right now,” said Rosendahl.

Only three weeks ago, Rosendahl and other City Council members were described as “giddy” in their support of Occupy Los Angeles.

Rosendahl at OccupyLA

Councilman Rosendahl when he still thought people were more important than lawns.

“It’s an entourage of peace makers!” Walsh said giddily as he walked toward the protest with Councilmen Bill Rosendahl, Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes and Dennis Zine.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Zine, who until recently was a registered Republican. “We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them.”

The lawmakers, dressed in dark suits and surrounded by aides, caused  a stir when they approached the rag-tag collection of tents, tarps and sleeping bags just off of Temple Street. News media and protesters armed with video cameras swarmed as the officials shook hands and introduced themselves.

Rosendahl told one woman that he empathized with the demonstrators, especially with their complaints about the role of banks in the foreclosure crisis.

“We are not enemies with the people here,” Rosendahl said. “Many of us totally agree with you that the situation we’re in is truly intolerable.”


Rosendahl and Garcetti, the two council members who remained, called for equality in fiery speeches. When Garcetti shouted, “This is your City Hall!” the crowd repeated, “This is our City Hall!”

“Stay as long as you need,” Garcetti told them. “We’re here to support you.”

Or, if Councilmen Rosendahl gets his way, until the lawn gets ratty enough to embarrass the neighbors.

Feel free to give my councilman a call if you think people are more important than lawns. His number is 213-473-7011

Remember, the meltdown in Oakland didn’t start with rubber bullets, but it didn’t take long to get there.

It all started with an Occu-Pie. Photos.

Last Wednesday, I baked a pie for my local Democratic club meeting. I named this one the Occu-Pie Apple Pie, because all good pies should have names.

occupie? apple pie!

A new face showed up at the meeting to tell us about a MoveOn rally on Friday afternoon. She liked my pie, the rally sounded interesting, and I decided to go.

But first, a little about Ventura County. It has the beach city of Ventura; the working-class Latino city of Oxnard; and the purple-to-red East County, home of the Reagan Library, and that’s all you really need to know about East County politics, isn’t it? While others howled about Occupy Wall Street police brutality arrests, I tweeted: “Videotape of police brutality does not, in and of itself, swing America to your side. Love, Rodney King country.”  

So I showed up to the MoveOn rally Friday afternoon with a simple sign (“I am the 99% – are you?”), figuring that I’d be there for half an hour and then move on. About 50 to 75 people joined the rally, all with signs. IMAG0002

And people honked approval at us.

And they honked, and honked, and honked.

A few people shouted at us to “get a job!” and “move to China!” but I could barely hear them over the honking.

About half the people waving signs at this rally were people I’ve seen at prior political events. Others were simply ordinary people who had stories to tell, stories that a casual observer wouldn’t associate with an upper-middle-class safe city.

I decided to attend the #OccupyVentura rally the following day after a local Democratic women’s club brunch meeting. I drove a friend, Karoli of Crooks & Liars. Here’s her story of big signs.

IMAG0009Before I arrived, the group marched to the local Bank of America to withdraw funds, but the branch shut down early to avoid a scene. Overall, the mood was as mellow as you’d expect from a sleepy beach town. The OccupyVentura rally was cleared with police in advance, and a couple of police officers hung out in a distant corner of the park. I saw one man with an Obama-as-the-Joker T-shirt, but no obvious LaRouchies, anti-Semites, or Ron Paul fans as have been reported at other OWS rallies.

The quintessential occupier of Ventura: a man with one tooth, a brilliant idea for renewable energy that would save the world, and an overwhelming desire to tell me everything about it except for the idea itself. I wanted to hear more, I wanted to take him to the dentist and buy him new clothes, I wanted to run away – all at once.

The event took place in a park along Main Street. A streetside view – you can’t hear the horns honking in this photo, but they were near-constant: IMAG0007

Away from the street, a handful of tents and a stage were set up. A band played for an hour, then people spoke at an open mic (with a real microphone). The stories they told were deeply personal, sometimes angry, sometimes confessional. A couple of speakers emphasized the need for action with specific demands such as reinstating Glass-Steagall. However, the emphasis was on sharing stories: anger, pain, bewilderment. Organizers had set up a command central tent, a media tent, a sign-making area, and my personal favorite – the Occuplay!


The one thing missing from the rally was an effort to engage people in traditional political action – no voter registration, no petition to sign, no collection of email addresses. If the movement grows, the people telling their deeply personal stories need to take that next step.

IMAG0014 The following day, I was among the volunteers representing our local Democratic club at an annual street fair. A number of community groups set up booths among the sellers of kettle corn and Etsy-type crafts. We had steady traffic all morning – people who asked about the local clubs, people who wanted to register, people who wanted to buy buttons and bumper stickers, people who just wanted to flash a furtive thumbs up sign. Sometimes, in a purple-to-red county, we just need to let Democrats know that they’re not alone.

IMAG0011David Pollock, who’s running for Congress in the new CA-25 now held by useless backbencher Elton Gallegly, had a carnival barker’s cadence: “Register to vote! Are you registered to vote? You can’t vote unless you’re registered!”  Whether it was his voice or something else, we signed up 22 Democratic voters by 1 PM, including 2 Republicans switching parties.

This story began with an Occu-Pie, segued to a rally raising community visibility, then to a bigger rally raising consciousness, and then to direct action registering voters. It’ll end with another Occu-Pie. In this face-off between 1 Big Max and 99 sweet little pumpkins, who will win? The pie baker! IMAG0015

Occupy Los Angeles – The Beginning Is Near

Yesterday, after nearly three hours of debate, the LA City Council approved a resolution formally endorsing the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

The resolution was introduced last week by councilmembers Richard Alarcon and Bill Rosendahl. It seeks to address “the City’s position to support the First Amendment Rights carried out by ‘Occupy Los Angeles,'” according to the L.A. City Council Agenda.

The recommendation supports the continuation of peaceful protests and advises the city departments to bring the already-approved Responsible Banking measure up for a final vote before the council by the end of October.

The council members saidthe Responsible Banking measure will alleviate some of the concerns of the downtown demonstrators. The measure demands accountability and results from banks supported by taxpayer dollars.

The responsible banking ordinance will score banks based on the number of home loan modifications accommodated, the number and location of its branches and how they contribute to affordable housing.

See more by clicking “There’s more.”

The Responsible Banking Ordinance is in direct response to the story of Rose Gudiel, a 35-year-old state government employee, who refused to leave her foreclosed home in La Puente..

Gudiel set off a massive protest and media frenzy when people got wind of the foreclosure of her home, which Guidel has shared with her disabled mother and other relatives for ten years. A coalition of activists kept a round-the clock vigil outside the Bel-Air mansion of the president of OneWest Bank that had initiated foreclosure proceedings. From there, they moved to the sidewalk outside Fannie Mae’s office in Pasadena, after discovering the government-sponsored lender had taken over Gudiel’s loan. Another group surrounded Gudiel’s house, pledging to risk arrest if sheriff deputies tried to evict the family, including her wheelchair-bound mother.

Police arrested Gudiel and five others when they refused to leave. In the end, Gudiel prevailed, bank executives relented and she remains in her house.

I shot the video above in downtown Los Angeles on October 8th and 9th, 2011. OccupyLA had already been camped out at Los Angeles City Hall for two weeks, hundreds of tents surrounded the building.

For a “leaderless” movement, the activists are incredibly organized. Already they have a media tent, kitchen tent, first aide center and a lender library. Monetary donations are meticulously recorded and receipts given back to the donors. Their A/V systems are solar powered. Crews of organizers patrol the grounds, cleaning up refuse, recycling cans and bottles. They hope to have a weekly newspaper up and running in the next few days.

I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I was excited by what I saw. Thousands of people rallied or visited the tent city while I was there. Conversations were numerous, anger was tangible, and hope was still very much alive.

If we’re lucky, what we are witnessing is the rebirth of the American Dream in a new generation. The road will be long, the going hard. They will need our help, and we must not fail them.

Click on these links to find out what you can do to help.

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