revolutionary politics

#OccupyLA Wins: LA City Council Offers Downtown Office, Homeless Housing, Farmland!

Hooray!We don’t hear a whole lot about #OccupyLA because the City Council has been so cool about it. But now, after nearly two months of the City Hall lawn being used as a campground, the city leaders would like to politely move the protest off the grounds while also supporting its continued work.

The solution, which has yet to be accepted but which we think is genius for all involved, is to “rent” some downtown office space the city has (10,000 square feet) to #OccupyLA for a ceremonial $1 per year. (The huge commercial space is in something called the “Los Angeles Mall” literally next door to City Hall.) And all the homeless who have come to the camp recently? They will be provided with housing. Oh yeah, and farmland will be provided to the group, so that it can be self-sufficient as far as growing food.

With an office space connected to public transit and near to City Hall, the protest movement can become a full-time revolutionary council. It can advocate for the homeless, for the people facing eviction, for those being pushed out by property speculators, for the unemployed and underemployed, for the whole 99%. Actions can be arranged against the corporations, against the military, against all the evildoers. (It is probably implied that the protesters will not aggressively target City Hall, which is maybe a bit of a sellout, but even revolutions make decisions about strategy that could be attacked as compromise. Besides, if one part of the #OccupyLA movement accepts the deal, it doesn’t mean other non-aligned protesters have to follow those rules.)

With farmland, people can start looking at this not as a temporary protest, but as a way to get their lives back. And with housing provided for the homeless attracted to the Tent City, we show all of America that it is completely within the abilities of the local governments to house those on the streets. THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS FULL OF VACANT HOUSES, FOR GOD’S SAKE.

Anyway, whatever happens, it’s a great development. The City of Los Angeles has just shown the rest of the nation how a city can be a good player in the Revolution. [#OccupyLA/LA Now/LAist]

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne
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103 comments

  1. nounverb911

    Can they #Occupy Hollywood next and finally come up with some original movies instead of drek like "LEGOS: the movie"?

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        Yeah, right. Bigfoot would last, like, maybe 10 seconds with those guys. BOGUS movie idea, Serolf.

        I'm thinking more like Alien vs. Predator vs. Laser Shark. Then you got something.

        1. Serolf_Divad

          No, but this is Alien vs. Predator vs. Bigfoot in Montana… Bigfoot's country… he knows the lay of the land… you're in Bigfoot's back yard, now, boys…

  2. Allmighty_Manos

    "The City of Los Angeles has just shown the rest of the nation how a city can be a good player in the Revolution."

    Are we talking about the same LA? Did they offer early buyouts to all the headbusting Okies on the LAPD

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      LA didn't have any better way out of this. They've run out of pepper spray and truncheons are on, like, a 10-week back-order. (Blame this lousy Obama economy.)

      They were just going to start shooting the Occupados, but after that big whiny librul fuss over what happened at UC Davis, they decided that might get them into trouble.

  3. Serolf_Divad

    Hold out 'till they throw in a vehicle lease… preferably a 4 door (leaning the front seats forward for your back seat passengers to get in is a PITA).

    1. bureaucrap

      There are actually so many abandoned/repossessed gargantucars (ford explorers, etc), they could be used as housing too.

  4. Callyson

    City of Angels, indeed. Here's hoping Los Angeles serves as a model for other towns (I'm looking at you, Oakland…)

    1. bureaucrap

      Of course, in an office building instead of on the street, they lose all visibility, so there actually would be a good reason for the kids to say no.

      Also, where the *&%(*)$* is there farmland in LA city? Downtown? Are they going to plow up Pershing square? In terms of ugliness I can think of several downtown buildings that I would nominate to be torn down for farms, but that's not realistic.

      1. Ken Layne

        Los Angeles is a very low-rise metropolis. There is farmland everywhere, tucked between suburbs and in the foothills and surrounding the whole urbanized area. There are still big orange groves in Pasadena, dairy farms in Compton, and of course lots of indoor marijuana farms.

        As for visibility, the relatively good behavior of the city & police means there's not much visibility anyway. LA is a notoriously bad town for "local news," as the LAT is a terrible paper and everything's so spread out and the teevee news is standard teevee news. It is a good offer.

        1. Geminisunmars

          Just because one might have housing, that doesn't mean that one can't hold general assemblies or protests or be an activist. Housing is where you go to sleep (and perhaps eat and fuck and bathe). There is potential in this plan.

  5. elviouslyqueer

    With farmland, people can start looking at this not as a temporary protest, but as a way to get their lives back. And with housing provided for the homeless attracted to the Tent City, we show all of America that it is completely within the abilities of the local governments to house those on the streets. THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS FULL OF VACANT HOUSES, FOR GOD’S SAKE.

    Y'know, Ken, somebody should write a book about this. Oh, wait.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Yeah, they should call their place Dignityville and elect Ken their first mayor.

      There are a few plot similarities here.

      1. Ken Layne

        So you can see why this is all very interesting to me …. I felt like *something* was up, last year when I was writing that book, but never expected it to come roaring into reality in late 2011, hahaha.

        1. Lascauxcaveman

          Well, you definitely nailed the part about the paranoid powers-that-be feeling threatened by the harmless hippies, and harassing the shit of them.

          BTW, I haven't finished your book yet. Don't tell me how it ends. (I misplaced it, but I'm sure it'll turn up in one of the piles of books strewn about the cave. Books; oh do we have books. Two brainiac bookworm daughters with a line of credit at the local indie bookstore and a schoolteacher wife who orders every damn book on elementary education she can find; not that she has time to read them.)

        2. Pres.Libunatic

          Ken, do you have a TARDIS or something? Because you really were able to predict all of this Shit pretty well. Indeed, the piggish, orange food product pepper-spraying Lt. John Pike The Third could have come right out of the book.

          I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a very interesting year, in the Chinese sense.

    1. mrpuma2u

      Jeez you're right. I will start packing now. Commie farm commune here I come! Vegetable rights and peace!

  6. user-of-owls

    Meh, call me when LA gives each of the protesters 40 acres of office space plus a draft animal of their choosing.

  7. Steverino247

    They can bulldoze Dodger Stadium for farmland. Maybe give Occupy the keys to MacArthur Park which is pretty much shot these days…

        1. Jukesgrrl

          Thanks so much for letting me know about those links!Morello's great — very interesting guy along with being an amazing musician.I encountered him through Springsteen.The two of them got together when Morello recorded The Ghost of Tom Joad, in a version that Bruce happily admits put his to shame.Not surprised to see my old fave Lou in the mix, too.I thought Laurie Anderson's thoughts on working at McDonald's was very 99% political and never got much attention in the press.But it must have made an impact on Lou.Cheers, J.

          1. not that Dewey

            Lou and Laurie are about the coolest power-couple on the planet. I hadn't heard about he McD thing before (just looked it up). I saw her twice — once in the late '80s in Champaign-Urbana, once in the '00s in Santa Fe, right after she finished her NASA residency. She just kept getting better. Lou — I saw him do a poetry reading at the Goodman theater in Chicago, then a few years later I served him lunch at a swank celebrity joint in NYC. Very mellow; generous tipper.

            When I was young and stupid, my friend and I used to do "Velvet Underground Breakfasts", which consisted of smoking an entire pack of cigarettes while listening to "White Light White Heat" first thing in the morning. Perhaps I need to bring that back…

          2. Jukesgrrl

            Great stories!Sobriety turned Lou into such a mensch.I saw him read poetry w/ Jim Carroll at the Ethical Cultural Society in NYC.Went to a record signing once in Pittsburgh and took my ticket stub from that instead of a record.Lou was amazed I had been there and chatted me up at length.My pals who got records signed w/ no conversation were jealous.Even more so when they saw he signed my ticket XXX, Lou.

  8. user-of-owls

    The farmland presents the indignados with a splendid opportunity to make both the Right and the left happy: all they need to do is christen the huge vegetable plot they create as the "Ronald Reagan Memory Garden."

  9. BaldarTFlagass

    Wow, a Ken Layne post that doesn't make me want to cut myself or drive my car into a concrete bridge abutment. It must be the holidays!

    1. snoopyfan2010

      Well he did mention that the group compromised by not attacking City Hall so there's that. Work on it, you'll find that anger.

  10. SayItWithWookies

    Clearly this is not happening, as government can't solve problems — only the free market can do that.

    Nevertheless — awesome job, OccupyLA & LA itself!

  11. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

    1. Negropolis

      Hey, LA is nowhere near as bad as the progeny it spawned like Houston and Phoenix and Atlanta. It's been maturing quite nicely. It's not San Francisco, but then who is?

    1. Ken Layne

      Damn you, I was looking for YouTube clip that explained enough of the story so that it wouldn't be, you know, INSANE to everyone else. But yeah, Wolfram & Hart just turned over the keys to headquarters, basically. "Good luck!"

      1. poncho_pilot

        i comment and if someone gets it they get it. further elaboration only reveals just how big of a dork i am. case in point:

        this also means that LA in its entirety could be sent to Hell which would be a good example of truth in advertising. all of this would be post-dragon slaying, of course.

  12. imissopus

    This is very cool and I'm proud for once of my civic leaders. Seriously, our mayor is a boob and the city council is famous for selling out every inch of the city they can to real-estate developers and billboard companies.

    BUT…here's an interesting passage from this story at the LAT:

    The proposals were received with a mix of excitement, anger and disbelief among protesters, many of whom did not know that members of the camp were in negotiations with city officials.

    "I don't appreciate people appointing themselves to represent me, to represent us," one woman called out during the assembly. "Who was in those meetings?"

    And this quote from the comments: As far as I know, there is no leader of OWS therefore no one is in the position to negotiate for the movement.

    Of fer fuck's sake. It's just like a true believer to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. THIS IS A WIN FOR YOU. The city that has been known to shut down community gardens is offering to find you some farmland AND rent you office space for $1 a year (at a time when the city has been suffering serious budget problems and could use any revenue it can get.) You got a seat at the table and you didn't have to buy your way in or participate in a corrupt process the way people usually do! Considering how damn dysfunctional our city government usually is, this is quite an accomplishment!

    Sorry for the rant. Just, ugh. Here we have a municipality trying to be constructive, which is such a nice change of pace from all the stories of evictions and beatings, and at least some of the occupiers are upset because they think they will be denied the martyrdom of a face full of pepper spr…er, vegetable mist?

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      You do realize that this is going to be a huge letdown for some people, whose grand sacrifice so far has been camping out on a well-tended lawn in southern California. I can hear the voices of disbelief from here: "Wait, what? I'm gonna have to work on a farm? Who the fuck negotiated that?

      1. Negropolis

        "Wait, what? I'm gonna have to work on a farm? Who the fuck negotiated that?"

        ROTFLMAO!

        I can totally see a few Buffy-and-Stewarts totally flipping the fuck out over this. I mean, how are they supposed to get their even tans, now? A farmer's tan is s red neckian, right?

  13. kenintense

    You've won, stop protesting and start living in your parallel society. As more and more people come the more you will be able to command. Need to sort out elections for leader and government ministers. Sort out a maniefesto, Vote on everything via internet..

  14. Cpt_Zirkon

    It is important to rigorously scrutinize any seemingly 'progressive' hand outs from above, and keep an eye open for containment sold as progress.

  15. Trinket

    This makes my heart go pitty-pat, and makes me even happier than I usually am to live on one of the coasts (blue states!) as opposed to the vast expanse of red states between them.

    No offense to any of you landlocked folks. Or folks who live on the coasts of oceans that brew tropical storms.

  16. wonkdoctor

    Not to start a fight over whose bombed-out soulless shell of a city is better, but Detroit's city council has been extending the #Occupy permit until they can move everyone into a warehouse space that was donated to the movement. Of course, there is no 1% in Detroit, since they all flew away in their corporate jets.
    http://www.freep.com/article/20111122/NEWS01/1111

    1. Negropolis

      Occupy Los Angeles believes that as part of a global movement advocating direct, participatory democracy, and challenging economic and social injustices, our position is such that we cannot, in all good faith, accept further material benefit from City Hall at the taxpayer’s expense without seriously compromising our beliefs, our desire for global change, and our commitment to our inherent human rights to free speech and assembly protected in this country by First Amendment Rights. The 1 percent should be paying for any services used by the Occupy Movement, not taxpayers.

      Ooo, the show is getting good. High drama complete with righteous indignation, the whole nine.

      1. schvitzatura

        The South Central Gardens campesinos were concerned that Biff and Buffy #OLA peeps were going to get arable (?) land in the city to cultivate. Mic check and a few acres and a mule are yours!

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