Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Los Angeles is no New York City. Following a torrential down pour on Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a hundred rain ponchos over to those who had been encamped outside of L.A. City Hall since last weekend, as the core of the Occupy Los Angeles movement.
Later that same day, the Los Angeles City Council filed an extraordinary Resolution [PDF] in support of the L.A. "occupiers" and of the larger "Occupy Wall Street" movement as a whole.
The resolution, to be adopted "with the concurrence of the Mayor" (and supported by the L.A. County Federation of Labor), comes very close to a formal governmental endorsement of "Occupy Wall Street," a movement which Michael Moore describes plainly enough as "an uprising of people who have had it."
Amongst the powerful WHEREAS statements in support of the L.A. City Council Resolution, adopted "with the concurrence of the Mayor," was a recognition that "corporations hold undue influence and power;" that wealth disparity in the U.S. is greater than many of the nations in the Middle East that have been racked by "violent revolutionary protests;" that "our economic system" is "broken," creating an "economic crisis" that is "eroding the very social contract upon which the Constitution of the United States of America was founded"...
A comparison between the "Occupy Wall Street" Sept. 30 Resolution, developed by NY's Wall Street occupiers themselves, and the Oct. 5 L.A. City Council Resolution reveal that both are essentially saying the same thing.
The NY Resolution, which the L.A. City Council expressly references, notes that "no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power;" that, where "a democratic government derives its just power from the people...corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth."
The L.A. City Council Resolution contains a litany of the economic woes created by the vice-into-virtue, greed-driven policies of Wall Street and corporate America --- "over 25 million Americans who seek work are unemployed; more than 50 million Americans are forced to live without health insurance...more than 1 in 5 American children are growing up poor in households that lack access to resources that provide basic survival needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter."
The Council goes on to note that while worker contributions to the GDP "soared to 59%" over the past 30 years, "almost all the gains to the economy have accrued to the very top income earners --- largely the top 1%. The "400 richest Americans at the top control more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom." It cited last year's infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United as a threat to "the voices of the people" and noted "widespread inequities in U.S. health outcomes by income, race and gender" occasioned by the highest "income inequality" amongst the world's "advanced industrialized nations."
The "fiscal impact of the continuing economic crisis," the Council Resolution adds, "is disastrous to education, public services, infrastructure and essential safety-net services that have historically made America successful." It points to the fact that, at 1.2 million foreclosures since 2008, CA accounts for one in five U.S. foreclosures, with a resultant $4 billion loss of property tax revenues and an estimated $17 billion in foreclosure-related response costs for state, local and county governments --- all as a result of the continued "use of flawed, and in some cases fraudulent" mortgage services.
Read as a whole, the Oct. 5 L.A. City Council Resolution is a testament to the utter failure of unregulated capitalism, not to mention the dismal future in store for all Americans if we do not undergo radical, democratic change in our economy and in our political system.
• Read the L.A. City Council's Resolution in support of Occupy LA here [PDF].
• Listen to Brad Friedman's KPFK interview with Occupy LA media rep Lisa Clapier, on the day the City Council resolution was introduced, right here.
• More information on Occupy LA at their website here.
Here is coverage by citizen journalist Margo Paez', of InsightOutNews, of Day 6 of Occupy LA...
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968).