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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism

Evolution of the Camp at Occupy Santa Cruz, Part 3
by Alex Darocy ( alex [at] alexdarocy.com )
Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
Photos of the progression and growth of the camping locations of Occupy Santa Cruz.
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-1.jpg
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For more info about Occupy Santa Cruz and Occupy Wall Street, see:
http://occupysantacruz.org
http://occupywallstreet.org


Alex Darocy
http://alexdarocy.blogspot.com
§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-5.jpg
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-...

A second teepee was added.
§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-4.jpg
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The first teepee.
§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-2.jpg
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§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-...

§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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§October 28
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-8.jpg
oct-28-occupy-santa-cruz-...

§October 29
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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The restaurant India Joze has donated food and beverages to Occupy Santa Cruz several times. In the background is a pot of onions and potatoes which was brought over by a man who lived nearby. As he ate with the occupiers, the man commented, "no matter how broke I am, I can always feed people onions and potatoes."
§October 29
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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The man who brought over the onions and potatoes dish, having fun with the photo op.
§October 30
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
oct-30-occupy-santa-cruz-1.jpg
oct-30-occupy-santa-cruz-...

For the first time, the general assembly was held on the side steps of the county courthouse. The occupiers hoped that changing the location of the GAs on Sunday to an area closer to the camp would help decrease the level of its isolation from the majority of the group.
§October 30
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
oct-30-occupy-santa-cruz-2.jpg
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The general assembly.
§November 1
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
nov-1-occupy-santa-cruz-1.jpg
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Heavy winds required a re-building of the second teepee.
§November 1
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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Hot food brought over by India Joze for the November 1 general assembly.
§November 2
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
nov-2-occupy-santa-cruz-1.jpg
nov-2-occupy-santa-cruz-1...

§November 2
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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A park ranger with the city asked campers to move the tent onto the main benchlands area, and away from the line of trees that seperates that area from the San Lorenzo River.
§November 2
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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Occupy Santa Cruz's mandala project.
§November 2
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
nov-2-occupy-santa-cruz-4.jpg
nov-2-occupy-santa-cruz-4...

The food area.
§November 2
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
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The food area with recently donated shelves.
§November 2
by Alex Darocy Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:16 PM
nov-2-occupy-santa-cruz-6.jpg
nov-2-occupy-santa-cruz-6...

The food area.
§Parts 1 & 2
by Alex Darocy ( alex [at] alexdarocy.com ) Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011 11:27 PM
Domestic Activity and the Evolution of the Camp at Occupy Santa Cruz (Part 1)
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/03/18697209.php

Evolution of the Camp at Occupy Santa Cruz, Part 2
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/03/18697231.php

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Wes
Friday Nov 4th, 2011 11:20 AM
Alex, thank you so so much for these photos. I think they came at a much needed time. Last time I spent any serious time at the occupation was last Friday when Guerilla Drive-In was supposed to host a movie. The GA was disrupted by several aggressive people who stood and shouted for what seemed like hours until the GA dissolved. ThE GA tried to ignore them, tried to deescalate them, tried even shunning to avoid feeding in to their bid for attention, and nothing worked. When confronted, one disruptive fellow got hostile and threatening (not nearly the first time, sadly), even, at one point going to the levy and getting a gang of tweaker thugs to beat people up. Seemed the fellow was having some reality issues, lapsing into paranoid rants and pointing out particular people who had it out for him and were thus going to be "taken down." Many very peaceful, compassionate people endeavored to calm the fellow down and soothe things over. It was effective for a time, but inevitably, he would come back and threaten random people he felt were out to get him.

The GDI never happened because the hosts were unwilling to set up delicate equipment in such a volatile situation.

Eventually, people fed up with the disruption and threats agreed they wanted him to leave and began chanting "WE ARE ASKING YOU TO LEAVE" and stood up to the most threatening of these thugs as a community. While he didn't leave (and may have enjoyed the attention), it was a bright moment of empowerment in what felt like a deeply hopeless situation. I left that night deeply exhausted, triggered by the threats and violence, willing to come back only after the entire occupation felt like fully addressing this issue in a serious way.

So I was really ready to see some positive change and hear some positive stories about the occupation space. I'd like to rededicate myself to our local occupation. If you have anything positive to share, I'd certainly love to hear it.
by Mike Irons
Friday Nov 4th, 2011 8:55 PM
Man, I know exactly how Wes feels. I was at the GDI, and I saw first hand what an asswipe that guy was. The irony is that I have also seen him being kicked out of two different downtown stores by merchants whom Robert Norse would characterize as "bigots" for doing so. I wonder if it was fully borne upon the Occupy folks, and especially the Indybay and HUFF crowd, just how much we shared in common last Friday with those evil merchants and the hospitality people in those sadly ridiculous bumblebee outfits. I, for one, left that scene a bit more humble about that.
by Alex Darocy
( alex [at] alexdarocy.com ) Saturday Nov 5th, 2011 4:11 PM
I think these photos show an amazing accomplishment on the part of everyone involved with Occupy Santa Cruz. They show the building of a community from scratch, which was done so collectively, and in the context of an occupation of a major civic space located in the heart of the larger community, and with very little funding. To see how quickly the OSC camp has developed and grown, and how well it functions, is inspiring. The occupiers are well fed, and the camp is friendly and feels like a home. The process of food collection and distribution at Occupy Santa Cruz really seems efficient and organizationally evolved.

While some have reported on divisions between segments of the overall camp, my observations are that the people are far more united than divided. The campers are overwhelmingly in tune with the greater political issues of the global occupy movement. While they aren’t all politically active, the camp as a whole provides a constant source of new people who do wind up becoming politically involved. I have made personal note of this while photographing the marches and demonstrations at the banks, and while observing at GAs.

Many people with very moderate political views have become involved with methods of collective organization.

The organization of the camp has been done collectively and by a diverse group of people. It is really fun to watch the different types of people get to know each other. Also, people have started as campers and then have later become interested in the general assemblies, so the collective behavior of maintaining the domestic aspects of the camp has helped people transition into political collective activity.

I have heard the phrase, “I had the best conversation of my life in the camp” multiple times.

The camp has been a place for travelers to congregate. Often our community only receives short glimpses of the amazing people who pass through the area traveling. The camp gives the travelers the extra time to stay around town, and they get to know each other, and take advantage of better chances to network among themselves as well as with our long term community members. This is an exciting voice that has developed, and they also have an opportunity to become more politically active in the process.

I also love the esteem building that goes on at the camp. Most of the occupiers are going through terrible times in their lives, and the friendliness of camp life gives them the chance to put their energy into activities that are personally enriching.

I see so many good things going on at Occupy Santa Cruz, but it is not my intention to gloss over some of the major negative issues that you, in part, refer to.

I know who the individual is that you mentioned, the one who has outbursts. He has actually assaulted a local activist before, so to me it is not a debate of whether or not his issue is violence, it is definitely violence.

The occupy movements are different from other social and political movements, in that the occupations involve a broad range of community members who are attempting to redefine the uses of the most contested public spaces, as opposed to a more specific or narrowly defined group of people who become isolated to special interest spaces. Considering this as a starting point, I don’t feel that individuals can effectively be ‘kicked’ out of large public spaces for behaviors that are not directly violent. This becomes a very difficult issue when holding a large public gathering in public, as you mentioned.

I feel that the solution to this is by creating safe spaces or comfort zones for tweakers and people with outburst issues, and having conflict teams possibly help these people non-violently into the comfort zones which would be located very close to the gathering location. One of the amazing aspects of the camp at Occupy Santa Cruz is how certain people have become experts at non-violently calming down tweakers and people with outburst issues.

With regards to the individual you mentioned, I do feel that there is a way to specifically deal with him that has calmed him down each time he has had major outbursts. As a group, Occupy Santa Cruz has not been able to develop a conflict resolution team with enough members that could possibly start an informal ‘database’ on this individual that would help inform the group as to the best ways to deal with him. I witnessed one woman work wonders with him on the first day of the occupation, and I do feel that he can be helped and his outbursts can be prevented. A key to helping him is to have the people who most sincerely respect him be the ones to do it.

Conflict resolution teams also need to befriend as many people with behavior issues in the movement as possible before problems occur. I have seen a camper from Occupy Santa Cruz refer to this as part of the solution to problems in the camp in an online forum.

The campers are also experiencing problems with violent people, and they need more people helping who are trained to resolve conflicts. I believe that safe spaces (for tweakers, and for people with behavior issues) need to be created at the camp for things to work long term. For example, if people were all well fed, I feel that problems would decrease, so a safe space for non-occupiers might involve food supplies, etc. This would require a lot of effort in terms of what Occupy Santa Cruz could immediately do right now, but a larger community could definitely supply enough basic support to help mediate disruptions like these and help ensure safety.

Other possibilities are to continue to hold general assemblies everyday, but perhaps make one GA a week devoted to the major occupy issues, so that a larger group of people can plan and schedule for the meeting, and so that a larger conflict team can be organized.

I have noticed that a large group of politically active people have stopped showing up at Occupy Santa Cruz, and this has in turn decreased the turnout at direct actions, which seems to have (at least temporarily) limited the possibilities for the evolution of the groups actions. Hopefully these people are not gone for good, but I do feel that Occupy Santa Cruz will continue to be politically active in many of its incarnations because the conditions that unchecked capitalism have brought on the people is what creates the occupiers in the first place.
by Matt Fitt
Tuesday Nov 8th, 2011 1:06 PM
The camp site (and OSC, in general) needs to be a safe and welcoming space dedicated to providing mutual aid and mutual respect for all those involved.

Persons whom are unwilling or unable to abide byagreed-upon minimum standards of behavior -- those whom are violent, aggressive, abusive, thieving, or consistently disruptive -- should be directly and quickly informed that their behavior is not acceptable to the rest of the group.

The person should be told two things: (a) We hope that they remain at OSC as an active, creative participant in our diverse, dynamic community, but (b) if they continue to engage in this or similar problematic behaviors, then their presence in the group/meeting/camp will no longer be welcome nor tolerated.

Actually, for more serious outbursts, such as violence (or direct threat thereof) or stealing, no warning should be necessary. Those folks should be quickly and publicly cast out.

The group and the camp should endeavor to draw people in by consistently being a safe, respectful, and mutually supportive environment, forged in bonds of solidarity, and dedicated to the classic IWW motto, "An injury to one, is an injury to all."

I know... much easier said than done. But I fear that this will otherwise spiral down and out.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Dec 27th, 2011 9:26 AM
The person who was angrily disruptive (over a proposal to shut off discussion on whether to deny homeless people food) and threatening was subsequently a regular worker at OSC, as I understand it. This was the same man who assaulted me year before last. I no longer feel threatened by him and am impressed by how he now works with people who subsequently were intent on excluding him. Or such was the case before the police and sheriffs violently destroyed the camp and the protest.