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Occupy Santa Cruz Celebrates One Year Together
by Alex Darocy
Thursday Oct 18th, 2012 1:12 PM
On Friday, October 5, Occupy Santa Cruz celebrated its first anniversary with a general assembly at Laurel Park, followed by a documentary film screening about the Santa Cruz version of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Laurel Park was the site of the first meeting and general assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz on October 4, 2011. Returning there one year later for a birthday celebration, approximately 70 people attended the film screening. Community members reported that there were about 20-30 people at the general assembly held beforehand. The evening in some ways felt like a reunion of old friends, as many in attendance had lived together night and day at the Occupy Santa Cruz encampment in San Lorenzo Park, which existed from October 6 to December 8, 2011.

Community members active with a variety of nearby occupations were present at OSC's anniversary, including Occupy Monterey, and one person involved with Occupy San Jose said that he was thinking of moving to Santa Cruz because, "this is were all the action is."

Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In set up a screen and projection equipment in the middle of Laurel Park for what was the first public screening of the Brent Adams documentary, "What Are You Doing Here? Inside Occupy Santa Cruz." Adams himself participated in the occupation, while also filming it, and the resulting documentary features intimate, insider interviews with other local occupiers, in addition to an exploration of a variety of other events that occurred in the local movement.

Occupy Santa Cruz has been operating continuously under the same mission statement and statement of autonomy since the groups inception, and public, bi-weekly general assemblies are held alternately at the court house and the post office.

As the group maintains its visible public presence with direct actions, peaceful assemblies, and the "occupation" of public space, Occupy Santa Cruz continues to receive attention from the authorities. Those at the anniversary celebration reported that they were being videotaped for a good portion of the time they were in Laurel Park, and at least half a dozen officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department were present at various locations at the park's closing time of 10pm.

At 10:05, three officers approached those watching the film. It was explained to them that the movie was almost over, and the officers walked back to their patrol vehicles and stood and waited. The film ended shortly after that, and people left casually. Shortly before 11pm the last person to still linger on the park's lawn, a man wrapped in a sleeping bag, was encouraged to leave the area by Lt. Flippo, and as the last few community members chatted on the sidewalk, SCPD was out of there by 11pm sharp.

For more information about Occupy Santa Cruz, see:

For more information about the film "What Are you Doing Here? Inside Occupy Santa Cruz", see:

For more information about Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In, see:

Alex Darocy
§Laurel Park
by Alex Darocy Thursday Oct 18th, 2012 1:12 PM
by Alex Darocy Thursday Oct 18th, 2012 1:12 PM
§Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In
by Alex Darocy Thursday Oct 18th, 2012 1:12 PM
by Alex Darocy Thursday Oct 18th, 2012 1:12 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by We're Here
Thursday Oct 18th, 2012 2:21 PM
Good to see the coverage of our anniversary event. I really enjoyed being connected to the community as it gathered, shared food and information in the park that night, and shared their talents and inspiration (and cake!) at SubRosa on the previous evening.

Occupy Santa Cruz continues to plan future actions. Find us in the streets and in the courthouse in support of our brothers and sisters!

General assemblies are open to all. Next one: 2PM Sunday, downtown Post Office steps.

As long as disempowering systems persist, the spirit to struggle against them will grow, and alternative, empowering systems will flourish. I am glad I can be with others who share my frustrations with the present and hopes for the future. Join us!

by Linda Ellen LEmaster
Sunday Oct 21st, 2012 12:27 PM
This is a wonderful story, and beautiful photos, thank you.

I could not be with our OSC people at this celebration. Part of my heart nonetheless was there with everyone, and I felt useless all nite being isolated from you. Also sad I didn't get to read my poem created for the Sub Rosa open mic the nite b4. But that's the breaks when one is broken and broke at the same time.

So this Indybay story fills a hole in my spirit and answers my questions and best of all, the photos give me a lovely glimpse -- more than words can. I get some of the feel of this important harvesting and "seeding" event. I especially love the photo that shows both Brent's movie and the watchers' -- the police department's four-wheeled "eye" on everyone -- in the same frame.

Beautiful photos of friends and allies in one of our City's most popular and most versatile and welcoming downtown places, Laurel Park. (aka Louden Nelson Park)

Am now thinking about some of the people who joined together to help create Occupy Santa Cruz at that first General Assembly in Laurel Park. Scott Kennedy and Robert Facer, who are no longer with us remain strong influences for me.So I remain steadfast and devoted to the same principles and momentum of Occupy Movement, whether I can be physically present or not.

And I believe that almost every other person in Brent's film who came to the early meetings but hasn't been seen with OSC lately, continues to be our supportive friends and allies, and it is our job to take some quiet time and occasionally some celebration time, and remember ALL of us and remember being together on those steps. I especially want to honor those who found ways to get to OSC 24/7 at times, such devotion.

I pray that we all may not miss important moments of change inevitably to come in our Nation, wherever our feet land us.

And that those psychic/social/systemic/political/spiritual/dynamic/horizontal community-building changes may reflect our values, not the least of which is shared decision-making, and actively creating alternatives to a heirarchy that is bending toward potentially fascist government. As this word is controversial and sounds frightening to many, I'll slightly define here: a fascist government is one that is *executed* by merchant and business interests (in our case, by corporations acting illegally and outside the laws of our Constitution) and run by the military, or put another way, by the threat/fear of deadly force.

It may or may not require a dictator. It may or may not "care" about people and their ways. But make no mistake: it is designed to care about and ultimately gather all wealth. It seems to me, a fascist government has NOTHING IN COMMON with a Democratic nation-state based in a three-way balance of power, defined by our Constitution, and hearkening back to the Magna Carta.

How close have we come as a Nation, to this enfantilizing form of governance, already?

A groundswell people's movement is the only resolution to such potential inhumanity, as far as I can tell. It seems to me all these folks who have committed their time and imaginations and inherent industry and their unified voices to Occupy Santa Cruz, and to the planet-wide Occupy Movement are still, collectively speaking, incubators of hope and new possibility.

So many of our "lessons needed", plus Occupy activities, have manifest a taste of our possible new world. (one example: putting our focus on "work" and "sharing" in the nature of community building, instead of always merely "jobs" -- which can lead to competitive and isolating constructs that hurt our core selves, and a dangerous "scarcity" worldview)

Despite all the polarizing and suppressed information about Occupy generated by a demonizing commercial press this past year, those who have gotten involved know better.

We know the anguish and frustration of learning to trust so many folks at one time, right along with the generative energies of collaboration. And we now know the joy and satisfaction of dynamic social action which visionary groups can achieve. I believe we've come to know a little bit more about what it takes to change one's viewpoint from our early childhood educations to being truly present and being receptive to people who are different from our 'respective' selves.

I believe we've nearly all witnessed the Hundredth Monkey kind of magic that leads to social change without a single bullet or handcuff.

Gratitude to everyone I have met, heart heavy and full for our martyrs, joy at getting to witness our history -- and herstory -- being valued by OSC.

Don't let the pundits and talking heads persuade you to believe that not meeting in a throng means we aren't still a very together force. As sisters and brothers do, we remain connected, seen or unseen.

I'm stickin' with the Occupy Movement, swollen in gratitude for new and ongoing friends.