Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary to President Clinton, Truthdig executive editor Robert Scheer and a mass action organized to move money out of corporate banks pumped new life into Occupy Los Angeles over the weekend of Nov. 5-6.
“Everything will work out,” Reich told the crowd in a speech on Saturday. “If we are patient, if we are nonviolent.”
Reich and Scheer’s appearance at Occupy L.A. was part of a weekend of “actions, speakers, panel discussions and more created to educate, mobilize, unify and inspire people in regard to issues surrounding this amazing moment in history and the global Occupy movement,” according to a statement by the event’s organizers.
During a Q-and-A on Saturday, Scheer responded to an audience member who said it’s impossible to shift the balance of power between the upper and lower classes in this country.
“I think your statement is a denial of human progress,” Scheer said to applause.
A rally Saturday morning kicked off the event, with about 300 people marching from California Plaza to City Hall.
Hundreds gathered for the teach-in, which took place on Spring Street, which was closed down for the event. Grammy-winning band Ozomatli also performed.
“It was therapeutic,” said Max Funk, who has been camping at Occupy L.A. since Oct. 2. “A lot of people here are angry and frustrated.”
The teach-in coincided with a national Bank Transfer Day, an effort to get people to transfer their money from large corporate banks into local banks and credit unions. Occupy L.A. and GoodJobsL.A., a grass-roots social justice coalition, organized the rally and helped facilitate the bank transfer action.
There were “no arrests, no violence, no incidents that we know of,” an LAPD officer said Saturday around 6 p.m., about the time the crowds began dispersing. The teach-in continued Sunday, with panels on “Organizing and Civil Disobedience,” “Sustainable Living,” “Corportacracy” and more.