Occupy Long Beach continues despite low turnout

The Occupy Long Beach movement is continuing to plan and participate in new events, even as the number of active members ebb.

In the first several months of the movement, OLB had as many as several hundred people showing up to general assembly meetings in Lincoln Park, with large numbers of them staying through the night, camping on the sidewalk in front of the park. 

Now, that number has greatly declined, with most general assembly meetings topping out between 10 and 30 members.

A meeting on Jan. 25 brought together 16 members, who used the general assembly to review their mission statement, review the causes and issues they will focus on, and to plan for future events. They also used the time to discuss when they should have general assemblies, and how often, with a focus on ways to get more members to show up. Those present decided to move future meetings to earlier in the day, 6:30 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.

OLB is planning a number of protests, including a “National Day of Action” on Feb. 3 that will protest against both the National Defense Authorization Act and the detainment of Bradley Manning, a controversial figure who released a massive cache of classified documents to the organization WikiLeaks, which publicly published them.

Another planned event is to gather backpacks, shoes and other clothing items for homeless students in Long Beach, a group that OLB says contains over 5,300 people. They also plan on participating in an Occupy Wall Street endorsed “General Strike” on May 1.

“Some people see our actions as aggressive,” OLB member Ben Fisher said. “We want to show that we are doing things that have an immediate impact.”

He said that the three core focuses of OLB are to reach out to those that are not involved, to focus on their legal rights and to take “real, direct action that helps people make the connection between all the different issues.”

“It takes a group like Occupy to make that connection,” Fisher said.

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