Today’s L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Your dismissive article on the Occupy movement was mean-spirited and wrong.
Occupy’s very visible, if inchoate, public illumination of what was and is wrong in America changed the political dialogue in this country. It received media attention, it raised consciousness, and it showed that organizing could make a difference (take a look at labor’s recent victory at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles). It also left a legacy of very worthwhile programs, most notably Occupy’s Rolling Jubilee program, which asks people to give small donations to a fund so other people can get out of debt and save their homes from foreclosure.
Rolling Jubilee is a beautiful thing. It may be that the first phase of Occupy’s mission is over, but in communities all across America, not only does it do good work but its spirit lives.
It has never been easy to find a balance between cities’ responsibilities to protect residents from public disturbance and to respect free speech. However, new rules such as raising fees for permits to hold protests and higher fines for violations are extreme.
Silencing dissent narrows the perspectives on social issues by limiting what less-powerful groups can bring to the negotiating table in their fight for equality and justice.