Changing face of the Occupation

The Occupy movement in Los Angeles looks much different a year later. While the movement fractured, a smaller, but loyal group continues to fight big banks and is seeing some success in standing up for troubled homeowners.

More than a year after it kickedoff its movementin Los Angeles, Occupy L.A. is alive and well but in much smaller numbers.The tents, which once dominated the landscape of downtown,are gone but have popped in backyards of struggling homeowners.

“What the Occupy movement has done for me is kept me in my house for 34 days,” said Javier Hernandez, a distressed homeowner in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

The Hernandez family was swept up in the mortgage crisis and now facing eviction.

Occupiers have set up barricades around the house –now dubbed “Fort Hernandez” – vowing to defend the home while the family battles with Bank of America.

“They’ve showed us the strength of people power,” said family member, Ulises Hernandez.

“Law enforcement is not on our side.  If you have people power and you have community support, you should reach out to them and get together,” she added.

From the lawn at L.A. City Hall to this foreclosed home in the San Fernando Valley the face of  Occupy in Southern California has drastically transformed, but the spirit of resistance remains strong among those, who still say they are fighting for the 99 percent.

“This is economic war.  That’s what drives me to be here.  It’s not just about saving one house,” said Jesus Fonseca, an Occupy LA activist, who has been camping at Fort Hernandez.

Occupy LA started in a festive manner and was unique in how protesters had a cozy relationship with police.

However, local politicians grew tired of the demonstration, and showed they were willing to use a massive police response to shut down the peaceful movement.

The military style raid on Occupy LA’s encampment drove away protesters,but radicalized others who are determined more than ever to fight repressive forces.

“When you have that sort of systematic, institutionalized abuse of people expressing their first amendment rights, it doesn’t shut it down, it fuels it," said Sam Slovick, an independent journalist who has been documenting Occupy LA, since its beginnings.

He observed how the movement’s inclusiveness allowed elements in, which caused conflict. While Occupy LA has broken up into several community entities, it still celebrates small victories.

He observed how the movement’s inclusiveness allowed elements in, which caused conflict. While Occupy LA has broken up into several community entities, it still celebrates small victories.They have also teamed up with progressive groups to help save homeowners from eviction.

“This is current evolution.  This is the edge of it.  This is a foreclosure resistance action and it is supported by Occupy LA,” said Slovick.

As the movement evolves, the Hernandez family is determined to keep their American dream from fading away.

“You shouldn’t allow it to happen.  You can always show resistance," said Ulises Hernandez as he continued to stand watch over his home.