The First Occupy LA More than 160 Years Ago
- 02 Dec 2011
- Written by Alfredo Hernandez
RETROSPECTIVE - On August 13, 1846, early in the Mexican-America War, U.S. naval forces under Commodore Robert F. Stockton sailed into Los Angeles and raised the American flag without opposition. A small occupying force of 50 Marines, under Captain Archibald H. Gillespie, built a rudimentary barricade on what was then known as Fort Hill overlooking the small town (Los Angeles).
The harsh martial law of Captain Gillespie soon ignited a popular uprising among Californios and Mexicans led by General José Mariá Flores beginning on September 22, 1846. Known as the Siege of Los Angeles, Californios assembled a force to retake Los Angeles. Gillespie's 50 marines were able to resist an initial attack on the government house in town and regrouped on Fort Hill, where they strengthened the fortification with sandbags.
As time passed, the Californio forces opposing the U.S. takeover grew to just over 60 men, with several Californio citizens voicing opposition. General Flores offered an ultimatum: leave within 24 hours or face attack.
Today, a mere three blocks away from a monument erected to honor those AMERICANS who fought to "Occupy Los Angeles", Americans who have been Occupying LA on the City Hall Lawn, AMERICANS who have been fighting for what they believe in were offered an ultimatum by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; leave by midnight Sunday or face a forceful eviction. The similarities here are unmistakable.
While I've never been one to march, strike, protest or otherwise, I do believe that these people have a right to their peaceful demonstration and should not be removed. I don't know why the Mayor decided to evict these people and I'm sure given his track record for corruption there is something in it for him, I won't speculate and won’t allow others to speculate until there is hard evidence of such. I will however there Sunday night to document the forceful eviction of an otherwise peaceful demonstration with a handful of friends armed with our cameras.
This eviction goes against everything our nation was built on and everything Americans have stood for dating back to the founding fathers and exemplified by the 50 Marines who once, so long ago, held their ground against a hostile force. The Occupy LA movement on the City Hall Lawn exemplifies that very fire raging inside every American starting with the 56 men who on July 4th 1776 defiantly declared a nation’s independence.
The US Government has lost its noble way... Mayor Villaraigosa, you never had a noble way to begin with.
(Alfredo Hernandez is a Boardmember from the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council. He is known as the "Park Czar" and is on the Board of Hollywood Central Park. He can be reached at ParkCzar@gmail.com) -cw
Tags: Occupy LA, Mexican-American War, Fort Hill, LAPD, Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles
Vol 9 Issue 96
Pub: Dec 2, 2011