We ART the 99%

During the Nov. 30, 2011 raid on the Occupy L.A. camp, an LAPD officer inspects the inside of a tent with a "less than lethal" 12 gauge shotgun. Identified by its bright green stock and fore-grips, the weapon fires "bean bag" munitions, oblong cloth bags filled with up to 56 grams of lead pellets. The incapacitating impact of these rounds produces intense pain. Photo AP/Mark Boster/Pool

During the Nov. 30, 2011 raid on the Occupy L.A. camp, an LAPD officer inspects the inside of a tent with a "less than lethal" 12 gauge shotgun. Identified by its bright green stock and fore-grips, the weapon fires "bean bag" munitions, oblong cloth bags filled with up to 56 grams of lead pellets. The incapacitating impact of these rounds produces intense pain. Photo AP/Mark Boster/Pool

On November 27, 2011, Bloomberg Magazine published an explosive report that revealed the U.S. Federal Reserve had secretly loaned trillions of dollars to ailing banks without informing Congress or the American people.

According to the exposé the Fed “had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.” Moreover, the Fed offered the loans to big banks at below-market rates, which allowed the banks to reap some $13 billion in profits at the taxpayers expense.

The trillions distributed by the Fed were separate from the massive $700 billion bailout the Bush and Obama administrations furnished to Wall Street under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It is precisely this type of collusion between oligarchs and bureaucrats that has caused the dramatic ascendancy of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, more than 1,400 riot-clad officers from the Los Angeles Police Department swarmed over the Occupy L.A. encampment at City Hall. As police in riot gear drove activists from the area, other officers in biohazard suits made arrests and systematically destroyed the tent city. Until its obliteration, the L.A. camp had been the largest in the U.S. after the original N.Y. Wall Street encampment - which was similarly demolished.

From their massive staging area at nearby Dodger Stadium, the LAPD were transported to L.A. City Hall by thirty Metro buses driven by Metro bus operators. Carried out with military precision, the raid was the largest police deployment in L.A. since the city’s Democratic National Convention in 2000. While occupy activists adhered to their pledges of non-violent resistance, the generally restrained LAPD nevertheless came prepared for major violence.

We ART the 99%  - Exhibit flyer circulated by L.A.'s Latino Museum of History, Art & Culture

"We ART the 99%" - Exhibit flyer circulated by L.A.'s Latino Museum of History, Art & Culture

The LAPD’s Air Support Division used helicopters equipped with thermal imaging scanners to detect the heat signatures of people underneath the canopy of trees surrounding City Hall. The LAPD’s bomb-squad used a gigantic remote-control vehicle called a Batcat to remove activists from trees. The operation resulted in the arrest of 292 occupy activists. That same evening a police raid destroyed the Occupy Philadelphia camp, where authorities arrested 50 activists.

Coming on the heels of this latest concentrated onslaught against the Occupy Wall Street movement, L.A.’s Latino Museum of History, Art & Culture is presenting an art exhibition titled, We ART the 99%. Mounted in cooperation with Occupy Los Angeles Community Artivists, the exhibit promises insight into the philosophy behind the movement, as well as providing an environment where people may contemplate its meaning and impact. Occupy activists are far from feeling defeated, and We ART the 99% might just point to what lies ahead.

The exhibit opens with an Artists Reception on Thursday, December 8, 2011, starting at 6 p.m. and running until 9 p.m. The Latino Museum of History, Art & Culture is located in downtown L.A. just five blocks south of City Hall at 514 S. Spring St (map). Admission is free.

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