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Occupy Wall Street is a growing movement that has been staging peaceful protests in lower Manhattan for the past 10 days. Groups around the country have emerged that share the original movement's ideas and tactics, including one on Los Angeles. We were curious about Occupy LA and what they're up to, so we did a quick Q&A with one of the leaders...

How did Occupy LA get started?

We started out the Friday after the Wall Street occupation began with a general assembly meeting, then a handful of people did a sort of practice-run overnight camp to see about possible locations. On Saturday of that same weekend, we marched through L.A. in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in New York City. We've held meetings every night since then. We currently have about 4,000 "likes" on our Facebook page, and our numbers are steadily growing. Turn out to our meetings has averaged roughly 60 to 70 people, and new faces are always showing up.

The LA Weekly was mocking you for not having large numbers and being far away from Wall Street How do you respond?

It's simple really. They were referring to our action on Saturday, but it's important to keep in mind that we had a turn-out of roughly 60 after forming only three days before that. We are a new group but even though our organization began less than a week ago to-date, we have gotten ourselves together very quickly and as I mentioned before, our numbers continue to grow rapidly. We are now planning our occupation, set to begin Oct. 1 at City Hall. Currently we have more than 4,000 "likes" on our Facebook page.

We also feel this movement is universal and it isn't important that Wall Street is on the other coast. It doesn't matter where you live, everyone is being affected by economic instability and conditions that are leaving millions of Americans struggling, unemployed, underemployed, drowning in debt and anxious about what the future holds. Millions have lost their homes and college students are graduating in debt with no jobs available to them. Recently figures were published that showed the highest number of Americans are living below the poverty line in the history of the production of that statistic. It doesn't matter what your proximity to Wall Street is, where ever you are, you are probably suffering in some way as a result of corporate greed and politicians who refuse to govern it because their legislative decisions are being bought by the nation's wealthiest 1 percent.

What's your upcoming schedule, what can people do to get involved?

Most importantly, as the name of our group implies, we begin our occupation of LA City Hall this Saturday, Oct. 1. The address of LA City Hall is 200 N. Spring Street. Until then we are holding "general assembly" meetings in the tradition of the Wall Street occupiers, every day at 7 p.m. at Pershing Square. You can also visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/occupyLA, follow us on Twitter at @OccupyLA and visit our website, www.occupyla.org.

How does LA contribute to the financial crisis/inequality? What is our equivalent of "wall street"?

Los Angeles, as all know, is a very sprawling, diffuse urban area so it's hard to say whether we have an equivalent. But it's important to note that many banks that contributed to the financial meltdown, including Bank of America and the former Countrywide have/had headquarters out here. It is important to note that banks and large corporations wouldn't have the opportunity to exploit every day Americans without our elected officials allowing them to. Our occupation of City Hall focuses attention on how big money influences our political system. But we, the 99 percent, elect officials to represent us, to work for us, and we demand that our voices be heard.

Thanks again for your questions. Please join us on Saturday!

Learn more at http://occupylosangeles.org/

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