Occupy LA march at the Rose Parade may bring striking images

Occupy Los Angeles demonstrators linked arms as they waited for their arrest.
Occupy Los Angeles demonstrators linked arms as they waited for their arrest.
Grant Slater/KPCC

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Some uninvited guests will be part of this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena – Occupy activists.

If you watch the Rose Parade on January 2nd – you’ll hear a whole lot of marching band music.

But If the Occupy movement pulls off phase three of its New Year’s action plan, a human float will follow the parade filling the air with chanting and banging on drums.

The most striking image might be one where 99 activists will carry a businessman wearing a top hat.

Other visual elements: A 250-foot-long by 50-foot-wide U.S. Constitution and a giant Octopus that organizer Pete Thottam says represents Wall Street’s stranglehold on American politics.

"You have a whole generation of occupiers that are angry. And they are going to the Rose Parade to state in no uncertain terms that they feel betrayed by this nation’s civic, business and cultural leaders," Thottam said.

Thottam says there’s no better place to make that statement than at the New Year’s celebration millions tune in to.

He adds that the Rose Parade, itself, exemplifies corporate greed and military grandstanding.

"We think that the B-2 bombers and the F-22 fighter jets that fly over head at the beginning of the parade and corporate thread that runs throughout these floats is symptomatic of how this country’s political, economic, social and cultural spaces have been have been completely co-opted and taken over," Thottam said.

Tournament of Roses Association president Rick Jackson says the parade has just evolved over time.

He says taking away corporate sponsored floats means going back to the scaled down parades of yesteryear.

"The economic impact that the parade has on the city of Pasadena and in truth, all of Southern California is huge, it’s a couple of hundred million dollars a year. And there are lots of jobs and so any substantive change in that will have an economic impact, as well," Jackson explained.

Jackson adds that activist organizations have used the Rose Parade as a bullhorn for years.

He says as long as the Occupiers keep it peaceful and respect the line-up --he’s fine with it.