occupy philadelphia

The PPD is Devoting Countless Resources to Protect us from the Tyranny of Rambling 12 Hour Meetings

Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble. Unless the people assembling are annoying. If so, then it’s cool.
-First Amendment to the US Constitution

There has been a lot to like about the way that the city has responded to Occupy Philadelphia. Rather than the violent reactions of Oakland, California, the 3 AM- press-blocked police raid in New York (in the surely joking words of Paul Davies, "quick, easy and painless"...), or casually dumping pepper spray in the eyes of kids, the City has been fairly relaxed and reasonable about everything. There is no question that everyone from Mayor Nutter and the Managing Director, to the rank and file cops, has mostly done this right.

However… the last week or two has taken a turn to the absurd, and I hope that the City changes course before this gets too ridiculous.

What has happened? First, in the attempt to get the protestors to move, the Mayor’s Office posted notices telling people to leave 'immediately.' Then, when people moved, almost immediately, the Mayor told them no one was evicting them yet, and that they had to ‘just follow the process.’ But, as Occupy Philly was doing that, the City tried some weird divide and conquer thing, by granting a permit to a small, buffoonish splinter group, all the while pretending that these guys were anything other than a couple of clowns who wanted to feel important. Despite knowing that the clowns represented only themselves, the City even posted a photo album with them, signing their permit in the Managing Director’s Office. (And the City continues this fiction, pretending that they are dealing with Occupy Philly, rather than a few yokels.) On a smaller level, there was the discovery of what appears to be a city cop, gleefully taunting the Occupiers with pepper spray jokes. (Hahaha! Police brutality is hilarious!)

But, nowhere is this turn for the worst better demonstrated by the fact that the Philadelphia Police Department is currently ‘protecting’ virtually every corner in Washington and Rittenhouse Squares, with police cars and vans squatting square in the middle of each entrance to the parks.

Rittenhouse (1:00 PM today):

Police blocking Rittenhouse Square

Washington Square (12:45 PM today):

Police Blocking Washington Square

Apparently, the city has determined that we need to put 15-20 cops at each park, round the clock, with their engines running, to protect us against the potential danger of people like this:

Newsflash: It is not illegal for 200 people to go sit in the park on a weekday afternoon. People do it all the time. Its called lunch.

The notion that we need these officers there constantly is really stupid, and calls into question the city’s entire calculus on the ‘costs’ of Occupy Philly. Let me give you one example of why this annoys me: In my currently-on-hold professional life, I spent much of my time dealing with scam artists that went after vulnerable people, oftentimes the elderly. While I represented people on the civil side of things, many of these scams were clearly crimes… if someone would arrest and prosecute the offenders.

Thankfully, the forty-officers-assigned-round-the-clock-to-block-people-from-public-parks Philly PD has a taskforce for investigating these exact kinds of crimes. Great! Last time I checked, can you guess how many detectives were assigned to it, for the entire city? That would be... one. Meanwhile, Seth Williams has made virtually no changes in the way economic crimes are prosecuted in the city. The party line for both the police and the DA is that the city does not have the manpower to devote resources to something like that, in a city with 300-plus murders a year.

So, to recap, no resources to fight economic crimes against the vulnerable, but many resources to protect us from the threat of people protesting… economic crimes and inequality.

Really, just practically speaking, is this really a good use of resources? If Occupy Philadelphia—which is already flanked by cops 24/7— decides to go on a march to Rittenhouse Square, they won’t be going there through some stealth maneuver. They will probably vote on it during a rambling, live streamed, 16 hour general assembly meeting, and then announce it in a press release beforehand, all while six different reporters livetweet updates. And then they will go on foot. I am pretty sure the police can react in time.

Incomplete Occupy Philly protest schedule

I still have a touch of computer illiteracy, could someone put this information together better. Sincerely, Richard Kane





JFK Boulevard and Market Stree now have one lane of traffic closed, for pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians must means protesters since the sidewalks on JFK Blvd and Market are among the widest in the city,


In what other places besides Philadelphia is the city or town accommodating occupying protesters?


Tonight: Meet Occupy Philadelphia's Steve Ross, Green Sheriff Candidate Cheri Honkola (and watch the Phils) @ PFC Meetup

On the eve of tomorrow's protest, meet Occupy Philadelphia's Steve Ross, who is coordinating communications for the event, and also meet internationally famous activist for the poor/Green Party sheriff candidate Cheri Honkola, along with some other great local activists, at Philly For Change Meetup tonight.

Occupy Philadelphia takes City Hall at 9:00 am Thursday as part of the international movement protesting corporate greed and the financial exploitation of 99% of the population. Steve will answer questions about the occupation and about future sites for marches and protest as the movement in Philly evolves. This is all happening right now, so it's very very exciting. You won't want to miss a chance to come out and meet Steve and be part of this moment in history.

Cheri Honkala is running for sheriff in an effort to end sheriff sales and keep families in their homes. Can she do it? Come out tonight and decide for yourself. Democratic candidate (and North Philly State Representative) Jewell Williams also has been invited.

If that's not enough, Education Voters' Ian Moran gives us an important update on the effort to replace the School Reform Commission and the onslaught of vouchers bills in Harrisburg, and local star organizer Pedro Rodriguez updates us on the movement to save Social Security.

And there's a new campaign in town: Food and Water Watch's Emily Heffling explains their Fair Farm Bill campaign.

Finally, if you're afraid of missing Roy Oswalt's attempt to pitch the Phils into the League Championship Series, there will be a television behind the bar, and across the street at Bob and Barbara's. Get to Meetup early and you can order dinner from Tritone's kitchen, as well.

Philly For Change Meetup is tonight, October 5, starting at 7:00, at Tritone, 1508 South Street. It is wheelchair accessible.


Occupy Philadelphia Hits City Hall Thursday Morning at 9:00!

Over 1000 activists converged on Arch Street United Methodist Church tonight and agreed that the Occupy Philadelphia protest against corporate greed and financial exploitation will happen this Thursday October 6 at 9:00 am at City Hall. Future sites for further protests or marches will be discussed in the coming days.

Updated information about the protest appears regularly on the Occupy Philadelphia Facebook page.

The assembled activists were led through a clear agenda by skillful young facilitators and organizers, who presented options for sites and dates and then polled the crowd to come to decisions. To find out more about the background of the protest, check out the interview with Occupy Philadelphia organizer Justin Harrison conducted by the City Paper's great Daniel Denvir. Harrison is a splicing technician who serves as unit secretary for the Communications Workers Local 1300.

Occupy Philadelphia Communications Coordinator Steve Ross will be answering questions tomorrow night, Wednesday October 5, at 7:00 at Philly For Change Meetup at Tritone, 1508 South Street.

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