Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Day 38: We Will Stand Our Ground!

Last night, during a general assembly (GA) meeting that lasted until about 11:15 PM, those of us who were present for the duration of the meeting participated in the hard work that is direct democracy. The process yielded a positive result, a way forward that is consistent with the overall occupy movement, and one that all can stand in solidarity with if we choose to:
"Occupy Philadelphia will stay at Dilworth Plaza at the 'anticipated start of the Dilworth Plaza construction.' If this proposal is adoped Occupy Philadelphia will issue a public statement and a list of demands. OP will schedule and implement non violent resistance training and eviction preparation."
Some people, especially those who have not been heavily involved directly with the occupation, are unhappy about this outcome. They would prefer to be non-confrontational by moving the occupation as the city wants. Some fear arrest, being gassed or pepper sprayed, or otherwise brutalized by police. Others worry about the union jobs that are connected with planned re-construction of Dilworth Plaza. It's unfortunate that most of these people could not be at the GA last night. While there were good points made by advocates on both sides of the stay vs. move issue, the four hour process yielded an almost unanimous vote to stay at Dilworth Plaza. During the sometimes intense GA, we learned that there actually is no set start date for construction, and that the unions are unaware of any contracts actually having been signed. This is the "myth" of the Dilworth Plaza construction project...that it has a November start date. We also came to the realization that there is no safety in moving to Thomas Paine Plaza or anywhere else, because in actuality, the police could move on the occupation at any time, permit or no permit, no matter the location. The best guarantee of safety for the occupiers is preparedness, and togetherness. Finally, it was pointed out that we are not yet large enough to sustain two locations. Expanding to Thomas Paine Plaza would serve only to dilute the occupation. We were reminded of the words of Ben Franklin: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." In some locations where other occupations have been forcefully evicted, this served to strengthen the occupation and enlarge the number of occupiers. There is anger being expressed by those who are unhappy with this decision. That is not in keeping with the spirit of the occupation movement, which is built on solidarity through concensus. I hope that those who are unhappy can manage to channel their anger at this decision in a more productive direction.

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