Occupy Philly, Day 1: Occupation Gets Under Way; Protesters Ask for Donations

A group of about 20 protesters converged on Rittenhouse Square this morning to march to City Hall together on the first day of Occupy Philly.

A group of about 20 protesters at Rittenhouse Square.

Small groups of protesters marched from Rittenhouse, Washington, Logan and Franklin Squares this morning to converge on City Hall, officially beginning the occupation of Philadelphia in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.

The first general assembly should be getting under way as you read this. A march will be scheduled then for this evening, details of which have yet to be worked out as of post time.

The occupation—a planned camp-out to protest what occupiers call a culture of greed led by a political system controlled by the financial elite—will continue indefinitely. “We’ll be here until there will be an end—however long it takes until things change,” says Solomon Sofolawe, 25, from Fishtown, who is planning on camping at City Hall.

“Most people are dissatisfied with the way our society has been for a while,” says Shawn McMonigle, 24, also from Fishtown. He calls it modern-day colonialism: “It’d be nice if people weren’t dying for the comfort of some … We’ve been manipulated so long to be apathetic.”

Solomon Sofolawe and Shawn McMonigle prepare to camp at City Hall.

Solomon Sofolawe and Shawn McMonigle prepare to camp at City Hall.

Sofolawe and McMonigle said they and the occupiers were taking a stand in the Occupy movement in the name of peace, love and compassion, in recognition that many people in the world, in the country, and in Philadelphia suffer for the sake of the wealth of some. They say it’s not the political or economic system in isolation that’s the problem; it’s the individualism American culture breeds.

“This problem affects all of us. It doesn’t matter what you do. It’s a sound fact that we’re all inter-connected,” says Sofolawe.

“The interdependence isn’t spiritual hippie bullshit, or a socialist, or a communist thing. No matter how much money you make or the job you have, we’re not separate from you,” said McMonigle. “We’re not trying to force things on you. This culture was forced on us. But what I’d like is to stop people from hurting or affecting others. This whole culture is based upon psychologically conditioning people to think a certain way”—trends, partying, amassing wealth and ignoring the suffering of people who are “distant, yet so close.”

The occupation has yet to set up camp for the night, but the Security Committee is tentatively planning to organize “safe zones” for people to sleep. They want to work out the camping logistics this evening, around 8 p.m., to be sure that protesters don’t disturb homeless people who normally sleep at the plaza on the west side of City Hall.

Starting a long journey takes one step.

Marching for change.

Occupy Philly is also asking for donations for the following items, which can be delivered directly to City Hall: nonperishable food items, reusable plates, utensils, bowls, pots and pans, water coolers, paper, dish and cloth towels, fruit with skin (like oranges), plastic wrap, and tarps.

Occupy Philly is also asking any nonprofits to let them use their 501c3 status to be able to accept donations from supermarkets. Contact Gia B at 609-706-0118.

Protesting mass misery.

Protesting mass misery.

17 Responses to “ Occupy Philly, Day 1: Occupation Gets Under Way; Protesters Ask for Donations ”

  1. debri says:

    It’s great to see people finally fighting back…something to be proud of!

  2. Bob says:

    Glad to see Obama organized such a great movement. Hopefully we will succeed.

  3. Will says:

    I am a Republican and I will be there. The tea party has been taken over by the Neo-cons. This is where it is at. End the Fed! Ron Paul 2012!

  4. Will says:

    By the way, the “Fed” means the PRIVATELY owned Federal Reserve Bank that collects 6% of all the money we pay to the IRS (think about how much that is). And they do not even have to pay taxes on the money they make. If you are looking for a way to pay for your social programs, there it is, waiting for you. Please look it up!

  5. Leslie says:

    Obama is the president and this is his economy. How do you all have time to protest? Don’t you have to work?

  6. Marquis says:

    Those quotes are too coherent for a protestor – especially one with a beard.

  7. Joshua says:

    Leslie,
    If I remember history correctly, this is the Bush economy that we’re still dealing with.
    There’s no jobs–which means there’s plenty of time to protest!

  8. Leslie says:

    When does it become an Obama economy? Almost 1/2 of his campaign cash comes directly from Wall Street. First rule of protesting is “know your enemy”.

  9. Joseph says:

    Marquis,

    I think that’s the point. Protests like this are looked at at first glance as crazy hippies or something, but it really is “normal” people who are finally making noise about the bad conditions the country’s in (at least those people who don’t want to destroy the government and let companies run everything ever; those people have the tea party).

    It’s not just about protesting for protesting’s sake. Obviously, many people see the actions of large banks and corporations as the root problems to a whole host of social issues, like historic poverty, very high unemployment, or the lack of jobs for even well-educated people. And that last one is scary to me because, at 27, I have a good public college education, and I was lucky enough to find a job, but for people coming out now and seeing relatively few places hiring, that has to be frustrating and scary.

    We were always promised that no matter what changed in the world, the US has a top-tier education system, and that’s what’ll keep us in good shape in the future. Well now that’s falling out from under us, and then what’s left? You can’t fall back on working in a factory, being a farmer, being a shoemaker, being a vacuum repairman. There are pitifully few options for the unemployed, and way too many people looking for work.

    Whoever’s responsible for this has basically taken the future brain power from this country and screwed up their long-term prospects for employment. If that isn’t the fastest way to drive the country into economic and social oblivion, I don’t know what is.

  10. Ed says:

    For the life of me I can’t get a coherent message regarding these protests. what do you want? I’m with you if you can convince congress and the President to go home and stop trying to “fix” the economy. Government doesn’t create jobs nor does it produce a product or make money. It seems that the politicians assume there is no problem that government can’t solve.
    Please just remember to clean up your mess when you leave the city!

  11. Joel says:

    Support #occupyphilly and get a shirt to wear and promote awareness!
    $5 from every shirt sales goes to help sustain OCCUPY PHILLY!
    GET THEM HERE: http://www.sociallyconsciousshirts.com/shirts.html

  12. Cynthiaq says:

    I plan to show up. I was thinking of going to NY now I can stay near home and still show my support. As for those who blame Obama, I am an Obama supporter, while I am disappointed in some things, one thing is certain, he has ten years plus of crap to try and clean up and it takes more than one term. I am willing to give him a second term see what he can do. All Obama supportes should get behind him. The alternitive is downright frightening.

    Wall Street stole our money and we want it back!!

  13. Cassie says:

    Ed and Will,

    Although there are diverse opinions amongst the group, there will be few at the Occupy Philadelphia protest who are with you. There are some anarchists, but the majority of the protesters are FOR government and want higher taxes on the rich and LESS privatization.
    For example, many of the signs you would see would be along the lines of “This Revolution Will Not Be Privatized”.

  14. I doubt that the school’s kitchen has been made available. Are you sure you don’t mean that some facilities at the American Friends Service Committee have been offered? Friends Select School and the Society of Friends buildings two different, though clearly related, organizations.

  15. [...] Ore.; and Philadelphia, where participants have nonetheless to spend a night, according to a blog during Philadelphia Weekly, yet they are soliciting donations to emanate protected zones for sleeping around City Hall. (The [...]

  16. Jack says:

    “Occupy Philly is also asking any nonprofits to let them use their 501c3 status to be able to accept donations from supermarkets.” Nothing like asking a charity to risk their non-profit status to support a bunch of people who quit jobs to protest. I would have thought the Occupy Philly folks would be a little more intelligent.

  17. Melania Muha says:

    I am deeply curious about your reasoning behind making the pay-what-you-want threshold so high.

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