Occupy Philly To Finally Decide on Move Tonight? Maybe.
Occupy Philly may hold a vote at tonight’s General Assembly about whether or not to move their camp on or about November 15—which is next Tuesday—when construction on Dilworth Plaza is scheduled to begin.
According to Occupy Philly Media, one “move” proposal is as follows: “Occupy Philadelphia will stay at Dilworth Plaza at the anticipated ’start of the Dilworth Plaza construction.’ We also intend to expand to Thomas Paine Plaza. If this proposal is adopted Occupy Philadelphia will issue a public statement and a list of demands.”
Occupy Philly spokesman Chris Goldstein told the Associated Press, “Some will resist and some will move.”
During a General Assembly on November 5, Occupy Philly discussed the implications of moving. It was discussed that the best way to move would be “as a group” and that it “needs to be a spectacle – Freedom Trail style, unified.” One of the proposed spots has been Thomas Paine Plaza, though Occupiers have already been kicked out of that spot by city police, due to permit concerns. One of the main concerns also brought up would be visibility—as in, they need to be visible, which would be less possible if the group went to, say, the Divine Lorraine, which was proposed and brings up a-whole-nother set of issues. Moving inside, it was said “will be more difficult and lose symbolism.”
This afternoon, Occupy Philly posted on its Facebook more specific plans the city has for Dilworth Plaza: “Here are the plans for Dilworth Plaza. The plans show an open air market for the Spring, Summer and Fall months of the year, and will be a rink in the winter. The open air market will support local private businesses, and will provide at least 500 construction jobs, and 1000 union jobs overall for food vendors and city employees.” With a link to a PDF of the proposal.
Of course, some members want to stay in defiance to the city, similar to what Occupy Oakland and other city occupations have done. They’ve said the $50 million being spent on the construction would perhaps be better used somewhere else. Part of the problem with that: Blocking construction would essentially be blocking all those union construction jobs (i.e. part of the 99 Percent) and the efforts of Disabled activists, who fought for the renovation to get fair public access to transportation. The project also meets many of the objectives of Greenworks Philadelphia.
The General Assembly takes place at 7pm.