Occupy Philly Plans For Eviction, Encourages Mass Participation
Occupy Philly has until 5 p.m. today to vacate Dilworth Plaza. As you’ve been reading in PW, that’s only likely for some participants. And there’s been little to no talk from the city on what to do with the homeless population. Last time I talked to a homeless resident about this very idea, he asked if it had suddenly become illegal to become homeless—“and if it is, do something about it,” he said.
Nevertheless, the offer of a permit is still on the table for OP to hang at Thomas Paine Plaza from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every day until Dec. 20, which many in the group do not like (and voted against). As for today, the group and others have planned a day of solidarity that ranges from showing support with homemade signs to solidarity with those in jail, assuming that happens around the 5 p.m. deadline.
An OP Facebook post this morning called on supporters to “Join #occupyphilly today from 12-5 to help re-locate, creatively demonstrate or stand in solidarity!”
Later, they wrote (emphasis mine), “Nutter has joined the chorus of Mayors nationwide to silence and render invisible this movement against Wall Street greed. The City told us to leave City Hall with all of our belongings by 5pm today. At 5pm let’s show them how much support this movement has. Come to City Hall and stand with the 99%! Chances are police will not move in at that time. The City will probably unleash them in the middle of the night to start ripping down tents and displacing the homeless.”
The prediction of a middle-of-the-night raid on the protest is likely based upon what other cities’ mayors have done.
An email sent out by the Philadelphia branch of the Workers World Party refers to Mayor Michael Nutter as “the 1 per cent’s mayor” and says of the Thomas Paine Plaza permit, “The city administration’s offer to move to Thomas Paine Plaza across the street had so many restrictions that it would not be considered an occupation to be located there, under those terms.”
Later, in the same email, the party calls upon volunteers to “join us by volunteering to be arrested for daring to exercise free speech, or as support for those who are resisting or are arrested, or as photographers and videographers, or simply as witnesses” saying it would make more sense to be there in person than just trust the “billionaires’ press” to find out what happened with the eviction later on.
OP’s plans are already in place, with actions beginning at 10 a.m. and calling on volunteers and supporters to join in. Their schedule is as follows:
* 10 am, for those who’ve been involved in the occupation, meet at Dilworth to prep the plaza
* noon, supporters from OWS and other occupations arrive
* 3 pm, meet at the GA area to go over protest & other plans
* 5 pm, be ready for the eviction
* later Sunday evening, join in jail solidarity, if needed
* 4 pm the day after our eviction, regroup at Rittenhouse Square (i.e., Monday at 4 pm, if we’re evicted on Sunday night)
Between now & 5 pm:
* make & bring tons of banners (e.g., “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come”), signs, & literature
* convince tons & tons of your friends, neighbors, colleagues, relatives, & others to come to OP tomorrow
* bring camera and recorders, to do copwatch & make media (register & post your own media at http://occupyphillymedia.org)
* engage in a variety of ways, from helping folks without other homes to relocate, to creatively demonstrating & messaging, to being a witness & standing in solidarity, etc.
* get plenty of sleep & eat well beforehand
* write down the OP legal collective number, 484-758-0488, and know your most basic right–to remain silent
* Friends Center should be open starting at 5 pm at “safe” space for those who need it
Updates will be provided throughout the day and tomorrow.
Photo: Occupy Philly Facebook