It's a question that's been on the mind of anyone who cares about the Occupy movement. What happens when the encampments are shut down by evictions? Is there a future for the Occupy movement, an Occupy 2.0?
Occupy Philly shut down Tuesday night, Wednesday morning November 31st, with about 50 arrested, was facing exactly that question.
A march was scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd. It was the first major test for Occupy Philly, post encampment eviction. There were some doubts, with consideration of the possibility that the event would have to be cancelled for lack of attendance.
I showed up an hour early. The entire encampment area was blocked off, so I went across the street to a square where a tent was up, with people giving out Occupy literature-- not a very big turnout, but a dramatic locale.
I was not feeling great about the small turnout. On top of that, it seemed that a two or three people there were really not Occupy people, maybe even agents Provateurs, or perhaps just local village idiots, posting signs supporting hash oil and claiming that the US govt invented AIDS-- Alex Jones prison planet crap. (Yes, crap) This garbage really pissed me off. These yo-yos were exploiting the openness of the Occupy movement to put out their goofy conspiracy crap. I was covering the march as a journalist, but it hadn't started yet and my press ID wasn't on yet, so I made a sign saying that attempted to neutralize the hash oil and government AIDS conspiracy signs. It's the one mostly in green magic marker.
photo by rob kall
Signs near the former Occupy Philly locale... some by agents provocateur? photo by rob kall
I brought up the reasons I didn't like the signs. These would be used against the Occupy Movement and did not stand for what it was about. Hash oil? Aliens? People said I was calling for censorship. I replied that the Occupy movement has every right to decide what it stands for, that a General Assembly could decide to not allow posting of pro-Hash messaging, which is different than calling for legalization or de-criminalization of marijuana possession.
I was not feeling great about this, even thinking, do I want to be marching in solidarity for this stupid nonsense?
Then, it was 2:00. There were hardly any people there. I asked, what happened to the March. Someone in the tent told me "that's another group doing that. We're not a part of that. They're at 15th and Market."
I looked across the plaza, about 100 yards away. Sure enough, there was a mass of people surrounded by armband wearing civil affairs cops, many of whom I've seen and even spoken with many times over the years.
photo by rob kall
I was feeling better. It was after the march that I heard that some of the organizers were worried that it would have to be cancelled. The next pic answers the question, "Did the police think that no-one would show?"
photo by rob kall
The police blocked the roads where the marchers were gathering-- 15th street and Market street. But still, I heard the officer in charge complain that marchers were walking in front of traffic. He does crack sarcastic jokes, like suggesting to some of the organizers that there was an alley nearby they could take. No. They were marching down Market Street, the main drag in downtown Philly.
The march began and I was blown away by how many people there were-- at least 300, maybe 500.
the Dec 3 Occupy Philly march begins photo by rob kall
Frankly, there weren't that many people the past Sunday night, when the permit for Occupy Philly expired at 5:00 PM. This was a massive success for Occupy Philly, for the Occupy movement.
Bystanders, young and old, on the sidewalk were overwhelmingly positive and supportive, cheering, smiling, waving to the marchers.
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Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
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