Bill Perry colorfully describes how, working together, activists strategically held their ground, standing against an amazing array of civil "troops."
Bill is an activist force of nature. The level of activism he engages in, on the ground, is phenomnal, and, locally, legendary.
This past 4th of July weekend, Bill and a stalwart crew of veterans set up a tent on the mall, infront of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The permit was for three days. Bill writes below about how, with the help of Occupy and progressive allies, the vets, (and he doesn't say it, but under his bold leadership) stood up to, as Bill describes, " Department of Homeland Security, Federal Marshals, Fed NPS (among other Fed Agencies) and the Philly Civil Affairs Police, as well as the U.S. Justice Dep't's Atty, and the Philly Police Departments' short tempered bicycle goons, regular cops, and "da Boot" and the Helmeted and Visor wearing crew."
Bill Perry's Words
From comments under ONE of the many FB pics of Jody Evans, Medea, Laurie Arbeiter, Felice Gelman, and Lisa Fithian (on my FB Page
Comment on Forcing Gummint implosion on 63 MORE hours on Fed Grounds
The additional 63 hours granted beyond the 72 hours in the stated "eviction" time demonstrates the unique power of mobilizing our long time allies, ACROSS the BOARD, to join forces.
The actual & FB friends of the 5 LIFE TIME ACTIVIST Sisters in the above pic, our "outside" friends, faxing & calling the Nat'l Park Services, & more than 200 of our resolute Occupyers leveraged the hell out of our initial position. Vets, (who have taken an Oath to protect & defend the Constitution, WITH our lives) having the right to camp right by the First Amendment Monument that clearly states "Congress shall pass no law abridging or denying the peoples RIGHT to assemble for redress of Grievances"... That 235 year old Amendment pretty much presciently says "This 1st Amendment <3 's OCCUPY, & the Vets".
What was remarkable was Mayor Nutter, once again, following the Mayor Bloomberg template of flat out CRUSHING anything that challenges and/or jeopardizes the 1%'s Full Spectrum Dominance, must be wiped out.
Department of Homeland Security, Federal Marshals, Fed NPS (among other Fed Agencies) and the Philly Civil Affairs Police, as well as the U.S. Justice Dep't's Atty, and the Philly Police Departments' short tempered bicycle goons, regular cops, and "da Boot" and the Helmeted and Visor wearing crew were a bit of overkill, BUT, there were so damn many heightened contradictions that the initial 15 hour STALL period that we won in the Fire Dog Lake story
allowed us to mobilize the outrage that allowed us to snatch TAKE AWAY's, grant zero Give Away's while forcing numerous errors, and we stayed focused & disciplined enough to enjoy the 48 plus 15=63 additional hours on top of our original 72 hour Occupation of Fed ground.
Forcing the authorities to defend the absurd was the winning hand, and the DE-escalation was quite evident when a knot of about 15 occupyers doo wopped their way thru Bill Withers' "LEAN ON ME", and the Helmeted cops lifted their Visors, tapped their boots, and nodded their heads in perfect time with the impromtu OCCUPY DOO WOP accapella. We knew it was all over, then, and the "authorities" would collapse on every demand our VietNam Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Vets, and our Veterans For Peace made. GOOD TIMES, working for the Occupy Vision of Peace, JUSTICE, Equality, and LOVE !
Over the course of the Occupy National Gathering, When The Vietnam Veterans Against War and Veterans for Peace held their ground with their tent, which advocated for protecting constitutionally protected actions and speech, I took photos of Bill and the Veterans. Bill invited me to go with him when he spoke to the park police. It was NOT a negotiation.
Rob Kall (photos below by rob kall)
Setting up a veteran's memorial display-- with
Independence Hall in the background. Saturday, June 30th
Bill Discussing extension of permit with Park officials
This was not a negotiation. He issued a decree.
July 2nd, minutes before the permit was due to expire
Hours before the permit was due to expire, Bill put out the word to allies and Occupy activists, requesting their solidarity and support. They came through, as the picture of Bill at the top of the article showed and as the pics below portray.
Supporters showed up and made the resistance to removing the tent after the permit expired a festive event. The woman withe the bright lights around her is actually dancing with a lighted hula-hoop.
(longtime Opednews member/writer) plays guitar and leads occupiers and vets in singing protest songs in front of the Vets' tent.
The park police, etc. DID allow the tent and the vets to stay through the night. The next morning, help arrived from a new ally. Pam Africa had the permit for the same spot, to be used for supporting Mumia
. Africa said, "we're allies, in this together," and shared the space with the Veterans.
Bill Perry coordinating with Pam Africa
Bill Perry repeatedly said that the first amendment was all the permit he needed. This monument to the first amendment, with the sign below, poignantly points this out.
Bill is a local Philly activist hero. If there were 1000 activists like him in the US, they would be more effective than two million people clicking on online petitions. His dedication and the shoe-leather and courage he puts into fighting for peace and justice is an exemplary example we can all be inspired by.