Occuparty Solidifies Local PA Groups
By Hank Finkel, Occupy Norristown
Collegeville - Representatives from several area Occupy groups gathered at the Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Collegeville, PA this past Saturday night for a pot-luck dinner billed as a Suburban Occuparty: Getting Together to Work Together.
"It's a way for us to solidify our horizontal networking in advance of some bigger events being planned for spring and summer 2012", says Leon Obler, an organizer with Occupy Norristown. "We had representatives from Occupation groups in: Phoenixville, Lansdale, Pottstown, Reading, Allentown, Easton, some even came in from Occupy Harrisburg to meet up and tell us what's going on out there", he adds.
The evening was highlighted by the attendance of Nathan Klineman, "the first Occupation candidate to run for congress" who is challenging Allyson Schwartz in the 13th district of PA. In his brief remarks, Klineman made it clear that he knew he had an uphill battle. Regardless, Klineman refuses any corporate donations. Instead, he raises awareness of his candidacy by traveling to various Occupy events in the area.
Last night and all of this past week, Klineman, was aided by retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis, who can only be described as a celebrity within the 99% movement. Captain Lewis has been traveling with Klineman telling the story of how he became involved in the movement and why he decided to get arrested, as well as the aftermath of that decision. He also makes it clear that he wholeheartedly supports Klineman's run and the tenants put forth by Occupy Wall Street.
In addition to food and beverages, some occupiers played some music on their guitars while others mingled, networked and exchanged personal information. The party offered local protesters the chance to get to know each other better in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. Jeanne Vilardosky said, "The 40 or so attendees of the event left with a renewed spirit and are looking forward to working together and supporting each others events".