This is the next step. Then there will be more, and more still. We have a long road to navigate. There are no maps, no GPS assistants with english accents, no helpful star charts. All that we have, is our wits and our purpose. All we know, is that we must continue.
Today Reasonable Solutions announced, to our mailing list and then the press, that our core members will be officially leaving Dilworth Plaza. Meanwhile, the Mayor announced that the construction company signed their permit to begin working. 48 hour notice has been given to the camp to clear out. We all knew it was coming, so no surprise. None, at least, from those in my immediate network. There was progress with our permit application process as well. City Officials replied to our appeal regarding the new terms set forth for demonstration permits at Thomas Paine Plaza.
With that, we decided to commence two new efforts. The first is that we accepted a permit for demonstration on Paine Plaza. In a nutshell, it does not allow for many of the activities we have witnessed and participated in at Dilworth. However, the City did provide some wiggle room on the original terms presented to us on Monday.
The biggest restriction for everyone is that there will be no camping allowed. The permit is for demonstration and public engagement only. “Camping” near the site will need to happen just as it has for many of us that have experienced homelessness in Philadelphia. We just called it “living” and we made it work however we could. Sleeping in the middle of an active construction site was usually not first choice. Those guys start early, with the banging and drilling and sawing. Sherwood forest which is connected to Suburban Station underground is a viable option. Those that legitimately have no where to go, and want to be placed in housing, should connect with the outreach workers on site at City Hall. They are working hard to make sure people have options. RS has been asking for this since we began discussions with the City and they have assured us that they are one step ahead of us on that front every step of the way.
If people still wish to occupy a city park, in the traditional sense, there are many to choose from. Here’s a list - phila.gov parks list. There are also national parks in Philadelphia. Take your pick. As a citizen you can apply for a permit at any of them, or not. We understand that a permit is not required if the parties involved are willing to deal with the legal ramifications of not having one.
We have the option to demonstrate every day, but we must break down our canopies and clear out at 7pm. So our presence will still be known, but at more regular times. Frankly, we figured this would be one stipulation that the City would not budge on from the onset. An occupation, in it’s most literal form, would be an incredible challenge. Winter in the northeast is no joke. Also, we have experienced what it’s like to be over capacity already at Dilworth. Sanitation and monetary issues were at many times overwhelming. Our community very often experienced chaos. We may have been in over our heads. I think one thing that we learned for sure is that many people that want to be involved simply can’t be on site. So while our force is clearly undeniable, we often lacked physical volunteers. An evolution is due. We have taken a step toward that. The permit, however, is not the only step.
Our second new effort is securing office space. We are working with some generous Philadelphians toward getting a donated space for the next several months. This will provide a meeting place and organization HQ for RS, contributors, supporters, and for anyone who is seeking solutions that are reasonable. The notion of an official HQ is exciting for us. We desperately want to organize and have a place to do it. I hereby promise to do everything in my power to keep us on track. That means the 99% movement. Enough bickering with fellow 99ers. Let’s get back to removing corruption from politics and exposing corporate greed. Okay?
A quote from our appeal letter to the City:
Our primary objectives remain, as they were when we began this journey with Occupy Philly. We hope to find other options that would allow us to continue operating as a citizen action and lobbying group that intends to address, and eventually change, issues that are much larger than mere permit disputes. We are extremely determined to bring economic and social justice to the less fortunate brothers and sisters in our great nation. Our main concerns stem from, what we feel are, unfair practices on the federal level. Most notably, we want to change laws that empower corporations to purchase government influence. We want to help eliminate corruption. We want to revitalize the American Dream. We want to help local communities solve serious issues they are facing. We want to beautify our city. We want to restore pride people once had in this country. We want to modernize the way demonstrations are organized and carried out. We want to remain professional and courteous to our fellow citizens. And Finally, Reasonable Solutions wants to do this while maintaining compliance with our City Government.
We are on our way. RS hopes many will join us. The occupy movement should be proud of what it has been accomplished and there should be no shame in declaring victory and heading indoors.
We will provide more updates soon.
To join us, fill out the Contact Us form on our website
Mayor Nutter’s Remarks Regarding Occupy Philadelphia
We were honored that he echoed our letter (page 2).