To put it mildly, there have been a number of developments unfolding, both at Dilworth Plaza and elsewhere, since our last post on Tuesday. While we had hoped to make an update before now, the group has been struggling to keep all gears turning.
To summarize, there has been great success realized by many of us, who wished to work with the city toward providing people an option for protesting against corruption of government and corporations once Dilworth Plaza is evacuated. With the help of Congressman Brady, city officials, the labor unions and many participants in Reasonable Solutions we have been able to put together a tentative agreement.
As much as there has been disagreements flying, we share the sentiment that many occupiers have conveyed on a variety of topics. For instance, it is sad to know our city has no choice but to clear our camp at Dilworth Plaza. They look at it as a need and not an option, which we also understand. That doesn’t change the fact that we have been working hard toward building a beautiful community there for the past 42 days.
We feel it is unfortunate that a construction project was previously planned, and this should have been a key factor in the decision to go to Dilworth in the first place. Why this fact was not communicated with greater volume and clarity during the early stages of planning may remain a mystery indefinitely. If someone would like to explain this oversight, please post a comment below. Never the less, we need to face the reality and work toward solutions in order to prevent an early end to this movement in Philadelphia.
Recap of events since Tuesday:
- Tuesday 11/15 at 4:00pm – Reasonable Solutions invited members of all working groups, with the exception of two, to a meeting with City officials – notes available here. 23 occupiers were invited, 17 occupiers showed up. The notes do not include two members who were dealing the the chaos in the lobby. The agenda was to open a fresh dialog with city representatives after they had been stonewalled on more than one occasion but the G.A. We wanted to discuss the petition that was signed by 650+ occupiers and supporters; posted previously to this blog. We also wanted to discuss how to move forward toward in securing a new location which complies with the city’s need to move forward with the planned construction. Overall the meeting was very successful in many participants opinions.
- Tuesday 11/15 at 7:30pm – Reasonable Solutions along with several groups met to discuss which parks we should present as potential locations for new encampments. We were pleased to have Congressman Robert Brady in attendance. He was very supportive of our efforts both as the 99% movement, but also our approach in being willing to negotiate. Two locations were decided for potential permit applications – Thomas Paine Plaza was clear first choice, with Washington Square Park as a back up option. 25 new members to Reasonable Solutions were added (welcome!). We left feeling optimistic and generously supported by many wonderful souls.
- Wednesday 11/16 Online – Reasonable Solutions received over 200 emails and wrote responses to nearly all of them. Exchanges on the listserv, google groups, facebook and twitter occasionally turned ugly, but by this time Reasonable Solutions unanimously decided to ignore threats, accusations, etc. It was chaotic and emotional for many of us. Rumors with many outlooks were also flying due to the notice of eviction from Dilworth Plaza.
- Wednesday 11/16 at Dilworth – Eviction notices were posted by the city. Also, one member of Reasonable Solutions decided to attend a Coordinators Committee meeting and the GA in an attempt to reduce confrontation. That was only partially successful.
- Wednesday 11/16 Evening – Reasonable Solutions prepared a permit for morning delivery. There will be three people listed on the permit which will make up the Operations crew for Thomas Paine Plaza. Washington Square had at this point been eliminated due to a message received by the city which stated that the National Park Service would need to issue that permit. Given the small camp already on federal land at independence hall, we decided to not proceed with that direction. The occupation was also the top story on many main-stream news programs. In the ABC broadcast, Congressman Brady publicized our agreement, which we were relieved to see. The agreement discussed with him was that the unions will help willing participants in moving to Thomas Paine Plaza this weekend. He also implied that he would work with the city to expedite the permit process and push the issue to allow for camping at the new site. We respect Congressman Brady very much, he is a man of his word. We are also extremely appreciative of his help.
- Thursday 11/17 at 9:30am – The permit application for the new site was presented to city officials at their offices in the Municipal Services Building. It also happens that Thomas Paine Plaza is right outside. They assured us that the application would be reviewed and a response would be made soon. We will post an update, once we have heard back from them, with details regarding terms.
We suggest that people remove their personal items from the Dilworth camp ASAP, but clearance for Thomas Paine has not yet been provided. It is likely that police would remove those that migrate across the street until further notice. Patience is a virtue. We also think that the most reliable evaluation is that the city will likely not move forward with forced eviction today. With that in mind, we know people will, in the end, do what they want to do as individuals. That is a principle that many at Reasonable Solutions respect and live by everyday. I guess what I am saying is: if you feel you are at risk or if you plan to take risks, try to be prepared for unfortunate outcomes.
If you have further questions, please contact us through our website – http://www.occupyReasonableSolutions.org