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Last updated: Oct 24th, 2011

Occupy Philly

Philadelphia's city hall viewed from a distance, with protesters and tents in front
Occupy Philly

Philadelphia's Occupy Wall Street Protest

Occupy Philly is Philadelphia's version of the Occupy Wall Street protest or movement. You can visit Occupy Philadelphia's Facebook Page if you are curious about the official web presence of this movement.

I visited Occupy Philly because I was curious to see what was happening at the protest, and I was very surprised to find that the protest was very different from how it is being depicted in most of the mainstream media. In particular, the protest seems extremely well-organized. I would encourage you to check out my photo album of Occupy Philly, all of which are photos I have taken myself, with commentary on what is going on in each of them. If you are located in Philadelphia, I would encourage you to visit this movement for yourself to see what it is about, and what is going on here. I personally found it absolutely fascinating.

The entrance to the SEPTA station at city hall, Philadelphia, surrounded by tents and people of the Occupy Philly protest
Heart of the Occupy Philly Protest

Effective Organization and Division of Labor:

What struck me (and surprised me) most about this movement was how well-organized it was. The protest is divided into a large number of sub-groups, each of which has their own tent or setup. The groups range from very large tents (such as Tech Support and Food) to a small table that is not always manned (Legal support). Some of the tents / divisions were:

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of what is going on at the protest. I would encourage you to go check it out yourself, if you live anywhere near enough to visit.

Things I did not like about the protest:

Cigarette smoke:

One thing that I really disliked about the protest was how many people were smoking. I found this made me less inclined to want to be in the protest and around the organizers who were smoking. There were cigarettes everywhere, and many of the main organizers or volunteers were smoking, including, smoking inside tents. Outdoors even, it's hard to get away from the smoke. I hate cigarette smoke and I hate having to breathe it in; this is a major barrier to me wanting to participate more actively in the protest. The protest seemed to attract far more smokers than any other events I regularly attend.

A clear no-smoking policy in main areas, with designated smoking areas would make the protest more pleasant to people like myself.

Not enough of a voice for working people:

Another thing I did not like was that the way the protest is structured gives more of a voice and more influence to people who do not have normal full-time jobs or other responsibilities. I work full-time, and although I am self-employed and have a very flexible schedule, I still need to get my work done, and I have other responsibilities outside of work too. This would limit my ability to attend the protest's general assembly and vote, as well as participating in committees.

Part of the problem with America right now is that so many people are squeezed for time and unable to easily participate in politics or engage in civic matters. If the protest is to be all-inclusive of the "99%" so to speak, it must give more avenues for working people to participate--including people who have very little free time. This probably contains a greater portion of the "99%" than the portion that is unemployed. I see this as the largest shortcoming and greatest challenge of the movement as it stands.

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