Will they stay or will they go? Tonight members of Occupy Philadelphia plan to vote on whether to stay at Dilworth Plaza or move across the street to Paine Plaza as the city has requested. The movement could choose to expand to cover both locations.
The City of Philadelphia has asked the Occupy protesters to leave Dilworth Plaza by mid-November so that a planned construction project can begin. Occupy Philadelphia’s Chris Goldstein said tonight’s vote during the General Assembly comes after a week of productive and well-facilitated discussions about the location options.”The idea here would be that the General Assembly would not order people to stay at Dilworth Plaza or order people to move across to Municipal Services Plaza,” said Goldstein. “The expansion plan would allow those who want to move and accommodate the construction project to go ahead and move. All those who wish to resist and stay at Dilworth can resist and stay at Dilworth.”The City of Philadelphia wants the protesters to move so a long planned renovation of Dilworth Plaza can begin. The $50 million project would build an ice-skating rink and a café just outside City Hall.
Managing Director Richard Negrin said given that the Occupy movement calls for social justice, it needs to remember what’s at stake.”This project is all about 1,000 jobs for the 99%. These aren’t Wall Street bankers and lawyers who are going to be working for two years and feeding their families. These are union jobs and these are construction workers who need the work. And for them just to decide, ‘We’re not going to move,’ I think sends a clear signal that this really isn’t about economic justice.”Negrin said the city of Philadelphia has tried to work with the protesters, but they must move to make way for the construction project. Some Occupy Philadelphia participants have said they’re angry the city’s pushing them to re-locate for a project that includes an ice skating rink.