It may seem strange to talk about legacy only six months in. Occupy Philadelphia is still with us and still active. Like so many localized iterations of the Occupy Wall Street protests last autumn, the Philadelphia ecampment shined briefly — but it shined brightly and loudly and — almostly completely peacefully. So now what?
The western flank of City Hall was un-Occupied in January, but Occupy Philadelphia has never really left the public eye. What has the movement left us with?
Whether or not you agreed with its aims, motivation or tactics — assuming you were even looking for a unifying message to agree or disagree with — Occupy Philadelphia left a mark in its brief time in the spotlight.
From its first tepid negotiations with city government, to full-out public relations battles, through the rapid development of a close-knit community, tussles with the police over street protests and public safety and sanitation, and squabbles with The Media over coverage, to internal arguments about resisting relocation, all the way up to its eventual eviction and dispersement from Dilworth Plaza, Philly’s Occupation has seen a lot in six months.
“You can’t evict an idea!” many protesters proclaimed. And so, following the camp’s dissolution, many observers were left wondering what form that Occupy energy would take next.
Most recently, we saw a protest at Temple over cuts to state funding of higher education, a demonstration at the Comcast Center to petition the cable provider to carry Al-Jazeera English, and a disruption at Mayor Nutter’s announcement of the new rule requiring permits for feeding the hungry outdoors — all bearing the mark of the Occupy movement.
Today they celebrated six months of protests, demonstrations, civil disobediance and friendly neighborhood civic disruptions with a jaunt from Rittenhouse Square to Independence Mall. They’re here for the duration in some form or another.
What further effect do you see the Occupy movement having? What role should Occupy Philadelphia play in future city, state and regional matters?