Occupy Philly: On the scene

Though the Fuhrlers at Occupy Philly are there as individuals, not on behalf of the Fuhrl, they are spreading a lot of the same messages of collaboration and creativity despite diversity of identity/background.  Here are a few first-hand accounts from those of us who have Occupied for the first week:

John Wang:

Dear Friends and Family. I write this note in response to skepticism and concerns regarding the OccupyPhilly. I have been camping outside of city hall for the past three days. Like most people I went into it with skepticism and concern about the agenda(or lack there of) and about it’s efficacy as a movement. Not being there it is hard to understand why not having a definitive agenda is a positive thing, but I implore you to come and experience it for yourself as it makes a lot more sense from the inside. Through conversation and making myself a part of the decision making process, I have realized that there are a plethora of ideologies and philosophies harbored at the occupation. In order to unify the group I see our lack of an agenda as a means to not ostracize anyone. We are focusing on where we DO agree, which is that we are fed up with the way things are run, we are fed up with the people that run them, and that we all want things to change. We may not agree on what we want, but we all are in agreement on what we don’t want…

for the rest of the letter, go to http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150292042757924

Jacqueline Maloney:

Outwardly, Occupy Philly looks chaotic, disorganized, and unfocused.  But I have spent the past 24 hours there, and I am optimistic…

Twice a day we experience the joys of actual democracy…the slow kind…at a general assembly.  A couple hundred people gather who are interested in having a direct hand in decision making.  An example of how these function: It took us two hours yesterday to decide if we would apply for a permit or not (six clarifying questions raised and answered by The Lawyer, and ten concerns expressed, a straw vote that was too close, more discussion, a new committee formed on the matter to present a proposal at the GA scheduled for noon today.  The vote today will decide, but from how things sounded last night post-assembly, most people have come around to the idea that a permit will be a good message to the city (let’s make a change encouraging cooperation, and ensure the longevity and sustainability of this occupation?).  When our sound system breaks (it was kindly donated by the Stage Hands Union), we use people’s mic.  One person speaks, everyone who hears him repeats in unison, then, for bigger crowds, everyone who hears the repeat repeats.  It’s a good listening method…

for the rest of the letter, go to http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=201968156541343

Brianna Barton:

For the past four days, I have been living at City Hall in Philadelphia with a few thousand people during the day, and a few hundred people at night. A lot of the coverage I have been hearing about these numerous occupations has reported an inability to organize and a lack of focus. I can understand that coming from people looking at us from across the street or through the television. But why don’t you just come over and take a look around?

We have medics and legal aid. We have food being made for all who live at city hall nearly around the clock. We have a growing library and free classes. Everyday, people with tears in their eyes, have thanked me for being here because they are unable to. We are not unorganized. We are growing, and learning every day. In a society that seems to more and more encourage people to keep to themselves, we are doing a damn fine job trying to hear what everyone has to say.

“So what’s your message, then?” People ask us this question like there’s only one problem the world is facing. People ask us this like we’re some political party that has been around for years–like we’re suddenly expected to know what a million other dissenting people all across the country and world are thinking. We don’t. Not yet. That’s why we’re doing this. Ask us in three weeks.

Each day we are learning more and more about what we have in common, what we wanted changed in the world, and how we can accomplish that.

And while I’m pretty sure that most of my brothers and sisters would find some resonance in why I am subjecting myself to weather that’s only going to get colder and wetter, I cannot say why each individual is with us. You know who I can speak for? Myself.

This is why I am here:

I want people to stop dying because of my country. 

Is that too simple?


for the rest of the letter, go to http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150855492975338

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