Occupy Philly at City Hall

Occupy Wall Street started three weeks ago with only a few hundred people protesting corporate greed and corruption outside on Wall Street. Since then, it has turned into an expansive, nationally recognized movement replete with all the trappings of a mini revolution including numerous alleged instances of police brutality and entrapment and, much like the Iran revolution, widespread coverage and organization throughout social media platforms like Twitter.

Today the movement has spread to Philadelphia, indicating that what was once considered a harmless convergence of trust fund hippies who, if they actually understood the global economy would be singing a different tune, is now a new semi-political movement much like the amorphous  Tea Party that started in early 2009.

While justifying or denying the validity or effectiveness of these demonstrations is outside the sphere of this author’s duty, it would serve the common interest to, at the very least, gauge the movement’s capacity to spread further than college campuses and 24-hour news media.

It’s interesting to note that the “blogging world” always seems to take issue with these type of protests because the blogging world’s greatest fear is to be viewed as misinformed, privileged or myopically ungrateful, which is how they might appear were they to align themselves with predominately white, unemployed 20-somethings complaining about social and economic injustice through their iPhones.

Philebrity posted this article addressing the scrutiny they’ve received from readers for questioning the validity of the protest, entitled “How #occupyphilly Is Like The Bush Admin, And Why We’re Paying Attention Anyway”. Initially, Philebrity had dismissed the protests as unfocused. And their follow-up article addresses the issue even further, discussing what are obviously two crucial faults of the movement: it lacks a clear and decisive goal while espousing an “us vs them” mentality.

While this remains an underlying problem with the movement, there has, however, been some evidence to suggest at least some of the protesters are well-informed and possess nothing but good intentions. Take this video that was supposed to be a Fox “gotcha interview” with what the reporter must have assumed was a grossly  uninformed protester.

These false assumptions from reporters like the one above have caused most major media outlets including NPR to chose not to cover the protests from the start. But in the last few weeks instances of police abuse including alleged entrapment by the NYPD (they supposedly lured 700 protesters onto the Brookyln Bridge to be arrested en masse), lawsuits filed by protesters and a general gain in popularity and increase in size has caught the media’s attention, so now we’re left to eagerly anticipate today’s events at city hall as if we were awaiting some after-school showdown between the class bully and the leader of the chess team. Will the police rough up some innocent college girl, will they all be corralled into some massive net, who’ll throw the first punch?

Something tells me none of the aforementioned will occur, though the Nutter administration hopes the occupation won’t last more than a few days as the city lacks the resources to enforce a longer stay (they’re already using overtime to pay the police surrounding the scene). Mayor Nutter did, however, offer his support through Twitter, stating, “We’ll work w/ #OccupyPhilly to ensure their right to have their voices heard & ensure all of our citizens can also go about their business.” And for now, the protest seems to be peaceful and somewhat well-attended. We’ve embedded a feed below that’s streaming live from City Hall. Fractal Circus is currently shooting video and once they’re done editing, we will post it here.

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Chris Lipczynski

A graduate of Temple University, Chris Lipczynski continually spreads himself too thin, endeavoring in documentary films, “computer music,” first-person shooters, and manly hikes through the wilderness. Follow him on Twitter for daily musings and meaningless philosophical reflections: @RealChrisFlip.

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