Despite signs of fading, Occupiers hold strong

Protestors say the loss of physical "occupation" will not hinder movement

· December 7, 2011, 12:50 am   ·  Updated December 7, 2011, 1:34 am

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A week after Philadelphia police evicted Occupy Philadelphia protesters in Dilworth Plaza, the silence outside City Hall might lead people to believe that the movement is fading.

However, Gwen Snyder, an Occupy Philadelphia activist, disagrees. “There’s no risk of Occupy going away,” she said. “Occupy is very real and very active, and if I had any doubt of that, all I need to do is check my inbox — I’m getting 65 to 100 emails a day.”

School of Social Policy & Practice assistant professor Toorjo Ghose, who was arrested Nov. 30 and later released, said he floated a plan at an Occupy Philadelphia general assembly meeting about holding a national Occupy convention in Philadelphia — possibly on Penn’s campus. “Everyone really liked the idea of doing it,” he said, but added that there are many logistics to plan.

“Who knows what it will look [like] … It may be in Philly, it may be on campus, it may be in New York,” he added.

Others are hopeful the movement will continue.

“One of the beautiful things about Occupy,” Snyder said, “is that we have an organizing infrastructure in place, so we don’t need a piece of concrete to make [the movement work].” Snyder credits the movement’s good organization and use of social media in keeping the movement alive.

Though there is no “physical occupation” currently, Snyder said she and her fellow protesters are using the time to “have some very serious discussions about the issues that brought us together in the first place.”

She added that she hasn’t seen a substantial shift in the number of people that show up to general assembly meetings and other Occupy Philadelphia events. She did notice, however, that a much more concentrated group of people — committed and active in the movement — are showing up.

Likewise, the movement at Penn continues to actively promote Occupy and its goals.

College sophomore Madison Roberts regularly attends OccupyPenn’s weekly teach-ins every Friday and stays updated on the group’s activities through its email listserv. “Right now, we are trying to create a coalition of all the schools in Philadelphia so that we have a united Philadelphia student front.”

Currently, OccupyPenn holds general assembly meetings every Wednesday in addition the teach-ins outside Van Pelt Library.

Ghose outlined the group’s larger goals, which include looking at how Penn interacts with the surrounding neighborhood, exploring the socioeconomic disparities within Penn and working on making the University more responsible in the way it engages with the outside world.

“The other thing [OccupyPenn] wants to continue being involved in is the national Occupy movement,” Ghose added.

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