Students prep for Occupy Philadelphia
The protest against ‘corporate greed’ will begin Thursday morning
October 6, 2011, 12:52 am·
Pete Lodato | DP
Today, Penn students are expected to join around 1,000 people at the Occupy Philadelphia protest outside City Hall.
Occupy Philadelphia is inspired by Occupy Wall Street, a movement that began in New York on Sept. 17 and has drawn thousands of protestors to the financial district.
Last Saturday, 700 protestors were arrested for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, according to The New York Times.
The movement is protesting the “culture of corporate greed” in the United States, said College junior Meghna Chandra, who will be attending the protest.
“Right now it’s just about getting there and starting the occupation,” said Chandra, who plans to go to City Hall after her classes.
College junior Emma Johnson will also join the protest after classes and camp at City Hall overnight.
“We don’t have a permit, but there’s a right to assembly,” she explained.
Although she doesn’t know anyone going to the protest, Johnson said she “trust[s] that she’ll be safe.”
“It’s all about solidarity,” she added, saying that she would like to start a Penn Occupy Philadelphia group.
While some students might not be able to attend the protest this weekend because of fall break, Johnson said the break fell at the right time for her because she now has free time to attend the occupation.
“It’s good for the students staying on campus,” she added.
Other students, such as College junior Lorena Nicol, will travel to New York during fall break to join the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Nicol feels strongly about the movement because “there is a 99-percent proportion of our population that is suffering so that the top 1 percent can enjoy the benefits of our financial system.”
This movement, which began in New York, “is obviously a pure expression of the frustration of our capitalist system,” said a Wharton sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous because his views are not “consistent with the general sentiments of Wharton.”
The problem is “a lack of transparency” in the financial system, he said.
Other students, such as Wharton sophomore Daniel Ortiz, do not agree with the protest.
“We need to remember that we’re a capitalist nation and not undermine it with socialist ideals,” Ortiz said, adding that “some people will always be richer than others.”
Ortiz believes that the movement is “a publicity stunt, trying to get Wall Street to notice.”
Although he said he has not spoken to other Wharton students about the protest, he believes, “We are all here because we believe there are opportunities that can be taken advantage of in finance.” Anyone who says there is not is lying, he added.
Beyond the Wharton School, students and professors have drawn links between Occupy Philadelphia and socialism.
On Tuesday, Sociology professor Jerry Jacobs, whose daughter Elizabeth is the Multimedia Editor at The Daily Pennsylvanian, asked his “Social Problems and Public Policy” class what the rhetoric of the movement sounded like.
“A few people said Karl Marx,” he said, adding that while he does not believe the movement will evolve into a Marxist revolution, he does “feel that there is a great deal of frustration with the public at large at the state of economic and political affairs.”
However, he does not believe people have a clear alternative to the current system in mind.
“It’s hard to have a revolution without knowing what you want to change,” he said.
The students who are attending are looking forward to what they feel will be a historic event.
“Being here at the beginning is very exciting,” Johnson said.