Occupy Philly Says the Anti-Big-Bank Revolution is Coming

By Michael Alan Goldberg
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 18 | Posted Oct. 3, 2011

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The pros and cons of various potential protest sites are considered: Rittenhouse Square, City Hall, Independence Mall, Love Park, the Federal Reserve Building and the Ben Franklin Parkway among them.

A pair of lawyers discuss the charges protesters could face—disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and conspiracy included—and try to steer the group toward occupying state rather than federal property, explaining that anyone arrested during the occupation would likely have an easier time dealing with the “more forgiving” Philadelphia court system. “Federal court is the opposite,” says attorney Lawrence Krasner. “Federal court in Philadelphia is one where the jurors are coming in from Reading and Lancaster and a lot of other places where they don’t have much love for free speech, and the judges are much more conservative.” 

Krasner, who says he will represent any Occupy Philly protesters who may get arrested, brings up the hundreds of protesters taken into police custody during the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. “Those cases went on for four years and there was a really serious effort to put a lot of people in jail for a long time,” he says. “The result of those cases that I was involved with, none of those people spent one day in jail beyond the time they spent immediately after being arrested.” Wiggling fingers give way to rapturous applause. 

A straw poll held near the end of the meeting determines that Occupy Philly will make its stand on state property, but ultimately neither a location nor a start date for the occupation is decided upon—only a date for the next planning meeting, slated for last night at the church (where the movement is hoping to finalize the site and date). 

A handful of people voice their displeasure—“Choose something!” yells one; “What are we waiting for?” shouts another—and a few leave in a huff. But after the meeting, others say they are heartened and happy about what transpired. 

“We’re moving forward and it’s going to happen and I’m ready for it,” says 25-year-old Larry Swetman of Ardmore. “People weren’t cooperating too much, but that’s what happens when you get large groups of humans together,” says dreadlocked North Philly artist and rapper Dayvt Vaune. “But I’m feeling very positive about the whole situation right now. It’s just a matter of everybody getting past themselves enough to recognize the common purpose.” 

Xio Martin, 39, insists that establishing a unified purpose and demands for Occupy Philly isn’t all that important. “I think the act itself is the message,” she says. “When people notice someone doing something that’s not the normal behavior, then that’s far more effective in getting people to think than trying to ram phrases or ideology into them. It makes people wonder what other people’s problems might be, and maybe they sense some of that same unease within themselves, and then hopefully they’ll start looking at the facts for themselves.” 

But Zalesky thinks too many messages could dilute Occupy Philly’s impact.  “We need to keep a clear focus on Wall Street and say, ‘We want our money. You need to be held accountable,’” he says. “If these CEOs see that there’s thousands of people around the country watching their every move now and they decide to stop gambling with our money and our future, then we’ve accomplished something huge.” 

Whatever form and place Occupy Philly ends up taking, Zalesky says he’ll be right there on the front lines.  “I’ve got a family, and I don’t want a terrible future for my kids,” he says. “I’m not sitting back saying, ‘What I really wanna do is protest because it sounds like fun.’ I’m doing this because I feel like I have to.”

For the latest Occupy Philly information, visit facebook.com/OccupyPhiladelphia.

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Comments 1 - 18 of 18
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1. Anonymous said... on Oct 3, 2011 at 11:51AM

“We don't know what we are protesting, and we don't know where we are going to do it, but darn it, if NY is doing it, we have to do it! Down with ... uh, ... stuff!

I love the financial planner who is miffed about being unemployed. Excuse me, are you part of the problem? Taking a cut for disposing investment advice that is no better than anything found for free on the Internet.

And if you got laid off from a diner and can't get a job in a day, then you are just incompetent.”

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2. Cthlc Wrkr said... on Oct 3, 2011 at 12:07PM

“Hey man, feel free to continue to sit at your computer doing nothing but getting snarky about people who want to get off their asses and make a fuss. No, financial planners are not part of the problem, that is an absurd suggestion. They do not rip off people's 401k's, they help them navigate the stupidly complex system Wall St keeps in place. You're the problem.”

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3. Nik said... on Oct 3, 2011 at 05:02PM

“Well, actually, I'm an assistant to a financial planner. If you choose to get all of your investment advice from the Internet, that's your choice. We know exactly what we're doing. Also, Will Bunch posted a great piece about trolls on Attytood. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves trolling.”

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4. brendancalling said... on Oct 3, 2011 at 11:03PM

“you know it's a threat when the trolls come out this early.
just sayin'.”

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5. Cleanup Philly said... on Oct 4, 2011 at 09:40AM

“If Anonymous hacks the Philly banking system, that will cause more job loss, as the banks experience losses in revenue. But that is what the video by Anonymous is suggesting -- that hackers are coming to Philly.

What is the point?”

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6. Cleanup Philly said... on Oct 4, 2011 at 09:51AM

“I have to agree that sleeping in the park or banging drums is not going to do much if people have no idea what they want.

The Occupy Wall Street thing is a disorganized mess that has no clear focus either. What do they want Wall Street to do? Obama passed new banking regulation already.

Marching around with signs that say "Mean People Suck" is going to do what exactly? Zalesky says "We want our money." What money? What money did he lose on Wall Street? Who does he think has that money? Was it like a masked robber who came in and took money out of his pockets?

Stop being children. The man has kids, but the biggest kid is him. Unless you lost your 401(k) to Madoff of Goldman Sachs, what are you crying about? Where are your "losses" and what shares were devalued due to this "corruption?"

Are you protesting Obama? Because you elected him, so what is the problem? He's the Messiah, remember? It will all be solved by Mmm, mmm, Obama!

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7. Heinz Schuhmann said... on Oct 4, 2011 at 10:40AM

“I agree 100 % with the protest and feel its time to change our political and financial system.Money and power is killing this country.So get out into the street and demand change.I will be at the meeting and so should you”

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8. RhiannonKWY said... on Oct 4, 2011 at 01:03PM

“@Cleanup Philly, I think your missing it entirely. The point is those asses are the 1% are the rich in the United States. They pay NO TAXES while the citizens are duty bound either by mortgage or other means like a job, a 401k, sales tax, YOU ARE TAXED YOU PAY TAXES. You don't have a job or a mortgage? You don't pay sales tax?.If you or I went and took money from the government and then gained money on the investment we would have to pay taxes and we would have been in jail too if we got a big fat bonus. The system is corrupt the people are starting to see this even more everyday. The poor are OPPRESSED and the rich PROSPER.”

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9. Anonymous said... on Oct 4, 2011 at 09:50PM

“In my opinion, this is all about the culture we live in--and refuting it.

If you think that the way of life we are living (and have been living) is sensible and sustainable, you should really consider reading a book that isn't on the NYT's best-seller list.

Money has too much value, and it is being funneled away from the people who actually need it--to people that simply do not.

WE ARE THE 99%. expect us, yo.”

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10. Ram said... on Oct 5, 2011 at 03:13PM

“I agree with the last commenter: "Oct 04 9:50PM" Money does have too much value in this society and not even a recession has taught the people at the top to be more humble about their wealth. I think Wall Street is a fair target but also every CEO of every corporation in the World, everyone who decides to be the next Donald Trump and back stab their mother to get there and anyone that works in government, the unions, city hall, Harrisburg, or any other body who cares more about their collection of suits and their latest model car than their constituents. I don[t think you can teach people altruism but you can remove them from those positions where they will do the most harm. Take Timothy Gaitner out of the Cabinet would be one of my demands. Thank you.”

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11. Beast of the Big East said... on Oct 5, 2011 at 10:45PM

“I am one of those who thinks that, were the legendary founder of Bank of America to rise from his grave, he would've slapped its current directors and executive offices, cursing them for having put the business he made (partially out of earthquake rubble) on the long-term path to ruin.

And now, a word to scare everyone witless...COUNTERPROPOSAL!

What forward-thinking policy decisions, possibly redesigned legislation, would be needed to fix this mess ? Put another way, if you could write a "there ought to be a law..." letter to whom you had chosen as a lawmaker, and safely bet on him/her acting on it, what would you say therein?

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12. A.Gramsci said... on Oct 6, 2011 at 11:08AM

“I've been waiting for the fall of global consumer capitalism for what seems like an eternity.

"In keeping with the protocol established by Occupy Wall Street, curious hand gestures are a part of the proceedings—participants raise their arms and wiggle their fingers when they agree with what someone has to say, lending an even more religious-style fervor to the get-together than the surroundings already provide."

Unfortunately those people seem to just be waiting for Phish to take the stage...not an Uno deck to be found in the tri-county area I bet!

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13. NAPoe said... on Oct 9, 2011 at 12:18AM

“See what's really going on inside the Occupy Philly confines. Activists N.A. Poe and Steve Miller-Miller have an impromptu interview with Philadelphia police chief Charles Ramsey. Is it funny that we pay his overtime? You decide. Checkout their whole YouTube page for even more videos from the inside! www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXiiCcX8aCQ”

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14. Sick&Tired said... on Oct 17, 2011 at 05:24AM

“I would like to suggest one item to the agenda of the Occupation. Maybe two. One-create a true free market. Jail or publicly hang inside-traders.Investing money in the Market is like betting on a fixed horse race. The manipulation of stocks by these criminals is what has ruined many of the peoples pension funds. I really was sick about the one that just got sentenced to half of what it should have been cause he was "sick." Bring back public hangings. Two-invoke the same penaltys for the bankers who operate without any controls. Raising interest rates for no other easons than they are criminals. Even the Mafia doesn't operate like them. You borrow money at a fixed interest rate, and then they decide they want to change it to a variable rate because they can. WTF? Power to the People, and it's about time.”

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15. Continued said... on Oct 30, 2011 at 05:30AM

“The "Occupy" movement is nothing new in this country. The Govt. for the People/Govt. for the Rich tug of war has been going on since Jefferson/Hamilton. People should stop thinking in terms of institutions like Corporations, Banks, Wall Street, etc. There's really nothing wrong with Capitalism. The problem lies with the criminals that run them. Unfortunately, most of the sociopaths that absconded with the money gained (most likely tax free) illegally (or should have been) have already run. Most are, probably, sitting on some island laughing about wnat's going on. Assets should be seized, and returned. It's no wonder that Dillinger became an American folk hero, but he was no Robin Hood.”

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16. Paul Betzler said... on Nov 1, 2011 at 04:45PM

“People who are participating in Occupy Philly all have different reasons. However, together they can fight and make a difference. People, such as, Zalesky deserve a job to support his family. Why do big banks and corporations have to run our country? The people deserve a say too.”

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17. shotime369 said... on Nov 4, 2011 at 06:20PM

“No jobs. Outsourcing has eliminated them. The people who run the major corporations are only supporting child and slave labor in other countries. At the very least, minimum wages are paid to the workers in other countries. The very reasons unions were formed in this country. This way, they don't have to pay for health care and higher wages. Another reason for the disappearance of jobs and the middle class here. They aren't worried about anybody but themselves and their shareholders.”

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18. Anonymous said... on Dec 31, 2012 at 03:40AM

“Geraci is so full of shit!!!! She hides behind a bullshit name, this isn't the name she was born with. She is nothing but a coward!!!!!”


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