As Occupy Philly enters its third calendar week, the movement is still deciding on a unified political message and, at times, lapsing into party mode.
“To me, it’s more of a social gathering or network,” said Chazz Colon, 48, of North Philadelphia, who has been outside City Hall daily. “Nothing indicates change — we still have the same problems.
We’re still trying to be heard. I care about local issues — how are my kids going to be educated in Philadelphia? How are jobs going to be created in Philadelphia? Occupy has the mayor’s ear, but they are not speaking to him about the real issues.”
Others said that the “social” aspect of the movement was an important part of its revolutionary nature. “In order to peacefully change the status quo, you have to celebrate while you’re doing it,” said an occupier who came down from the Wall Street protests eight days ago. “Revolutions have to be celebratory. They can’t solve things with simple anger.”
“We’ve been politically partying at times. It depends on who you talk to because people from all walks of life are here,” said teen activist Sally Sue.
“It was amazing, on Saturday night when the weather had improved, we were looking around at each other like, ‘Wow, it’s almost one in the morning and, like the rest of Philly, Occupy Philly is really getting down,’” Goldstein said. “People were dancing around drum circles, playing music on their laptops — it’s a social community. Like everybody else, we have fun.”
Chill time needed
Occupy Philly has been increasingly planning events to blow off steam.
“We have a fair population and, from that, there are a lot of artists and musicians and people who want to make sure everyone’s having fun,” Goldstein said.
Yesterday morning, Occupy held a Goofy Sunday Mystery Fun Action and at night, an 80s-themed prom dance party.
“Occupy Philly is like its own neighborhood, a community that’s not all about politics but about getting along together and having good time together.”