Wall St. ‘Occupy’ protest fever arrives in Philly

“We are your everyday Americans, who are against the corporate greed that has plagued this country, and the politics who allow this greed to occur. We include teachers, college students, labor members, unemployed workers, and the other 99 percent. We are standing in solidarity with friends in New York City, and across the country.”

This is the statement of Occupy Philadelphia, a spin-off of what started a little more than a week ago as “Occupy Wall Street” in Lower Manhattan. The sleep-in going into its second week has picked up steam in other cities the past few days.

Since Sept. 17, hundreds of protesters have cluttered New York City’s financial district. The latest development occurred Saturday when dozens were reportedly arrested for clashing with police.

“Lately it feels like the progressive movement has stagnated,” said Jon Laing, 23, a member of the Occupy Philadelphia movement. “Politics has been trying to move the country as a whole back into the socially conservative realm that I highly disagree with.”

Sean Kitchen, 23, started the Occupy Philadelphia group Saturday, and the Facebook page already has gained over 800 fans. Kitchen, an environmental biology college grad, is a self-proclaimed small-time activist who previously followed Philadelphia Uncut and Protecting Our Waters.

Almost ‘Together’ across America

For now, the organization on a national level is solely members of the public who want to show support for the Wall Street protestors. “Occupy Together doesn’t necessarily have a unified manifesto,” said Laing. “Occupy Together is a rallying call for the alienated and the disenchanted to get back in the ring and duke it out for our rights.”

However, with chapters quickly developing across the country in cities including Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Houston, Laing hopes “that Occupy will revive the progressives in this country into a unified front.”

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