11 October 2011

Philly's new tent city

Quite the tent city has sprung up in Dilworth Plaza. There's even a family-size tent for nursing mothers and their babies and toddlers. I feel a little regret that I'm not in a position to take part in Occupy Philly and that I can't yank my daughter from school and go on a camping trip to City Hall. But I need to keep hustling for work; and if I want to be available to help any participants who need legal representation, I should try to stay away from the protests. The occupation is on a different scale from taking my daughter to a march or demonstration for a few hours, too.

Though I did walk her through a few days ago, to let her see what the big deal was. And on Friday morning I checked in with one of my contacts from the anti-Iraq War protests in 2003.

Interesting to see how the protestors are taking care of themselves. They have a food tent, a "FAQ" table, and other areas where people can gather and share news and help. They are clearly there for the long haul, incoming rain this week and forthcoming winter weather be damned.

But what else are they going to do? It's not as if they're facing the end of their 2-week vacations and have to go back to work -- if they have work, they're cashiers, baristas, or crafting artists, or they're doing something else irregular and seriously underpaid despite having obtained the bachelor's degree that should have put them into a middle-class lifestyle, or at least kept them in a reasonable working-class lifestyle. They have nothing better to do and nothing to lose, because they were replaceable cogs at their jobs anyway.

Of course, the critics who want them to pack up and go get a job are perfectly free to hire them.

But actually, what I'm hearing when I walk by is a lot of supportive honking from the traffic passing them at 15th and Market Streets.

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