Occupy Philadelphia - City Hall - October 6

Last night I attended the second General Assembly for Occupy Philadelphia in a united methodist church one block from City Hall.

I was amazed by the energy and number of people. I estimated 850 people at the meeting (and other people have estimated 900-1000+). The Facebook Event had 830 people who said they would come. How is that for accuracy? =)

I've read that there were 300 people at the first General Assembly and 50 people at the planning meeting for the second General Assembly.

There are currently 8100 people in the Occupy Philadelphia Facebook group.

The General Assembly worked very well considering how crowded it was and the diversity of reasons for which people were present.

The main focus was deciding on a location and time to start the occupation. There were five options: Love Park, City Hall, a park along the Benjamin Franklin parkway, Rittenhouse Square, and some random park that I didn't know about. After a couple minutes of discussion, I guessed we'd choose City Hall. The options were discussed more and then we straw polled to gauge support. From this poll, it became clear that there was a roughly three way tie between Love Park, City Hall, and Rittenhouse Square. We had a short period of small group discussion on these three options. My small group (of five) went unanimously for City Hall. At the next vote, City Hall came in with a clear first place so then we focused on getting a consensus on that. This led to a discussion of City Hall during which people raised many concerns, so when we polled on City Hall again its support had dropped. Then we tried to get consensus on Love Park but failed. Ultimately we went back to City Hall and it was endorsed overwhelmingly.

The discussion of date and time was more limited. We went with Oct 6 probably because we wanted to start ASAP. Someone said this was the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan - but Wikipedia says Oct 7.

The meeting amazingly ended slightly ahead of time (before 9pm) and then there was a time to recruit people to working groups. Working group organizers held up poster boards with the name of their group and people gathered around them to plan the next move. I joined the education working group.

The meeting was extremely positive and full of energy. With nice weather forecast for this weekend (80!), we're off to a great start in Philadelphia!