Occupation Begins

photo: Katrina Ohstrom

Editor’s note: Katrina Ohstrom brought her excellent eye (and lens) to the Occupy Philadelphia protest yesterday (and she’s there right now). I wrote this morning about why this event matters to us at Hidden City: it’s telling about the place. City Hall isn’t the Piazza (a public-seeming private space) or even Independence Hall (a public space privatized for ticket holders): it is open territory, and in a sense, always has been (Centre Square was so often the site of public demonstrations in the 19th century). More than that, the occupation tells us a bit about who we are today, seeking to make this beguiling, sprawling, mysterious city our own. We do this everyday of course, but in a city with 40,000 vacant lots, we’re constantly repossessing, activating, rethinking, and occupying spaces in new and energizing ways. City Hall is no exception. Today, Katrina brings us into the planning of the event–in essence what it means to occupy the space. In coming days, she’ll reveal some of the people and their motivations for inserting themselves so profoundly into the body of the city.

With the Occupation of Wall Street well into it’s third week, the movement, which was initially underreported and remains misunderstood by many media sources, is rapidly spreading throughout the country and abroad.

photo: Katrina Ohstrom

These occupations are, in the broadest sense, a call to end unsustainable economic inequality.

With more than 1,000 in attendance for the planning meeting, the Philadelphia Occupation took it’s time and learned from the mistakes of both the New York Occupation and the NYPD. At 9:00 on Thursday October 6th, on the West side of City Hall, the Occupation of Philadelphia officially began. ‬

The careful planning was evident in the stations for food and medical care, the smoke-free family zone with toys and craft supplies, the area sanctioned by the city for tents for those who choose to occupy around the clock, and with reminders to the Occupiers to not only keep Dilworth Plaza clean, but also to respect and reach out to the homeless who call it home.

photo: Katrina Ohstrom

In addition, the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild are providing representation and Legal Observer training. There have been committees formed to cover just about everything including, perhaps most importantly, a liaison between the Occupation and Mayor Nutter and his staff and the Philadelphia Police.

Further reading:

Occupy Philly
Occupy Wall Street
We Are The 99 Percent

About the author

Katrina Ohstrom has been headquartered in Philadelphia for the past decade. Her documentary projects include post-agricultural rural landscapes, post-industrial urban landscapes, the privatization of public education, experimental electronic music and cat show culture. In addition to Hidden City Daily, Ohstrom’s photos have been spotted in Megawords Magazine and forthcoming in Jacobin Magazine, and on the websites of East Village Radio and Bomb Magazine among others. Occasionally she exhibits in a gallery setting. More of Ohstrom’s documentary work can be found at katrinaohstrom.com and her event work can be found at ohstromphoto.com.



Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Renovations At William Way Look To The Future While Preserving The Past

Renovations At William Way Look To The Future While Preserving The Past

September 16, 2019  |  Architecture, Preservation

Big changes are in the works for William Way Community Center thanks to a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Stacia Friedman has the details > more

Final Plans To Transfer Philadelphia History Museum Collection To Drexel University Unveiled

Final Plans To Transfer Philadelphia History Museum Collection To Drexel University Unveiled

September 12, 2019  |  City Life, History

The Philadelphia History Museum is officially dead. The large collection of beloved city artifacts will be transferred to Drexel University. Kimberly Haas has the news > more

Hidden City Daily Celebrates Eight Years Of Publishing

Hidden City Daily Celebrates Eight Years Of Publishing

September 11, 2019  |  City Life

September marks Hidden City Daily's 8th year of publishing. To toast the occasion we look back at the past 12 months with a curated list of our top 15 stories. > more

Settlement Houses: Doing Good In The Neighborhood

Settlement Houses: Doing Good In The Neighborhood

September 9, 2019  |  History

Stacia Friedman takes a look at Philadelphia's long tradition of providing social welfare and education through settlement houses, some of which still serve communities today > more

Until Death Do Us Part: An Ode To Philadelphia Book Collecting

Until Death Do Us Part: An Ode To Philadelphia Book Collecting

September 6, 2019  |  History

In celebration of National Read A Book Day, Mickey Herr dives deep into the stacks at some of Philadelphia's most historic and obscure libraries > more

Bootleggers & Back Alley Bars: Philadelphia During Prohibition A City

Bootleggers & Back Alley Bars: Philadelphia During Prohibition A City “Soaked In Alcohol”

September 4, 2019  |  History

Speakeasies are all the rage these days. The revival finds its roots in secret cocktail lounges that opened after the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1920. Pennsylvania got a head start and outlawed alcohol in 1919. Amy Cohen takes a look back at Philadelphia during Prohibition on the 100-year anniversary of the ban > more