“Follow the puppet!”
The oversize papier-mache likeness of right-wing Sen. Pat Toomey stood tall among hundreds of Occupy Philly sympathizers marching from City Hall to Toomey’s Philly office with a petition for job creation. Coordinators shouted again when some marchers veered to the north, away from the destination.
“Follow the puppet!”
This sounded to me like a description of what many working people do when they vote for guys like Toomey, one of the Congresspeople on the so-called Super Committee that will decide how to cut the federal budget. Toomey used to work for Club For Growth, the job-killing pro-corporate advocacy group.
I shared my thought about the puppet chant with Jacob Russell, 70, a South Philly poet and Occupy Philly volunteer, who replied, “The irony is not lost on me.”
Russell explained that each Occupy group — there are roughly a thousand now in the U.S. and abroad — isn’t a protest group at its core, but rather a decision-making body constantly incorporating new ideas proposed by individuals and committees within the group. He said the goal is to organize communications so that the Occupy movement can build a structure beyond the local groups that is still democratic and inclusive.
“We’re going to have to do that to survive,” Russell said in noting the powers-that-be and their political puppets never concede anything without an organized fight by those seeking fundamental change — in income disparity, in regulations regarding lobbying and corporate bailouts, and so on.
As we talked, the crowd swung back around and started the long march to Independence Hall, to be part of what is being called the OccupyWallStreet Global Day of Action, involving marches in hundreds of cities. The marchers waved signs and chanted, “We are the 99 percent.”
Watched from all sides were cops in squad cars, traffic cops, plainclothes cops with walkie-talkies and armbands, husky bike cops wearing shirts bearing the ominous message “Police Strike Force.”
A middle-aged man from Wynnewood, PA, who didn’t want his name used said, “I’m here because the country is headed in the wrong direction. There are too many of us who want to have jobs but don’t, and too many of us who don’t have health care but should. And there are too many people making too much money, and it’s becoming more and more disparate as we go along.”
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