The Occupy National Gathering (NatGat) in Philadelphia was a diverse event that brought together Occupy activists from across the country. A bus from Atlanta brought activists from Occupy Our Homes, which has used creative tactics to protest foreclosures by Chase bank. Activists from Occupy Buffalo brought a life-sized model of a predator drone, in order to educate and raise awareness about Obama administration’s remote-controlled weapon of choice for killing hundreds of people every year in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Activists who arrived early from places like NYC and Salt Lake City helped establish the right of the gathering to take place in Benjamin Franklin Square, where park police initially tried to repress and disrupt the gathering. The police retreated in the face of Occupiers determined to continue assembling in the Park.
On July 3, many Occupiers joined a spirited rally for Philadelphia-born political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. On July 4th, the NatGat culminated in a collective Occupy movement visioning process using Open Assembly technology. The results of this process have since been published.
Although the gathering only amassed about 250 people on any given day – aside from a single day that drew hundreds more – there were constant workshops, skill-shares, discussion sessions, and informal conversations that made the NatGat a stimulating and exciting place to network with Occupy activists.
(Photos: Bil Lewis)