Occupy Philadelphia Comes to Haddonfield Monthly Meeting

The Occupy Philadelphia protest, like Occupy Wall Street, has put a needed spotlight on extreme disparities in wealth, said Fred Pinguel, an activist who spoke at First Day School on Oct. 16.

An organizer with the Philadelphia Student Union and a member of the Agenda Working Group for Occupy Philadelphia, Fred said the “Occupy” phenomenon that has spread across the U.S. and the globe can be summed up in a single compelling narrative: “we are the 99 percent,” which refers to the lopsided number – or 1 percent – who own much of the world’s wealth.

Just 1 percent of Americans control 43 percent of the wealth in the U.S., and 20 percent of the population owns 98 percent of the nation’s treasure, while 80 of the populace owns just 2 percent of the wealth.

“This is the first time in a very long time that people are talking about access to jobs and disparities in wealth from the viewpoint of people who are at the lower end of the economic system,” Fred said.

While corporations thrive, Fred said, many affluent people, as well as those at the middle and lower rungs of the economic ladder should be able to identify with the protesters.

Calling the Occupy phenomenon a “motion” that has not yet crystallized into a full-fledged movement, Fred said the protesters cannot rely on anger alone and hope to come together around an action plan for promoting meaningful change.

In the meantime, he said, Friends and other supporters can play a critical role, such as by volunteering at Dilworth Plaza, by providing financial support or by simply showing up to join those who are already there.   To learn more about Occupy Philadelphia, including a list of needed items, visit:  http://occupyphilly.org/

To view the stories of Occupy participants, visit: http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

Submitted by Sarah Greenblatt

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