For those that don’t know, Occupy Allentown started on October 3rd, 2011 in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and similar movements happening throughout the world. We have occupied the corner of 7th and Hamilton Streets in Allentown.
Just a few yards from our campsite a row of city parking meters in front of a vacant lot. In spite of the fact that these meters are pretty unnecessary for a vacant lot, the time limit on them is vigorously enforced. If only we could harness the exuberance of the Allentown Parking Authority to go after those responsible for the banking crisis.
Around the corner, police are often required to tell citizens that they may not walk their dogs on Hamilton Street. Also, like many other American cities, skateboarding is definitely not allowed. After all, what would our city be like if we allowed pets and recreational activity near the fine business establishments that the City of Allentown is currently seeking to demolish to make room for a new Hockey Arena?
From down the street, someone appears with a newspaper from The Morning Call offices and begins to read aloud an article entitled “Peeling back the curtain on the arena: ACIDA made key decisions about the Allentown complex without public debate” as occupiers shake their heads in disappointment.
Across the street members of the “Carpenters Local 600” stand protesting the non-union business practices of a company that hires workers as “Independent Contractors” to avoid paying taxes, health benefits, living wages, etc. They look frustrated with the fact that “playing by the rules” (paying taxes, etc.) makes their overhead cost uncompetitive when compared to the probably-won’t-file-their-taxes, dangerously-uninsured, do-the-same-work-as-regular-employees, the local handyman that used to build decks around the neighborhood but now builds schools and hospitals as cheap labor.
We see a stream of cars honking their horns in support of our effort while other random strangers stop to drop off supplies to help keep the occupation going and thanking us for putting in the time.
All-in-all we don’t have to go very far to see why we are here. But there is one thing we aren’t seeing that we so desperately want to see … a response from our local politicians.
We at Occupy Allentown would like to see City Council Members, the Mayor, School Board Members and the like, weigh in publicly on “The Occupy Movement” and tell us what they are personally doing to help the “99%” at the local level.
7th & Hamilton Streets
Allentown PA 18101