Members of the Temple University College Republicans gathered today at 4:30 p.m. in front of Sen. Pat Toomey’s district office in Center City, to rally against Occupy Philadelphia.
“We’re just out here to show that everyone does not support this movement,” junior political science major Erik Jacobs, president of the group, said. “There is a counter-discourse out there that needs to be represented.”
Occupy Philadelphia, a movement of protests taking place across the country, targets and fights against economic injustice in the corporate system, among other causes.
Among the messages on the group’s signs were: “I love capitalism” and “Cut taxes and cut spending.”
“I’m here to defend capitalism,” sophomore economics major Eric Cedor said. “The rally of Occupy Philly has turned into a pro-Communism type of fight and Communism has failed everywhere it’s been tried, it does not work. Capitalism is the best allocation of resources. If you want a job and you want a future, you need capitalism.”
The students arrived before the Occupy Philadelphia participants, who had planned to demonstrate in front of Toomey’s office, and were soon joined by police on bicycles. Preparing for conflict, the officers formed a protective bicycle blockade around the students.
Occupy Philadelphia protestors arrived and began making speeches outside the senator’s office. They directly addressed the Republican students, calling for a civil discourse. Soon after, the demonstrators returned to City Hall, where they have been camping out for a week.
Jacobs characterized the experience as intense, but said he still views it as positive.
“We got attention and it was peaceful so everything was accomplished that we wanted to have accomplished,” Jacobs said.
Members of the group said they would continue making their views known and defending the country’s current economic system.
“Occupy Wall Street started out as ‘We don’t like immorality in the financial system,’” freshman pre-law major Cory Haberkern said. “I bemoan that too, I don’t like it whatsoever. Then it turned into, ‘We hate capitalism,’ and that’s not good. That is what made this country great, that is what made this country prosperous and gave everybody in this country a higher standard of living than everybody else in the world. So the fact that they want to attack it is wrong.”
Kate Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an expanded version of this story, pick up The Temple News on Tuesday, Oct. 18.