Lawyers, panelists discuss Occupy Philadelphia

A panel held last week by law students and professors discussed the Occupy movement.

The Occupy movement has reached far and wide, to more than 2,000 cities around the globe. Still, some have questions about the movement, which Temple’s branch of the National Lawyer’s Guild aimed to answer during a panel on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Jason Del Gandio, an assistant professor in the School of Communications and Theater, spoke at the panel in Klein Hall at noon. Del Grandio specializes in rhetoric and critical studies with a focus on activism.

Brishen Rogers, an assistant professor of law, also spoke to students about the movement.

“I think Occupy, largely if possibly not wholely, is about the percieved collapse of the American Dream,” Rogers said.

“Theres a long tradition in the U.S. and thinking about social movements that says social movements achieve what they are going to achieve before they become formalized,” Rogers added.

Sheila Maddali, a local attorney and member of Occupy Philadelphia’s legal collective, helped provide the students with information on not only her role in Occupy but also the goals of the movement.

“The movement has taken over my life,” Maddali said. “I was nominated to the letter writing committe, and really had to put all my skills to work drafting a letter they, ‘the people,’ wanted.”

Students at the panel expressed various opinions about the movement.

“It’s difficult to get the general theme of what their desires are,” third-year law student Logan Welde said. “I came here hoping to get a better understanding of their core beliefs were, what they wanted.”

Second-year law student Olivia Jolly shared similar thoughts about Occupy.

“This is something I’ve heard a lot about recently in the news but I really didn’t get any information straight from the horses mouth, so to speak,” Jolly said.

Del Gandio attempted to give an overview of Occupy’s organization, goals and beliefs.

The movement relies on direct democracy, in which everyone has a say in the decision-making process, rather than having one or a select few making the rules and regulations, Del Gandio said.

Del Gandio said he is hopeful that the Occupy movement will continue to open a national dialogue about the structural inequality in the United States and transform American politics into putting the wants, needs and desires of everyday people in the center of that conversation.

“I want to see an American system that privileges people before profits,” Del Gandio said.

Welde said one of the things he found most interesting with Occupy is that the “movement is the message.”

“I think the panel was great,” said Dan Theveny, a second-year law student. “I think with intelligent people like this panel, I think they can get some good done in the world.”

Tim Keller can be reached at timothy.keller@temple.edu.

1 Comment

  1. Ultimately Legislation will have to be passed to reform harmful practices.
    Things will go wrong on the streets, vandalism, trespassing, illegal drug use, looting, and conflicting agendas, which could easily degenerate into chaos.
    Only those who have attained capacities and access to where corrective policies will be forged and enforced will achieve the needed change
    Agencies of Social Advocacy will need to recruit young law students to dedicate their careers to join the cause

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