Posted 1 year ago on July 13, 2012, 9:17 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Occupy Delaware at tent celebration last winter; photo courtesy Firedoglake
via Occupy Delaware
WILMINGTON, DE. Occupy Delaware’s right to maintain its eight-month tent occupation at Spencer Plaza has been sustained in a settlement negotiated by the group’s ACLU attorney Richard Morse with the City of Wilmington. The settlement is now awaiting approval by and the signature of Chancery Court Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock, III. In accordance with the settlement, the group plans to temporarily suspend its occupation in September to make way for much needed renovations to the plaza. According to the group, the City has wasted possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in its battles against Occupy Delaware and First Amendment rights. It calls upon the City “to use the money that it would have spent on continuing legal action against Occupy Delaware to instead provide direct grants to local non-profits, especially those dealing with homelessness and evictions and those addressing compassionately and wisely the epidemics of drug addiction and violent crime.”
In agreeing to the settlement, Occupy Delaware has released the following statement:
Occupy Delaware was created in the image of Occupy Wall Street to redress inequities in the economic and political policies of the United States under Wall Street control at all government and corporate levels. It entered an agreement with the City of Wilmington Delaware recognizing the legitimacy of the occupation of the public space known as Spencer Plaza as the location for a protest protected by the constitutional rights of assembly and free speech. Occupy Delaware intends to continue its efforts to educate the public and voice the necessary and legitimate demands in the interest of ninety-nine percent of the population.
We have protested the complicity of bought politicians in the sociopathic behavior of corporations and big banks. From the very beginning, we have demanded a return of Glass Steagall and the rollback of Citizens United. We have practiced non-violent civil disobedience at Sheriff’s Sales. We have marched on and conducted “bank sleeps” at the doors of too-big-to-fail banks. We have joined with local churches, peace, civil rights, and other groups to demand that the one percent elite re-invest in urban communities and American jobs. We have demanded that Attorney General Beau Biden fund city non-profits to aid residents threatened with foreclosures We have hosted national figures like Dan Choi and Jane Hamsler. We successfully promoted a resolution in the Newark city council to overturn the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decision, which made corporations “super persons” who could devote unlimited funds to subvert the electoral process. We joined with outraged citizens to roll back the absurd plan to move DART service out of Rodney Square. We have fed the homeless. We have established an online community in our Web, Facebook, and Twitter accounts that have been models of free speech and transparency. We have collaborated with Occupy movements across the country to generate a new vision of democracy and hope.
We have maintained the longest-lasting Occupy Wall Street-inspired tent occupation in the nation in spite of freezing weather, violent storms, blistering heat, the hazards of night, and attempts by the City of Wilmington to renege on its agreement with Occupy Delaware. Since we began our work in 2011, Occupy Delaware has always cooperated with Mayor Baker and with City officials to ensure that our activities are safe, legal, and respectful of Spencer Plaza and the memory of the most honorable Peter Spencer, whose battle against injustice and disenfranchisement has become a daily inspiration for each of us. We even offered to clean up the nearby gravesite of Peter Spencer, but the City rejected our offer. Instead, the City has pursued extensive efforts to destroy the Occupy Delaware movement through false and defamatory statements to the press and through expensive and aggressive legal action. The City irresponsibly augmented its own attorneys to hire a private firm, Richards Layton & Finger, to pursue its case. We refuse to be a party to this waste of public funds. We call upon the City to use the money that it would have spent on continuing legal action against Occupy Delaware to instead provide direct grants to local non-profits, especially those dealing with homelessness and evictions and those addressing compassionately and wisely the epidemics of drug addiction and violent crime.
Occupy Delaware holds that its eight-month occupation of Spencer Plaza has been an affirmation of how citizens across the globe have occupied public squares in some of the most tyrannical countries in the world and have compelled those governments to respond. Occupy Delaware holds that the rights of the people to assemble enshrined in the Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are essential to freedom and democracy everywhere. It is in this spirit that Occupy Delaware signs this agreement.
We, the participants of Occupy Delaware, will continue to volunteer our time, money, and energy to reduce or eliminate poverty, hunger, and homelessness in the City of Wilmington, and we will fight to change the systems of government and economics that allow these problems to persist. We will carry on.
Occupy Delaware Webpage: http://www.occupyde.org
Occupy Delaware Mission Statement: http://www.occupyde.org/mission-statement/
Declaration of the Occupation of New York City (Occupy Wall Street): http://occupywallst.org/forum/first-official-release-from-occupy-wall-street/.