For members of Occupy Claremont, the ordinance passed by the Claremont City Council that would effectively remove them from City Hall is not an eviction. It is a chance for celebration.
Occupy Claremont will remove the tents by Feb. 25, but will maintain a human presence in front of City Hall and celebrate the movement with an event tentatively called “Occuparty.”
A Jan. 10 City Council e-mail made it illegal to “camp, occupy camp facilities, use camp paraphernalia or store personal property” without permission from City Council.
“The ordinance is basically a law passed against us, which is as unconstitutional as a thing can be. It is a shocking breach of decorum and it represents a foul desertion of the basic principles of the Constitution,” said Occupy Claremont member Gregory Toliver.
“We’re going to come back with more force than ever,” said Andrew Mohr, another Occupy Claremont member.
Mohr said that Occupy Claremont is planning to move the tents, but not planning on moving themselves or the movement.
“We are more or less a permanent fixture,” Toliver said.
Occupy Claremont is planning to apply for an exemption to the ordinance, which would allow the protesters to keep their tents at City Hall. But Emma French PZ ’13 said it is unlikely that they will get an exemption.
Mohr said Occupy Claremont will not be able to apply for an exemption until after Feb. 25.
Several churches have offered to allow Occupy Claremont to set up tents on their properties, but the protesters are hoping to remain on the steps of City Hall.
The Occupy Claremont General Assembly has remained focused on the Claremont community, rather than 5C student protesters. Few students attended the most recent meeting Feb. 19, while over 25 community members attended.
“I have been surprised, personally, by how uninterested students at Pitzer and all of the colleges are,” French said.
However, Mille Carroll, a member of Occupy Claremont’s publicity committee, praised the movement’s diversity.
“It is the only movement that I know of that brings together the old and the young, the people with homes and the homeless, the ones with jobs and the unemployed, to discuss how to make changes in Claremont,” said Carroll, a member of the senior charity community Pilgrim Place.
One of Occupy Claremont’s focuses is breaking up with big banks and moving money to credit unions, specifically the First City Credit Union. A branch of the First City Credit Union is located in Claremont.
“Regardless of how great or small our assets may be, we can use them in ways that reflect our highest moral values and our greatest ethical concerns,” said a factsheet distributed at the Feb. 19 General Assembly meeting.
Mohr also brought up the idea of turning Occupy Claremont into a non-profit, but the discussion was tabled as members thought that the movement should do more research on the topic.
The “Occuparty” will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 on the steps of City Hall. The Pilgrim Pickers, a musical group from Pilgrim Place, will be in attendance. Food may be provided by Pitzer College’s Grillmasters.