Welcome Back: Anarchist occupy vacant CVS building in downtown Carrboro

February 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm (Building Occupations, Peoples' Assemblies, Squatting) ()

From Carrboro Commune

Carrboro/Chapel Hill anarchists occupy vacant building in the heart of downtown Carrboro. Here’s a text released by occupiers:

The end of 2011 saw a blossoming of self-organization and struggle across the US,as the Occupy movement illuminated people’s anger, imagination, and desire. Issues that had been simmering below the surface of political discourse exploded onto the public stage. From Oakland to New York, from Seattle to Chapel Hill, we started to find each other, to find that we are powerful. None of the tensions that catalyzed the movement have dissipated. Bosses, bankers, politicians, and police still hold our communities hostage—no armed evictions, government cover-ups, or election-year sloganeering can hide this. We have occupied this building in the spirit of this growing movement. This is not a temporary protest, but a permanent occupation intended to establish a social center in the heart of Carrboro, instead of the CVS that would have been here.


The proposed CVS has faced near-unanimous local opposition. The building would be out of proportion for the location and a logistical nightmare for nearby neighbors. Local residents have repeatedly expressed that the site should serve some kind of community interest rather than corporate profits.Yet outside the zoning process, where at best we can delay the inevitable, the channels at Town Hall offer no meaningful way for affected community members to determine what should be here. We aim to provide such a venue by occupying this site and holding open assemblies.

This will allow local residents to come together, roll up our sleeves, and share a sense of real ownership over the site. This would be impossible were a corporate drug store to be located here.

This isn’t just about CVS. It’s about an economic system that prioritizes profit over people, a legal system that violently defends it, and a political system that rubber-stamps it. North Carolina is in the midst of a deep recession and budget crisis: education, libraries, healthcare, unemployment benefits, food and housing support, and other services face drastic cuts. Rather than wait for politicians to fix the problems they’ve created, we should be occupying the holdings of corporate profiteers so that people hurt by this crisis can directly decide how to use such resources for community benefit. Corporate and banking interests created this crisis; this occupation is one way of responding while creating something positive at the same time. The space, resources, and activities of our town should benefit everyone. We should have direct decision-making power over the resources of our neighborhoods and workplaces, rather than live at the mercy of speculating absentee landlords, out-of-state drug corporations, or town bureaucrats and politicians.

“Occupy” Squat, Seattle 2011
75 River, Santa Cruz 2011
Rachel Corrie Center, Olympia 2011

The violent eviction of last year’s peaceful Yates Building occupation demonstrates that the governments of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are willing to use potentially lethal armed force to protect the “right” of the wealthy to profit on empty buildings. We are here to show that we are not intimidated by armed police or their bureaucratic defenders. We will not live our lives in fear merely to relieve the political anxieties of a mayor who sips tea and quotes Gandhi while evicting demonstrators at gunpoint.

To that end, we once again encourage residents—in particular service workers, the unemployed and underemployed, the homeless, and those displaced by racist gentrification and outrageous housing prices—to imagine what this “really really free building” could be, free from the stranglehold of rent and the profit motive. A free health clinic? A mutual aid center to help people find work when the economy has failed them?
A community library or media center? A place for free childcare or a free school? Through open assemblies, we can decide together, rather than being forced to accept the decisions of an out-ofstate corporation guided only by profit.

Please join us, not just in supporting this occupation, but in making it your own. We have a world to win, and this is just the beginning. Imagine what this “really really free building” could be, free from the stranglehold of rent and the profit motive:
• A free health clinic?
• A mutual aid center to help people find work when the economy has failed them?
• A community library or media center?
• A place for free childcare or a free school?

Through open assemblies, we can decide together, rather than being forced to accept the decisions of an outof-state corporation guided by profit.

1 Comment

  1. Estudiante Insurgente said,

    Updates: The occupation is over. Stay tuned for updates and report backs.

    an account:

    Carrboro, NC: Anarchists Seize Future CVS Building

    At approximately 3:30pm today, Feb. 4th, a group of about 50 demonstrators marched from a monthly Really Really Free Market to a nearby empty building owned by the CVS corporation.

    Within minutes the crowd had taken over the building, hanging banners from the roof and windows, erecting tables outside with free food, and handing out welcome packets to passersby.

    Others arrived with carpentry equipment, wood, furniture, a literature distro, and tools, and began building benches and tables. Some painted a large, cursive “Carrboro Commune @” and large squat symbols on the walls.

    Still other supporters spread throughout the neighborhood, announcing the occupation and advertising an open neighborhood assembly in the building the following day.

    The takeover, claimed by “anti-capitalists and occupiers” and done under the rubric of the “Carrboro Commune,” was aimed at holding the property permanently and building some kind of community or social center.

    Eager to avoid the negative press and angry public backlash of an armed eviction of an occupied building late last year in neighboring Chapel Hill, police and the mayor were initially restrained. Unfortunately, the openness of the occupation towards random passersby also meant the Mayor himself was even in the building.

    The occupation continued till around 7:30, after which police entered the building and began threatening arrests. A crowd of masked protesters left the building through a side door, chanting and carrying a banner to meet the crowd in front of the building. There were no arrests.

    A bizarre scene then ensued in front of the building, where a large crowd of masked protesters, supporters, police, press, and local politicians packed together, screaming at each other in front of cameras. The mayor repeatedly tripped over his words, while some protesters cursed him and others gave speeches, chanted “ACAB”, and loudly vowed to return.

    The Mayor’s sleek attempts to command the narrative of a peaceful de-occupation slowly started to slip away, eclipsed by the near violent hatred and frustration of a screaming crowd. The scene, which occurred in the busiest intersection of town in front of half a dozen cameras, was a bizarre shift for the supposedly tranquil and politically “conflict-free” small liberal town.

    This is only a brief account by one participant. As of right now, we are still recovering from the last few hours, trying to figure out what went right and what went wrong. Certainly there will be a much more thorough account and analysis to come later; right now we would send our love and rage to all our comrades around the US and the world also struggling to reclaim a world that has been stolen from us.

    We hope that our small efforts can inform and inspire others, and in particular offer some encouragement to our friends and comrades currently in jails on the West Coast, kidnapped for trying to also take back a future that has been stolen.

    Pictures can be found at http://www.carrborocommune.wordpress.com and http://www.trianarchy.wordpress.com

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