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.
A campaign to defend families from evictions and protest foreclosure fraud launches next week
Occupy Wall Street is promising a “big day of action” Dec. 6 that will focus on the foreclosure crisis and protest “fraudulent lending practices,” “corrupt securitization,” and illegal evictions by banks.
The day will mark the beginning of an Occupy Our Homes campaign that organizers hope will energize the movement as it moves indoors as well as bring the injustices of the economic crisis into sharp relief.
Many of the details aren’t yet public, but protesters in 20 cities are expected to take part in the day of action next Tuesday. We’ve already seen eviction defenses at foreclosed properties around the country as well as takeovers of vacant properties for homeless families. Occupy Our Homes organizer Abby Clark tells me protesters are planning to “mic-check” (i.e., disrupt) foreclosure auctions as well as launch some new home occupations.
“This is a shift from protesting Wall Street fraud to taking action on behalf of people who were harmed by it. It brings the movement into the neighborhoods and gives people a sense of what’s really at stake,” said Max Berger, one of the Occupy Our Homes organizers and a member of Occupy Wall Street’s movement-building working group.
The backdrop for all this is a new study suggesting the foreclosure crisis is only half over, with 4 million homes in some stage of foreclosure. Meanwhile, reports of illegal or questionable behavior by banks and mortgage lenders continue to stream in.
Like many of the Occupy actions that have focused on specific policy questions, this one is being organized by established progressive and labor-affiliated groups along with their allies in the movement. Among the allied groups listed on Occupy Our Homes’ website, for example, are the New Bottom Line and New York Communities for Change. On the Occupy Wall Street side of things, members of the direct action working group and the movement-building group in New York have been involved in the project.
Occupy Our Homes’ website (which was registered by a former SEIU official) has the trappings of a slick professional campaign, with videos featuring the stories of families facing foreclosures and a pledge visitors are encouraged to sign stating:
… that until the banks do their part to help homeowners and to fix the economy, by writing down mortgage principal to current home values, I will:
- I will support homeowners resisting wrongful foreclosure evictions.
- I will resist any attempt by the bank to take my home.
- If they come to foreclose, I will not go.
“Now with this Occupy movement ramping up, I think we have a significant chance to keep large numbers of people in their home,” Rameau told Democracy Now earlier this month. “[The goal is to] not only force the banks to allow the family to stay in the home. But also then force policy changes that would help thousands of other people for whom we’re not doing eviction defenses.”
We saw a similar dynamic in the preexisting campaign to extend the millionaire’s tax in New York, which has benefited from new energy and a new banner offered by the Occupy movement.
Will the new Occupy push on foreclosures pick up any steam? I’ll be covering whatever happens on Dec. 6, so stay tuned to find out.
By Manuel Valdes, Associated Press
From The Seattle Times:
Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in Seattle, Portland and Oakland have taken up a new tactic in their protests against wealth inequality: Squatting in vacant properties.
In Seattle, protesters have taken over a formerly boarded up duplex across the street from Garfield High School. They have painted the bare wood sidings with green, black and red paint, and they have strung up a banner that says “Occupy Everything – No Banks No Landlords.”
The red and black anarchist flag also decorates the front.
“Too many homeless. Too many unoccupied buildings. That doesn’t make sense,” is the official stance of the duplex occupiers, said Ariel, a demonstrator who declined to give her full name.
Squatting marks a move away from the public demonstrations that have marked protests in cities around the country. The move is an attempt to re-energize the protests in Oakland and Portland – two cities that have seen violent clashes with police.
“Who knows, maybe squatting will be the next pressure point,” said 42-year-old Arlo Stone, who has squatted in Portland and Seattle.
After its eviction, the Occupy Portland encampment scattered. Organizers have called for members of the movement to occupy foreclosed properties on behalf of the former owners who lost the houses.
Occupy Portland organizer Andrea Townsend, 28, said providing a safe, warm place for former members of the Occupy Portland movement should be a focus for the city, and said squatting is a way to keep attention on the issue of homelessness.
“You’re building a self-sustaining community that’s toward what this movement’s about,” said Townsend, a self-described anarchist.
Occupiers in Oakland have also taken over at least one property and are showing other members how to do more squatting. From “Intro to Squatting” to “Property Law and Squatters’ Rights,” a recent “teach-in” in Oakland featured six hours of lessons for squatters. The lessons were given by the San Francisco homeless advocacy group called Homes, Not Jails.
In Seattle, the duplex occupants declined to allow The Associated Press inside, saying they want to remain “under the radar” – even after the official Occupy Seattle website posted about their actions.
There are between eight and 15 people staying at the house on any given day, Ariel said. She said volunteers are fixing electric wiring and installing insulation among other work.
Volunteers could be seen taking trash to a truck on a recent afternoon. A rainwater retainer sits in front of the duplex. The group took over the building more than 10 days ago.
The duplex these Occupy Seattle protesters have taken over was owned by a couple who held several properties in the region, including a multimillion waterfront home on Mercer Island that has also been foreclosed. One of them died in 2009. It wasn’t immediately clear if the owner had a listed phone number.
The building is located in Seattle’s Central District, a historically African-American and working class neighborhood that has seen gentrification over the years.
Still, Ariel said the main reason they chose this house was because it was vacant for several years.
Garfield High School’s principal hasn’t fielded any complaints about the Occupy house, Seattle Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said.
“He said he has not observed any changes to the school environment as a result of the Occupy Seattle folks being across the street,” she said.
Seattle police are aware of the people squatting, but haven’t received any phone calls about it, spokesman Mark Jamieson said.
Things weren’t as welcoming in Portland.
Police moved in and evicted more than a dozen occupiers in a foreclosed home in northeast Portland more than 10 days ago. Two people were arrested, while the rest left without incident, according to police.
Another three people were evicted from houses on Monday, but Sgt. Pete Simpson said it’s unknown whether the squatters were members of the Occupy Portland encampment that was evicted on Nov. 13.
Simpson said he’s aware that the movement called for people to occupy foreclosed homes, but said it’s difficult to distinguish between the people who would squat in homes as a political statement and those that do it for shelter.
“The vacant property issue is of concern in cities nationwide,” Simpson said. “We’ll treat them all as trespassers.”
Associated Press writer Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.
Valdes can be reached at twitter.com/ByManuelValdes
An occupation guide out of Santa Cruz and Baltimore that provides an introduction to consensus decision-making, know your rights info, and contextualizes US occupation in the context of recent international uprisings.
The ultra-rich have us by the throats and they’ve had us by the throats for a long, long time.
While the rest of us suffer through a worldwide economic crisis, the people at the top are just getting richer. In a 2011 study, the richest 20% of the country had 85% of the privately held wealth. For the rest of us, nothing’s getting better: the state is closing schools and libraries, rolling back social services, shutting down bus lines and state parks.
But an international movement has sprung up to challenge the foundations of our global system of corporatism and greed. It’s a protest movement qualitatively different from any that has come before, a uniquely 21st century form. It’s a movement without party politics. It’s a movement inspired by the advances of communication that have allowed us to function without authority, allowing every voice to at last be weighed truly as equal. It’s a movement that doesn’t bring a list of demands to the powers that be but instead suggests that we can build a different society.
The wealth that it takes to get us out of this mess is right in front of us—we know because we are the ones who created it. We designed and built the cities. We # y the planes, crunch the numbers, grow the food, write the software, and do everything it takes to keep this society running. All the wealthiest do is sit there and watch their money make more money.
The wealth is right in front of us and yet they tell us there isn’t enough to feed us, to educate us. They’re lying. Maybe they’re lying to themselves, maybe they’re lying to us—it doesn’t matter. They don’t matter. We don’t need them.
We are the 99% and we are more powerful than they’ll ever be.
By Benjamin Dang, Toward Freedom
Massive buildings tower over Wall Street, making the sidewalks feel like valleys in an urban mountain range. The incense, drum beats and chants of Occupy Wall Street echo down New York City’s financial district from Liberty Plaza, where thousands of activists have converged to protest economic injustice and fight for a better world.
As unemployment and poverty in the US reaches record levels, the protest is catching on, with hundreds of parallel occupations sprouting up across the country. It was a similar disparity in economic and political power that led people to the streets in the Arab Spring, and in Wisconsin, Greece, Spain and London. Occupy Wall Street is part of this global revolt. This new movement in the US also shares much in common with uprisings in another part of the world: Latin America.
This report from Liberty Plaza connects tactics and philosophies surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement with similar movements in Latin America, from the popular assemblies and occupation of factories during Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001-2002, to grassroots struggles for land in Brazil.
Latin America: Economic Crisis and Grassroots Responses
Almost overnight in late 2001, Argentina went from having one of the strongest economies in South America to one of the weakest. During this economic crash, the financial system collapsed like a house of cards and banks shut their doors. Faced with such immediate economic strife and unemployment, many Argentines banded together to create a new society out of the wreckage of the old. Poverty, homelessness, and unemployment were countered with barter systems, factory occupations, communally-run kitchens, and alternative currency. Neighborhood assemblies provided solidarity, support and vital spaces for discussion in communities across the country. Ongoing protests kicked out five presidents in two weeks, and the movements that emerged from this period transformed the social and political fabric of Argentina.
These activities reflect those taking place at Occupy Wall Street and in other actions around the US right now. Such events in Argentina and the US are marked by dissatisfaction with the political and economic system in the face of crisis, and involve people working together for solutions on a grassroots level. For many people in Argentina and the US, desperation pushed them toward taking matters into their own hands.
Infoshop News (October 1, 2011) — The Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City continue to grow after two weeks. They’ve braved bad weather and police brutality. A march this afternoon took thousands of protesters to the Brooklyn Bridge. Reports are coming in that the police are arresting people.
The Occupy movement has spread to other cities, including Chicago, Miami, Kansas City and Denver. The protests are now getting widespread media coverage.
- New York: Protest enters third week
- New York: Around 700 arrested this weekend.
- As Wall Street protest enters 3rd week, movement gains steam nationwide
- Getting A Boost From Unions And Online Tools, Occupy Wall Street Protests Go Global
- Occupy Seattle protests against corporate America
- Inside Occupy Wall Street: A Tour of Activist Encampment at the Heart of Growing Protest
- Wall St. protesters shut down Brooklyn Bridge
- Wall Street Protest Starting to Look Like Egypt
- Wall Street protests spread to other cities
- Economic protesters gather at Los Angeles City Hall
- Occupy Wall Street protests grow amid Radiohead rumour
- NYC: Wall Street protesters march on police
- ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests Spread Across the Country
Local Occupy Events
- Occupy Austin
- Occupy Boston
- Occupy Canada
- Occupy Chicago
- Occupy Denver
- Occupy Dallas
- Occupy Houston
- Occupy Philadelphia
- Occupy Portland
- Occupy San Francisco
- Occupy Seattle
- Occupy Tampa
On behalf of our union, the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World sends our support and solidarity to the occupation of Wall Street, those determined to hold accountable our oppressors.
This occupation on Wall Street calls into question the very foundation in which the capitalist system is based, and its relentless desire to place profit over and above all else.
When 1% of the ruling class holds the wealth created by the other 99%, it is clear that the watchwords found in our union’s preamble, “the working class and the employing class have nothing in common”, ring true more than ever.?The IWW does not follow a business union model. We believe that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common and we don’t foster illusions to the contrary.
Throughout the world, from Egypt to Greece, from China to Madison, Wisconsin, working class people are starting to rise up. The IWW welcomes this. We see the occupation of Wall Street as another step – no matter how large or small – in this process.
The Occupy Wall Street happening has managed to make me feel both old and young at the same time. Old, perhaps, because I am, and because I am not out there sleeping in the streets, staying up half the night, having fun, discussing politics and philosophy, drinking wine, and doing who knows what else. Old, because I have grown cynical while these “kids” are still full of hope and power and passion and all that being young is. It makes me feel young because despite it all I relate so well to it, the birth of something new without the machinations of the old old and old new lefts.
The young people protesting in Wall Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to reclaim the future
Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?
Scores of protesters were arrested in Manhattan Saturday as a march against social inequality turned violent.
Hundreds of people carrying banners and chanting “shame, shame” walked between Zuccotti Park, near Wall St., and Union Square calling for changes to a financial system they say unjustly benefits the rich and harms the poor.
At least 80 people were carted away in police vehicles and up to five were hit with pepper spray near 12th St. and Fifth Ave., where tensions became especially high, police and organizers said.
The National Lawyer’s Guild, which is providing legal assistance to the protesters, put the number of arrests at 100.
Witnesses said they saw three stunned women collapse on the ground screaming after they were sprayed in the face.
There were 60-80 arrests at an Occupy Wall Street demo Saturday afternoon, including a handful of NYC-area Wobblies, one of whom is reported to have suffered a critical head injury. The organizers are asking folks to support the arrestees by calling the police stations to demand their release. Details here.
Journalist Chris Hedges put in an appearance at the Occupy Wall Street protest on Sunday morning and engaged in a lengthy interview, during which he described the protest as “really where the hope of America lies.”
More updates at OccupyWallSt.org…
This is the first communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street.
On September 17th, 2011, approximately 2,000 of us marched on the Financial District. At twelve noon, a detachment of us marched on the head of Wall Street and formed a spontaneous blockade, prompting the New York Police Department to threaten arrest. Speakers including the Reverend Billy Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping, and actress Rosanne Barr spoke on the steps of the American Indian Smithsonian Museum to the crowd, which included conscious rappers Lupe Fiasco and Immortal Technique.
Over 1,000 of us marched from Bowling Green Park amid heavy police presence, across the Financial District and chanting “Wall Street is our street” and “power to the people, not to the banks.” Many stayed at One Liberty Plaza, where later in the evening a meal was served and water was distributed. Song, dance, puppetry, and other art added cheer across the plaza.
Two thousand strong, we held a general assembly, based upon a consensus-driven decision-making process. Decisions were made for the group to occupy One Liberty Plaza in the Wall Street corridor through the evening, bedding down in sleeping bags and donated blankets. By 7 AM ET Sunday morning, we still held the plaza under constant police presence. Another assembly is scheduled for 10 AM ET today.
We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choices to march on Wall Street to our decision to camp at One Liberty Plaza were decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group.
This is the second communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street.
On September 18th, 2011, about 400 of us woke up in the Financial District amidst heavy police presence. After an impromptu dance party, we resumed our General Assembly in One Liberty Plaza around ten in the morning. We made our demands heard, which are many but revolve around a common point: our voice will no longer be ignored.
At noon a large group of us marched through the Financial District and Battery Park chanting “this is what democracy looks like.” During our march many onlookers joined our ranks, while many more expressed solidarity with our cause. By the time the detachment returned to One Liberty Plaza over 100 sympathizers had joined us. Our efforts were bolstered by generous donations of food and water from across the country and the world. As the day progressed our numbers continued to grow, and by three in the afternoon we were more than a thousand strong.
Before sunset 500 of us marched on the Financial District, where hundreds of onlookers joined us. After we reconvened the General Assembly the police demanded we remove our signs, but they did it for us instead. Later, they threatened to arrest us for using a bullhorn, so we spoke together in one voice, louder than any amplifier.
We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choice to march on Wall Street to our decision to continue occupying One Liberty Plaza, were decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group.
We’re still here. We intend to stay until we see movements toward real change in our country and the world. This is the third communiqué from the 99 percent.
Today, we occupied Wall Street from the heart of the Financial District. Starting at 8:00 AM, we began a march through the Wall Street area, rolling through the blocks around the New York Stock Exchange. At 9:30 AM, we rang our own “morning bell” to start a “people’s exchange,” which we brought back to Liberty Plaza. Two more marches occurred during the day around the Wall Street district, each drawing more supporters to us.
Hundreds of us have been occupying One Liberty Plaza, a park in the heart of the Wall Street district, since Saturday afternoon. We have marched on the Financial District, held a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen victims of Wall Street, and filled the plaza with song, dance, and spontaneous acts of liberation.
Food has been donated to the plaza from supporters all over the world. Online donations for pizza, falafels, and other food are coming in from supporters in Omaha, Madrid, Montreal, and other cities, and have exceeded $8,660. (Link to donate: www.wepay.com/donate/99275)
On Saturday we held a general assembly, two thousand strong, based on a consensus-driven decision-making process. Decisions were made for the group to occupy Liberty Plaza in the Wall Street corridor, bedding down in sleeping bags and donated blankets. By 8:00 PM on Monday we still held the plaza, despite constant police presence.
We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choices to march on Wall Street to our decision to camp at Liberty Plaza were decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group. We are building the world that we want to see, based on human need and sustainability, not corporate greed.
Planned and spontaneous actions will continue throughout the coming days. Expect us.
#OCCUPYWALLSTREET is happening right now at Liberty Plaza!
It started last Saturday, when 5,000 Americans descended on to the financial district of Lower Manhattan, waved signs, unfurled banners, beat drums, chanted slogans and proceeded to walk towards the “financial Gomorrah” of the nation. They vowed to “occupy Wall Street” and to “bring justice to the bankers”, but the New York police thwarted their efforts, locking down the symbolic street with barricades and checkpoints. Undeterred, protesters walked laps around the area before holding a people’s assembly and setting up a semi-permanent protest encampment in a park on Liberty Street, a stone’s throw from Wall Street and a block from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Three hundred spent the night, several hundred reinforcements arrived the next day and as we write this, the encampment is digging in for a long-term stay. #OCCUPYWALLSTREET has been established in Zuccotti Park, which has now been renamed Liberty Plaza. With Liberty Plaza liberated, and acting as a base in the financial district, the indignados have been sending out raiding parties to nearby Wall Street and beyond.
Bravo to those courageous souls in the encampment on New York’s Liberty Street. Every night that #OCCUPYWALLSTREET continues will escalate the possibility of a full-fledged global uprising against business as usual.
Now, it is crucial for everyone from all over the world to flock to the encampment. Call in to work sick, invite your friends and hop on a bus or plane to New York City.
We need you at Liberty Plaza!
for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ
This weekend, people converged on New York City and Wall Street for a new round of protests against international capitalism. The time is ripe for a rejuvenated anti-capitalist movement, given the global economic crisis, the expanding class war by the rich against the poor, and economic austerity measures being inflicted on working people. Even New York mayor Bloomberg is warning that economic riots are coming to the United States.
The Occupy Wall Street protest was called by Adbusters magazine and includes other groups.
- Day 3: Wall Street Areas Blocked Off as Police Monitor Bank Protests
- The call to occupy Wall Street resonates around the world
- “Occupy Wall Street”: Thousands March in NYC Financial District, Set Up Protest Encampment
- Protesters Converge on Lower Manhattan, Plan ‘Occupation’
- Wall Street Protest Begins, With Demonstrators Blocked
- Thousands to protest on Wall Street for US Day of Rage September 17, 2011
- Photos: Anonymous’s Occupation Of Wall Street
- Protests show disillusionment with Wall Street capitalism