by Joe Schwartz
Press release below. More to come, I'm sure.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
> “CARRBORO COMMUNE” OCCUPIES DOWNTOWN BUILDING
> CARRBORO: Today, local residents have occupied a building at 201 North
> Greensboro Street. The occupiers, who are separate from the group Occupy
> Chapel Hill, say the action is “not a temporary protest, but a permanent
> occupation intended to establish a social center in the heart of
> The retail giant CVS, which recently purchased the building from Weaver
> Street Market, has faced near-unanimous opposition from neighbors to their
> attempts to build a 24-hour drug store on the site. According to a
> pamphlet distributed at the Greensboro Street site today, the occupiers
> believe that Carrboro residents “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.”
> The occupiers plan to remain indefinitely, and have invited local
> residents to participate in an open assembly on Sunday, February 5th to
> discuss future plans for the building. Other activities scheduled for the
> occupied building and grounds include free meals, planting community
> gardens, and workshops to share skills on a variety of topics.
> Carrboro and Chapel Hill neighbors are invited to come participate in
> reclaiming community resources for the benefit of all, not simply
> corporate profit.
> More information and ongoing updates can be found on Twitter at
> @carrborocommune or at www.trianarchy.wordpress.com.
> The following is the complete text of a pamphlet distributed by occupiers
> of 201 North Greensboro Street.
> WELCOME BACK!
> As of today, 201 North Greensboro Street is OCCUPIED.
> 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. 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.
> 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
> 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-of-state 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.
> —some autonomous occupiers & anti-capitalists