HANDS OFF OCCUPY CHARLOTTE!
The Coalition to March on Wall Street South stands in solidarity with Occupy Charlotte [www.OccupyClt.net] and the occupation of Marshall Park and supports Occupy Charlotte's statement, which follows:
"Occupy Charlotte, NC, is calling for support of our peaceful Occupation of Marshall Park in the Wall Street of the South. During the Democratic National Convention our voices will be heard.
Hundreds from across the country are already here. Thousands are on their way.
Come and join us! This is the hour! This is the moment!
Any repression of this Occupation would be a black eye on the City of Charlotte and the Democratic National Convention at a national and international level. This would be a greater embarrassment to the City and the DNC than an inconvenience to us. The whole world is watching."
2012-09-03 "2500 march on Wall St South: We need jobs, housing justice, not war!" from "Coalition to March on Wall St South":
"Coalition to March on Wall St South", Building People’s Power at the Democratic National Convention
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Braving extreme heat, more than 2,500 people from throughout the South and across the U.S. filled the streets of Charlotte on Sun., Sept. 2 for the March on Wall Street South. The demonstration confronted the banks and corporations headquartered in Charlotte that are wreaking havoc on communities throughout the country, and raised a people’s agenda for jobs and justice as the Democratic National Convention convenes here.
Participants came from cities throughout North Carolina, including Winston-Salem, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount, Greenville, Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Wilmington. Many traveled hours from cities such as Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA; Greenville, MS; Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY. A bus of more than 40 people, many of whom being foreclosed on by Bank of America and who are unemployed, spent 15 hours traveling from Detroit, MI.
The No Papers No Fear bus, which left Phoenix, AZ on July 29 with more than 40 undocumented people to arrive in Charlotte for the DNC, also joined the march with a spirited contingent against the deportations and criminalization of immigrant communities.
Also on the march were an unemployed workers contingent, a Southern labor contingent, a contingent against U.S. wars being waged at home and abroad, a no war no warming contingent, an LGBTQ contingent, and more.
“This was an historic demonstration that built an unprecedented level of unity between so many different groups and struggles on a grassroots level,” said Yen Alcala, an organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South and Occupy Charlotte. “The March on Wall Street South showed what is possible when we unite, and pointed the finger at those who are responsible for the injustices being experienced by the 99% - the banks and corporations, and a political system that is controlled by the 1%. Building people’s power from the bottom up is the only solution to win jobs and justice for poor and working people.”
Along the march, demonstrators stopped in front of the Bank of America’s world headquarters and Duke Energy’s headquarters. At each stop, people who have been directly impacted by the practices of these banks and corporations --whose homes are being foreclosed on, who have massive amounts of student loan debt, and whose communities are being devastated by coal mining and energy rate hikes -- spoke out and exposed these profit gauging institutions.
“The March on Wall Street South was a tremendous success,” said Elena Everett, another Coalition organizer. “Our message for jobs and justice was heard loud and clear by the bankers and the politicians of both parties. But this is just the beginning. We know that the only way that real change has ever been won is when people come together, get organized, and build social movements to raise demands to the powers that be. And that’s exactly what we’re doing -- building a movement for jobs, education, healthcare, the environment, housing, and against wars, racism and bigotry, deportations, and jails.”
Throughout the remainder of the week, the MOWSS coalition will be supporting actions and events being developed by other groups, including the Undocubus and the Southern Workers Assembly on Sept. 3 at Wedgewood Baptist Church. The Coalition will also be mobilizing support for the reoccupation of Marshall Park being led by Occupy Charlotte.
2012-09-04 "Wall Street South March on the DNC: Good Cop, Bad Cop" by Jen Schradie from "Common Dreams"
Jen Schradie is a freelance writer and a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley in the Sociology Department. Jen is affiliated with the Berkeley Center for New Media.
I was initially surprised at the demeanor of the police in Charlotte during the Wall Street South March on the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Even though I lived in North Carolina for 14 years, I always relish the cordiality when I return. But friendliness by cops at a protest?
Last fall I had witnessed aggressive Oakland police in full riot gear during countless occupy marches, club-bearing University of California-Berkeley police attacking students, and I was even arrested by nervous and edgy mall cops while videotaping a Black Friday protest in Raleigh. So today I was taken aback by the police officer who stopped to help me pick up some things I dropped and who was one of a dozen police officers who interacted with me using kind words.
Explaining this behavior isn’t simply a question of southern hospitality. While police officers, yes, are people, too, and are facing cutbacks like many public employees across the country, the Charlotte effect was more than that.
First, cops could afford to be friendly. Literally. The DNC poured in 50 millions of dollars to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. This helped fund the nifty bicycles and helmets they wore as they escorted protesters. But it also funded countless security cameras and Spot Shotters. But they also could afford the pleasantries because police seemed to outnumber protesters, so there was no threat to their power. An estimated 1000 protesters marched on September 2, but their numbers paled in comparison to the police presence, which included city police from around the state, as well as county and federal law enforcement.
Second, however, the kind behavior didn’t last. As the march began to approach the city center, the finance capital hub of the city and much of the country, the smiles faded. The cops on bikes lining the parade route changed to metal barricades. For a moment, I stepped off of the street protest to walk a bit faster on the sidewalk, but that proved problematic. The police would no longer let anyone into the march nor let anyone out. I was told that because I wasn’t “credentialed,” I couldn’t get in, but I witnessed several mainstream media journalists trapped as well. Yes, trapped. With the metal barricades and police officers lining every inch of the curb, activists and journalists inside were “kettled.” This means that the people inside would have had no escape if an incident triggered police use of teargas or other means of assaulting protesters. It also meant that people couldn't join the march. One couple, with baby in tow, expressed frustration at not being able to participate in the march. "We kept trying to get in at various parts of the march but kept being turned away by the police," said the mother.
In effect, the barricades – both human and metal – were protecting the financial interests lining this part of the parade route, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Both sides understand the target of the protests. And the banks won't play nice, either.
Police officers observe protestors marching in the 'Wall Street South March', Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. Demonstrators are protesting before the start of the Democratic National Convention. (AP/Patrick Semansky)
2012-08-30 "March on Wall St South Press Conference Shares Plans for March of Thousands" from "Coalition to March on Wall St South"
On Wednesday, August 29th the Coalition to March on Wall Street South held a press conference in Charlotte, NC at 11am in Marshall Park, at the statue dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. along 3rd Street. The press conference announced the Coalition’s support of demonstrations at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, as well as the final plans for demonstrations before and during the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
The March on Wall Street South will step off at 1pm, and pass by the international headquarters of Bank of America, the eastern regional headquarters of Wells Fargo, the headquarters of Duke Energy, and the Time Warner Cable Arena and Bank of America Stadium where the Democratic National Convention will be held.
“Along the march, we’ll have two people’s speakouts in front of Bank of America and Duke Energy,” said Yen Alcala, an organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South. “At these stops, people who have been directly impacted by these banks and corporations -- who are having their homes foreclosed, who have thousands of dollars of student loan debt, who are having their communities destroyed by dirty energy practices, and who’s communities are targeted by the prison industrial complex -- will speak out and put the banks on trial.”
Hundreds will march in issue-based contingents such as:
* The Unemployed Workers contingent
* “No Papers No Fear/Sin Papeles y Sin Miedo” Undocumented and Immigrants’ Rights contingent, organized by the Undocubus -- a bus of more than 40 undocumented people who started their journey in Arizona and will end at the DNC in Charlotte
* a youth and student-led contingent calling for an end to budget cuts and tuition hikes, and to stop the school-to-prison-pipeline
* “Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer people are part of the 99%”contingent
* “Workers Rights are Human Rights! Organize the South” contingent, who will be organizing the Southern Workers Assembly on Labor Day
* “Housing is a Right! Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions!” contingent
* No war, No warming! Stop the Wars @ Home and Abroad! contingent
Following the march, there will also be a short closing rally beginning at 4pm at Frazier Park.
“We are excited to welcome a number of prominent organizers, activists, and performers from throughout the South and the U.S. to join us at the March on Wall Street South,” said Phyllis Jones, a retiree working with the Coalition. “Just a few of the people who will speak from the main stage include in the March include Cindy Foster, President of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council, Yen Alcala of Occupy Charlotte, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, the Undocubus, Mary Espinosa from United 4 the Dream, Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Workers Center, Saladin Muhammad of Black Workers for Justice, John Heuer with Veterans for Peace, Monica Embrey with Greenpeace, Marilyn Levin with the United National Antiwar Coalition, and Victor Toro with the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant’s Rights, among many others.”
Michael Zytkow, member of the Coalition to March on Wall Street South and Occupy Charlotte, spoke on the Coalition's solidarity with the ongoing protests at the RNC.
Cindy Foster, a member of the American Postal Workers Union and President of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council spoke on the Southern Workers Assembly set for Monday, September 3. The Southern Workers Assembly will bring together workers and unions from throughout the South to testify about the impacts of right to work and other anti-union laws in the South. The Assembly seeks to build an alliance of rank and file unions in the South to challenge these laws and other anti-worker conditions. The Assembly will begin at 1pm at Wedgewood Baptist Church (4800 Wedgewood Drive in Charlotte)
Carly Campbell, a youth organizer who has been working on building the Festivaliberacion, spoke about the plans for this exciting gathering led by immigrant youth and other youth and student organizations.
Ernesto Lopez is a Community Organizer associated with the Puente Movement in Arizona who has been working with the migrant community for 7 years. He has worked on Get out the vote Campaigns, struggled against the racist, anti-immigrant law known as SB 1070, built the Arrest Arpaio Campaigns against the infamously racist sheriff, as well as other community building efforts in Arizona. He spoke on the No Papers No Fear bus ride, a mobilization of youth traveling through the country to oppose the repression of undocumented workers. His remarks brought out the need to fight against anti-immigrant bigotry and deportations.
The festival will begin at 12 noon at Area 15 (514 E. 15th Street) and feature a series of workshops and political discussions, and culminate in a concert starting at 5:30 p.m. and continuing through the evening featuring local artists and national artists Jasiri X from Pittsburgh, along with Rebel Diaz and the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective from the Bronx, NY.
The press conference was attended by 15 different media outlets, and was widely covered. All 5 local TV stations came out, the Charlotte Observer, WFAE, AP, New York Times, NBC News (that syndicates to 300 stations around the country), WBT (a radio station), and 102.3 FM.
Some of the coverage follows: