Chapel Hill is occupied... kinda

#occupyCHC is in full swing at Chapel Hill's Peace & Justice Plaza. I spent about 6 hours downtown yesterday participating in the kick-off of Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro (a.k.a. #occupyCHC). It was a great event with well over 100 people participating. I'm sure there would have been way more if not for the football traffic and parking situation.

At at 2:30 we held a very participatory consensus-based meeting called the General Assembly. This is part of the extensive organizational structure including organized working groups and decision-making processes developed at Occupy Wall Street in New York (a month old tomorrow!) and passed along to the massive diaspora of occupations including "over 1,500 cities globally and over 100 US cities." For now General Assemblies are scheduled for 6pm daily at Peace & Justice Plaza, although this could change.

One of the group decisions was to establish an on-going encampment at Peace and Justice Plaza, and something like 30 people stayed there last night! As is often the case, I was disappointed to find meet so many committed progressive activists who are so disengaged from politics here at home where they could make a big difference. I was also frustrated to meet so many people that see nonviolence as simply a tactic rather than a foundation of the society we hope to create through these actions.

In addition to the active Twitter hashtag #occupyCHC, they have a website up at Below in one of their recent updates. 

Sunday Morning: One Night Down!

Occupy CH - Oct. 16 - 2am What follows is a summary of our debrief discussion amongst the folks who occupied the Peace & Justice Plaza in front of the Franklin Street post office in Chapel Hill, in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and people’s resistance around the world.


As of this morning, we confirmed over 30 people who stayed all night and slept in tents and sleeping bags on the Plaza.  Dozens of others stayed late and kept company, came early to deliver breakfast and supplies, and stopped by to lend support.


We endured a Franklin Street Saturday night with fairly minimal conflict!  Certainly we had plenty of drunken hecklers telling us to get jobs, but also a large number of passersby who stopped to chat, take literature, and learn about why we’re here.  Our interactions with law enforcement so far have been minimal and cordial.


Some of us will be leaving our tents up throughout the day, to maintain a visual presence and permanence to our occupation.  Some folks will store their tents and gear in the remaining tents, to be reassembled after the General Assembly this evening.


Many thanks to the terrific folks who’ve donated food, hauled off trash and recycling, and helped us find restrooms to use!  At present, we’ve got snacks and breakfast, with more food promised and on the way, but we’ll need ongoing donations of not only food but disposable plates and utensils, napkins, hand sanitizer, and trash bags.  We should be setting up a system for washing and re-using plastic dishes on site this afternoon.  The nearby churches, Chapel of the Cross (Episcopalian) and the University Presbyterian Church, have graciously offered to let us use their restroom facilities while they’re open (8 AM – 9:30 PM); after hours, there are outdoor Port-o-Potties as well as participants who live in local dorms or houses.


-We need more beautiful banners, signs, and creative expressions of resistance!  We’re extremely visible with our tents and signs and tables and people, but we need to be visible with messages as well.  Come by, bring art supplies or pre-made signs & banners or other beautiful things, and lend your creativity to the occupation.

-We’ve got some bees assembling in the food area; it would be great to have some epi pins in case of bee stings and allergies.  Otherwise, we’re fairly well set up with medical supplies, both standard and herbal/alternative, but can always use more.

-We need some more photocopies of key handouts, especially the “Why are we here?” flier (we handed out 500 in one afternoon!)

-We may need some large coolers for perishable food storage.

-We need folks to swing by periodically to haul off bags of trash, recycling, and compost.

-We’re pretty well set for blankets and sleeping bags at this point, though depending on turnout and weather we may need more.


The next General Assembly (GA) will be tonight, Sunday 10/16, at 6 PM.  Working groups will be meeting on their own schedule throughout the day and coming week, and reporting back with updates to the GA.  We’ve also got a number of Occupy-themed events in the works, ranging from workshops & teach-ins to music and dance to protests and marches.  Stay tuned to the website or swing by the Plaza to keep connected!

in solidarity,

Occupy Chapel Hill




Ruby, Thanks for the update.  It's good to see people turning out, though I like to think we "Occupy Chapel Hill" all the time.

 There is a group of us meeting tonight to create a presentation on our proposal that non violence made a part of the rules of engagement. I think that if participation and inclusion of as many people as possible is a major goal, radical, violent tatics will be a determent to people who would otherwise want to participate. Carol Edmonds 

I was very excited about OWS but skeptical about Occupy Chapel Hill. Wouldn't it be destined for disillusionment? How could the message of removing corporate control be made effectively at the post office space? It took me a long while but I finally made my way down there on a rainy tuesday night. There were about 20-30 people there, huddled under trees or under cover. Very calm. The crowd was students but also lots of older folks- including folks I had never seen at protests before. Conversations  about policy, future plans, and politics broke out spontaneously and were lively, wide open and very intelligent. Political spectrum was pretty diverse- including radical folks, free market people, and self proclaimed moderates.  At some point, I realized all my anxieties about the event missed the point- this didn't feel like a protest as spectacle. It didn't seem to be targeted to the people walking by especially- I'm not sure it was even a protest as much as it was a chance for people to meet each other, talk, begin to assert some kind of civic self. I felt foolish for not having the imagination to imagine a demonstration that could exist beyond the cliched ideas of sucess/failure as spectacle. It was interesting and totally unique. That said, it's appeal to those walking by was evident- lots of horns and thumbs up from folks.I wasn't there nearly as long as many many others- and this was just my spontaneous take on a short slice of the entire event. But if you're thinking of going, go. 


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