Anarchists/Carrboro Commune Back for More

That didn't take long:  in a new blog post, the Carrboro Commune announces they're going to be doing some illegal gardening.  The fence that's supposed to be going up will prevent some of that if they can get it installed before March 8, but I imagine a fence isn't going to stop anarchists given you can either hop the fence or cut through it at night. 

The interesting thing about the announcement to me is they now have a press contact, Maria Rowan, and are linking to press coverage of the event.  I wonder if Maria will wear a black mask to the event?



An article was just published at, commenting and correcting a number of inaccuracies to a recently printed Independent article on the newest building takeover. See below:The following are some corrections to and comments on the recent article printed in the Independent on the recent building takeover, by one Carrboro Commune participant. Probably there are many other corrections and comments to be made - I've tried to focus on my own observations and some of the more sly implications of the article at hand. The original article can be found here.First, in terms of numbers, at least 50 or so people participated in the march to and occupation of the building at 201 N. Greensboro St., not "20." While a number of people were inside the building, cleaning up broken glass, building furniture, setting up a gas generator, setting up food and literature tables, and painting the walls, many more were outside engaging the public about the occupation itself. This included distributing hundreds of flyers and letters to neighbors, nearby workers, and businesses which advertised a general assembly the following day, at which people could discuss possible alternative uses for the building (other than the highly unpopular CVS).Second, on a small, humorous note: no one ever asked for or "demanded" ice cream--this was a basically condescending attempt by the Mayor to get people out; it was more or less ignored.Third, on the sentence "Yet neighbors doubt that the anarchists' method is more effective..."  This is beyond inaccuracy - this is just bad, lazy journalism, with the agenda right on the table. A responsible journalist (and editor) would at least try to hide their bias and write, "Yet SOME neighbors...." Did the Independent go and talk to ALL the neighbors surrounding the CVS? I doubt it. Occupiers, however, DID go to door to door that day, and had lots of conversations that were supportive alongside those that expressed concern. Even a Daily Tar Heel reporter managed to find one such supporter for her article printed on Feb 8th, quoted as saying, "“I was walking by and I was intrigued,” he said. “To me, it opens up discussion points and that I think helps their cause.” Several of these supporters came in spite of rain and cold and eviction the following day to participate in an assembly that decided on the gardening action. Yet the Independent seems to have missed this, too. What they did manage to find was the one neighbor (Jeff Herrick) who has been outspoken against the action, primarily because occupiers bypassed a political process he feels beholden to.Fourth, and probably most important, is that the basic narrative arc of this article is fundamentally flawed- that this action created divisions in an otherwise whole community of occupiers, anarchists, neighbors etc. is inaccurate at best. The article asserts that "...the tactics have factionalized the anarchist and Occupy movements." This is completely ridiculous. This action has NOT created any noticeable conflict within those active anarchist or occupy milieus, at least that this active participant has seen. At the assembly which took place on the lawn of the building the day after the action, the overall mood was enthusiastic, the main complaint towards the action being that the building wasnt held long enough. (The media was even there to observe this - where was the Independent?) This was not officially an Occupy Chapel Hill meeting, its true, but many "occupiers" were there. Either way, not exactly the factionalism this article implies!A few more points on this issue: Occupy Chapel Hill has been on the whole very supportive of both the building takeovers. This can be seen in multiple marches supporting those arrested and condemning the police eviction, the fact that some of those arrested at the Yates building were themselves outspoken participants in Occupy Chapel Hill, and by the fact that Nomadic Occupy set up a camp and helped support the occupation at 201 N. Greensboro St.This article could just have easily pointed these things out, along with pointing out the the "Carrboro Commune" participant it quotes (Maria Rowan) was ALSO vocal with Occupy Chapel Hill. If these facts are pointed out, suddenly the entire narrative of this article shifts. But of course the Independent article omits them.On the note about divisions with neighbors - there are many, many different people opposed to the CVS, for many different reasons. This action didn't create these differences; if anything it exposed them. Some believe in the town government process to an almost obsessive degree, others believe this process is fundamentally rigged, or hopeless, or too slow, or illegitimate, and would prefer to see non-governmental, open assemblies make decisions about the space. Some would prefer something like a small business to be located there instead; while others would prefer some kind of social center (a free clinic, a radical library, a community garden, the possibilities are really endless) run by and for community members. Some believe in the private property rights of corporations and absentee landlords, some simply do not. All of these differences existed prior to last Saturday; one could argue that exposing such differences with actions like this, fighting them out, if you will, IS part of political and civil discourse. It is at least more honest than simply pushing them under rug, as Mayor Chilton would seem to prefer.On this subject of division: To some extent, it's logical to expect some level of difference in perspective between some of the neighbors opposed to the CVS on NIMBY-ist, logistical (parking, lighting, etc.) grounds, vs. those opposed to it for reasons of class anger and political perspective (a critique of the power of corporations, the wealthy, and private property in community relations, etc...). In general the Occupy CH and anarchist camps (which are and have always been overlapping groups) fall in this latter category; probably many of the nearby neighbors fall in the former.But it is also very easy to imagine how this occupation, as well as future actions like taking over the lawn of the building for a community garden, can benefit the less political, more "logistical" cause of the neighbors opposed to the CVS: certainly this has lit a fire under the seats of the aldermen, and it is already starting to cost CVS extra money (with talk of a fence, security, etc.) that they would rather not spend. The most obvious course for these neighbors, regardless of their political perspective on private property or corporate power, or even their feelings towards occupiers and anarchists, would be to use this added tension and attention to press their cause further. The MLK to the Malcolm X, if you will.On the subject of the various groupings of neighbors, occupiers, and anarchists, it is amazing to me that the Independent did not take the time or flex the intellectual muscle to point out the obvious: That the opposition of many Carrboro residents to a CVS, and their preference for some kind of community-benefiting space, only begins to make sense in the broader national and international context that characterizes the politics of the Occupy movement (and its anarchist wing).For how else can we really come to understand a small town mayor TWICE evicting a group of peaceful occupiers from an empty building with armed police, but by understanding the origins of an almost religious devotion to private property and capitalism in the US? How else can we understand opposition to the corporate control of public space, even if such opposition appears "apolitical" in character, but by having some kind of critique and understanding of how 21st century global capitalism has developed? It is the same forces that are attempting to bring a new corporate megastore to 201 N. Greensboro St. that birthed the various perspectives of the occupy and anarchist movements - to not draw these obvious connections and opt instead for a sensationalized story about largely non-existant in-fighting is intellectually lazy. Why not just have the Independent endorse Carrboro's political class outright, and be done with it? (Oh wait, they do that...)To further emphasize my original point: None of the "divisions" mentioned in the Indy's article were "created" by Saturday's occupation, as this article would seem to suggest. They already existed, just as vast divisions in class, race, and political access already exist in our town. The mayor, the police, CVS, and much of the wealthier, liberal political class in our town fall basically on one side of these preexisting divisions -- regardless of their personal identities, we have now repeatedly witnessed that their roles are to preserve the status quo as it exists in our town. The question remains for those who do not fall on this side of these divisions, what we will do. Because, while the occupiers may have been evicted, it looks like they'll be back. 

Simon,I have some questions about the attempts to take over the Yates and Greensboro St. buildings that I have not seen addressed in the local media. If you could take the time to help me flesh out my own understanding of what's happening, I would appreciate it. First, there has been quite a bit of criticism of the groups for wanting to create public spaces without having first gone to the elected officials and proposing the idea and asking for help finding a suitable location. The criticism being that you don't really care about the public space as much as creating an anti-government event. In the case of the Carrboro occupation, the building selected is immediately across the street from a town-owned and operated public building which lends some credence to this criticism. Can you please address this issue?Second, more recently criticisms are being leveled about the Occupy groups' commitment to non-violence. As I'm sure you've seen, there have been some accusations that a group called the Black Bloc ("The Cancer in Occupy") has infiltrated the local groups in an attempt to ensure an organized movement cannot occur. "Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement." To your knowledge is the Carrboro Commune group aligned/affiliated with the Black Bloc? I personally can't imagine gardening being a militant activity, but I've been accused of being naive several times recently.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen has created two community gardens (and a school garden at Carrboro Elementary) within the last few years.  Co-incidentally, last night we voted to expand the one at Baldwin Park.  And we have agreed to consider a further expansion of it later this month.  And the Board of Aldermen could probably find room to create some more community gardens.  It's just a question of the amount of public interest in this particular activity. But it seems clear that for the masked folks, it's not so much an issue of having a community garden.  It's more about demonizing government by proving that it will defend "the private property rights of corporations and absentee landlords."  As if anyone (of any political stripe) really harbored any doubt about what position NC/US law takes on that issue.The web postings of the protesters claim that they wish to create various community enhancements such as gardens, community centers, libraries, health clinics, etc.  But the protesters seem to pass up all sorts of opportunities to participate in actual gardens, community centers, libraries and health clinics.  Nor do they advocate to the government for more resources for such programs.  Why?  My guess is because 1) the real issue is not the availability or adequacy of the services, but rather the lack of the service operated according to the protesters' particular political view.  The community garden has rules and there is a committee which is in charge of it.  It's (allegedly) hierarchical and therefore non-anarchist.   2) It's unacceptable to work within the existing political/economic system because (according to this line of thinking) the existing system is irredeemable and needs to be utterly abolished.  And 3) therefore it's not desirable for life to get incrementally better though political engagement because when life gets better, fewer people are oppressed/disenfranchised and the system becomes more stable, which makes the abolishment of the current system less likely to come about.But that's just my speculation.  Perhaps simon or members of the Carrboro Commune could clarify?

I don't disagree with you Mark, but just because the law is written to protect the rights of private property owners, doesn't mean the law is always right. I would also like to see something more community oriented than a CVS go into the targeted space. I think it's a shame that it and the Yates Bldg have sat as empty eyesores for so many years. And I think it is criminal that the Colonial Inn has been allowed to fall apart. How do we distinguish between the community's rights to protect the common and the rights of private property owners? Regardless of what anyone thinks of the tactics being used by Carrboro Commune, I think they are raising issues that deserve serious discussion.

"I don't disagree with you Mark, but just because the law is written to protect the rights of private property owners, doesn't mean the law is always right. I would also like to see something more community oriented than a CVS go into the targeted space."Sorry, but this is drivel.  The law is right, and generally accepted as right in this town, this state, this country, and most civilized countries in the world.  "The Law" also provides for an an accepted practice of local government, and/or it's designees (planning board, etc), providing guidance on what should NOT be allowed on a property: this is controlled through planning, zoning, community-design standards, the various committees in these communities that are staffed not by elected officials, but "by the people".  "The Law" also allows the government, when deemed necessary to protect the public's interest, to exert some control over the property - by condemning buildings, or even by seizing the property via eminent domain.  What "The Law" doesn't allow, and should never allow, is for the government to tell me what to do with my land -- again, it can tell me what I can't do, but it can't tell me I must do "x".  In other words, if I buy a piece of property, in a properly-negotiated arms length transaction, in a location that is historically and currently zoned for commerical use, I'll be damned is someone is going to tell me "congratulations on your purchase, now you are required to use the land to build an herb garden."Also, I don't have any particular love for CVS, but here's what they will do for those that are more, ahem, "community-oriented" (whatever the F%^& that means):-- Employ 2-3 shifts of associates, thereby providing income for local workers-- Provide a safe, convenient location to fulfill prescriptions, one that accepts several different forms of insurance, including one that Walgreens recently decided to quit carrying-- Sell various goods and necessary sundries (food, toiletries, paper products), often at a lower cost than other locations-- Typically, these national chains offer some in-store, low-end preventative care . . . diabetes testing, flu shots, blood pressure checks, etc.. Many of these services are at a reduced, or no, cost to the public.If these "protestors" (and I use quotes to differentiate them from actual protesters who actually fought for something important in their life) really gave a damn, as mentioned earlier, they'd ditch their cute little masks and work on adding value to the already existing community centers, health clinics, libraries, etc. that they claim to be fighting for.  Instead, they are what they are: merely a burr in the butt of our community, but a burr that is currently wasting our elected and staff officials times, and public funds, and private landowners' time/money/energy in dealing with their nonsense.

I agree Terri. I disagree with the protestors' tactics but the issues they raise (and have been raised continually by others) *are* substantial. Its hard to travel around places in NC without mourning what the current state of development and property rights have done to the people and land. Does anyone actually want this? Places that are so disposable and degrading that they are impossible to care about? A system that makes it nearly impossible for working class neighborhoods to endure the latest bubble? Property rights as they stand now are not, of course, necessarily "right" nor eternal- they are in a slow but constant state of change and have been so throughout history. I was part of the original group that started the MLK garden- it wasn't nearly as easy as some are making it out to be (and as my memory serves, it would have been gladly squashed had it not been for the work of Dan Coleman and Randee Haven-O'Donnell). It is hard to believe such a ruckus could erupt over a garden, but I remember being subjected to many of the same deliberately hurtful comments (and even a personal threat or two) that are now aimed at the protestors. Yes, we prevailed, but only because we were privileged with lots of time and resources. This isn't a defense of protestor's tactics (see ), just a reminder that things are complicated.

True, Phil.  Regarding the garden, I think the points you make demonstrate that engagement with local government did work, even if it wasn't a cake walk.  Regarding what private property rights have done to our country's landscape, there's plenty to dislike.

The MLK Jr Park garden is self-organized by the gardeners and operated collectively and democratically by the participants. Therefore, it would appear to meet basic anarchist principles such as Kropotkin's emphasis on mutual aid. Contrary to general impressions, being a jerk is not a fundamental principle of anarchism. Democratic self-organization and cooperation are.

Just got an email today on how to get involved in community gardening: Growing Veggies 101: Organic Gardening Classes Come learn basic techniques and tips to grow organic vegetables in your home or community garden. Monthly classes will be offered at the MLK Jr. Park community garden at 1120 Hillsborough Road in Carrboro. Classes will be held on Sunday afternoons once a month beginning in February. Classes in English will be from 2:00-3:30PM. Classes in Spanish will be from 4:00-5:30PM. Everything from soil preparation to harvest will be covered. Classes will be held rain or shine. A donation of $10 per class is requested, all proceeds will go to the Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden, a project of the Orange County Partnership for Young Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in Orange County arrives at school healthy and ready to succeed. Classes will be taught by Maria Hitt, Growing Healthy Kids garden manager. Come to one class or all! For questions contact Maria Hitt at Please register by the Wednesday prior to each workshop by contacting Cherie Brooks at 919-967-9091 or Donations will be accepted at the time of class. Spring 2012 Schedule of classes February 26, 2012 Soil preparation, bed building tips, planting peas, onions, and other early spring crops, fertilization and composting. Learn how to start tomatoes and other seedlings indoors for summer vegetables. March 18, 2012 How to plant potatoes, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, radish, spinach, and Swiss chard from seeds and plants. Proper plant spacing, fertilization and mulching. Pest of the month: cabbage loopers. Stepping up seedlings to larger pots. April 15, 2012 How to plant beans, melons, corn, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. Watering and water conservation. Pest of the month: potato beetles. Mulching and fertilizing. Starting sweet potato plants.

 For some clarification on the Black Bloc, here's an article from one of the people involved in creating OWS: know it's confusing. Personally, I think of it as one generation having learned from the last generation. It's a way to allow people to participate in activism with less likelihood of being targeted by the FBI, etc.  I can't speak for anyone but myself and I have no doubt my perspective differs from many of my friends. I've watched twenty years of people going to elected officials and proposing ideas. Let's look back to the development of Southern Village and Meadowmont. Our elected officials wanted to require affordable housing within those developments.  Their hands were legally tied. The ideas that are actualized are the ones at which people can throw money. So we'll have Shelton Station instead of some kind of cooperative housing.  We sigh and say - At least more people will be able to walk to their grocery store.  As opposed to - we're holding out for housing that allows people to grow their own food.  At the CVS neighborhood presentation, the representative expressed all the ways that they can't respond to community requests because of insurance companies.  Even the corporations' hands are tied by other corporations in a vicious circle that has all spinning our wheels and being compelled into coercive compromises.While I come at it from a somewhat different ideology, being more of a radical environmentalist than an anarchist, I agree that the system itself is broken. If we want to have transition communities that can respond to the environmental and social challenges that we face in innovative and creative ways, then we have to start questioning our economic and legal systems. The Carrboro Century Center is a venue for dance, theater and classrooms. It also costs money as the town feels compelled to carry insurance. What the Carrboro Commune envisions is an experimental DIY space in which programming is free and open with people coming together and imagining what could happen and claiming the space for that. Think Really Really Free Market all the time. So the two things are entirely different. I would also point out that insurance was a challenge for both the community gardens and the Really Really Free Market. I have seen legality and liability issues sink many a small personal effort in this community and create unnecessary challenges to self sufficiency and transition culture, which is not just an issue for a bunch of privileged people who want to save endangered birds but could be the difference between eating and not eating for the poor now and for the rest of us later if we are faced with continued economic and ecological collapse.      

"The Carrboro Century Center is a venue for dance, theater and classrooms. It also costs money as the town feels compelled to carry insurance. What the Carrboro Commune envisions is an experimental DIY space in which programming is free and open with people coming together and imagining what could happen and claiming the space for that. Think Really Really Free Market all the time. So the two things are entirely different. "Come on, you're trying to come up with uses for a space as an excuse to justify the confiscation of private property.  Never-the-less, I'll ignore all evidence and address this latest gambit: No one is stopping you or any other group from putting together your very own anarchist's clubhouse and having dance parties every night.  Well, the neighbors might complain about the noise and then the cops would come and ask you to turn it down, but other than that. There are numerous non-profits in the community that are able to have their own spaces.  Just look at the facilities and range of programming at the ArtsCenter!What you're overlooking is that owning and maintaining property costs money, and insurance is the least of it. Even if you managed to steal a building from a corporation you'd still have to pay for utilities and upkeep, and without regular maintenance the place would soon be trashed.  Not only that, but the fees for renting public facilities are really cheap.  If the Carrboro Commune wanted to hold an anarchists dance party, you'd only need to get 92 people paying $3 a head to cover the costs.

If you haven't noticed any division between Occupy and anarchists, maybe that's because many of us who are committed to nonviolence and have been working for economic justice for decades have found better uses for our time than arguing with disrespectful, immature, self-righteous activists.I was proud to participate in the first GA at peace and justice plaza, but I have felt much less than welcome at most Occupy events I attended since then. I still work for justice, but camping is not one of the main tactics in my toolbox.

Short VersionAn article in The Independent suggests that the occupation of the CVS building this past weekend has caused division within the Occupy movement in our community. Simon begs to differ. Simon, you are wrong. And you know it.There are those of us within Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro who are struggling to create co-existence with Occupy Everything/Carrboro Commune. But that effort at co-existence is not helped by misrepresenting the fact that the actions of OE/CC deeply disturb some within OCHC, and that the two Occupy entities are very different and very separate – with different agendas, and a different approach to tactics (do we work with our community, or do we confront it?)Longer VersionOccupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro, of which I am an active supporter, has never been “on the whole very supportive of both building takeovers.”Shortly after the eviction of protesters from the Yates building, OCHC issued a press statement, which said that the takeover was neither discussed nor authorized by OCHC’s General Assembly; but rather, was an “autonomous action by a group of people, many of whom do nevertheless identify as part of the larger Occupy Wall Street Movement.”The marches to which you refer, Simon, were not in support of those arrested; but rather, were statements about the appearance of assault rifles on the streets of Chapel Hill.The day after the occupation of the CVS building by the self-declared Occupy Everything/Carrboro Commune, OCHC consensed on the following press release;“Occupy Chapel Hill / Carrboro wants to clarify that it exists as a unique entity with approaches, actions, and ambitions determined solely by what is consensed (agreed upon) during its General assemblies.  The Carrboro Commune takeover of the abandoned building on the corner of Main and Greensboro on Feb. 4 in order to create a community center was not such an action.Occupy Chapel Hill / Carrboro takes a position only on actions that have been consensed by its General Assembly. These actions are proposed by its members, and are subject to debate and amendment.OCHC is committed to inclusivity and transparency. Its members reflect a diverse spectrum of opinions. Everyone is welcome. Its minutes are published on the OCHC website (http:/ Its GAs and activities are, whenever possible, streamed live and archived. We work towards real and positive change in all aspects of our community.”Right. That’s the dry narrative. Now to the nitty-gritty. Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro is NOT Occupy Everything/Carrboro Commune. Period.OCHC has never consensed support for the occupation of private property. Period. It never will. I know this because there are at least two of us within OCHC who would block such a consensus. Period.The only reason, Simon, you can say that you have not noticed any conflict between OCHC and OE/CC arising from the occupation of the CVS building is because you were not at the General Assembly of OCHC this past Tuesday.I think the expression is spitting nails.The mood of some active and regular participants of OCHC going into that Tuesday GA was that they had been set up and betrayed by OE/CC, and by certain of their own OCHC supporters, who had used an OCHC event (the gentle and non-tendentious Nomadic Occupy) as cover for the far more aggressive CVS occupation.Those feeling betrayed were not happy that there were folks skipping in between the OCHC Nomadic Occupy and OE/CC. They were not happy with the occupation of private property by OE/CC. They did not support it. And they were not happy that spokespeople for OE/CC had previously been spokespeople for OCHC.In other words, they were (and for all I know, still are) deeply vexed, precisely because of the overlapping confusion you, Simon, so loudly proclaim as being evidence that we are all one happy-clappy family.This action has, indeed, caused exactly what you deny – “noticeable conflict within those … occupy milieus.”You offer as further evidence of the homogenous happy-clappy your own OE/CC General Assembly, quite ignoring the fact that those who objected to the illegal occupation of the CVS building (the moderate OCHC) were all down the other end of town, at the official OCHC GA, consensing on a press release, saying they had nothing to do with OE/CC.I know nothing of Blac Blocs. I really don’t care. What I do know is this. OCHC is a group of folks who eschew labels. We have one ideal which unites us – finding new ways to end social and economic injustice in the world, in our nation and in our community. By building within our community, not confronting it.We talked long and hard on Tuesday evening. We did not consense. But we began to see some common ground among those participating. It was this. Occupy is about supporting the 99%. That covers a lot of people, a lot of geography and a lot of political orientation. There is more than enough room for all that 99% in our community. But most likely not under one Occupy umbrella.So. OCHC will continue to be the voice of Occupy reaching out in engaging and enrolling ways to the community, attempting to build coalitions, and trying to encourage building within the community.OE/CC can be whatever it chooses to be. But it won’t be OCHC. I can’t speak for OCHC. But I can say that I think there will be those in OCHC who work very hard to ensure that there is never again confusion in anyone’s mind (yours too, Simon) that there is common cause between the two groups, certainly not as far as tactics are concerned.For myself, I moved a long way on Tuesday. I accept now that OCHC has no right to act as if it has the sole franchise on Occupy within our community. But equally, OE/CC has no right to pretend that an overlap exists, when indeed there is quite clear separation.I see OCHC as the moderate extension of Occupy in our community. OE/CC as … um … not so moderate.I see no reason why the two Occupies cannot co-exist. Separately. But that co-existence is going to be made uneasy if attempts are made to blur the distinction, and to misrepresent casual juxtaposition as formal alliance. I buy burgers from both Wendy’s and Burger King. But no-one seriously suggests they are the same company.I guess this thread only goes to prove that those who have a facility for presenting language have an equal potential for abusing it.As always, and as is the practice with all supporters of OCHC, I present these views as my own only.[I have no idea why OP has published this same comment twice. I have tried to delete one of them. I'm running out of time. I give up!]

Actually, Geoff, according to the text I got last night OCHC endorsed "the Carrboro Communee and any community members in creating a community garden on the space occupied by th CVS corporation." I wouldn't know how that came about since I was at the movies, but it sounds to me like we have far more mutual respect and far less division than you are trying to portray to the public. 

Maria, as I made clear at the OCHC GA on Tuesday, I remain open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. That is why I attend OCHC. They purport to have new ways of addressing social and economic injustice that I might find appealing.I also remain open to the possibility that I may, in due course, find that the methods proposed by OCHC do not fit within my concept of community. I am not yet, at the moment, convinced that the system is completely broke. And so, I still remain respectful of property rights and legal systems.As such, had I been at the GA on Tuesday, instead of at work, I would have spoken out forcefully against any endorsement of action that is a trespass upon private property.I understand those who say (and I am paraphrasing) the problem with the system is arbitrary authority, which comes from arbitrary property ownership, which imposes itself through a legal system it has bought.I understand it, but I am not yet ready to endorse it. Not least because I perceive that the community in which Iive, for the most part, also respects property rights and the legal systemAnd so, I will continue to speak out against ilegal occupation and trespass of private property. And I will continue to maintain that OCHC is separate from (but respectful of) OE/CC.

I agree with with much of what you wrote above, Geoff, but I vociferously object to the labels of moderate and not being applied to OccupyCHC and Occupy Everywhere respectively. This is the same trap that may anarchists lay out, making it seem that violence is the radical choice while nonviolence is moderate. Any true scholar of Gandhi or King (or any movements and leaders successfully using nonviolence civil disobedience) can tell you that nonviolence is very often the more difficult and more radical choice. Violence is not just ineffective and hurtful to the community, it BEGETS VIOLENCE. You can't create a world with justice through tactics that are violent, disrespectful, and unfair. You apparently can create a rockon' dance party that way, though.

Coincidentally, I was taking a class called Social Change and Meditation last semester and had to read quite a bit of King and Gandhi, though I'm not as good at quoting them as other people.  Even as an adolescent, I was more inclined to Sojourner Truth. The week of the Yates occupation, I had to read a 25 page document from the United State Institute of Peace and Justice on nonviolent tactics.  Nothing that happened at Yates, including taunting the police, fell outside the purview of nonviolent action by their definition. Property destruction, which did not happen at Yates or CVS, falls within their definition of  nonviolence and occupying property definitely does.There's a serious lack of agreement on what constitutes violence and nonviolence. Talking about what specific tactics are comfortable or uncomfortable for each of us personally is useful. Throwing around the words violence and nonviolence is not.

Can't agree. Verbal assault is violence. While I do not necessarily reject out of hand the beliefs of so-called anarchists (someone keeps telling me that my adovcacy with Weaver Street proves I am one - sigh!), I do object to the seeming hypocrisy of the tactics employed by some self-described anarchists.I do not see how one can argue against the 'violence' of corporations towards people; in favor of respect for people and the earth over those who would disrespect and violate; and then resort to tactics of verbal violence, invasion and confrontation.

While we're all having a jolly good time bandying around self-definitions, let me add that, as one who does not believe that the system is beyond repair, and as one who believes that the majority of our local community seem to support property rights and the legal system, at least in general, although none of us would be on this site if we thought they were perfect, let me say that I take the view that trespass is as much a violent act against a person as is theft.Folks who do still believe in the system, whether they think it creaking or not, are entitled to our respect when they work hard, save up and buy property, whether possessions or land. Whether or not some of us think it is appropriate to demonstrate against property rights, it is disingenuous to ignore that, if that demonstration involves taking or damaging or occupying someone else's property, it is invasive of them. And for me, that is violence.Frankly, I don't care if Gandhi, MLK or some US Institute says otherwise. I may listen attentively to what they all have to say. Even quote them, if I think they have said something better than I can. But, I no more lean on them as arbitrary authority than anarchists do on the Police and our local government. Ruby thought I had a few good things to say earlier. But I hardly expect her to go jumping around town saying she now regards me as her absolute arbitrary authority on everything.

"Nothing that happened at Yates, including taunting the police, fell outside the purview of nonviolent action by their definition. "I could be wrong, but I don't remember either King or Gandhi saying "off the pigs".  Of course I support the 1st ammendment, but you can't pretend that advocating violence is non-violent.There is also a difference between temporarily protesting inside a facility and outright stealing it.  At both the Yates and CVS events it was made clear the intention was to take ownership of the property on a permanent basis.  

Ruby,Your second paragraph is well written and I agree 100 % .  Violience begets violence .

First, you have not been paying attention if you think the Carrboro elected officials are not constantly working within the context of lawful government to expand and redefine the staus quo. This is what enlightened citizen representatives can do. We need contributions from all angles. Second,  the concept of recognizing our place on the continuum of political evolution and tailoring our actions for effectiveness is explained very well in alderman Dan Coleman's book, "Green Politics". In short, keep your eyes on the vision of justice and equality but understand that the journey toward those goals involves many smaller tasks and accomplishments. Strategy, persistence, and an understanding of how your actions will be received is essential. It is not enough to state or demonstrate something that is true if the result is resistance and misunderstanding. There are no short cuts. 

In the words of the Chapel Hill News:"Raspberries to those activists who can't seem to figure out any more creative or constructive ways to express themselves than seizing or vandalizing somebody else's stuff.We hate to break it to them, but we're pretty sure the vast majority of "the community" the protesters have appointed themselves to represent (do you remember voting for them?) is annoyed by their self-indulgent antics and wishes they would grow up."  Our community is tolerant, yes, but don't make mistake tolerance for support.  The Yates arrests gained the anarchists the appearance of support because of the backlash against the tactics used against them, but once the spotlight is rightfully placed on the anarchist's own behavior the public now see's the group for what they are: a mob of masked thugs who put themselves ahead of the democratic process.

I know of at least two existing community gardens (and I think there are more) that would greatly appreciate more volunteer labor, especially in these cold winter months.  Linda Convissor

What looks like a "yard" on the east (N. Greensboro) side of the building is actually still paved.  When Weaver Street Market bought the building years ago they layed mulch over the pavement there for some reason.   The same thing may have been done on the South (Weaver street) side. Do a little kicking around there and you'll see what I mean.  I'm sure I don't need to tell the Commune folks though, considering their history of careful planning and follow through.

We are in our 4th month now of seeing and hearing in the streets and in the media "All Cops are Bastards" "Off Pigs"  "F--- the pigs! and this weekend's especially chilling call for police to kill themselves.

Anarchists have the right to say these things.  And police, I'm sure, have heard much worse.  But as a progressive, I feel that I have the RESPONSIBILITY to talk back and to let the women and men (many of whom are of color) who are serving us while making a salary well below the median income of our wealthy community that I support them.  These women and men are our friends, neighbors and family members.  In addition to serving us every day at work, many of them  volunteer in our community in their spare time.

If the Tea Party came to town and compared our municipal employees to barnyard animals, would we say nothing?  If the KKK held a demonstration, masked themselves and called for our fellow community members to be killed, would we be silent?

Anarchists, just like the Tea Party and the KKK, have the right to say what they want.  But the lack of conversation in this so called progressive, peaceful community about the hate speech that is dominating the Occupy movement is sickening. 

I think income inequality is the defining issue of our time. I think de-humanizing other human beings distracts from that crucial agenda and the passive reaction to this hate speech speaks volumes about the priorities and class biases of this community.

--Jenny Cook

This comment is spot on.

But I think we also need to be very careful about generalizing to all of the protesters. They are not all using hate speech, and they are not all promoting violence. The conversation has to start somewhere and when people or groups feel like they are not being heard, they get angry and frustrated. Let the conversation begin and the name calling end. And let's everyone develop a thicker skin in the name of progress.

Michael, I don't know whether to be flattered or appalled by the attention to my attire, but since you're so interested, I wore a green sweater, a green botannical patterned scarf, a black skirt and tights with green wool socks with what look like deer mushrooms on them, though an experienced mycologist might not agree. I did have one of my black hooded winter coats with me, but as the room was warm and dry I didn't need it. 


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