The CVS/Norlina building at Greensboro & Weaver Streets in Carrboro has been occupied


Press release from Occupiers

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”

About an hour ago, I was in the building that is under occupation, which I will call the Crossroads Building because that term has been used in the past when the community had high hopes for the site. Mark Chilton was inside speaking to reporters. I said to him "This is going to be handled differently, right?" My reference was, of course, to the outrageous police assault on the Yates demonstrators. Mark replied "It already is being handled differently." James Coley

There will be lots more info about this later. Here are the updates Carrboro Mayor Marck Chilton posted on Facebook tonight:Some folks have taken over the old bank building at Weaver and Greensboro. I am inside trying to enforce NC law.I am not in support of their actions. I am only here to prevent property damage,I don't think there's gonna be a dance party.Some people in here are polite, Some are rude. We are occassionally discussing property law.I am occupying the occupation.Then:All clear. No injuries or arrests.

The site reports that "the occupation is over." James Coley

.... Since when can people move into the building owned by another and think it ok?  Since when can a single "group" of people tell a Town what business can or can not maintain their business at that location when Town Officials have approved it?  If our House of Senate approves something and this group called "OCCUPY CARRBORO" doesn't like it as they think it isn't for the good of their city, are they going to "occupy" the House and Senate?  This "OCCUPY CARRBORO" group had intended to remained permanently... do they not work?   The article indicates this same group of folks "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 companies or town bureaucrats or politicians".  WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MAYOR AND ALDERMEN ARE FOR... YOU VOTED THEM IN FOR THIS JOB!!  They were not voted in to be seat warmers.  And if the building had belonged to me and you had "occupied" it, I would have had you arrested for trespassing.. and be even more determined to put my business there.  Why not express your opinion to your Mayor/Aldermen in a mature adult manner and not make Carrboro look as if all their residents are a bunch of rebels.

I heard tell that the pizza delivery came from Domino's.  Can't help but wonder if someone wanting to make fun of them ordered it and had it delivered to them.In the interest of full disclosure, my guys order pizza from Domino's.  So I'm not one to throw stones or cast aspersions on this subject (though you can bet we've had some discussions about other options) but I can't help but enjoy the little ironies that life presesnts every now and again. Linda Convissor

I didn't see which company attempted to deliver the pizza (because it did not arrive), but it was definitely ordered from within the building.When I first arrived I told everyone that they were breaking the law and asked them to leave.  I asked the folks inside the building what their plan was and they responded by asking what mine was.  I told them (accurately) that I was still working on that.  One of them shouted 'ice cream,' so I told them I'd be glad to provide ice cream for anyone who would leave.The ice cream was delivered to the parking lot across the street, but I never saw whether anyone took me up on it. I was seated inside at the time.

the pizza was delivered by Dominos, an irony which was not lost on many. It was ordered by the woman who was live-streaming the event. She was standing by Modern Fossil when she placed the order.

I say again, ICE CREAM?! Mark, if you'd have called me, I'd have come down and occupied the building, just to get the free ice cream. You have my telephone number. You never call me any more, Mark ...

There are those of us for whom Occupy is a serious transformational movement, aimed at bringing new energy to the fight for economic and social justice globally, in the nation and in our local communities.Then there are those for whom Occupy is a game of musical chairs - see who can Occupy the last empty building standing.Just to be absolutely clear, I am not aligned with the latter grouping ...

After what happened at the Yates building I was certain the next takeover was going to happen in Carrboro.  Would you rather be handcuffed and arrested or get ice cream from the Mayor?  Ice cream is deliciously symbolic, highlighting the childishness of the anarchists.The bigger question for our elected officials in both towns is how to handle these people with the best interests of the community for the long term.  Each time they attempt to confiscate another property it increases the odds of someone getting hurt, and make no mistake: the anarchists will take no responsibility for damage to people or property; the police and officials will be blamed for everything. The main reason I can't take these people seriously is they have no intention of working with the community to achieve their goals.  They make no attempt to define what they want and work with the community to gather support, they just want to use force to take whatever looks like an easy target.  Perhaps I'm giving them too much respect, though, for a group that has no actual goals other than playing at revolution. 

I think the biggest difference beween this and the Yates occupation is that the government didn't step into the anarchists' self-fulfilling prophecy of being oppressive, jack-booted thugs. That leaves the squatters looking like nothing more than the petulant jerks that they are.Though I am kind of surprised that people would bother to take the political action of breaking the law without being willing to follow-through with getting arrested. Methinks the the anarchists need a little more training in direct action tactics.

 I thought there was a particularly interesting part of the discussion following the occupiers departure from the building, as reported on the Indy's triangulator blog: "Afterward though, when [Mayor Chilton] asked the group if Carrboro handled the CVS situation better than the Yates ordeal, Carrboro Commune members said no, that in both a potential community center was quashed."I wonder what they thought would happen?  Did they genuinely expect they would be allowed to take the building without response from the government?  I got quite a lecture from some in the assembled crowd about how violently and under threat of force they were removed, though at no point were any weapons drawn; no one was injured in any way; no one was bodily removed from the building; no one was arrested.  Only two (three?) police officers ever even entered the building while it was occupied.  The police officers involved had their sidearms holstered on their belts at all times.  No gun or other weapon was ever pointed at anyone.It seems to me that the opinion expressed above is greatly at odds with what most folks seem to be saying about Yates Motors.  It seems fair to say that the local community is deeply divided about the tactics that police used at Yates, but I hear very few people suggest that the CHPD was wrong to remove them.The exchange cited by the Indy above would seem to imply that the underlying issue for the protestors in the Yates Motors incident was the fact of their removal, while the issue for most of the community seems to be the manner of their removal.I'm left wondering what would happen if even half of them showed up at a few local government meetings demanding more funding for community meeting space, or services for the homeless, or libraries, or community gardens, or public health, or housing affordability or  . . . well, just about any of the causes they purport to be so concerned about.  But how much fun would that be? 

An interesting point--  there's nothing the community can do short of letting these people take over private property that won't be labeled as violent and oppressive.  By the way, here's some video from WRAL featuring some guy in a nice hat telling an anarchist "you're full of crap!".   The anarchist's idea, turning the CVS location into a free school, seems really strange given the amount of community support for the public schools. Oh, and what's with the masks? If you're going to be doing civil disobedience what's the big deal about being arrested?  As the sentences for the people arrested at the Yate's building show, the actual consequences are practically nonexistent.   The whole thing is so absurd, the only response I can think of is to dress up as a peasant at the next event and put on this skit:  

Once again, just when I think my views are settled, my friends at Occupy turn my world upside down.So. I arrived at General Assembly of Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro last evening, certain Occupiers and I all fire and brimstone about the illegal occupation of the CVS building in Carrboro by Occupy Everything/Carrboro Commune this past Sunday.I thought OCHC opposed trespass on private property. Was I wrong? Do I need to part ways? Others aghast at betrayal, since the OE/CC occupation of CVS occurred right next to an OCHC action, causing confusion and anger in the minds of the public. Where was the respect?And then B and H and J and D and M spoke. And dropped the clanger. Indeed, where was the respect? Who gave OCHC the monopoly on the Occupy franchise in Chapel Hill and Carrboro?Blink. Stare. Gulp. Hmmmmm. Who did, indeed? And so, the bloody thing this non-monotheistic, cross-dressing, non-heteronormative, non-religious higher power (er … you had to be there) gave me, called my brain, turned somersaults.Since Sunday, I have ranted that certain Occupiers have forgotten that we are not only opposed to the 1%; we are also supposed to be supportive of the 99%, many of whom own property. And we should honor their opposition to casual and illegal trespass, and to interference with the communal activity of others.Occupy must act for the 99%, not just a tiny fraction of that 99%. All true. But if we are to allow room in Occupy for all of the 99%, does that not include the anarchists, along with the property-owning community activists? Are we too narrow-minded to find a way?While some angrily made clear last evening that we would not permit the 99% of our community to become the exclusive preserve of OE/CC, who am I or anyone else to say that our community and its Occupy should, in the alternative, be exclusive of OE/CC?Where does that leave us? Short answer – evolving.Longer answer (and I can speak only for myself – the conversation is continuing, and I can’t make it back to meetings until next Tuesday): I am clear in my mind that OCHC does not support the illegal occupation of private property. We are, to use the vernacular which makes some Occupiers uncomfortable, but which serves as common ground for the rest of us, OCHC is the ‘moderate’ extension of Occupy in our community.Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro is the body with which most mainstream progressive/liberal activists in our community should be able to find commons cause, in determining new ways to fight social and economic injustice in the world, in our nation and in our locality.But, don’t take my word for it. Those of you who supported OCHC at the beginning, but have since dwindled, because you worried that OCHC might become extreme, and who felt that concern rekindled by the occupation of CVS by OE/CC, why not come back to General Assemblies of OCHC?The best way to ensure that OCHC is the body which reflects those community-building ideals to which you want it to aspire is to … well … ensure that it does so by attending GA’s, by participating and by voting. You can find out when and where from our web-site.In the meantime, I suspect OE/CC will not go away. The Founding Fathers and Mothers had among their number many anarchists. Who managed to work alongside others with very different political views, to foment a Revolution which did not happen over night.Occupy is barely 6 months old. 99% is a very broad tent. Have we as a nation and a community become less creative than our forebears in 1776?A number of us asked of OE/CC last evening that, in their efforts going forward, they be as respectful as possible of the differences between the separate factions of Occupy locally, and of the fact that the emphasis of OE/CC on … hmm … challenging the community might produce reactions which could impact OCHC, wittingly or unwittingly.By the same token, I learned last evening that the current flows both ways. OE/CC too are entitled to consider themselves an extension of Occupy in our community. I do not necessarily support their actions. They know that. I do not think they build community, in the sense I understand. They know that too. But they do challenge us to think. And they deserve the same respect from me that I ask for from them, as equal ‘franchisees’ in the Occupy movement in our community.Does this leave you confused? If so, no more than me. No more than at least one of my Occupy friends, who, at the end of last night’s meeting, made me very aware of disappointment at my perceived flip-flopping.What can I say? I am not perfect. I am and will (hopefully) always be a work-in-progress. I remain open to the well-articulated views of others. And, in the world in which we find ourselves, where the existing political and economic processes have been proven not to work always to the advantage of ordinary folk, who am I to close my mind and my heart to change? Every day. Every meeting.All I can do is apologize to those I continue to offend with my lack of definitive and rigid narrative on my life’s very weird and very winding journey …


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