Sunday, October 9, 2011

What's up with Occupy Charlotte?

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 10/09/2011 No comments
I've been following the national news coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement over the last three weeks or so. And as the rallies and protests spread from New York to other major cities like Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, so did the national media's inclusion of those cities in its coverage. But I hadn't been hearing any mention of Charlotte. Surely the citizens of this country's second largest banking city would get involved, right?

Well, the Occupy Charlotte movement appears to have been quietly building momentum for about two weeks, and this past week and this weekend made its biggest showing yet. An estimated 500 protesters gathered in Uptown Saturday and marched from the old City Hall on East Trade Street to the Bank of America headquarters on Tryon Street. Some even slept outside overnight to continue the rally today. So Charlotte's efforts finally got mentioned in news stories by The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and others over the last 24 hours.

Supporters of Occupy Charlotte gathered in Uptown Saturday. Photo by Enid Valu.

Occupy Charlotte protesters reportedly will also march to the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday. So you'll likely see a lot more local coverage in coming days.

Like many of you, I'm curious to see how this movement progresses nationally and what the overall objectives are. I know the participants are largely rallying against the corporate greed that has ruined this economy, but Occupy Wall Street--and the groups that have spun-off--have been criticized for not having a conventional leader nor a clear organizational structure.

As for Charlotte, I'm a little skeptical about the impact the movement will have here because this city does not have a strong history of successful grassroots organization in the name of protests. This has long been a buttoned-up town. And despite what many across the country might say about the evils of the financial industry, the big banks--Bank of America and Wachovia-turned-Wells-Fargo--have done a lot of great things for this city. You don't want to bite the hand that feeds you, but at the same time a lot of people are already starving (and have lost their jobs and homes) because of some of the greedy and shady practices banks and other big corporations engaged in for years.

Keep up with the Occupy Charlotte movement at these links:


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