The Coalition to March on Wall Street South announced a major victory on May 29. The city of Charlotte granted conditional approval for permits for the Sept. 2 March on Wall Street South — after more than eight months of march and parks permit requests, a national petition campaign and threats of legal action. The march will take place one day prior to the Democratic National Convention.
While coalition organizers must still meet and negotiate with officials, the march route passes the major targets in uptown Charlotte: Bank of America’s world headquarters, Wells Fargo’s eastern headquarters, the Bank of America Stadium and the Time Warner Cable Arena, site of the DNC.
With permits won, the stage is now set for the Sept. 2 demonstration. Thousands of activists are expected to flood the streets of Charlotte to raise a people’s agenda to the big banks and Democratic Party delegates. Their program calls for jobs, human needs, workers’ rights, justice and equality for Black, Latino/a and Native peoples, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. The Call to Action also raises the need to fight for economic and environmental justice, while opposing wars, anti-immigrant repression, racial and political profiling, incarcerations and foreclosures.
Mass campaign key to victory
The coalition launched a national petition campaign in May, after numerous delays and administrative runarounds, unreturned phone calls and being put through bureaucratic hoops. Petitions demanded that the city grant the permits, repeal newly passed repressive protest ordinances and immediately make public the permitting process for actions during the DNC.
More than 1,500 people across the country signed the petition, including prominent leaders from unions and community organizations. Every signature triggered emails to city, county and national officials.
Coalition organizers planned to deliver the petitions to the May 29 Charlotte City Council meeting. Just two hours before the meeting was to start, officials called coalition organizers to inform them that the permits had been granted. Even with this major victory, plans to pack the meeting and speak out moved forward. More than three dozen activists from Occupy Charlotte; Occupy Winston-Salem; United Electrical Workers Local 150; Raleigh Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; Students for a Democratic Society; and other organizations turned out.
“This is a huge victory for democracy,” said Scottie Wingfield, of Occupy Charlotte. “We want to thank the more than 1,500 people from across the country who signed the petition. The eyes of the world are on Charlotte and on how the city will treat those who do not have lobbyists to represent their interests. Our work goes on, and we will continue to call on the city of Charlotte to repeal the repressive protest ordinances they passed earlier this year that grant police extreme power and endanger people’s rights to freely demonstrate.”
The coalition was also preparing to take legal action to secure the permits for the right to demonstrate in Charlotte. Affidavits had been collected from nearly two dozen leaders of organizations from across the U.S., including Marilyn Levin, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition; John Parker of the Southern California Immigration Coalition; George Friday of Move to Amend; the Rev. Cortly C.D. Witherspoon, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Baltimore chapter; Steve Gillis, vice president of Steelworkers Local 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union; and Sara Flounders, International Action Center co-director.
Alissa Elliss of Occupy Durham stressed: “This is a great success. We want to thank the legal team for the amount of work they put in, not only in preparation for the petitions, but also all the preparation that went into facing likely litigation. It was only through the legal team’s hard work and the mass support of petition signers that we were finally able to make the city and county of Charlotte recognize the power of the 99% and give us our right to protest.”
Stage set for March on Wall Street South
March organizers have issued an all-out call for this major demonstration and others during the DNC:
“We welcome all working people who have suffered during this economic crisis to come down to Charlotte on Sunday, September 2,” said Matt Hickson of University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society. He emphasized: “Bank of America and Wells Fargo are responsible for kicking people out of their homes, plunging students and families deep into debt, funding the prison-industrial complex and destroying the environment.
“The Democrats and the Republicans have not addressed the dire situation faced by working people and families in this country. We need jobs, an end to deportations and money for housing, education, health care and people’s needs, not for wars and jails. These are some of the issues we’ll be raising at the March on Wall Street South on September 2 and throughout the week of actions during the DNC.”
For information, see wallstsouth.org, Twitter: @wallstsouth or call 1-704-266-0362.