Occupy movement comes to Valley, Charlottesville
The Occupy Wall Street movement that has brought international attention to issues of income inequality and the redistribution of weatlh to the superwealthy has spawned sister movements in Staunton and Charlottesville.
A newly-formed Occupy Staunton/Unify Main Street group is coordinating a rally on Thursday to support Communication Workers of America Local 2204 and its efforts to renegotiate a new labor contract with Verizon.
The 4 p.m. rally will be held in front of the local Verizon corporate headquarters at 22 Christians Creek Road in Staunton.
A press release sent by the group notes that the event “is not a strike against Verizon.”
Rather, as a reflection of recent displays of solidarity among citizens supporting the demonstrators currently occupying Wall Street, this Unify Main Street event represents a new strategy on the part of traditional labor union organizers to join with members of other non-union groups dedicated to reforming the current political system in America that affords untold economic advantages to a smallminority of rich people (the 1%) at the expense of the middle class and the poor (the 99%),” according to the release.
The Staunton rally is being organized by Transition Staunton Augusta, the Augusta Coalition for Peace and Justice and Virginia Organizing.
The Occupy Charlottesville movement is now in its third week. The Charlottesville effort has operated largely with the support and cooperation of city government, unlike what has been seen in other cities, where local governments have engaged in policing efforts that have led to numerous arrests and in the case of a police action in Oakland, Calif., a disturbing scene that involved the use of tear gas to break up a protest last week.
A news release sent out today by Occupy Charlottesville notes that the group “exists to fight for social and economic justice.”
“We believe that the corporatization of our society is directly responsible for all forms of injustice. One of our fundamental purposes is to subvert the power of greed; money itself is not the ends of, but the means to, the social cooperation which is the real basis of any economy. Therefore, we have been camping downtown under the statue of Robert E. Lee, demonstrating cooperative justice with the homeless, the mentally ill, and the addicted. The purpose of this three-week protest is to prove to ourselves and to the world that peaceful, abundant community is possible without corporate sponsorship, huge budgets, or leaders,” according to the release.
Occupy Charlottesville leaders have offered an open invitation to local residents to take part in the occupation.
“There is an especial need for social workers, teachers, security volunteers, counselors of all kinds, cooks, cleaners, campers and anyone seeking solidarity, community or camaraderie. We would like to welcome questions and comments in person at our camp, and are happy to engage in polite discussion at any hour. Please come in a spirit of nonviolence and respect, and bring your friends. There is free food and beverage available to anyone, as well as coats and blankets, books and tarps. All are welcome.”