Occupy Chapel Hill: Still Going, But Not As One Entity

By Danny Hooley Posted June 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm

You may think it flamed out a few years ago, but make no mistake: Occupy Chapel Hill is still active.

Supporters of the movement held a General Assembly Thursday evening at 6.30 p.m. in front of the old Post Office on Franklin Street, and regular events are ongoing in Chapel Hill.

Geoff Gilson, a longtime supporter of Occupy Chapel Hill, describes himself as a worker an advocate at Weaver Street Market, as well as being “an aspiring pop star.”

He’s also a blogger who posts regularly on OrangePolitics.org.

Gilson says the movement has changed quite a bit over the last three years, becoming more fragmented as it became clear that it’s impossible to get the “99 percent” to agree on very much.

“Occupy Chapel Hill did peter out,” says Gilson. “Across the country, Occupy had its moments of fury, and encampments, and people wanting to bring about immediate change,” says Gilson. “And that kind of petered out much as the winter of 2011 took over. Here inn Chapel Hill, we sort of moved into Occupy Chapel Hill 2.0, and that has continued in two forms. There’s a group called Occupy Health and Wellness, who hold regular meetings; and a group called Solidarity Economy, who wanted to map all of the sustainable economic entities in the area.”

Gilson says the one thing that all the different groups associated in some way with Occupy Chapel Hill can agree on is that “impersonal corporate capitalism has failed us,” and that more community-based economic and social agendas are more desirable.

He suggests that instead of trying to exist as a solidified movement, Occupy Chapel Hill should become more of a “clearing house” for sharing ideas and support.

“The idea I purports is: Why don’t we do our own thing, in our own group, where other people aren’t trying to take over the agenda, and then meet on an irregular basis?” says Gilson. “And use Occupy Chapel Hill as a clearing house — for information, and communication. And if we find common cause in something, then pursue that.”

Occupy Chapel Hill activities continue on Friday with the regular Vigil for Peace and Justice with the Society of Friends on the corner of Elliot Road and East Franklin Street, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

To view a full calendar of Occupy Chapel Hill events, you can visit occupychapelhill.org.

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