Protesters flood ‘Wall Street South’
September 5, 2012
Charlotte, N.C. — Called “the March on Wall Street South,”
a demonstration confronting the banks and corporations headquartered here that
are wreaking havoc across the country filled the uptown streets of this
Southern financial center on Sept. 2.
Despite extreme heat, more than 2,500 people from throughout the South and
across the U.S. marched past the many gleaming corporate headquarters, shouting
out a people’s agenda for jobs and justice as the Democratic National
Convention was preparing to convene.
Participants came from cities throughout North Carolina, including
Winston-Salem, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount, Greenville, Asheville,
Fayetteville, Greensboro and Wilmington. Many more traveled hours from cities
such as Baltimore, Atlanta; Greenville, Miss.; Washington, D.C.; Tampa, Fla.;
Pittsburgh; and New York. A busload of more than 40 unemployed people whose
homes are being foreclosed by Bank of America rode overnight from Detroit.
A “No Papers No Fear” bus, which had left Phoenix on July 29
with more than 40 undocumented people to bring their demands to the DNC, also
joined the march with a spirited contingent against the deportation and
criminalization of immigrant communities.
Other contingents in the march included unemployed workers, a group of
Southern unionists who face onerous labor laws, people trying to end the many
wars being waged by the U.S. government on countries abroad and on the poor and
oppressed here at home, environmentalists calling for “No war, no
warming,” and a group demanding equal rights for lesbian, gay, bi, trans
and queer people.
Yen Alcala, an organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South
and also with Occupy Charlotte, said the demonstration was
“historic” and “built an unprecedented level of unity between
so many different groups and struggles on a grassroots level.”
“The March on Wall Street South,” continued Alcala,
“showed what is possible when we unite, and pointed the finger at those
who are responsible for the injustices being experienced by the 99%: the banks
and corporations, and a political system that is controlled by the 1%. Building
people’s power from the bottom up is the only solution to win jobs and
justice for poor and working people.”
Along the march, demonstrators stopped in front of the world headquarters of
Bank of America and the regional offices of Duke Energy. At each stop, people
who have been directly impacted by the practices of these banks and
corporations — whose homes are being foreclosed on, who have massive
amounts of student loan debt, and whose communities are being devastated by
coal mining and energy rate hikes — spoke out and confronted these
Recognizing the popularity of the issues raised by the protesters, the
city’s daily newspaper, the Charlotte Observer, reported on Sept. 2,
“Sensing the political winds, banks and their lobbyists will be taking
low profiles during the convention.”
Elena Everett was a tireless organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall
Street South. “The march was a tremendous success,” she said.
“Our message for jobs and justice was heard loud and clear by the bankers
and the politicians of both parties.
“But this is just the beginning. We know that the only way that real
change has ever been won is when people come together, get organized and build
social movements to raise demands to the powers that be. And that’s
exactly what we’re doing — building a movement for jobs, education,
health care, the environment and housing, and against wars, racism and bigotry,
deportations and jails.”
Throughout the remainder of the week, the coalition plans to support actions
and events being developed by other groups, including the Undocubus and the
Southern Workers Assembly on Sept. 3. It will also be mobilizing support for
the reoccupation of Marshall Park, being led by Occupy Charlotte, which was
evicted from the park by police eight months ago.