Unless you live under a rock you know that dissent is spreading across America. Occupy Wall Street may have started in New York however it’s spread like wildfire. City after city have revolted against the powers that be.
Unfortunately the DHS in collusion with municipal police forces across the nation have attempted to silence and destroy the Occupy protesters. Demonstrators have been barraged by a wave of police violence and misconduct. In many cases protesters have been told to pack it up and leave. Despite being evicted from their respective cities the Occupiers are far from done.
I caught up with Occupy Charlotte on Saturday, April 28th before their Fight Amendment 1 — Rally, March, and Outreach.
Posted below is an interview with one of their organizers, Craig Glisson.
Blue Scholar Blog: Why should people vote against amendment one?
Craig Glisson: People should vote against amendment one because it is making bigotry and inequality the norm in the North Carolina Constitution. It defines marriage as between a man and a woman. If marriage is a government institution then there should be equality across the board. The amendment also takes a lot of rights away from un-married couples. A couple could be together for 15 or 20 years but if you go by the definition of amendment one they will not receive the same benefits as a married couple. It would mess up the domestic violence laws which would take a lot of rights away from women. If you have a child of two unmarried parents who live together that child will have a lack of resources that would be available to parents who are married.
Blue Scholar Blog: It has come out that the DHS has been working with local police forces on how to deal with and ultimately evict occupiers. What are your feelings on that?
Craig Glisson: I feel that the Department of Homeland Security has a problem with Occupy because we’re actually speaking out against the government. It wouldn’t concern me if I wasn’t an advocate of rights, but since I am an advocate of rights I’m just going to stand up and speak out against atrocities of not only our local and state government but also our federal government. The fact that our federal government is coming in and evicting people who are expressing their first amendment rights, their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly that is telling me that they are nervous, because what they are doing, the policies they are putting forth, the bills, and the new laws that are being passed show me that they know what they are doing is wrong. If more people speak out and demand change from the government it could change the system. It could change the status quo. Then we could have a system that benefits the majority of the people.
Blue Scholar Blog: Back in January the city of Charlotte evicted Occupy Charlotte. How have relations with the city been since then?
Craig Glisson: Relations with the city haven’t been positive or negative. The city does what it wants and we’re still here being watchdogs over the city. We are aware of what the city is doing. We are aware of what the corporations in our city are doing. They caused a major blow with the eviction. They took our tents but they did not take away our ideology. We still demand from our city, our representatives, and all city employees that they follow their just laws and that they strike their unjust laws.
We have some events coming up soon that speak out against our elected officials and the corporations in our city.
Blue Scholar Blog: What are those events?
Craig Glisson: There is going to be an Occupy Bank of America shareholders meeting on may 9th (Occupy Charlotte’s calendar of events can be found here) . There should be over a thousand people in attendance who have grievances with Bank of America on a national level and we have a lot of people in Charlotte who are coming out on a local level to voice their grievances with what Bank of America has done to the city of Charlotte. They have turned the community into a corporate town that is morally bankrupt.
Blue Scholar Blog: That leads into my next question. How do you feel about Bank of America? They employ a lot of people around here, but they don’t have a good track record with the community as far as fairness in evictions and so forth.
Craig Glisson: I was at a town hall meeting that mayor Foxx set up. Bank of America does employ a lot of people but mayor Foxx made a funny statement. He said that 90% of the people in Charlotte are employed by a small business. Bank of America employs a lot of people but they are not a small business. Not at all. They are a very globalized corporation. They are a multi- national company. They aren’t really Bank of America they are Bank of can we fuck everyone in the whole world. That’s what they are. I’m an advocate of making Bank of America smaller instead of allowing them to consolidate so much power. Bank of America is doing really badly right now. A lot of people are upset with them. We’ve seen the rise of the credit union so a lot of those jobs would be redirected. If Bank of America actually paid taxes instead of being subsidized we would have a stronger community. Citizens wouldn’t be taxed so much and that money could be redirected towards a lot of things. If people have more dollars in their pocket it would stimulate the economy because people stimulate the economy not large corporations. I would like to see Bank of America broken up. We need policies such as Glass Steagall to keep companies like Bank of America from going to the casino with depositors money.
Blue Scholar Blog: Bank of America recently settled with the DOJ concerning widespread mortgage fraud, yet no one has gone to jail. Do you think that justice has been served?
Craig Glisson: Wachovia now Wells Fargo got caught laundering money for drug cartels. Bank of America has it’s own situation going on. Since citizens united corporations are supposed to be treated like people, but they can’t go to jail like people. If I steal a Big Mac and fries my ass is going to jail. They bankrupt our economy and steal the livelihood of millions of citizens and what happens to them? They get a bail out. They get Merrill Lynch for pennies on the dollar. They get subsidies. They don’t pay taxes, and they are allowed to do what they do. That’s just mind boggling to me. No body ever goes to jail. It’s like the BP oil spill. They go after a low level engineer, because the people with the big money can line everyone’s pockets. It’s ludicrous and I’m not talking about the rapper. It’s ludicrous in the sense of what the fuck are we doing. Why are these people still on the streets? The jails are lined with people with minor drug charges and the people who ruined the foundation of our economy are free. Dealing with Bank of America is one of the many steps we need to fight this.
Blue Scholar Blog: Speaking of criminal banksters and the prison industrial complex. What do you think about Wells Fargo investing in private prison companies such as GEO group?
Craig Glisson: That bothers me because prison is supposed to be about reforming individuals. Our prisons aren’t even like that. Our prison system is a business and they are in the business of locking young black men up and using them as slave labor. When a prison becomes a private entity they use prisoners for slave labor. They can pay what people in the third world make like a dollar a day. We are also talking about the contracts people get to build the prisons and to feed the prisoners. There is a lot of money floating around to exploit human life. That’s why our education system is in shambles. That’s why the government only helps you just a little bit and not enough. That’s why they force people to go to prison with their policies and through the stereotypes, the racism, and the classism and through all the fucking isims. They are making money and exploiting people in so many different ways. Wells Fargo wants their cut. That’s basically what it all comes down to. Why is it that Bank of America invests in coal when the people in the area (mining towns) have increased rates of cancer and asthma? There are so many health issues renewable energy would be a way to go, but Bank of America doesn’t want that. Their energy buddies love coal. They don’t have to train people, make changes, or create any high paying jobs. They can keep the same status quo and get their cut. That’s what these banks are. It’s like watching the Sopranos. They just want their cut and that’s all it is. Human life should be more valuable than that.
Photos courtesy of Cannie Osborne.