Published: Feb 08, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Feb 06, 2012 05:58 PM
Roses to Mayor Mark Chilton and the Carrboro Police Department, for their calm but determined handling of the takeover of 201 N. Greensboro St. Saturday night.
A group of anti-capitalist activists - yep, them again - gained entrance to the vacant building Saturday afternoon. The occupiers issued an e-mailed announcement denouncing the corporate giant CVS, which owns the building, and saying they planned to occupy the building permanently in order to "establish a social center in the heart of Carrboro."
Never mind that two social centers in the heart of Carrboro already exist not an anarchist handbook's throw from the site: the Carrboro Century Center and the famously communal Weaver Street Market lawn are right across the street.
Be that as it may, there they were, occupying private property, calling for social revolution and ordering pizza from corporate giant Domino's. Town officials had to do something.
So no way was Carrboro going to follow the procedure used by Chapel Hill in a similar situation at the Yates building a few months ago. Instead, Chilton and Police Chief Carolyn Hutchison went in to talk to the occupiers.
What followed was a period of discussions. Things got a bit heated at times. But Chilton and Carrboro police maintained their cool; at one point the mayor offered the occupiers ice cream. Eventually the police told the occupiers they would be arrested if they didn't leave. The protesters left.
It was a smart and impressive effort by the town officials, and a lesson in the value of communication. As long as you're talking, you're not fighting.
Raspberries to those activists who can't seem to figure out any more creative or constructive ways to express themselves than seizing or vandalizing somebody else's stuff.
We hate to break it to them, but we're pretty sure the vast majority of "the community" the protesters have appointed themselves to represent (do you remember voting for them?) is annoyed by their self-indulgent antics and wishes they would grow up.
This is a community with a proud tradition of protest. Chapel Hill has a monument to local activists in front of the downtown post office.
But in the case of these "anti-capitalist" protesters, whatever legitimacy their inchoate cause might conceivably have is negated by the immaturity of their tactics and the overreaching of their rhetoric. They come across as just aching to be oppressed. We'd like to hear them complain about their lives under the yoke of tyranny to, say, the people of Syria.
There are plenty of things wrong with our society and our culture, plenty of legitimate policies and values to work to change.
Do that. But, please, do it like grownups.
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