From the Occupy Asheville General Assembly:
Dear Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commission,
The City Council is preparing to demand that we, Occupy Asheville, remove our occupation from in front of Asheville’s City Hall. Our terms for the peaceful and cooperative dissolution of the current occupation are as follows:
Safe haven for the houseless
The houseless population of Asheville requires a safe haven where they can occupy and exercise their fundamental right to life. Our economic downfall has been caused by the greed of the 1% under a system that allows such behavior, but, nevertheless, the City Council and County Commission can step up in service to the community and provide the houseless a place to live, something that we believe to be a right of all living beings. The recession has hit all individuals hard, but hardest hit are those that were already houseless. To acknowledge that all human beings deserve an opportunity to survive in this world, we believe that providing a safe haven for the houseless directly from the City Council and County Commission, and not from some outsourced institution, is an essential need for our community.
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR]: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Article 13 of the UDHR: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.”
Abolition of unconstitutional city ordinances
All Americans have the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble. Strict curfew laws, such as those in place in the city of Asheville, and other city ordinances, such as sleeping or smoking prohibitions, are unnecessary and make it even harder to live lawfully as a houseless individual on top of the current hardships caused by the financial crisis. Furthermore, Occupy Asheville protesters have been arrested for breaking such trivial ordinances as impeding the flow of traffic or wearing a mask on public property in violation of these constitutionally protected rights. We believe that these city ordinances are unconstitutional, do more harm than good, and should therefore be abolished.
Furthermore, we insist that the Asheville City Council cease all efforts to annex the space that currently serves as the site of the occupation into Pack Square Park. The land was deeded to the ownership of the public, and any effort to annex it is a violation of due process and fundamentally unconstitutional.
Article 20 of the UDHR: “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”
First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Moving money from big banks to local banks/credit unions
National and multinational banks do not function for the benefit of local communities. They operate in a manner that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the 1% while removing valuable resources from these communities. For the good of all the citizens of Asheville and Buncombe County , the City Council and County Commission must follow the example set by the leadership of San Jose, Portland, Seattle, and Berkeley, among others, and move all money, assets, and business transactions from any currently used national bank to one or more of the local banks or credit unions and, should a chosen bank or credit union be bought by one of the larger banks, the money, assets, and transactions must once again be transferred to a locally controlled and locally accountable institution.
Adequate living wage
The financial crisis and subsequent recession has made finding an adequate living wage for the rest of society increasingly difficult. Because all human beings have a right to survive, we insist that the City Council and County Commission ensure that all citizens of Asheville and Buncombe County have an adequate living wage, using whatever methods are at their disposal to do so, seeking help from the state legislature if necessary, and that all corporations within Asheville pay their workers their fair share based on their annual corporate income.
Article 25 of the UDHR: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
Resolution by law that corporations are not people
The corporations owned by the 1% are becoming more powerful, and they are using this power to unduly influence elections at all levels of government. The result of this influence is that the focus of government has shifted from serving the people to serving the corporations that fund politicians’ political campaigns. We call on the City Council and County Commission to join with the cities of Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland, Albany, Boulder, and New York, and the states of Montana and Vermont, among others, in declaring that corporations are not people and do not enjoy the same legal rights, that money is not speech, and that the U.S. Constitution should be amended as such.
We understand that these terms may seem daunting, and we are fully ready to support you in the implementation of these terms. We carry not only the personal assistance of Occupy Asheville and friendly associations, but also of the Occupy movement nationwide. We will remain available for continued communication, but not for compromise on any one of our terms. This is why we see it as our responsibility to offer such assistance. It is the fundamental responsibility of the City Council and County Commission to serve the people, and it is time for you to do so.
The Occupy Asheville General Assembly