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Occupy Winston-Salem protests U.S. Post Office closures

By B.J. Murphy

Protest in Waughtown area of Winston-Salem demands Post Office remain open.

Winston-Salem, NC – On April 16, local residents and members of Occupy Winston-Salem held a demonstration at the U.S. Post Office in the Waughtown area. Protesters demanded that the only post office in the community not be closed down.

Across the country, hundreds of U.S. post offices are on a closure list, based upon the amount of revenue they generate. For the Waughtown area, which is known to be one of the most diverse, predominantly working class communities in Winston-Salem, the closure of the one and only post office would be a major setback.

Local passersby honked to express solidarity as they drove past, while others stopped and greeted protesters as they were coming and going from the post office during the day. Shouting could be heard from Pleasant Street to Waughtown Street: “U-S-P-S should not pay for Wall Street’s mess!” – a financial mess that postal workers are organizing against nationwide.

Amanda Porter-Cox of Occupy Winston-Salem spoke out against the closing, “If that post office is closed, it will impact the daily life of all those residents living in that area. Since it is located in a poorer part of town, it is particularly vulnerable. The other implication that will come up is that the 1% is taking over public services, making them private and taking rights away. We cannot allow this to happen.”

Justin Flores, organizer and Director of Programs for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), also joined the demonstration, angry about what the 1% are trying to force upon the residents of Waughtown. “While farm workers often lack basic human rights,” he said, “our union understands that only by sticking together will we be able to win against those who seek to put profits over people, so I was excited to be there with the good folks in Winston Salem in support of the postal workers and their union.”

Flores continues, “I think this type of work is not only crucial to build the power to push back the Republican efforts to end public mail service, but also to educate and organize our communities about the serious problems that come along with privatization and slashes to federal, state, and local budgets. Whether it is education, mail service or public safety, conservatives are looking for ways to turn everything into a for-profit business, which often fails to account for the importance of these services for many communities. Without good public mail service, the for-profit industry will have no reason to keep good, low cost service in many neighborhoods. Only by engaging our neighbors and families will we build enough political power to not only fight back against the threats to public services, but keep fighting to improve them.”

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