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Articles tagged chicago


Chicago, July 4: Block Party to Fight Austerity at Rahm’s House

Posted 1 year ago on July 3, 2013, 7:48 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: chicago, austerity, j4

Edit: 7/4, 5pm CT: Video clips added

Chicagoans Gather to Protest Budget Cuts, Corporate Welfare, Call for One Term Mayor

This 4th of July, Chicagoans opposed to Mayor Emanuel’s extreme budget cuts to public services, and policies of corporate welfare, will peacefully converge at the Mayor’s house, at 4228 N Hermitage, to speak out against these austerity measures and celebrate citywide resistance to his mayorship.

"At a time when working people are already struggling to make ends meet, Mayor Emanuel is eliminating thousands of jobs across the city every year," says Greg Goodman, event organizer. "The loss of these jobs throws families and communities even further into crisis, and creates a chain effect that ripples out to negatively impact an ever growing number of Chicagoans. In the midst of all this, Rahm is systematically dismantling the social programs that ordinary people rely on to help them through times of crisis, and selling our public institutions and resources off to corporate profiteers."

After gathering at Chase Park (Ashland and Leland) at 12pm on July 4th, Chicagoans fed up with Mayor Emanuel’s austerity plans will hold a peaceful block party on his street (4200 block of Hermitage). The event will include music, dancing, and speakers.

"People who are barely getting by are being punished for the mistakes of the super-rich," says local organizer Kelly Hayes. "That's what austerity is. We're going to let Mayor Emanuel know we didn't create this crisis, and we're not going to pay for it."

Thurs, July 4: Block Party to Fight Austerity at Rahm’s House
12pm: Gather at Chase Park, Ashland & Leland
12:30pm: March to Rahm’s House, 4228 N Hermitage
1pm: Press Conference

https://www.facebook.com/events/142447169277912

For live updates, follow: @constantnatalie @baburrealer @bullhorngirl @gregrgoodman #OneTermMayor #RahmParty on Twitter.

#OneTermMayor


Concurrently, Restore the Fourth Chicago will be gathering at noon in Daley Plaza. For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/418849661562573/. In addition, Occupy Chicago is marching to STOP NSA SURVEILLANCE! Saturday, July 6, 1PM in Federal Plaza. For more info on that: http://occupychi.org/2013/06/25/stop-nsa-surveillance-march-76-1pm-federal-plaza

3 Comments

What Do Bosnia, Bulgaria, And Brazil Have In Common?

Posted 1 year ago on June 18, 2013, 2:31 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: greece, turkey, brazil, #changebrazil, bulgaria, bosnia, chicago, #occupygezi

by Jerome Roos
Originally published at roarmag.org

Once again, it’s kicking off everywhere: from Turkey to Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil, the endless struggle for real democracy resonates around the globe.

Brazilians take to the streets

What do a park in Istanbul, a baby in Sarajevo, a security chief in Sofia, a TV station in Athens and bus tickets in Sao Paulo have in common? However random the sequence may seem at first, a common theme runs through and connects all of them. Each reveals, in its own particular way, the deepening crisis of representative democracy at the heart of the modern nation state. And each has, as a result, given rise to popular protests that have in turn sparked nationwide demonstrations, occupations and confrontations between the people and the state.

In Turkey, protesters have been taking to the streets and clashing with riot police for over two weeks in response to government attempts to tear down the trees and resurrect an old Ottoman-era barracks at the location of Istanbul’s beloved Gezi Park. But, as I indicated in a lengthy analysis of the protests, the violent police crackdown on #OccupyGezi was just the spark that lit the prairie, allowing a wide range of grievances to tumble in, ultimately exposing the crisis of representation at the heart of Erdogan’s authoritarian neoliberal government.

Gezi aerial

Now, protests over similar seemingly “trivial” local grievances are sparking mass demonstrations elsewhere. In Brazil, small-scale protests against a hike in transportation fees in Sao Paulo revealed the extreme brutality of the police force, which violently assaulted protesters — even pepper spraying a camera man, shooting a photographer in the eye with a rubber bullet, and arresting those carrying vinegar to protect themselves from the tear gas. After four nights of violent repression this week, the protests now appear to be gaining momentum.

Fed up with increasing inflation, crumbling infrastructure and stubbornly high inequality and crime rates, many Brazilians are simply outraged that the government is willing to invest billions into pharaonic projects that do not only ignore the people’s plight but actively undermine it. The militarization and bulldozing of the poor favelas and indigenous villages ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics are a case in point. As usual, the ruling Workers’ Party seems more concerned about pleasing capital than helping workers.

[OccupyWallSt.org Editor's note: Here in Chicago, USA, we feel a particular affinity for those tens of thousands who fight to #ChangeBrazil and have courageously taken to the streets in cities across their country because we, too, are being hit with similar austerity measures. Here, our authoritarian "Mayor 1%" Rahm Emmanuel is forcing through imminent closures of 50 public schools in spite of spirited community resistance (including mass demonstrations, strikes, occupations, lawsuits, and more) from unions, public school teachers, students, and families, Occupiers, and community members. These school closures are almost entirely located in people of color-majority neighborhoods that are already dealing with disinvestment, widespread poverty, lack of opportunity, and violence. We are told the schools must be closed because we supposedly "cannot afford" to keep them open. At the very same time, the city has pledged $100 million to build a new, and unnecessary, basketball stadium for a private university. Here, as in Brazil and across the world, these struggles reveal the true nature of austerity: It is not a question of lack of funding, but of priorities. The 1% is more interested in expensive entertainment for the ruling classes than education for poor and working peoples. Our struggles are connected, and our movements are united!]

Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, the inability of a family to obtain travel ID for their sick baby — who needs urgent medical attention that she cannot receive in Bosnia-Herzegovina — exposed the fundamental flaws at the heart of the nominally democratic post-Yugoslavian state. On June 5, while the government was busy negotiating with foreign bankers to attract new investment, thousands of people occupied parliament square, temporarily locking the nation’s politicians up inside and forcing the prime minister to escape through a window.

While competing ethnic fractions vie for political power, the Bosnian people continue to suffer. By playing the race and religion cards, Bosnian politicians hope to keep the people divided while retaining the financial spoils of foreign investment and World Bank and EU development loans for themselves. But in a sign that most ethnic divisions are politically rather than socially constructed, the Occupy Sarajevo protesters now have a simple message for their politicians: “you are all disgusting, no matter what ethnicity you belong to.”

Sarajevo protests

On Friday, Bulgaria joined the budding wave of struggles that began in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 and that was recently revived through the Turkish uprising. After the appointment of media (and mafia) mogul Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security, tens of thousands took to the streets of Sofia and other cities throughout the country to protest his appointment, which was approved by parliament without any debate and with a mere 15 minutes between his nomination and his (pre-guaranteed) election.

Chanting “Mafia” and calling upon Peevski to resign, the Bulgarians are warning their politicians that a limit has been reached. Ever since the transition from state communism to democratic capitalism empowered a tiny minority of oligarchs to enrich themselves by feeding off the state’s public possessions, Bulgaria has been effectively ruled by a Mafia kleptocracy. As in any capitalist state, political and business elites have become one, undermining the promise of democracy the Bulgarians were made at the so-called End of History.

FOR FREEDOM

Greece, in the meantime, finally appears to have been waken up from its austerity-induced slumber. Following the decision of the Troika’s neoliberal handmaiden, Antonis Samaras, to shut down the state’s public broadcaster ERT overnight and to fire its 2,700 workers without any warning whatsoever, the workers of ERT simply occupied the TV and radio stations and continued to emit their programs through livestreaming, making ERT the first worker-run public broadcaster in Europe. ERT workers have since been joined by tens of thousands of protesters and workers, who on Thursday held a nationwide general strike to protest the ERT’s closure.

At first sight, it may seem like these protests are all simply responses to local grievances and should be read as such. But while each context has its own specificities that must be taken into account, it would be naive to discard the common themes uniting them. As my friend, colleague and fellow ROAR contributor Leonidas Oikonomakis just pointed out in a new opinion piece, the Turkish uprising may have started over a couple of trees, but we shouldn’t let that blind us to the forest: the obvious structural dimension at play in this new wave of struggles.

If we take a closer look at each of the protests, we find that they are not so local after all. In fact, each of them in one way or another deals with the increasing encroachment of financial interests and business power on traditional democratic processes, and the profound crisis of representation that this has wrought. Furthermore, the protests show a dawning awareness that the divide-and-rule practices of the ruling class everywhere — pitching the religious against the secular, Bosnians against Serbs, blacks against indigenous against whites, poor against slightly-less-poor, and ‘natives’ against immigrants — are just part of a strategy to keep us from realizing our own power.

In a word, what we are witnessing is what Leonidas Oikonomakis and I have called the resonance of resistance: social struggles in one place in the world transcending their local boundaries and inspiring protesters elsewhere to take matters into their own hands and defy their governments in order to bring about genuine freedom, social justice and real democracy. The resonance of these struggles across national, ethnic and religious boundaries tells us that three decades of neoliberal peace since the End of History were not really “peace” at all; they were merely the temporary victory of other side in a hidden global class war.

BEAUTIFUL TURKEY

Now that has come to an end. A new Left has risen, inspired by a fresh autonomous spirit that has long since cleansed itself of the stale ideological legacies and collective self-delusions that animated the political conflicts of the Cold War and beyond. One chant of the protesters in Sao Paulo revealed it all: “Peace is over, Turkey is here!” And so are Bulgaria, Bosnia and Greece — as well as Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Québec and every other place in the world where the people have risen up in the global struggle for real democracy.

The ominous bottom-line for those in power is simple: we are everywhere. And this global occupation thing? It’s only just getting started.

for freedom

12 Comments

May Day 2013: Chicago Schedule

Posted 1 year ago on May 1, 2013, 7:08 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: chicago, may day

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Schedule of Events

10:00 AM: Anti-Capitalist Demo @ City Front Plaza

12:45pm - 2:00pm: Occupy Chicago May Day Solidarity Speak Out @ Union Park, Randolph and Ashland

2:00pm - 4:30pm: International Workers Day March for Immigration Reform @ Union Park, march to Federal Plaza begins 3:00pm

4:30: Rally at Federal Plaza

Additional Info:

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4 Comments

International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5: May 16–21

Posted 1 year ago on March 23, 2013, 12:24 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: solidarity, chicago, nato

Free the NATO 5

via nato5support.wordpress.com

We are calling on comrades around the world to help raise awareness of the NATO 5 cases and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests. Please read the call-out below and start planning your action or event today!

On May 16, 2012, Chicago cops raided an apartment in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago in an all-too-common attempt to scare people away from the imminent protests against the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. With guns drawn, the cops arrested 11 people in or around the apartment and quickly disappeared them into the bowels of the extensive network of detention facilities in Cook County, Illinois.

After a few days, a few things started becoming clear: 2 of the arrested “activists” were actually undercover Chicago cops who had targeted the real activists for arrest, 6 of them were illegally held and released at the last possible minute before court action could be taken to force their release, and 3 had been charged with trumped-up, politically motivated terrorism charges. These three—Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase—are now known as the NATO 3. They were ultimately charged with 11 felony counts, including material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and creating Molotov cocktails. They face up to 40 years in prison and are expected to go to trial in September. Their lawyers recently filed a motion to dismiss the terrorism charges for being unconstitutional.

Two other Chicago-area activists—Mark Neiweem and Sebastian Senakiewicz—were also preemptively arrested. Mark was arrested in a spectacular snatch-and-grab as he was leaving a restaurant. He was charged with soliciting materials for an explosive device and is facing up to 30 years in prison; his trial date has not yet been set. Sebastian was arrested in another spectacular house raid and charged with falsely making a terrorist threat for allegedly claiming that he had explosive materials and wanted to use them during the convention. Facing 15 years in prison followed by deportation to his native Poland after serving his sentence, he took a non-cooperating plea deal last November. He was sentenced to 4 years with a recommendation of 4 months in boot camp. He is expected to begin his immigration proceedings immediately after completing his sentence.

As the one-year anniversary of these preemptive, politically motivated arrests draws near, we are calling for a week of solidarity actions and fundraisers for the NATO 5. All five defendants have been incarcerated since their arrests last May. Being held hostage in jail is extremely expensive for prisoners, as they are forced to purchase all their hygiene products, writing supplies, additional food to supplement the starvation portions given to them each day, and other basic necessities from the jail’s commissary at exorbitant prices. The legal defense costs for the defendants is also mounting, as their lawyers are working hard to help them win their freedom and there is a ton of evidence to sift through and other preparations to make.

This May, stand in solidarity with the NATO 5! Organize a house party, bake sale, silent auction, cabaret, raffle, rally, noise demo, art auction, street theater performance, concert…whatever you and your friends want! Send us an email at nato5solidarity(A)gmail.com to let us know what you have planned and then send us photos afterwards! You can also write the defendants to let them know what you have planned (https://nato5support.wordpress.com/contact/).

The NATO 5 cases are linked by a few common threads. People around the world have come together to protest NATO’s role in worldwide military expenditures and operations, the organization’s penchant for wantonly killing civilians for the benefit of its member nations—particularly the United States—and its disregard for human rights. Additionally, undercover Chicago police officers targeted and entrapped the activists because of their politics, which is part of a broader pattern of state repression against political activists, in which charging activists as terrorists is one of many strategies being used to silence dissent and dismantle activist communities. Other recent cases in which activists have been targeted include the Cleveland 4 (http://www.cleveland4solidarity.org/), the Green Scare cases (http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/), and the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury resisters (http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/).

Many of these prisoners need your financial support and solidarity as well. The Pacific Northwest Grand Jury resisters are calling for a week of solidarity actions from April 24–May 1 (http://saynothing.noblogs.org/call-for-coordinated-week-of-solidarity-actions/) and the Tinley Park 5 are calling for a day of solidarity on May 19 (http://www.anarchistnews.org/content/one-year-anniversary-arrest-tp5). And don’t forget about June 11th, the International Day of Solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners Eric McDavid and Marie Mason (http://june11.org/).

Make this spring and summer a time of solidarity for the NATO 5 and all targets of state repression!

5 Comments

Chicagoans to Erect Tent City Against "Fiscal Cliff" Austerity Negotiations #durbinville

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 30, 2012, 1:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: chicago, austerity, fiscal cliff

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In what might well become a model for popular resistance to the 1%'s "Fiscal Cliff" austerity negotiations happening now in Washington D.C., activists in Chicago are planning a shantytown encampment of Federal Plaza -- a tangible portent of exactly where austerity is taking us. The "Fiscal Cliff" is a manufactured crisis to promote a "grand bargain" of austerity measures to maintain the rich and attack the poor; we demand an end to a world governed by the interests of the 1%, Wall Street, and the corporations!

More information on the Occupy Chicago GA-approved action from the event's facebook page:


As part of the ongoing “fiscal cliff” discussions, Senator Durbin is negotiating behind our backs to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – cuts that could create depression-era conditions for millions of Americans who’ve paid for and earned support from these vital programs.

Join us on December 6th at noon to tell Senator Durbin that we won't go back! On December 6, we're building a Durbinville Shantytown encampment at the Federal Building to symbolize the dire consequences these cuts could have, and fight to preserve these essential programs. Join us! And bring a tent!

Come get free soup and bread every day in Federal Plaza from December 3rd - 6th!

Monday, December 3, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Tuesday, December 4, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Wednesday, December 5, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Thursday, December 6, noon: Erect the “Durbinville” shantytown to show the world what these cuts really mean!

Enough is enough! It's time to stop unnecessary budget cuts and make corporations and the rich pay their fair share!

Demand that Senator Durbin:

  • Block the "debt ceiling sequester" cuts – say no to austerity!
  • Reject Simpson-Bowles or any other “Grand Bargain” that attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, working people, the sick or the elderly – protect vital public programs, no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid!
  • Block the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% – it’s time for the rich to start paying their fair share!
  • Support and fight for progressive sources of revenue – impose a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street financial speculation, tax capital gains as normal income and close corporate tax loopholes!

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