Articles tagged chicago
Posted 2 weeks ago on May 1, 2013, 7:08 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Posted 1 month ago on March 23, 2013, 12:24 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
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!
Posted 5 months ago on Nov. 30, 2012, 1:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
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!
Posted 7 months ago on Oct. 19, 2012, 10:59 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
occupy our homes
On Monday, October 15th 2012, Occupy Chicago and the Overpass Light Brigade Light Up the Streets in Solidarity with the Occupy Our Homes Movement.
Hot on the heels of Occupy Chicago's court victory over last year's illegal eviction from Grant Park (all charges for the 305 arrestees have been dropped) the group teamed up with the Wisconsin-based Overpass Light Brigade in a joint action Monday night. It served to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the eviction and raise awareness of the national foreclosure crisis.
With 14 million home foreclosures recorded in the last five years, we cannot lose track of the fact that those homes contained people – mothers, fathers, kids and grandparents – many of whom could have remained in their homes if the banks were willing to work with the families to come up with some kind of shared financial sacrifice. But no, the bailed-out institutions who streamlined their mass-robbery with predatory lending, robosigners, and mortgage-backed securities still have little interest in fixing the problems they created. That leaves it up to citizen activists in the growing home defense movement to find creative techniques to draw attention to this national disgrace.
Occupy Chicago and the OLB marched through downtown Chicago with their beautiful light message before gathering at "The Horse" statue in Grant Park for a speak-out against the banks. It was a fine example of the power of peaceful and playful protest.
Interested in organizing your own LED-powered resistance action? Start here:
Posted 8 months ago on Sept. 10, 2012, 9:47 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
via the Occupied Chicago Tribune:
When a teachers’ strike started to look like a realistic possibility earlier this spring, CPS Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll warned the readers of Catalyst, “Any talk of a strike is the wrong message to send our schools, students and taxpayers.” For her, and the rest of the privatization evangelists at CPS, the “right” message is simple—shut up and do what you’re told.
Of course, Carroll, who makes $165,000 per year, isn’t paid that kind of money to tell the truth. Luckily for us, neither Chicago teachers nor the larger education community are giving much credence to CPS talking points.
The corporate education “reformers” have been experimenting on Chicago’s most underserved students and schools for more than two decades, trying any quick-fix makeovers so long as such schemes keep the public out of the discussion on how best to educate our city’s children. The so-called innovations taking place in charter and turnaround schools are making chaos of students’ formative years and relegating the art of teaching to rote instruction.
Faced with such a dire situation, the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to strike is perhaps the best lesson they could have planned—when the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand. And it’s a lesson that teachers themselves learned from the communities they serve.
Before CTU President Karen Lewis and members of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) became the new union leadership in 2010, the CTU, like its national union, the American Federation of Teachers, was a willing pawn in the privatization game. CORE broke from the CTU leadership and won respect from the majority of union members by actively supporting parent- and student-led protests at schools across the city. After gaining office, they continued to organize against privatization with the already active education community, and to educate its own members about the importance of doing so.
Chicago students are already at the forefront of the fight. Dyett High School students, along with students from 16 other states, have petitioned the Department of Education to investigate racial disparities in the allocation of school resources. They’ve already met with officials at the Department of Education, and on September 20, they’ll be taking “Freedom Rides” to Washington, D.C., to bring more attention to their cause.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students at Social Justice High School in Little Village have disrupted their school day with sit-ins to protest the dismantling of their school. So CPS shouldn’t worry about the strike giving “wrong” ideas to students—the students are already leading the charge, and are just in their cause.
If anything, they should worry about these students further influencing the CTU. Unlike its portrayal as a selfish bully in the 1% Chicago Tribune, the CORE-led CTU has been a partner to community groups fighting for quality public education. Now, hostile contract negotiations have opened a window for the union to elevate the anti-privatization fight to a national level.
As former CPS CEO Arne Duncan continues to spread the hollow gospel of corporate reform as the nation’s secretary of education, and as his predecessor Paul Vallas preaches the same throughout South America, it’s about time that Chicago, the birthplace of this failed faith, denounces it publicly.