U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan vets return medals to NATO. May 20, Chicago.
U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan vets return medals to NATO. May 20, Chicago.
NATO protests, May 20
Est. 15,000 at the NATO protest yesterday!
NATO war criminals.. For all the people you’ve murdered, may you burn in hell, if such a thing existed.
I’ll leave space for members of the Chicago Police Dept., too, including Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
Two more antiwar activists, in from out of town to protest the NATO Summit, were released from a police station on the south side of Chicago late tonight at roughly 10:00 PM, making it a grand total of six activists released so far, of the nine detained without charge by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) on Wednesday, previously covered on Antiwar.com.
The other three remaining weren’t so lucky. They’ve been charged with, as Occupy Chicago has reported on its Twitter feed, ”possession of incendiary or explosive device, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism.” “Material support” of terrorism, under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 signed by President Barack Obama, is a crime that could call for indefinite detention without a trial, begging the question: are these legitimate political prisoners?
One Occupy activist noted, “It’s NDAA in full effect. We are doomed.”
“The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree,” said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People’s Law Office. “It’s outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it’s the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest.”
There will be a bond hearing at noon today. The three activists names, according to the NLG, are Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly.
The lame excuse for arrest and “terrorism” charges and the subsequent police raid to begin with?
The activists were making “molotov cocktails” to use in their protests, or so reported the sycophantic local press in Chicago. As Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake explained in a previously written blog post well worth reading, “Local news reported a ‘police source’ had recovered ‘Molotov cocktails.’ There is no evidence of the existence or production of Molotov cocktails. The police did confiscate a home brew-making kit.”
“I haven’t stayed anywhere except for in the custody of Chicago’s finest,” he said after his release.
The “gang of nine” were (or still are, in the case of three being charged with “terrorism” charges) held in solitary confinement, with their two feet shackled and one arm cuffed to the bench in the cell, according to the activists.
Murphy said the police “Refused to tell us what charges were for our entire 20 hours spent there,” in an interview with Antiwar.com.
As is obvious from a quick glance on YouTube, Murphy is not shy about expressing his grievances with the police, in the case of this particular video, titled, “Daniel Murphy’s 3 minute rant to line of NYPD @ Union Square #OWS,” the New York Police Department (NYPD). Translation: he was likely an easy, visible target for the CPD or the FBI or whoever was responsible for targeting these activists.
The activists also said the police were taunting, name-calling (“terrorists”), and were, generally speaking, rude and verbally abusive in all ways to the activists.
Gosztola describes the horrifying arrest scene well, writing,
They came in with guns pointed at the activists’ faces and were screaming so we couldn’t really understand what they were saying. The activists froze and waited for them to give commands.
Police ransacked the home, throwing property. A watermelon and printer was thrown. They were dumping clothing and material out of bags. One of the arrested activists says police ‘destroyed everything.’
Remember, this all comes on the prelude of the NATO Summit — the Summit and the big days of activism on the streets of downtown Chicago are yet to come. It should be an ugly weekend, to say the least.
Stay tuned for a follow-up report after the bond hearing.
Update: These pictures up on the blog Shortwave America, in a post titled, “Chicago NATO Command and Communications Operations Update,” are a must-see. Chicago has been transformed into a war zone.
The Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) welcomes all protesters to this major national and international demonstration against NATO, against war and poverty, in Chicago on May 20, 2012. We oppose U.S. imperialism and its military alliance NATO. The FRSO wants to see NATO defeated and dismantled. We want peace with the rest of the world, not war. We demand an end to the continuing U.S. war and occupation of Afghanistan and support the right to self-determination for the Afghan people. Afghanistan has suffered too much and we say bring the troops home now!
Freedom Road is one of the major groups leading the mass protest against NATO and the G8. We ask you to join us in marching and rallying so the world hears our message. The generals, politicians and bankers can hide behind all their security and spout platitudes about being ‘humanitarian,’ but we will expose their violent, oppressive and exploitative ways. We oppose U.S/NATO orchestrated violence and mass bombing of sovereign countries and the overthrow of their governments, and the killing of thousands of people, like in Yugoslavia in the 1990s or Libya last year. Now Syria and Iran are the targets. The U.S. sets up puppet governments, seizes oil fields and other natural resources and exploits the farm and factory labor of those countries, for the U.S. capitalist class to profit. Half of all U.S. corporate profits come from exploitation overseas. There is no ‘good’ U.S. imperialist intervention in developing, independent or socialist countries.
In opposition to U.S. aggression, Freedom Road sends a message of solidarity to the Arab Spring Uprisings, freedom for peoples suffering U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea, support for the national liberation movements in Palestine, Colombia and the Philippines. We stand with independent and socialist countries against imperialism and march together with workers around the globe who just celebrated May Day. Our vision is for peace, justice and socialism. We say, “Take away the money from U.S. militarism and war and spend it on good jobs, affordable housing, health care for all, education and student loan relief, Social Security, sports and cultural development.”
There has been a fair amount of controversy around the anti-NATO protest. The White House, U.S. intelligence agencies and the Mayor of Chicago are doing all they can to scare the public about our protest. We are here in Chicago, most of us from Chicago, to protest U.S. war and violence. As Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967 during the U.S. war in Vietnam, “The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” It still rings true today.
We know and trust the people marching with us - our friends, neighbors, co-workers and union members, people of faith, enthusiastic students and Occupy protesters. Unfortunately for the rich and powerful, it is hard to intimidate us and scare us away. Members and supporters of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization know this all too well.
Many of you know that the FBI is targeting 23 anti-war activists and Carlos Montes for repression. After we helped lead the mass protests outside the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, MN, in 2008, the FBI raided seven homes in Chicago and Minneapolis and subpoenaed all of us to a Grand Jury in Chicago. You can read about it at www.StopFBI.net. Now an important anti-war and immigrant rights leader Carlos Montes is on trial in Los Angeles, being framed by the FBI. His next court date is June 20, 2012. Carlos Montes urgently needs your solidarity to win!
We know this system we live under cannot deliver what we want. We live in strange times where one has to declare, “War is not peace, occupation is not liberation and corporations are not human beings.” We know the politicians of both parties are bought and paid for by the rich. We are in Chicago to protest this system based on empire that dominates people of other countries, while exploiting and oppressing people here at home. The FRSO aims to end capitalism - a system based on inequality, exploitation and oppression. We will replace it with socialism - a system of peace, justice and equality.
Now is the time to rally and march in Chicago, the home of the Haymarket Martyrs and the eight-hour day struggle, of the great unemployed marches of the 1930s and the urban uprisings after Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, where anti-war protesters defended themselves outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention from police under orders to beat and arrest them, and where the mega-marches of the immigrant rights movement came to life in 2006. The masses make history and we will be marching in their footsteps to oppose war and poverty, to bring down NATO and the G8. One more step on the road to end the rule by a small class of billionaires and millionaires. Let’s unite! We have a world to win!
Today at 4pm!
2838 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago
Join with us and special guests:
Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110
Sarah Chambers, Executive Board, Chicago Teachers Union
Maria Pizarro, immigrant rights activist
Darius Lightfoot, Fearless Leading by the Youth
Pat Hunt, Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda
Richard Berg will speak on the story of Haymarket
Stephanie Weiner, Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Dinner at 5:00 and program at 6:00
Fight Back! Newspaper and Fight Back! email news service are both produced with the help of members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
See you there!
as my newsfeed, twitter feed, and regular listening on npr becomes unbearable with so much crap about who is winning over who in the republican primary, i constantly remind others that this is nothing more than a sideshow to real politics: the class struggle.
now, don’t get me wrong. i’m not an anarchist who thinks that all elections and voting within the u.s. power structure is worthless and compromises one’s principles. nor am i a communist party, usa member (or many other social-democrat groups) who are opportunists, apologists for obama, or at the worst, cheerleaders for the democrats. i believe strongly that people move politically within election seasons. it’s our jobs as revolutionaries and activists to use that movement to our advantage.
in 2008, it was different. we had the first (cisgender) male african american and white woman within short distance to winning the democratic party nomination, and the presidency. obama was clearly more progressive than hillary clinton (and sadly still is!), and you had this big movement of particularly youth activists being siphoned off the anti-war movement into the political campaign (again). so, this wasn’t really a choice for my area of activism, neither was it for the serious revolutionaries in the trade union movement (and i’m not talking about the i.w.w. here, folks). you had to work with the obama supporters. and you most definitely had to guard your activists from becoming sucked into the democratic party.
as predicted, and because of the state of leftist non-unification in the u.s., activist groups hemorrhaged. only the strong survived, and many local, regional, and national groups that did had a strong backbone of dedicated leftists and/or communists. still others went into more non-profit community center politics — but that’s for another article.
in 2012, we see what we’ve prepared for all along since the economic collapse in 2008. obama was never the answer, the u.s. still leans “center-right” in bourgeois political standards, and the international situation is still more ominous with the manipulation of the arab spring in libya, syria, and of course, iran.
of course, as leftist activists, we see nothing to be gained by engaging the 2012 obamaites. and rightfully so. anyone who is so mired in love with obama as the “practical center-left” and so fearful of a republican alternative deserves criticism.
my personal prediction is, seeing how split the republican section of the bourgeoisie, and the base, that there will be no chance for the prospective republican nominees to win, unless of course something big happens. romney is too moderate and is a mormon. santorum is too far right, and is a frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter. newt is gone, and the racist ron paul has been out of the picture since the beginning. if paul decides to run as independent, it only increases the odds of republicans losing.
our main job is to build upon the occupy movements and organize big mobilization against the nato and g8 summits in chicago, starting in may. occupy has already succeeded far beyond what the organized hardcore left expected. it has quantitatively shifted public opinion and garnered significant support in anti-capitalism, anti-bourgeois (the 1%), anti-corruption, and pro-socialist beliefs (albiet in many its forms). yes yes, i have many criticisms of occupy, but that will come in another post.
also is our main job to resolutely struggle against the upsurge of the criminalization of dissent: the national defense authorization act, bradley manning and wikileaks, and of course the case of fbi repression of political activists across the u.s.
don’t be mired in the 2012 political sideshow. this isn’t about queer rights, wars, healthcare, blah blah blah. yeah, those struggles for intermediate demands are important. but we all know we win these rights from the peoples struggles, not politicians. fighting against the nato/g8 summits go hand and hand for developing both demands for, one example, free speech rights while also preparing the masses for revolutionary struggle. it’s a step by step process.
so in the words of amilcar cabral, a luta continua! the struggle continues!
Me on the Tribune!