Occupy Chicago preps media for NATO
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
In an empty warehouse loft on Chicago’s south side, dozens of media organizations from across the city crowded an Occupy Chicago press conference last week. The group gathered to hear the next steps of Occupy’s initiatives as the NATO summit approaches.
The conference was organized by Occupy press committee member Rachael Perrotta, and speakers from Occupy affiliated groups voiced their issues against NATO and what the public can expect from the demonstrations while encouraging Chicago citizens to come join them in support.
“Why has Rahm Emmanuel and world business Chicago brought NATO to our city?” said Zoe Sigman of Occupy Chicago. “A city whose communities are crumbling and schools are underfunded? Whose clinics are being closed? Whose jobs are disappearing and whose homes are being stolen by the banks?”
Jan Rodolfo, Midwest director of National Nurses United(NNU), an organization of 170,000 nurses across the country and around the world, explained how nurses all over the world are coming to Chicago to protest against—what she explained as—the austerity measures of the G8.
“Students drowning in student loan debt, patients unable to refill their pain mediations and unable to afford health insurance,” Rodolfo said. “These are not the policies discussed in the G8 abstract, but affect our communities.”
Rodolfo also said the NNU will also be proposing a Robin Hood tax on investment trades of .50 cents on every hundred dollars of trades, a tax she feels is incomparable to the sales tax the average consumer pays every day on necessities.
Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans will a march from Petrillo Music Shell to the NATO summit at McCormick Place, May 20. The thousands of people expected to support, will watch as former military members ceremoniously hand over their service medals to military NATO generals in opposition to future planning in the Middle East as well as the past decade of the Global War on Terror.
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) member Aaron Hughes will lead the demonstration. An Iraq war veteran, Hughes emphasized his negative experiences during his tours overseas and the lack of results as funds continue to be diverted away from the social issues within society.
“These Generals that are tasked with the care of service members are not living up to that task,” Hughes said. “And these are the same soldiers that sacrifice themselves everyday for them. How are they to build a democracy for others in Afghanistan?”
“A wrong has occurred. And we live with that wrong every single day,” Hughes added. “We don’t want to be part of a mistake any longer.”
The IVAW is united with Andy Thayer and the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) Before the march steps of at 2 p.m., there will be numerous performances and guest speakers to include the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition.
“We encourage everyone to join us in the streets,” Thayer said. “Don’t let the city intimidate you. The last time I checked the first amendment had not been annulled in the city of Chicago.”
Taking note of the G8 being moved to Camp David, the ability of Occupy Chicago to hold up to the expected size of the mass protest has been in discussion within the media. But Occupy member Perrotta strongly believes in both the magnitude of the upcoming demonstrations as well as the impact it will have on the summit.
“There are thousands of people from all over the world coming to protest NATO and and we expect huge crowds, “ Perrotta said. “The Occupy movement is not dwindling. The Occupy Movement is strong.”