In this May 1, 2012, photo, Occupy Chicago activists block the entrance to a Bank of America branch as part of a May Day demonstration in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Even though the G8 participants have fled the great city of Chicago in order to bunker down at Camp David, organizers and protesters continue to diligently prepare for the other major conference scheduled for this week, NATO.
Protest plans were announced by activists during a press conference held in an empty warehouse loft on Chicago’s South Side last week, where press gathered to hear the next steps for the Occupy movement. The conference, organized by Occupy press committee member Rachael Perrotta, and speakers from Occupy affiliated groups, included the speakers’ listing grievances against NATO and also what the public can expect for the week-long protests.
“Why has Rahm Emanuel 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?”
“All the demands that we’re making—for social justice, economic equality, against the wars and occupations—they’re all linked by opposition to a system that’s out of control,” Ashley Smith told the Chicago Tribune.
Smith is one of the out-of-towners who traveled to Chicago for the summit.
Kevin Rambo, 19, is another visitor representing Occupy San Diego, who told the Trib, “There’s a revitalized activist community because of the Occupy movement, for the most part. Because of the growing number of people who are getting involved, I couldn’t really not protest against NATO.”
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.”