Adbusters Magazine, the Vacnouver-based online publication that helped launch the Occupy Wall Street movement, posted a tactical briefing on its website on Jan. 25 calling for 50,000 protesters to participate in a showdown in Chicago at the May NATO and G-8 summits.
Titled “Tactical Briefing #25,” the post was an international rallying cry for radical revolutionaries around the world to participate in a month-long occupation against the backdrop of the international summit. Among those it sought were the "redeemers, rebels and radicals." The briefing encourages peaceful civil disobedience and summons a spirit reminiscent of the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago that resulted in a police riot.
“On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month,” Adbusters.org’s briefing read. “With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.”
"We’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear." - Adbusters MagazineAdbusters directly promises civil disobedience if protesters’ demands are not met during the month-long occupation.
“If they don’t listen, if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before, then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe," the briefing noted. "We’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear.”
City authorities said they will intensify security measures during May when President Barack Obama, NATO generals and other military and political leaders will be in Chicago. A large security perimeter around McCormick Place with extraordinary security measures is being planned by Chicago authorities to prevent access to anyone during the May 19-21 NATO and G-8 summits, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article.
The specific boundaries of the perimeter won’t be revealed to the public until four weeks before the summit, according to a Jan. 12 NBC Chicago article. All residents and workers will be prohibited from the area.
Occupy Chicago organizers and other protester groups did not anticipate Adbusters’ call. Adbusters did not contact any of the existing Chicago initiatives, such as the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8,) according to a Jan. 27 In These Times article.
"Mayor 1% has turned peaceful protest and passive resistance in Chicago into a criminal act, violating our First Amendment rights." - Joshua Kaunert, Occupy Chicago
"Adbusters had not contacted us prior to making this internet call," said Evelyn Dehais, a press liaison for Occupy Chicago in a Jan. 27 WEBZ.org article. "We're excited by the possibilities of it, but we're still figuring out internally exactly how to deal with the situation."
Occupy Chicago protesters say they are committed to non-violent action. Regardless of the dust up over the Adbusters call, some Occupy Chicago protesters welcome and call it an inspiration.
Joshua Kaunert, an Occupy Chicago organizer, welcomed fellow citizens wanting to speak out against the atrocities perpetrated by world leaders participating in the NATO and G-8 summits.
"Occupy Chicago has a lot of work to do both prior to and after these summits: Mayor 1% has turned peaceful protest and passive resistance in Chicago into a criminal act, violating our First Amendment rights,” Kaunert said, referring to Chicago Mayor and former top Obama aide Rahm Emanuel. “We are still in the planning stages for all of our spring actions, but we welcome all who want to speak out against the famine and war forced on the world by the G8 and NATO to join us in the streets of Chicago."
Sam Jewel, an Occupy D.C. protester, expressed enthusiasm about the month of actions during the summits and noted that other Occupy D.C. protesters eagerly accept the Adbusters’ call.
"There is the whole tradition of '68 with all the police brutality there. But we are in a different era of protests now." - Sam Jewel, Occupy DCsource
"It's going to be a pretty dramatic few weeks,” Jewel said in a Jan. 26 Guardian story. “It will be interesting to see what will happen and whether they will respect dissent. The mayor of Chicago hasn't ever allowed tents at Occupy Chicago. There is the whole tradition of '68 with all the police brutality there. But we are in a different era of protests now.”
Meanwhile, Occupy D.C. organizers are dealing with National Park Service (NPS) opposition. The NPS has recently released a flier stating that it will commence enforcement of a long-standing regulation prohibiting camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, according to a Jan. 27 Huffington Post article. According to the flier, the compliance deadline is on Jan. 30 at noon.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has recently asked the NPS to evict protesters from encampments they have occupied for the past four months due to sanitation and rat infestation health concerns.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, believes that the reason the NPS issued the deadline and initiated the eviction process is political. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) held a subcommittee meeting this past week to examine a rat infestation and other proposed health concerns at the McPherson Square encampment.
"I think what's going on right now is extremely political," she said in the Post. "The dominant visible reason for their effort to clear or affect the encampment at this point seems to be Issa and Mayor Gray's responsiveness to business interests in D.C."
Diana Petrova can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org