Posted 12 months ago on May 23, 2012, 9:31 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
The protests in Chicago show that Occupy is a network committed to social change through direct action. Arguably,the policies of NATO benefit Americans the most, so to march against NATO in America is a very strong statement against war and how it perpetuates uneven capitalist development. At NATO, the rich and powerful decide which countries will be unified, which they will ignore or refuse aid, and those they will invade. NATO is both a military alliance and an instigator of severe repression as its policies ensure the reign of the global north over countries who adopt other economic systems. This history of NATO shows that it began as an arrangement to suppress communism, but it now endures to secure the profits of multinational corporations.
As for this weekend, perhaps mirroring the military strategy of NATO, the protests were over-policed and extremely violent. Police beat and sprayed non-violent protesters with impunity. Those who were live streaming events were pulled over by police, detained, and harassed. Others had their homes invaded and have been accused of terrorism. Several participants in the Occupy movement who traveled to Chicago reported being followed by unmarked police vans as they moved about the city. In another instance, travelers who intended to camp in a backyard were met with police condemning the back porch and requiring them to move along. When real police oppression is happening, it becomes difficult to focus on the policies of NATO as the target of protest activities. But, those from the Occupy movement went to Chicago to support the Nurse’s Union’s call for a Robin Hood Tax, to support veterans’ calls to end all wars, and to raise awareness that NATO is the army of the 1%.
Moving forward, the more the Occupy movement converges at these large-scale protests, the more fundamentally influential we will become on setting the national political agenda. Practice makes perfect as the saying goes. People that resist together form dense ties and begin to trust each other’s judgement. These are the moments where movements crystallize and become strongly aligned in vision and goals. Those who met in Chicago will have ample opportunities to rally again as plans are in the works to protest the DNC and RNC as well as the November elections. In addition, an open and transparent national gathering in Philly is happening on July 4th.