Victory at NATO Summit demonstrations
Chicago protesters held impressive ground this past weekend at the NATO Summit demonstrations. Despite militaristic intimidation tactics used by the Chicago Police Department, demonstrators’ voices were heard loud and strong: fuck the NATO war machine.
Arrests totaled up to 60, including the “NATO 3” - Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly – who are facing terrorist charges and being held on a $1.5 million bond. They are currently in solitary confinement in Chicago and could face up to 85 years in prison.
While arrest numbers stayed relatively low, especially compared to the 700 arrested over the past few days in Quebec student protests, brutality incidents were much larger. Ruthless CPD officers swung their bikes and batons at protesters and beat several journalists bloody. Reports of protesters being admitted to the hospital for stitches and possible concussions painted the picture of the war zone against free speech in the streets of Chicago.
But the protesters’ voices rang louder than the blood running down their foreheads. Veterans hurling their medals of honor in disgust and in apology for their participation in corrupt wars spoke volumes higher than the imperialistic ongoings inside of the Summit.
The weekend events in Chicago sent a vibrant message of unity to the world, proving to the ruling class that the people are awake and ready for a radical change. Activists must be aware of the experiences of the NATO Summit demonstrations, and use them to rally forward.
Building a necessary solidarity
From the nurses unions and the Free Bradley Manning Contingent to Occupy groups and veteran organizations, activists swarmed Chicago to condemn the NATO warmongers and their deathly exploitation of people across the world. These resistance groups linked together to become a force more potent than the police. Not only does this massive display of solidarity boast numbers in the tens of thousands, it also churns out ideas that will change the status quo.
This unrest is only making the capitalist ruling class more and more nervous. We can see the counterattacks taking on different forms: a militarized police force, laws condemning whistleblowers, online surveillance and a backlash against unions. But this is only the beginning. Resistance groups must bind together to build a strong solidarity and cooperation with one another to continue to shake the grip the corrupt American government.
Our enemy is one in the same and must be recognized as so. The United States is no longer run by the people, but by profit-gorging capitalists. But in a united fight, the system can be toppled by the might of these working class groups.
Ditching ineffective media
As mainstream media coverage has proven these past few days, it no longer belongs to the people and only acts in the interests of its capitalist ownership. Headlines splashed across front pages read that protesters “clashed” with police, instead of showing the true police violence. News articles focused on the police officer who was stabbed, while giving only brief mentions to protesters who were beaten until their blood splattered on the asphalt. Comparisons were made between police in riot gear standing off against protesters who wore black and ski masks, when there was no comparison to be made.
The mainstream corporate-owned media has continued to uphold the capitalist agenda by perpetually stripping validity away from demonstrators. Protest stories are tarnished with an underlining sense of violence – not by the police forces who spent millions on weapons and armed officers, but by protesters merely exercising their right to march.
However, a strong media system is not dead, but evolving. Democracy Now, Truth-out, Socialist Worker, AlterNet and livestream channels are just a few alternative media sources that gave true coverage of the NATO protests this weekend. These democratic outlets continue to expose the government threat to First Amendment liberties and to give spotlight to the working class uprisings transforming their world.
The NATO Summit demonstrations injected energy into the American and global spring. Even though government repression continues to strengthen, this vitality cannot fizzle. NATO represents a foundation of capitalist oppression, suffocating the life out of the international working class. But a much larger system has strangled the world for long enough, and it is the time to fight back.
- G. Razo