On the Eve of NATO in My Hometown

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/20

by Donna Smith
Published on Sunday, May 20, 2012 by Common Dreams

Looking down on the Sears Tower tonight, you wouldn’t suspect a major event was just hours away.  It’s quieter than most Saturday nights – except in Wrigleyville, where Chicago’s baseball and sports fans fill the streets and the bars as usual.  But in other parts of my hometown, huge barricades and security parameters await the potential for mass protest and any related unrest.

I’ve been here for a week working to support the huge protest National Nurses United staged at Daley Plaza on Friday. It was great.  Tom Morello, Libertyville native, rocked the place and fired up the crowds on Friday.   Tom and his union sisters and brothers want a Robin Hood Tax – a small tax on Wall Street transactions that could raise $350 billion every year.  Their staged protest was a miraculous success – timed perfectly to hit the sweet spot of media interest and public anxiety.

And I’ve been listening to Chicago’s working people – the cabbies, the wait staff, the police officers (yes, they are working people too), and the other service staff in hotels and retail establishments.  NATO isn’t just a group of world leaders meeting against whom the multiplicity of social justice and anti-war activists can protest.  NATO is a scourge on the working people of Chicago.  Real people are losing days of pay and tips and business while those who want to protest sleep on church floors and in solidarity housing and eat donated food.

The “1 percenters” who are here for NATO or who are leading protests against NATO aren’t really too concerned with Chicago’s working people and their plight.  You can tell who the “1 percenters” are by their lack of concern for the rest of us – their lack of concern for the rest of Chicago’s working people and their worry about their own personal safety lest the rest of us do too much protesting against them.  The “1-percenters” want to make sure they keep themselves clean of the unwashed masses.  They want the services we provide to be provided in an uninterrupted way, but they surely do not stand with you and they surely do not stand with me.

Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/20

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