May 14, 2012 by tristan savage
John read that easy essay to us this morning at the conclusion of the Catholic Worker Faith and Resistance Retreat. We had just returned from the Prudential Building in the downtown Chicago financial district where Obama’s campaign is based.
The idea was to invite Obama and the other NATO leaders to “break bread over a symbolic meal to encourage true withdrawal from Afghanistan, and transform NATO from an instrument of war and empire into an instrument of peace, love and community.” The Obama campaign hasn’t accepted the offer yet, nor have any of the staffers of the NATO militaries coming to Chicago this week. Eight Catholic Workers were arrested in the Prudential Building lobby, as hundreds of us joined them in solidarity and talked with the thousands of workers passing through the financial district during the beginning of the workday. The level of support even from workers in the Prudential Building was astounding. See Common Dreams and the Chicago Tribune for details of the action.
This is just the beginning of the Week Without Capitalism. Last night was the culmination of the weekend People’s Summit, featuring dozens of panels including a free hip-hop show by Rebel Diaz and a keynote message over the phone from Mahanoy state prison with celebrated journalist and death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. As I type this, supporters are gathering to defend public education with the Chicago Teachers Union at Dyett High School in South Chicago.
This week will see multiple actions each day (see the Chicago Spring) leading up to the mass march on the NATO summit led by Iraq Veterans Against the War, who plan to deliver their war medals and a message: poor kids won’t go overseas to die so that the rich can make money any more. The following day, May 21st, we will meet in the downtown financial district, once again, to shut down Boeing international headquarters, the base from which Boeing profits from war, busts unions, and dodges taxes.
As the G8 meets in hiding in Camp David to avoid public scrutiny and NATO militarizes Chicago and suspends the First Amendment, we join the social movements of Chicago in demanding economic justice and an end to Rahm Immanuel’s budget cuts that are closing half of the mental health clinics in the city and slashing workers’ benefits while giving tax breaks to financial and military interests. We join with the 400,000 public sector workers (including 30,000 police) marching against austerity in London last week, the 2,000 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails against the policy of detention without trial, the hundred thousand indignados that took the public squares of Spain on May 12th.
See you in the streets,