Mar 10, 2012
The Group of 8 Summit, a meeting of the governments of the world's eight largest economies, was supposed to convene in Chicago this May. For months, Occupy Chicago, international anti-war groups, Anonymous, and hundreds of allies have publicly planned to shut it down. Now, only two months before the meeting is scheduled to begin, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving the assembly of over 7,000 leaders from the world’s wealthiest governments to the Camp David presidential compound, located in rural Maryland near Washington, DC, one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Chicago Tribune reports that summit organizers are "stunned" by the news.
Occupiers and allies celebrated the decision with a victory party last night. The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago issued the following statement:
The G8 moving to Camp David represents a major victory for the people of Chicago. The leaders of the 1% are moving because of the overwhelming resistance to the NATO/G8 war and poverty agenda in Chicago. Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here. The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.
The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US. “We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.”
While officials claim the decision to move the G8 was not related to fear of protesters, Chicago police have admitted to expecting tens of thousands to show up in Chicago this May, and have been stocking up on "less lethal" weapons to use against protesters. Following Occupy Chicago’s Call of Action and Adbuster’s call for 50,000 people to come to Chicago, the City Council granted Chicago Mayor Emanuel extraordinary powers to make security decisions and suppress free speech during the NATO and G8 summits. The city also tried to spread fear by warning downtown businesses to ramp up their security in anticipation of conflicts between riot police and protesters.
Chicago will still host NATO allies and partners on May 20 and 21 to discuss the war in Afghanistan and other topics, and will remain a focal point for the Occupy movement this spring and beyond. Everyone is still encouraged to go to Chicago this May for a major mobilization, or organize actions locally! Occupy DC and Occupiers in Maryland have also begun to consider their response to the moving of the G8 to their area.
Coinciding with the G8 and NATO summits in the U.S., the Occupy movement, trade unions, organizations of migrant workers and the unemployed, environmentalists, youth, and anti-war protesters throughout Europe have also called for days of action from May 17th to 19th centered in Frankfurt, Germany against "the crisis dictatorship of the European Union:"
We resist the disaster that is applied to Greece and other countries, against the impoverishment and denial of rights of millions of people and the practical abolition of democratic procedures resulting from the decisions of the Troika consisting of ECB, EU and IMF. The days of protest in Frankfurt directly succeed to the International Action Day on May 12th and the anniversary of the first assembly in Madrid on May 15th. We are therefore sending a visible sign of solidarity to those people in Europe who have been and are resisting against the debtocracy of the Troika and the attacks on their livelihood and their future. Simultaneously, protests are being organised in the US against the G8 Summit in Chicago.
The choice of Frankfurt for the protests results from the role that the city has as headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) and of powerful German and international banks and corporations. On May 17, we will occupy parks and main squares of the city to create spaces for discussion and exchange. On May 18, we will block the running business of banks in Frankfurt and turn our anger about the Troika's policies into action. We will gather for a large demonstration on May 19 and visualise the broad base of the protests. From many countries and regions of the world people will travel to Frankfurt and participate in the days of protest.
The decision to move the G8 is a victory; it shows that the political and economic powers-that-be are scared by the power of the 99% when we awaken and join together. We must continue to use our collective strength to fight the greedy agenda of the G8 governments, who only serve the interests of the global 1%. Occupy Chicago and their allies continue to mobilize. Stay involved in organizing against the G8 at Camp David and NATO in Chicago! Follow #OccupyCampDavid, #CANG8, #GTFOG8, @OccupyTheG8, and @OccupyChicagoon Twitter.
While Obama may think he can hide world leaders from dissent or shield them from our protest, our message will be heard clearly across the world - including Camp David. Those responsible for the economic crisis, widespread inequality, and manufactured austerity - the G8, NATO, EU, IMF - will be held accountable, wherever they choose to meet. From Chicago to Camp David to Frankfurt, the #GlobalSpring is upon us.