Adbusters Magazine, the Vacnouver-based online publication that helped launch the Occupy Wall Street movement, posted a tactical briefing on its website on Jan. 25 calling for 50,000 protesters to participate in a showdown in Chicago at the May NATO and G-8 summits.
Titled “Tactical Briefing #25,” the post was an international rallying cry for radical revolutionaries around the world to participate in a month-long occupation against the backdrop of the international summit. Among those it sought were the "redeemers, rebels and radicals." The briefing encourages peaceful civil disobedience and summons a spirit reminiscent of the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago that resulted in a police riot.
“On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month,” Adbusters.org’s briefing read. “With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.”
Occupy protesters from around the nation gathered at the Capitol and congressional office buildings in Washington on Jan. 17 to rally and attempt to speak with lawmakers as they resumed the 2012 legislation session and returned from holiday break recess.
The crowd was diverse and composed of hundreds, according to a Jan. 17 Huffington Post article. Known as Occupy Congress, the event was a day of actions against corrupt political institutions and an effort to inspire activists and ordinary Americans to participate in real democracy, according to Occupy Wall Street's website.
Several Occupy groups around the Midwest have turned to the courts to contest encampment evictions and demand the abolishment of corporate personhood, specifically the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited corporate money to flood the political system and corrupt the democratic process.
“Corporations dominate the political process through political action committees, high-paid lobbyists and multi-million dollar contributions by the wealthy 1 percent," Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, national field organizer for Move to Amend, said in news release. "On the most critical issues that impact our everyday lives, corporate interests are defeating critical policies to protect We the People and the planet.”
2011 was full of social upheavals against nepotistic dictators, mass demonstrations and occupations against the 1 percent, and the brutalization of thousands of innocent protesters around the world. In the United States, Occupy protests, with no established targets or tactics, have shifted the national discourse to issues rooted in a culture of domination and systematic elite white supremacy over the poor, working classes.
2012 began with noise demonstrations in front of jails as gestures of solidarity with the incarcerated and to object to one of the most repressive means of control in Western society – the prison-industrial complex. Protesters in about 25 cities around the world, including Bloomington, participated in the international call for New Year’s Eve jail solidarity.
While Occupy protesters nationwide occupy presidential headquarters, take over foreclosed homes and reclaim their encampments, Occupy Chicago has turned to the stage in their efforts to engage citizens in the grassroots’ struggle against corporate elites.
Occupy Chicago organizers produced a show based on a Charles Dickens classic titled Occupy My Heart to celebrate the movement and bring its spirit and message to a broader audience. The premiere was on Dec. 23 outside at the Lincoln Memorial in Grant Park. On Dec. 24, it was broadcast as a radio performance during Marshall Stern’s Awakened America. The play was also performed indoors for free at the Prop Theatre on Dec. 26 and at Studio BE on Dec. 27, according to Occupy Chicago’s website.
“It's a great vehicle to get people interested and to bring more people into the conversation who might not come out to a protest — but who might come to a play," Hannah Friedman, director of “Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol,” said in a Dec. 24 Chicago Tribune article about a staged Christmas Carol-esque protest show put on by the Occupy Chicago activists.
With images of mass demonstrations and police brutality gripping the world, the Occupy Wall Street movement marked its three-month anniversary on Dec. 17. Skeptics have questioned the movement’s momentum since its beginning and have claimed it wouldn’t last long enough to deliver any significant message. But protesters around the nation are feeling stronger and more united than ever, attracting more participants and expanding their confrontations with corporate greed and influence.
“This movement has been built on the need of the working class and the middle class,” New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez told marchers during a daylong protest in Lower Manhattan. “This movement is not going anywhere, is not leaving this city, unless we take particular initiatives to close the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent."
Protesters around the country are diversifying their efforts to highlight major economic issues facing the nation, such as the home foreclosure crisis. After several weeks of authorities dismantling major Occupy encampments throughout the nation, grassroots organizations, such as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI), are standing in solidarity with struggling homeowners.
"Officials from the Obama Administration need to hear from homeowners in crisis and realize that their failure to control the big banks is having devastating consequences for everyday people," Chris Neubert, an organizer with ICCI, said on Dec. 6 in the Huffington Post.
About 75 protesters gathered at IU's Sample Gates on Nov. 17 for a solidarity march on the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. A mix of students and local residents, the demonstrators condemned corporate influence and the social ills it perpetuates.
As they marched down Kirkwood to the Monroe County Courthouse, the protesters chanted, "The people, united, we will never be defeated" and sang, "Everybody pays their tax, everyone but Goldman Sachs!"
The Bloomington rally and march were coordinated with similar events from New York to Berkeley, during which almost 300 protesters were arrested nationwide.