Occupy Chicago Announces Winter Plans, "Operation Chicago Spring"
CHICAGO 11/17/11 – The Occupy movement faces daily violence and eviction notices from state and local authorities across the country. Chicago has been no different, and Occupy Chicago has faced constant opposition from "Mayor 1%" Emanuel and harassment by the CPD. Our message to those who question our ability to persevere is: You can’t evict an idea whose time has come. The Occupation will continue!
The Occupy movement is inciting a conversation about the consolidation of wealth and power in our society, and the stranglehold that the top 1% have over our political system. Americans are seeing the crises of our economy and our democracy as systemic problems that require collective action to remedy. Every day, more and more Americans are identifying as part of the 99%, uniting across social and economic barriers to denounce the abuses of corporate money in politics.
Last week, the Occupy Chicago General Assembly passed a proposal called “Operation Chicago Spring,” a plan of action for the winter and beyond. The first portion calls for a schedule of daily events, actions, and teach-ins throughout the city and suburbs, with a diverse coalition of allies. The second part is a springtime call to action, asking the nation and the world to stand behind Occupy Chicago on April 7th, for a global day of action in support of our Occupation. (For full text of the proposal, see below.)
This winter, Occupy Chicago will participate in daily events and actions geared towards building community and solidarity across Chicago and it’s suburbs. We are already coordinating actions with groups as diverse as the Chicago Teachers Union, StandUp! Chicago, the Amalgamated Transit Union, Students Organizing with Labor (SOUL), Workers United, and the Jane Adams Senior Caucus. We will continue to reach out to communities across Chicago, and to coordinate with other Occupations.
Area Occupations include Occupy the Hood Chicago (OTHC), Occupy el Barrio, Occupy Wicker Park/Logan Square/Bucktown/Humboldt Park/Rogers Park/Bronzeville/Austin/
Altgeld, Occupy Naperville, Occupy Evanston, and various Occupied campuses, with more springing up every day. Occupy The Hood Chicago is an active component of Occupy Chicago. For the past month, OTHC has been making alliances with existing community groups across Chicago that are fighting against foreclosures and evictions, for better health care, and an end to neglect and abuse by corporations, banks and unresponsive government.
“The question isn’t, ‘where will the Occupation be,’ it’s ‘where won’t it be?’" Says Joshua Kaunert, an archaeologist and Occupy Chicago participant. “We will be indoors and outdoors, in every neighborhood and every suburb, at public hearings, protests, and community events. We believe that the grievances of nurses, teachers, the homeless, students, librarians, transit workers, the unemployed, and Occupy participants are one and the same. We want to break down the barriers between the north, west, and south sides of this city, and are committed to working in solidarity with any group that is on the right side of history.”
Occupy Chicago is putting out a global call designating April 7th, 2012 as a day of action in support of our Occupation. We will mobilize the local community we are helping to build over the winter, and will call for our national allies, including unions, to bring in their members to stand with us in Chicago.
“Occupy Chicago faces daily harassment and threats of arrest from the Chicago Police Department at our headquarters at Jackson & LaSalle. Hundreds of peaceful Occupy participants in Chicago have been arrested in our attempts to secure public space for our Occupation,” says Rachael Perrotta, an office worker and Occupy Chicago committee member. “We need the support of the entire Occupy movement, and of our local allies, as we approach the scheduled NATO and G8 Summits in Chicago next spring, to ensure our safety, and that the voice of the people is well represented.”
Some have questioned Occupy Chicago’s ability to survive the harsh Chicago winter. Due to health and safety concerns, the Occupation is working to secure an indoor location at which to host committee meetings, nightly General Assemblies, educational events, and day-to-day organizing. Occupy Chicago will continue to have a presence on the streets throughout the city, with or without a few feet of snow.
Occupy Chicago is building a relationship with a fiscal sponsor, allowing streamlined access to our funds, while also providing our donors with a tax-exemption. These plans should be finalized within the next few weeks.
There are no plans to abandon Jackson & LaSalle as one of the headquarters of Occupy Chicago.
“We will continue to occupy Chicago,” says Micah Philbrook, a teacher and Occupy Chicago participant. “The traders looking down from their windows may see fewer signs and hear fewer drums, but the neighborhoods of our city, the community organizations of our city, the unions of our city, and the rest of the 99% in our city will see and hear our support every day.”
Full Text of Operation Chicago Spring:
1) Occupy Chicago will endorse a call to action of doing at least one event every day over the course of the whole winter specifically geared towards building community across all of the neighborhoods of Chicago. The struggles of nurses, teachers, the homeless, students, librarians, transit workers, the unemployed, and Occupiers are the one and the same struggle, and the 99% must engage actively in each others' communities and struggles, break down barriers, and fight against the 1% as a united people for social, economic, and political justice.
Actions will be in different neighborhoods every day, scheduled and publicized with enough notice, so that Chicagoans can mobilize themselves to attend.
Actions can include but are not limited to: defending homes that are being foreclosed, sit-ins, flyering, banner dropping, building parks, delivering supplies to the homeless, guerilla theater and art, and more. We should coordinate these events with the Occupy Neighborhoods, such as Occupy the Hood, Occupy el Barrio, Occupy Rogers Park, Occupy Logan Square/Bucktown/Humbolt Park, and others. These smaller actions are intended to create momentum, and in NO WAY preclude from bigger actions aimed at fighting the 1%.
2) Occupy Chicago will endorse a date in spring, which it will begin raising awareness for now, as a national day of action. We will mobilize the communities of Chicago, other organizations, as well as Occupations across the country and world to stand with us in solidarity. With a definitive date to plan for and raise awareness beginning now, unions will have time to mobilize and bus in their members from across the state and country, other occupations will have time to organize rallies in their native cities and ample time to plan to support us in person. We will have time to organize and allocate our resources effectively, publicize both through actions, media, and outreach as an effective means of getting the word out over the next several months. With correct planning, we can come out with numbers so large that the city and state can neither ignore nor remove the occupation. The proposed date is April 7, due to weather considerations, and the fact that this is one month prior to the NATO/G8 Summit.