Joint statement by Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago
At 12:30 today, Rahm Emanuel officiated over the death of the Bill of Rights in the City Council chambers.
Ordinances designed to severely restrict First Amendment rights of speech and assembly were presented on December 14th. The stated target was to prepare to repress protestors during the summits of NATO and the G8.
At first, aldermen and the media all agreed that no one would oppose Emanuel on this.
In response to mayor’s attack on civil liberties, the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) joined together with Occupy Chicago and several unions to unite our efforts to defend of civil liberties in Chicago. By last week, aldermen had felt so much pressure from constituents that they had to speak out.
Emanuel then moved to withdraw first one, and then another, of the most criticized pieces. Protests continued to grow; Emanuel retreated further; the protests mounted, and he retreated even further.
Finally, a version was reached that the council opposition could vote for, hoping that the movement would not condemn them. The final version is still a significant attack on democratic rights; its passage is a defeat for our movement.
The mayor has not achieved his true objective, though. Emanuel looks at the new Chicago he has inherited, with protestors in so many places, and he wants to put the genie back in the bottle. It’s not possible.
We have the right to protest against war, austerity, and inequality. Mayor Emanuel, you’ll see us in the streets of Chicago: our streets.