Friday, 25 December 2015

Occupy Chicago Declares Victory After All Charges From Encampment Attempts Are Dropped // @OccupyChicago


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Occupy Chicago Declares Victory After All Charges From Encampment Attempts Are Dropped

Cook County Judge Thomas Donnelly has dismissed all charges relating to Occupy Chicago's attempts at taking an encampment last October. On October 15 and 23, thousands of occupiers marched from Jackson and LaSalle to Congress Plaza to erect an encampment in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. The encampments were meant to be a place where people could live, build community and organize in our fight against the corporate abuse of democracy. The protest was intended to build a round-the-clock presence at Grant Park. Over the course of the two attempts to create this community, 305 protesters would be arrested.

The arrests were made on the grounds of a rarely-used park curfew ordinance restricting access to Grant Park from 11pm to 6am. Occupy Chicago activists challenged this ordinance based upon the protection of the First Amendment which states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"We were arrested because we were doing something very threatening to the state, we were creating a peaceful social platform where the voices of the lower classes could be heard. We the challenged the system of capitalism simply by talking about and bringing economic inequality to the forefront of everyday conversation has been a tremendous achievement on our behalf," said Danielle Vilarreal, Occupier arrested on October 23.

Ninety two of those arrested have been collectively fighting back on first amendment grounds since February. Today we are happy to announce that all charges against Occupy Chicago activists have been dismissed on first amendment grounds. Read the judges ruling here:

This ruling is another victory for Occupy Chicago in beating back Mayor Emmanuel's attacks on the first amendment rights of activists. "The whole city is getting tired of Rahm's abuse of power. This is what we saw with the immense community support for the teacher's strike. This what we saw back in January when we were able to mobilize the community against Rahm's "sit down, and shut up" ordinances. And this is what we see now with the charges being dismissed. Grant Park has a long history of being an open political forum in the city of Chicago and for Rahm to try to restrict political activity in this park with unconstitutional arrests, is not only an insult to the political history of Chicago, it also goes to prove that Rahm, not really being from Chicago, does not understand Chicago, and the rights of the people who live here," said Andy Manos Occupier arrested on October 23.

"The charges against Occupy Chicago members have been dropped, but the legal and ethical travesty that they represent should never be forgotten; the city administration and its corrupt courts have wasted how many tax dollars in this circus of injustice? And for what? What did hundreds of cops spend hundreds of overtime hours on the city's dime doing last October? They spent that time breaking their own laws and repressing the very essence of democracy, as the verdict in this case indicates. It was all a meaningless distraction meant to take away momentum from a political moment that represented something other than the trite and callous ethos so dominant in our troubled culture," said Mark Banks Occupier arrested on October 23rd.



Minutes for Saturday, October 13th General Assembly in El Barrio

- Police Brutality Meeting Sat. Oct. 20th, 2pm, 1100 E. 55th, Lutheran School of Theology
- NATO5 Jail Support Fundraiser -  Music Performances, Art Auction - Thurs. Nov. 8th at MAGI Cultural Art Center, 2149 W. 21st St.
- NLG (National Lawyers Guild) Banquet Dinner - Nov. 18th
- Monday Oct. 15th Action, 6pm LaSalle & Jackson, Tent Walk 12pm Clark & Adams
- Occupy Rogers Park Anti-Eviction Campaign Meeting - 7pm, 1401 E. 75th St (Dorchester&75th)
- Cabrini Eviction Support, Tues. Oct. 16, 9am 545 W. Division
- Mental Health Movement Trial - 9am, 26th & California

Calls for Assistance:
- Breast Cancer Awareness - Pink Line
- Freedom School - Call for Support
- Selling art on the street. Letters to Rahm to allow sale of art on street and in parks
- Veteran's Day: Listen to Veterans - Thurs. 8pm 500 W. Cermak, Room 501
- NATO 5: Noise Demo at Jail, Call for Support
- Freedom School, need projector.  Nov. 1st Occupy the Southside Anniversary
- Action Now union organizing, Petition to raise minimum wage
- Petition for elected police board

- None

Discussion Topics:
- Touring GA location for last 2 Saturdays (Oct. 20th & 27th) - Agreed that it will be at Occupy the Southside's location - Oct. 20th will be at  the Bronzeville Community Garden, 5100 S Calumet (51st-Green Line)
- NATO5 Jail Support and expanding campaign to involve larger issues of "The New Jim Crow", the atrocities of the US prison system, and all political prisoners & non-violent offenders

Durbanville Shantytown Protest at Federal Building: Fight Back! Senator Durbin, Don’t Destroy Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid!

As part of the ongoing “fiscal cliff” discussions, Senator Durbin is negotiating behind our backs to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – cuts that could create depression-era conditions for millions of Americans who’ve paid for and earned support from these vital programs.

Join us on December 6th at noon to tell Senator Durbin that we won't go back! On December 6, we're building a Durbinville Shantytown encampment at the Federal Building to symbolize the dire consequences these cuts could have, and fight to preserve these essential programs. Join us! And bring a tent!

Monday, December 3, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Tuesday, December 4, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Wednesday, December 5, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
Thursday, December 6, noon: Erect the “Durbinville” shantytown to show the world what these cuts really mean!

Enough is enough! It's time to stop unnecessary budget cuts and make corporations and the rich pay their fair share!

Demand that Senator Durbin:
Block the "debt ceiling sequester" cuts – say no to austerity!

Reject Simpson-Bowles or any other “Grand Bargain” that attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, working people, the sick or the elderly – protect vital public programs, no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid!

Block the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% – it’s time for the rich to start paying their fair share!

Support and fight for progressive sources of revenue – impose a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street financial speculation, tax capital gains as normal income and close corporate tax loopholes!