Friday, May 18, 2012

A Peek Into The(ir) Future

 So today marks the start of NATO weekend in beautiful Chicago, Illinois. From now till Tuesday, war criminals war mongers policymakers, journalists, "protestors" (as if speaking out is a hobby or profession), police and other armed forces from across the country and globe will be filing in to my city. I've had this weekend circled on my calendar for months now. This is the first time NATO has been held in United States in any city besides Washington D.C. That's 100% of Rahm, and it gives some interesting insight into the trajectory he, the Pritzkers, and the rest of the massas have in mind for our city on the global stage.

With the gaze of the Western world set on Chicago for the weekend, you can be assured that law enforcement will be in beast mode. CPD is already the second-biggest police force in the nation, yet reinforcements have been sent in from Philly, Milwaukee, and Charlotte to "keep the peace". This peace will be kept via eardrum-shattering "sonic weapons", full riot gear, armored horses, and automatic weaponry. Security at the actual Summit - which will be at McCormick Place - is handled by the FBI and Secret Service. President Obama, as well as Congress, has given them unprecedented police state powers; Chicago has been a police state for nearly a century, but this weekend will be a terrifying look into the future that our leaders have in mind. H.R. 347 was signed into law by Obama on March 9th and is getting a test run in downtown Chicago this weekend, where many counter-terrorism tactics will be employed against U.S. citizens.

If you plan on going down this weekend, here's what your government says you cannot do: enter or block public areas that have been closed off by Secret Service so they can transport an official. In other words, it's now illegal to be in the same place as a policymaker "even if the person does not know it’s illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it's illegal." Nice.

In case that doesn't work, Rahm has taken special measures to ensure that Chicago sets a shining example for the rest of the world hosting, wining, and dining war criminals. The rundown: authorization for the Mayor to purchase and deploy surveillance cameras throughout the city, without any type of oversight, restrictions on public activity, including amplified sound and morning gatherings, and the power to deputize many different types of law enforcement personnel other than the Chicago Police Department. Contrary to popular imagination, these are not NATO-specific power moves. These are permanent ordinances, giving Mayor Emanuel dictator powers until/if we vote him out.

If not for Tribute on Sunday, I'd be downtown for both days of the Summit. Not only for personal reasons, but just to see for myself the hope and change that I voted for in 2008 (and that I'm being guilted by peers into voting for again in 2012). I'd hate to see this because it'd almost certainly mean loss of life, but a 2012 redux of the World Trade Organization's visit to Seattle seems likely. Protests aren't necessarily violent, but when your own government criminalizes you for exercising your First Amendment rights it's hard to remain civil. It's hard to remain calm in the face of police with "To protect and serve" on one shoulder and canisters of tear gas on another.

I encourage all of you to go down at some point before Tuesday as well. Fuck class, learn about the true political climate in this country and in our world. Learn what your government actually thinks of you. Shatter your media-learned fears about the Summit protests, and actually experience it for yourself. OccupyNU is taking a large group down, join with them. Everyone is cautioning you about this weekend, but ask yourself what they're warning you of. Not necessarily your safety; H.R. 347, the FBI, and CPD have pretty much taken control of that out of your hands.

As hard as the President, legislature, Mayor, and others have made it to do so, be safe. In body, but not in mind. Take risks with how you see the world, how you understand it, and how you engage with it. It might get you arrested, but simply lying down and accepting tyranny will only earn you more of the same in the future. And it's a future that's coming sooner than you think.

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