People’s Summit Preempts Anti-NATO Week of Action
As world leaders gather to meet for this weekend’s NATO summit at McCormick Place, local activists have kicked off 10 days of action geared to evoke their opposition to NATO and the G8.
The week of action began with The People’s Summit, a democratic counter-summit organized by the Coalition Against NATO/G8 (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago to inform and provide workshops about war and poverty, advocate for an end to global war and present alternative visions for the future without NATO and G8.
On the weekend of May 12-13, activists, groups and unions gathered at the Occupy Chicago headquarters on 500 W. Cermak and participated in workshops and plenary sessions offering a wide variety of discussions from the war in Afghanistan to the financial crisis in the states.
Suraia Sahar, member of Afghans for Peace and a keynote speaker of the plenary sessions, outlined the goals of those participating in the Occupy and CANG8 events throughout the week.
“One is creating more awareness about the issues,” she said. “Second is creating war solidarity with other like-minded activists and people.”
Reiner Braun, a long time activist in the European Peace Movement, said an end must come to the war in Afghanistan.
“We have to do everything to finish the war in Afghanistan,” he said. “Afghanistan is the weakest point for the NATO summit because the war in both sides of the Atlantic is totally unpopular.”
The counter-summit also served as a preparation for those participating in the weeklong protests and rallies around the city. Members of Occupy Chicago spoke about the need to remain peaceful during the protests and collected donations for an “arrestee fund” to help bail out those arrested during the demonstrations.
“We have a long, hard but invigorating struggle in the coming week, but there’s no turning back,” said Sarah Wild, former United Staff of Columbia College Chicago (USCC) member.