Early today protesters from Occupy Chicago interrupted Mayor Rahm Emanuel with the now famous amplification process of a mic check. In the video below the protesters start shortly after the mayor takes the podium, clearly rattling him and forcing a much shorter speech. Via Think Progress.
Mayor Emanuel and Occupy Chicago have spared a few times but this marks the first in person occurrence. More than 300 people from Occupy Chicago and other community activist organizations still face charges after their arrests in two separate attempts to set up camp in Grant Park. The mayor claims the decision came from his Chief of Police Garry McCarthy but ultimately the it rests on the office he occupies. Protesters face daily harassment over cart mobility by police, including today when they deemed the movement’s food cart a “tent” because of the tarp protecting the food. As a result they trashed the entire cart. This step by the police occurred after the mayor was mic checked, nice coincidence.
The movement tried and continues to try to address the inherent wrongs in our political system. The mayor and staff have been invited to attend Occupy Chicago’s general assemblies. Following the second attempt at Grant Park the political class of Chicago showed their true colors. Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff Felicia Davis said:
“It’s very difficult to negotiate when the faces keep changing,” said Davis. “I’m willing to sit down and have an open and respectful dialogue. I just need to know who the the real, appropriate, valid people are to have that happen.”
Occupy movements around the country believe they are real and valid people worthy of discussing the issues with officials. The political class fell into the old routine by which a few leaders of an organization come into the office for an hour long meeting getting little to nothing accomplished. But the organization leaves feeling a sense of progress.
Occupy is done with all of that. For too long the old process has failed time and time again. Advocacy organizations stage protests, phone calls, and even talk with the elected leader if they are lucky. It does little. The effort is often in vain because it stretches the energy of activism too thin. As a result needed change takes too long.
This movement wants the power of democracy back in their hands and away from monetary influence by corporations and their expensive lobbyists. In their mic check of a progressive aldermen occupy members said,
“We are not interested in excuses or explanations. It’s a song we’ve heard before.”
Few words can encapsulate the movement better than those. The same song and dance accomplished nothing for the people relying upon the six mental health clinics that will close, the seven health clinics that will be privatized, the hundreds who will lose their jobs – all as a result of Rahm’s budget.
Late last month muckrakers Ben Joravsky and Matt Dumke exposed the mayor’s millionaires club, as they called it.
In fact, Downe [CEO of the Bank of Montreal] and Furlong [CEO of Harris Bank] are the kind of guys Mayor Emanuel often makes time for: rich, influential, and frequently at odds with organized labor and other progressive groups that historically made up the base of Emanuel’s Democratic Party.
Rahm continually meets with people who’s interests do not coincide with the citizens he represents. He does not meet with community organizations and repeatedly showed disdain for activists on the left. During his time as Chief of Staff in the White House he called progressive activists, or the professional left, “fucking retarded.” Member of occupy merely want him to hear their concerns and begin addressing the problems facing the 99 percent.
Instead, Rahm ran away a coward.
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