21 Days in May; an Occupy novella, part twenty-one

This piece was originally posted May 19th, 2012

The NATO summits had only revealed fully what many feared was emerging in America. No longer was this the stuff of fiction, or the Hollywood fantasy of Gestapo agents and Nazi stormtroopers exacting justice on a whim, as if judges and courts and laws were their individual domain, and a sacred language only they understood.

Was it really possible to destroy a man through the art of propaganda. Was the media, acting in conspiracy with the police state complicit in fabricating pure fiction from the fertile ground of lazy and unquestioning minds, until belief superseded truth and reason and skepticism? The headline that day in the Chicago Tribune screamed that difference:

Bridgeport arrests: Molotov cocktails or brewing equipment?
By Rosemary R. Sobol, Jeremy Gorner and Todd Lighty Tribune reporters

5:33 p.m. CDT, May 18, 2012

As the NATO summit nears, Chicago police detained at least nine people in an investigation into the alleged making of Molotov cocktails, but four were released today without charges…The nine ranged in age from their 20s to a 66-year-old grandfather with a heart condition. Several were with the Occupy movement…Building residents described black-clad police officers with battering rams and guns drawn coming into the building, searching their apartments and refusing to tell them what was going on. One resident told the Tribune police taunted him and his roommate, repeatedly calling them communists and using anti-gay slurs…Darrin Annussek, 36, one of the Bridgeport nine who was released today, described being handcuffed and shackled for 18 hours in an “interrogation room.” He said police refused his request to use a restroom and did not read him his constitutional rights.

“None of us were told why this was happening,” Annussek told reporters Friday outside the Harrison District station this afternoon.

Annussek, who had the numbers “1968” scrawled in magic marker on his right wrist from when police processed him, said police told him he was being held on a “conspiracy” charge. A social worker who got laid off, Annussek arrived in Chicago in time for the May Day march. He said he began marching in November from Philadelphia and Atlanta, “to try and spread the positive message of Occupy Wall Street.”

“To be charged with felony conspiracy to endanger anybody’s life is not only a slap in the face, it’s against everything I stand for,” he said.

William Vassilakis, who said he was hosting those who were arrested, said there were no materials to create a explosive device. Instead, Vassilakis said police confiscated supplies he uses to make beer.

Police would not answer their questions or show them a search warrant. “The only thing we were told was that we were in the middle of an investigation,” he said.

Police looked through books in the apartment, finding feminist writings and a book about the selected writings of Karl Marx, best known for his Communist Manifesto. The resident said police repeatedly called him and his roommate communists, used anti-gay slurs and teased them about going to jail.the officer took a more confrontational tone and started quizzing him about the photo on his phone’s home screen, which he described as a “fantasy painting.”

“He asked me, ‘What’s the deal with the photo?’ and that’s when he called for backup,” the man said.

Two more officers came upstairs and “that’s when he pulled me out and they searched my place,” he said. The man added that the officer took his phone away from him for 15 to 20 minutes while the search was going on.

Before the search of his own apartment ended, the man said, the police officer said he would only return his phone if he agreed to show police the photos stored on his phone “to show that I had no association” with the people downstairs.

The man said he did not know the group in the apartment below and that he has not participated in any political demonstrations.

The officers never physically mishandled him, he said. “They were very nice about stomping on my civil rights…”

But the message was unequivocal and had been rendered loudly and clearly. Somewhere within that rendering was the line between fiction and reality, between fact and untruths masquerading as truth. All were woven so artfully that one was completely indistinguishable from the other. The corporate media sold consumption and gluttony, but couldn’t sell it to a wise and informed populace. Politician’s could hardly dupe and educated people, so truth and reality and fact had to be undone. They could not simply be destroyed, they had to be undermined and confused in the minds of the public, so that each person called reality into question on their own accord.

And so a bunch of “commie faggot hippies” were roughed up, jailed, their civil liberties violated. It was the same for the guy walking along Michigan Avenue who was stopped searched and questioned by three plain clothed officers. So the population had been so animated by fear of the protesters, that the public could rightly claim they had no clue what the protests were about. Individually these things would be forgotten. Together they sent a clear and undeniable message.

Freedom and democracy in America was being eradicated.

Dissent, while not explicitly a crime was now essentially a crime. It affirmed an ideal surrendered and squandered by older generations, and shouted to their legacies that freedom isn’t a right or even a privilege any more in America, but an allowance, barely tolerated by men with power and guns. While not explicitly a crime, freedom and dissent were essentially crimes…

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Protest and Release of Report on CPD Torture + Police Brutality Protest #ChiCopWatch

Oct 22: ‘We Charge Genocide’ Presents Report on Chicago Police Violence and Hosts Silent Protest on National Day of Action Against Police Brutality
Chicago organizers release report they will present to the UN, exposing
ongoing, pervasive Chicago Police violations of the Convention Against Torture, as well as
call for a protest at the 11th District Police Station, formerly run by disgraced Commander Glenn Evans.

CHICAGO 10/20– On October 22, a national day of action against police brutality, local organizers with We Charge Genocide (WCG) will present a report to the public detailing Chicago Police violence in marginalized communities and against youth of color. The report shows that CPD actions violate the United Nations (UN) Conventions Against Torture. The presentation will take place at 9 am at
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S Halsted St, Chicago.

The full report, We Charge Genocide: Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color, will be available for download on 10/22 at wechargegenocide.org.

9 AM Presentation Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/393181967499789/

Later that day, at 5:30 pm, WCG organizers who will travel to the UN to present the report will be available for interviews before a 6:00 pm silent protest at the 11th District Police Station, at 3151 W Harrison. The 11th District is a hotbed of police brutality. Recently, the Commander of the station, Glenn Evans, was accused of putting his gun into a suspect’s mouth. Brutality lawsuits against Evans alone have cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

6 PM Protest Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487848628144241/

In November WCG, will send eight organizers to present a report on Chicago Police violence to the United Nations Committee Against Torture at their 53rd Session in Geneva, Switzerland, during which the U.S. will be under review. With widespread community support, the group raised over $17,500 in less than a month via online fundraiser and a series of fundraising dinners. Because of the generosity of people in Chicago and around the country, WCG has added two additional organizers to the Geneva delegation.

Press Kit with bios, FAQ sheet and images for media use. Please credit We Charge Genocide: http://bit.ly/1okIZQI

We Charge Genocide: Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color contains data and personal narratives collected by WGC at events, using their online submission form, the #ChiCopWatch hashtag, as well as publicly available resources. The report also includes an infographic, Chicago Police Violence By The Numbers. Key finding include:

• From 2009 to 2013, although Black people comprised only 32.3% of Chicago’s overall population, 75% of police shooting victims were Black. Additionally, in the first six months of 2014, 23 of 27 people shot by the CPD were Black.
• Between 2009 and 2011, 92% of Taser uses involved a Black or Latino target, including 49 youth under the age of 16 (with some as young as 8 years old).
• Black youth accounted for 77% of the arrests of youth in 2011 and 79% in 2012. Latino youth accounted for most of the other arrests, i.e., 18% of these arrests in 2011 and 17% in 2012.
• A brutality complaint is 94% less likely to be sustained in Chicago than in the nation as a whole: Only 0.48% of brutality complaints against the CPD are sustained (as opposed to 8% nationally).
• Between 2002 and 2004, Chicago residents filed 10,149 complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse, and false arrests against the CPD. Only 124 of these 10,149 complaints were sustained (1.2%), and a mere 19 cases (0.18%) resulted in any meaningful penalty (a suspension of a week or more).
We Charge Genocide is volunteer-run by Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in Chicago and who seek to equip individuals across the city with tools to more proactively hold police accountable. The name We Charge Genocide comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951, which documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses, mostly by the police.

Contact: Page May, 802-324-7751, wechargegenocide@gmail.com
Monica Trinidad, 312-771-6269, mtrini2@gmail.com

October 22 – National Day of Action Against Police Brutality
9AM – Presentation of Report on CPD Violence, 800 S Halsted
5:30 PM – Press Availability with WCG Organizers, 3151 W Harrison
6:00 PM – Silent Protest Against Police Brutality, 3151 W Harrison

Previous press releases:

9/23: We Charge Genocide Raises Over $10,000 in a Week to Present Report on Chicago Police Violence to United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva

9/15: We Charge Genocide To Present Report on Chicago Police to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva


CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Important NATO3 Update Missed on Saturday’s Show–Please Write and Donate

“We all wasted a lot of money on the war on terror, because if these guys are terrorists, we’ve got nothing to worry about.” – Thomas Durkin, Jared Chase’s defense attorney

Our apologies to the NATO 3 and the NATO 3 defense committee for not getting an update out to our listeners concerning Friday’s follow-up hearing in the trial of Jared Chase, Brent Betterly, and Jacob Church. In all the shuffle and discussion over the ISAT situation on last Saturday’s show that, we forgot to give an update on the air.

On February 28th, Judge Thadeus Wilson set the tentative sentencing and post-trial motions date of April 25th. In addition, the defense team filed a motion for acquittal based on the evidence presented earlier in the trial. We’ll keep our fingers crossed but won’t hold our breath, seeing as Judge Wilson rejected an earlier bid to toss-out the terrorism counts brought by States Attorney Anita Alvarez via a little-used terrorism statute. Lest we forget that Alvarez has a long track record of defending police misconduct.

The verdict was reached back on February 8th when, after 8 hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted the 3 men of providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism. They did, however, convict them of two counts of misdemeanor mob action and two felony counts for possessing an incendiary device. The last conviction is odd because the recordings by undercover police officers indicate quite clearly that the officers prodded the three activists through the entire process of making Molotov cocktails from conception to semi-completion.

As we discussed with local journalist Chris Geovanis on our show earlier in February, it was very telling that the Federal Government had little to do with this otherwise high profile terrorism case. This implies that there was a concern about the strength of the case that warranted avoidance of giving the defense a national stage to point out some very un-constitutional activity and possible entrapment, carried out by the police infiltrators.

We obviously feel that the conviction is excessive, and the cost of the entire NATO legacy, not only to the three activists but also the city and the state, is terrible. Please consider donating to help with their legal costs and commissary needs. You can also write letters and send them books and postcards. To find out how, visit http://freethenato3.wordpress.com/contact/. You can also check that site out for updates as they come along.

For more information about the trial and what the activist community in Chicago is doing to help, check out our interview with a member of the NATO 3 defense committee:

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Interview: The NATO3 Defense Committee


A special thanks goes out to the NATO3 Defense Committee for having a member join us last Saturday. We appreciate, and stand in solidarity with, your work to support all prisoners of this system. Brent, Jared, and Brian are now heroes of this movement. Who knows if they really intended on it, but they have managed to take on the force of anti-democratic hostility served by the state, and delivered a defeat to the overzealous prosecution. Surely, the cost to them and their family is enormous. That is why we say they are heroes.

It says a lot about the radical community here that groups like the NATO 3 defense committee have formed to support those who came from elsewhere to fight this fight; and got nabbed in the process. Let us hold the NATO3 in our thoughts and prayers, and advocate for leniency in their pending sentences.

Please check out the support site, and donate to their jail fund if you can.

More background on the trial and the story:

Ahead of Verdict in ‘NATO 3′ Trial, A Look at the History of Police Repression in Chicago

Prosecutors Crank Up the Fear, Call ‘NATO 3′ Terrorists in Feverish Closing Arguments for Jury

The Chicago Tribune’s War on Dissent

Your Rights Aren’t Worth Crap

If we’ve missed any coverage that you feel is important hit us up @revolutionNbeer on Twitter, our Facebook page, or email us info(at)revoluitionandbeer(dot)com.

 

 

 

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BREAKING: Students-Parents Occupy Lafayette Elementary School

Around 3 p.m. this afternoon students, parents, and activists moved-in to occupy Lafayette Elementary School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Volunteers blocked the doors to the school while the parents and students made their way into the school building to begin the occupation.

 

Lafayette’s last concert. Photo from DNAinfo.com

Earlier this month, the school performed it’s last concert for a very emotional and upset audience. These scenes of heartbreak and fractured communities are becoming all too common as Rahm Emmanuel continues to impose austerity through school closings, health facility closings, and all sorts of other cuts in public services. This ironic approach to “balancing the budget” is laughable in a state where two-thirds of corporations pay no income taxes.

“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” says Rousemary Vega, who is occupying a classroom at Lafayette Elementary. “We demand that this school stay open. We demand to keep our music programs, and our special ed program. We’re not leaving until this school is saved.” …nor should they. The favorite allotments of public tax dollars by our beloved mayor go to such badly needed things as high-end rental and condo units in neighborhoods with no real demand for them, and a $300 million basketball stadium for Depaul. Yes, our schools and institutions are getting closed while the likes of Depaul and Loyola Universities, and BJB Properties get nice slices of the tax pie through TIFs to push “business as usual” to an all new level of neoliberal budgetary scams. Guess who gets the bill, again?

So big deal that our children get shuffled around as our work days are made more stressful by sluggish CTA service, failing infrastructure, and anxiety-laden hoop-jumping in order to try and get our kids into a decent school (if you even can take the time away from the office); and affordable housing becomes an endangered species (despite being the original purpose for TIFS). Well…we know for sure Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t, unless Coca Cola wants to come in and buy up what’s left of a failed public program; with a nice little tax break to do it. If we could only see those corporate logos a few hundred more times a day, we might remember where all our money went. Then we would certainly buy more stuff.

Original Press Release:

Lafayette Elementary School Occupation – 2714 W. Augusta Blvd., Chicago
#LafayetteOccupation | #SaveOurSchools | @nini0179 (inside school) | @OCPress
BREAKING NEWS
For Immediate Release
Lafayette Parents, Students Overtake Lafayette Elementary School Classroom
to Halt School Closure on Last Day of Classes
Community calls on President Obama to overturn Mayor Emanuel’s School Closings
Chicago 6/19 2:45PM — Nine Lafayette Elementary parents and students have just peacefully occupied a school classroom, at 2714 W. Augusta Blvd., to demand Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education reverse the school’s closing.
“Closing Lafayette will kill our neighborhood and our families,” says Rousemary Vega, who is occupying a classroom at Lafayette Elementary. “We demand that this school stay open. We demand to keep our music programs, and our special ed program. We’re not leaving until this school is saved.”
The Humboldt Park neighborhood school serves Pre-K to eighth grade students. Lafayette School focuses on fine arts and music education, boasting an award-winning string orchestra in partnership with Merit School of Music, bilingual classrooms, and an autism cluster site. The school is home to 442 students in 2012, 97.7% from low-income homes. Emanuel and the Board of Education voted to close the school as one of 50 public school closures citing “underutilization,” population decline, and astronomical building maintenance costs. Those claims have been refuted by individual CPS auditors, the media, parents, and community members, who have all been ignored by Emanuel and the unelected Board of Education.
“We are at Lafayette Elementary to support the students and parents who are fighting to keep this school open,” says Denise Bisley, a parent from the Von Humbolt school. “Shame on Mayor Emanuel, and the Chicago Board of Education. This is a national problem. President Obama told us change was coming, and his buddy Mayor Emanuel has changed the city – closing our clinics, our schools, and wrecking our children’s futures.”
CPS and Emanuel propose Lafayette students be displaced to Chopin Elementary, seven blocks away, where the future of the Merit School of Music program is uncertain, as is the program for autistic children. Emanuel and the Board of Education have faced severe public backlash and outcry against the school closures.
- END -
Steal these tweets!
GET TO HUMBOLT PARK! LAFAYETTE ELEMENTARY IS OCCUPIED! Follow #LafayetteOccupation for breaking info | 2714 W. Augusta Blvd, Chicago
Parents overtake Lafayette School, demand reversal of #CPSclosings #LafayetteOccupation
Support #LafayetteOccupation against #onetermmayor #chicagoBully & #CPSclosings Bring food to 2714 W Augusta Blvd, #chicago
Food donations are encouraged and be dropped off at 2714 W Augusta Blvd #lafayetteOccupation
Fuck you @chicagosmayor @rahmemanuel! We’re taking over #LafayetteOccupation against #CPSclosings
#SaveOurSchools SUPPORT NEEDED at #LafayetteOccupation, 2714 W. Augusta Blvd #CPSclosings

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Revolution and Beer Reactionaries of the Week: The Right and The IRS

ROW_051413

If you could choose your form of retaliation from the state, which would you choose?

If you could see the thumb and forefingers of my left hand right now, they would be rubbing together in a slow circular motion. Know what that is? That’s me, playing the world’s smallest violin as I weep for Tea Party groups that may have been audited, or were simply looked askance at by the IRS. That’s right, I said askance, because I like that word and rarely get to use it in conversation.

So here’s the deal, over the weekend the story broke that the IRS had targeted rightwing groups and Tea Party groups before the election. While I’m not prepared to let Obama off the hook for anything, let’s take a look at this with a bit less of a conspiratorial eye. And don’t give me “where there is smoke, there is fire,” blather. If that was true, then we can say that the IRS maybe didn’t look close enough at some of these so-called grassroots Tea Party groups, you know the ones who liked to call Citizens United free speech. Well, it still remains to be seen whether all that these groups got from parents, Dick Armey and Karl Rove, were rightwing talking points.

Please don’t dwell on the imagery of Dick and Karl actually conceiving the Tea Party. I did by accident, and now I can’t get it out of my head. Oh God, make it stop!

The cries of “foul” by the right fall hollow pretty quickly. Particularly thin is their offense at being profiled by the IRS, especially since the Right has defended the use of profiling with regards to Muslim men, Blacks and Hispanics (and let’s not forget the left as a whole). By that same standard, all of the sudden “patriot” this and “heartland” that, all the slack-jawed spawn of FreedomWorks, American Crossroads or even MoveOn.org, the Heritage foundation and other rightwing pseudo-corporations should surely have thrown up potential red flags to tax auditors. Going into an election, with the scam-artist money changing scheme that in reality is Citizens United, how could anyone not be at least suspicious of shenanigans?

Photo from truthout.org

Photo from truthout.org: “On January 21, 2011, activists in Washington, DC, rally for a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. (Photo: Public Citizen)”

After Citizens United, these sham 501c3 TAX EXEMPT groups covered the national political lanscape thicker than fat flies on manure, like stink on a monkey or pimples on a gamer’s butt cheeks. We started a 501c3 on Chicago’s south side called HelpHouseChicagoHomelessPeople that actually helped people, rather than serve as a payday loan alternative to millionaire politicians pandering to your affinity for Nascar. These front groups for the exchange of political fortunes hide behind veneers of “freedom” or “liberty,” or some other crap. The socially, ethically, and politically lazy reactionaries adorn themselves with flags and lapel pins (and the forever-redundant race-baiting picket-signs) and do nothing positive to improve the nation, its dialogue, or its future.

And you have likely heard the leftwing and so-called Progressives chattering about many of these points. They don’t get off that easy. They were also playing this political spit-swap game, but not nearly to the extent of the Tea Party groups–perhaps because they just aren’t as good at it. There is, however, one glaring difference between the Tea Party and Occupy with regard to all this. You’ll only find it here, and it is this: so the Tea Party was audited, perhaps profiled, more frequently than left-leaning groups. Now you have an idea of what it is like to be Black in America. I guess you could say that some TEA Party organizations got an audit for supporting austerity, and going so far as to condemn the very existence of “Government.”  You could also throw-in spewing rhetorical myths of our favorite “free-market” ideologues–which provides some astroturf cover for the banks and institutions that are robbing us blind. Occupy was beaten, censored, subjected to false arrests and trumped up charges and had their civil rights trampled for accusing the banks, challenging government/corporate incest and for defending the poor. I weep for your butt-hurt, reactionaries. Must be tough, huh?

But this point makes it abundantly obvious that the Tea Party, the Right and Republicans…and I’ll throw some Lefties in there as well…are not really about up-holding the Constitution for all without it being tipped in their favor. They are not about defending civil rights, only their individual rights and privilege. They aren’t really for Americans, but for themselves. The irony is, the people who were fighting for those things got hammered by the Democrats, the media, and the right. They were mocked and ridiculed and harassed, but no one made a sound about that. They still haven’t, because for too many in this nation it is still about selfish interests and not about their neighbors.

Suck this one up TEA Partiers. The dis-proportionality of “persecution” here is pretty obvious. You got played. Now, time to figure out who you should actually be pissed at. Maybe you’ll actually start looking at candidates on both sides of the isle and beyond for who they really are, and not for the slogans they shout, or the feel good barf they feed you. Time to realize that getting involved in your government goes beyond blindly waving a flag at a WWF match, smashing a Keystone Beer can against your forehead while waving a gun and snarling in some tribal grunt, “Don’t mess wit America!”

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