Posts tagged activism

Posted 8 months ago

No One Really Won In NATO 3 Trial

What the Tribune misses, what Alvarez misses and what the jury missed when sending down the conviction of the arson charges is not whether or not a 20 year old anarchist is “man enough to mean” his drunken, violent sounding rhetoric. It’s that even that rhetoric is suspect, given the context of the state’s desire to not only infiltrate and monitor political dissidents, but goad the few they can into doing something more serious to “make an example” of them. The City of Chicago spent millions of dollars on security for the NATO summit. Chicago Police spent hundreds of hours of manpower monitoring not only the NATO 3, but hundreds of other activists. Yet, the only “terrorist plot” foiled by law enforcement was the one they themselves engineered.

Posted 8 months ago

NATO 3 Found Not Guilty Of Terrorism, Convicted On Lesser Charges

Michael Deutsch, Church’s defense attorney, said bringing his client up on terror charges “trivializes terrorism.” Chase’s attorney Thomas Anthony Durkin mocked the prosecution in closing arguments, calling a slingshot Chase allegedly planned to use to shoot marbles at President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters the “tools of the terrorism trade for sure.”

Posted 8 months ago

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

As someone who was followed home on a nightly basis for more than a week while covering the 2012 NATO summit protests in Chicago, had an unmarked van parked in the alley right behind his house for a couple days, heard a description of a colleague and dear friend come over a police radio with the words “stop for questioning,” among many other incidents prior to and long after the summit, I can say that the police repression of political dissidents (and those covering that dissent unwilling to toe the “protesters-are-scary-unAmerican-unwashed-jobless-hippies” line) is very real.

Posted 8 months ago

The Subversion of Subversion: A Response to the Use of Radical Culture to Undermine Dissent | Agents of Change

A song that I made with fellow Chicago rapper Phillip Morris was used by undercover police in an attempt to cultivate credibility with a group of protesters during the 2012 NATO summit. In the trial for a group known as the NATO 3, a recording was played where an undercover officer (Nadia Chikko) was singing some of our lyrics during a meeting with some of the defendants. Thus, our message was reverse engineered to act as a kind of trojan horse to manipulate and entrap the defendants.

To put it bluntly, this is a travesty. Emotions aside, this situation begs the question: how can something like this be avoided in the future? Certainly one path would be to simply stop making music with a radical message, and thus cut off any potential for this type of abuse. For anyone who knows me personally, however, they would know that this would be impossible, and irrational.

The police and intelligence communities want dissidents to be paranoid and afraid. These institutions do not want us sharing a radical culture; especially one that is willing to advocate for change outside of the traditional framework of voting and consumerism (“voting with your dollar”). Any student of history knows that there are very few examples of kings stepping off their thrones after being politely asked. Similarly, the current State-Capitalist regime that is being spread across the globe (of which NATO is an institutional component), is not going to crumble from a wave of online petitions and placard holding.

Beautiful words in response to learning that Chicago Police officer Nadia “Gloves” Chikko was heard singing the lyrics “I just want to riot” repeatedly on recordings made while she was running surveillance on the NATO3. Prior to the 2012 NATO summit and its subsequent protests in Chicago, police ran surveillance on multiple targets, which included the three men currently on trial facing terrorism charges. Additionally CPD scouted punk shows, local cafes, record stores and Division Street seeking out “anarchists and criminal activity,” as if the two may as well have been exactly the same thing.

Posted 9 months ago

NATO 3 Trial Reveals Surveillance Operation

Defense attorney’s also asked Chikko about surveillance activities leading up to the NATO protests in May 2012. Testimony from Chikko revealed Chicago Police had been running surveillance for at least two months prior to the NATO summit in Chicago. As early as March of 2012, police went to coffee shops and punk shows searching for opportunities to infiltrate activist groups. According to Firedoglake journalist Kevin Gosztola, at one point, six officers were listening in on conversations of patrons at the Heartland Cafe. Additionally, Chikko said police kept an eye on Division Street and Permanent Records for “anarchists and criminal activity.” Chikko admitted that police had taken down license plates at a punk show prior to the summit. “If there was license plates, we’d record them,” she said. As to why, Chikko replied “we’re police officers. That’s what we do.”

Posted 9 months ago

Trial For The NATO 3 To Begin

Indeed, the case of the “NATO 3” follows a similar pattern of tactics law enforcement officials have used when pursuing activists, particularly prior to large scale protests that garner national attention. In 2008, two activists were arrested in a similar scenario involving Molotov cocktails prior to the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. As their trial played out, it was revealed the two young men were led nearly every step of the way by a paid FBI informant. In 2012, five men were arrested in Cleveland in connection with a plot to blow up a bridge just before scheduled protests were to occur on May Day. According to Alternet:

“It later emerged that a federal agent working undercover at Occupy Cleveland had encouraged violent escalation among young male activists, and even arranged for the purchase of the fake explosives the five activists allegedly attempted to detonate.”
Posted 12 months ago

Snapshots In Chicago Activism – ‘Take The Horse’ Part Two

A short little reflection on Occupy Chicago:

"Two years later – many of those people may have moved on – but social justice and direct action have a way of sticking to a person’s spirit. Some of those same people getting shackled for staying in a park past curfew are building community gardens, fighting to save closing mental health clinics, organizing workers to fight for living wages, creating alternative economies, showing solidarity for prisoners and more."

Posted 1 year ago

Stitching Together Solidarity, Creating A Community

…Because the world is broken. Because shit’s fucked up. Because shit’s fucked up and bullshit. Because things have been so fucked up for so long, so many of us don’t even know where to start to fix it. Because we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the things we’re shopping for while bombs are dropping are made by slave labor. We should do something about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people in prisons across the planet who might never see the sunlight again. Because it’s more than an outrage that while a nation can afford to spend 8 billion dollars on an aircraft carrier, it can’t afford to help the sick, the hungry, or the mentally ill. But it’s no one specific person’s fault, no one political party or group of people can be blamed for generations of problems. No one issue can simply be fixed to solve it all.


Posted 1 year ago

Yesterday more than 200 people rallied and marched along the Magnificent Mile in Chicago to demand a higher minimum wage. They sung revised Christmas carols at a few locations in one of the city’s busiest shopping districts and walked the sidewalks chanting “we can’t survive on $8.25.” The day culminated in a sit-in at the intersection of Michigan Ave and Pearson where more than 20 were arrested and issued citations for blocking traffic.

Posted 2 years ago

On October 15, 2011, hundreds of activists were arrested in Chicago’s Grant Park after attempting to set up an Occupy encampment. Last month, a judge dismissed charges against 90 activists who filed suit that the charges were unconstitutional. On October 15, 2012, members of Occupy Chicago and a coalition of other activist groups, joined by the Overpass Light Brigade, marched through the loop and held a “free speech festival” on the site of the original arrests in order to mark the anniversary as well as highlight an anti-eviction campaign.