Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Chicago 11/17, Large Rally At Board of Trade "THIS is what democracy looks like"

Uploaded by on Nov 19, 2011
     In previous clips from the StandUp Chicago & Occupy Chicago day of solidarity we covered; the speech's at the Thompson Center, the march, sit in and arrests at the La Salle St. bridge. This clip shows the march down La Salle to Jackson which is where Occupy Chicago maintains it's corner of protest the city allows them.  

     Tonight the street was filled for a couple of blocks it is now rush hour and no one is going anywhere. The police held the crowd at first at Jackson keeping that traffic flowing but finally the crowd closed that street as well. So, to clear the streets they decide to surround the Board of Trade building. This is followed followed by another march throughout downtown Chicago ending with the evenings general assembly. It should be noted that the police did their work with a great deal of professionalism and respect. Unlike other cities the officers aren't in riot gear or carrying batons. Even as the crowd surges onto Jackson they are just milling around among the protesters with bemused looks on their faces. 

     And this has been consistent with there behavior I've witnessed since the beginning of the occupation. While I am not a full time occupier I am a supporter and video journalist covering Chicago. So while not a member of the organization that is developing I am a supporter who has been down a dozen or so times. So as a somewhat casual observer all I've seen has been cordial behavior by both the CPD and protesters. And I've heard in the first week of the occupation the police stepped in and stopped the Federal Reserve police when they tried to end the occupation by telling the protesters to get off "their" sidewalk. On the other hand they have been harassive and sticklers to the ever changing rules they impose on the protesters.  

     It is a far different response from the city than during the1968 convention but there is a big difference that shows that the right wings assertion that the protesters are a lot of lazy hippies is bull. In 1968 the cops and most of the protesters were from two different worlds so there was mutual antagonism. These demonstrators represent a broad cross section of the population. Sure there are a lot of young people but they have more time and energy. 
     This is the fourth time in the past month and a half that I have seen demonstrations that have brought out thousands of people. So while Occupy Chicago's occupation at the corner of La Salle and Jackson is not big. It has served as a focal point for other organizations already operating in the community that are fighting for peoples rights and against corporate control. And that is another myth sold by the media that the occupy "movement" doesn't know what it wants. It's about "people over profits" and since for the most part there is no prebuilt organization with an agenda they are organizing now to figure out what that means. 
     So the best way to sum it up is with another chant that I've heard more than a few times this fall "this is what democracy looks like"


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