I watched this video on Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org) last night, and it blew me away. Chicago is my home town, and for me it was like going back to 1968 when the Democratic Convention was held in Chicago. Chicago’s PD has always been known for its brutality. As it was in 1968 so it is in 2012. I returned to Chicago in 1968 and there was a city-wide curfew imposed by Mayor Richard Daly (said to be the second most powerful man in the Democratic Party at that time). Daly was called “King Richard” because he disregarded the law if it got in his way, and the accompanying corruption in Chicago and the Democratic Party.
In 1968 freedom of speech and assembly were trashed as were the protesters by the CPD and the military. During this time I walked out of my apartment in Rogers Park, only to meet troops patrolling the streets. One soldier walked up to me with his rifle across his chest, and asked to see my I.D. and told me there was a curfew, so I needed to turn around and go back home. In my idealist, youthful years I tried to hold a discussion with him about what was wrong about how the system was handling the protesters. Needless to say, that conversation ended quickly and I went home.
To see the same pattern happening to our Iraq and Afghanistan Vets (I’m a Vietnam era vet who was a conscientious objector spending 4 months in the Fort Jackson stockade for my pacifist views). The protest was planned at this time because the N.A.T.O. Summit is meeting at this time in Chicago which means that the top brass from the N.A.T.O. Alliance countries are present.
The protest was a major action by the I.V.A.W. (Iraq Veterans Against the War) and many other anti-war/for-peace groups as well as the Afghanistan women Peace organization (this writer wasn’t able to get the exact name of the group, but it was the first time a women’s group for peace allied with IVAW, so this was one of those watershed moments, and I’m sure many other groups opposed to our occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. About forty vets, men and women, gathered near where the N.A.T.O. generals were meeting. Each of these vets made a statement about why they were giving back the medals they’d received from the U.S. Military, then turning and throwing the medals in the direction of the generals. For me, it was also very heartening to see that a group of women peacemakers were partnering with the other groups who were there to protest.
The collaboration between IVAW and the Women’s Peace Movement was vivified on one of Democracy Now’s segments highlighted a male rep from IVAW and a female spokeswoman for the Afghanistan Women For Peace (please don’t quote me on this last statement, because I’m not certain as to their exalt name). Anyway one could feel the energy about these two groups allying together to continue the resistance movement. To see and hear the passion activism of these Vets showed me who the real heroes of the military really are.
Feelings rushed over this blogger, because it was a Deja Vu of 1968. I saw the same kind of aggressive and violent reactions by the CPD. There was no rational reason for this kind of response. It was a peaceful protest; yet what has to be the result of these kinds of impulsive, unrestrained actions by the forces of government? Naturally, one of resistance. Why? Because it’s symptomatic of the American and imperial way of solving problems. It’s always been about the government using the disadvantaged, or anyone else, as tools to conserve or aggregate more power and wealth. Iraq is about securing oil fields. And how out of alignment is the death of thousands of innocents, as well as soldiers; Iraq was certainly not about bringing Democracy as the White Knight, or winning a fictional War on Terror.
Spiritually speaking, Eastern spiritualities have much to say about bad, evil or unwise leaders. They are continuously adding new laws, new rules, and new prohibitions, in order to maximize their power. Leadership of this type is prone to use control, coercion, manipulation and power out of their fear that other groups are gaining power, and threatening them–sounds like classic paranoia, doesn’t it? Some famous dude (don’t remember who it was) said ‘he(she) who is governed least, is governed best.’ Think about it, there’s a lot of truth there.
Bush and Cheney and many others should be charged with war crimes, as I think they already have been, but there needs to be real action and movement here. Please view this video, and if you choose to, think of how you can support this movement (really close on the heels and linked together) with the Occupy Movement. If there’s nothing that you feel you can personally do, just be in solidarity. Boiled down, this movement is the ordinary, working men and women against the Elitist-Military-Prison-Political-Religious–in short those who hold the power and wealth of the entire system that stands on the necks of others. Let that be our common ground, and common golden chord that holds us all together.
Christopher Bear-Beam, Vietnam-Era-Vet
© Christopher Bear-Beam May 23 2012