Thoughts on the Sunday May 20, 2012 Chicago Anti-NATO rally, march, and protest

I arrived shortly after 9 AM on the Southshore train from South Bend, IN and stepped out from the Van Buren St. train exit onto Michigan Ave. amid many young, carefully arranged, packaged, and produced, affluent Chicagoans. This should have given me an idea what I was in for. I traveled northeast where meticulous parks shook hands with meticulous skyscrapers, where fashionable people walked with fashionable dogs. A giant opulent fountain looked out upon a shining blue expanse of water, dotted with boats which were undoubtedly fashionable if I had only paid more attention.

I was looked upon when anyone bothered as so much meat – perhaps adequate as a fillet but a poor one, and clearly not up to their ravenous but oh-so-delicate tastes in any case.

A line of media vehicles, big bulky and shining white, dominated one side of the street. Police hulked about in studious calm.

At the rally and subsequently there were four main contingents of participants – angry, young, middle class people fearing for their (material) future, progressives, anarchists, and people who show up at sexy large social gatherings to mingle. Although not ever spoken about on any news service I frequent, the latter group may well be the most populous. Note that “poor people” is not one of the groups, which is the big problem. This was a largely white, middle class (by middle class I mean people who are globally speaking very, very wealthy) gathering. This was therefore not at all a populist gathering, therefore not a revolutionary gathering, despite much rhetoric given during the gathering to the contrary.

Not much more need be said about it. The police occasionally tried to look intimidating but mostly were just bored, and hotter than the rest of us in their padded armor and helmets in the mid to high 80s degree heat and sun. The march stopped before we got to the poor side of town.

Walking the streets of Chicago after the event I saw far more poor people than I did during the event that opposes (or ostensibly opposes) an institution that dominates and oppresses poor people around the world and at home. Chicago is an utterly racially segregated city, with black and white separations between the white (wealthy) part of town, the black part of town, the Chinese part of town.

And another segregation – between poor people and “revolutionary” activists.

Anyone looking to seriously create revolution in the world rather than just having something sexy to put on their life’s resume needs to be part of a movement comprised largely of poor people. That’s the only logical possibility for where a revolution can come from.


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