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People's Summit opens a week of protest against NATO in Chicago

By Jess Sundin |
May 14, 2012
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Joe Lombardo, of United National Anti War Coalition, speaking in Chicago
Joe Lombardo, of United National Anti War Coalition, speaking in Chicago (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Chicago, IL - Hundreds gathered from across the country for the People’s Summit, united in their opposition to the NATO/G8 agenda of war and poverty. Organized jointly by the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago, the People’s Summit included 40 workshops and four plenary sessions. More than 50 attended a workshop featuring three Chicago leaders of the CANG8, speaking on, “The Strategic Aim in Opposing NATO in Chicago.”

The program began with Joe Iosbaker, who is one of the anti-war and international solidarity activists raided by the FBI in September 2010. He talked about the gains already achieved by CANG8 organizers. “We busted up the joint meeting of NATO and the G8. Now the G8 will meet at Camp David. And we took on Mayor One Percent, Rahm Emmanuel, defeating the worst of his anti-protest ordinances.” Iosbaker said that to have a strategic approach, every campaign should win all that can be won, raise the consciousness of the people and build organizations that can carry forward the lessons learned in the course of struggle.

Iosbaker addressed the political repression of the 24 anti-war activists. “The coordinated raid on my house and the others was the biggest FBI operation in 40 years, with the biggest political grand jury since the 1960s.” He said the outpouring of support for himself and the other targeted activists was not expected by the FBI. “The FBI thought the anti-war movement would leap away from us like a hot stove.”

Throughout the People’s Summit, activists shared information about the case of Carlos Montes. Hundreds of people pledged to support Montes, by signing petitions and calling on Los Angeles prosecutor Steve Cooley to drop the charges against him.

Pat Hunt, of Chicago Area CODEPINK, described how Chicago activists received news that NATO would be meeting in their town during a meeting of Chicago’s Coalition Against Political Repression. Her remarks focused on the work of building the CANG8 coalition. “In a coalition you have a lot of people with a lot of agendas, but it’s worth it. You have a chance to bring about something meaningful and powerful, because so many voices are involved.”

Andy Thayer, of Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, addressed the role of the march planned by CANG8 organizers. He said the permitted march will make it possible for organizers “to get our message out and not have it marginalized. That is an important link in the chain.”

The People’s Summit closing panel included Suraia Sahar, of Afghans for Peace; Joe Lombardo, of United National Anti-War Coalition; Reiner Braun of the European Peace Movement and renowned journalist and political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, whose remarks electrified the crowd.

With a week of action by Occupy Chicago and a massive permitted march on the first day of the NATO summit in Chicago and solidarity protests taking place across Europe, the world is sending a clear message to the NATO generals: “We say no to NATO/G8 war makers!”

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