Defending the Constitution at Occupy Chicago

9851 names. The petition to the mayor’s office held  the names of 9851 Americans, delivered in person during a march to City hall yesterday morning. among them was Nancy Wade, an educator and a familiar face to anyone who has visited the protest at LaSalle and Jackson in the heart of Chicago’s financial district. Despite being on the protest line all day, Nancy hardly seemed any worse for wear, driven by her belief in the cause and a family-like comeraderie here.

Nancy Wade and Noa Shayden on Friday

“I’m here to support people worse off than me,” she said. “I’m passionate about the future, particularly for young people, and this movement is the best hope for changing the destructive path the nation has been on for the past 40 years.”

The purpose of the petition was to have all the charges dropped for the protesters arrested last weekend on a charge of tresspassing, and to compel the city to allow further protetests to continue in impeded by the police. Despite being patently unconstititional, a violation of the first ammendment right for free assembly and the right peaceably petition the government for redress of grievances, the law is only subjectively enforced. Any given night all sorts of visitors and tourists are routinely overlooked by police. For critics of the movemnet on the right, they are all too happy to surrender peaceful First amendment rights, but are  outraged at any legislation regarding guns.

One of those asserting the clear and unambiguous constitutional right to assemble and petition the government was Noa Shayden, a stalwart activists here on the protest front most days. By rights he should be in school, and would prefer it that way. In the current job market the best he can manage is a part-time job, which doesn’t pay enough to move out of the home he shares with his mother. He simply could not bear the heavy debt burden he would incur in the current economic climate, Noa says.

Noa Shayden: Incurring debt in the current economy is unthinkable

Part of the problem is that Mayor Emanuel has not communicated a position on the protests. Instead he has played a political game of evasion and scapegoating, laying the blame for arrests of peaceful protesters on Police superintendent McCarthy. 

“As it relates to Grant Park,” Emanuel said after the Saturday protest in which 200 were arrested in a peaceful act of civil disobedience, “there’s a very specific law as it relates to closing down the park.  There was conversation between the police department and the protesters about respecting that — and it starts at 11 o’clock — about vacating Grant Park.  Those conversations went all the way to — I’m doing this by memory — 12:30 or 1 o’clock-ish.  And at that point — Garry and I had a couple conversations throughout the night — we have to respect the laws, and we have to enforce them.”

 Andy Orellana, Press Aide to Mayor Emmanual brushed aside questions from 900poundgorilla regarding the Mayor’s official opinion regarding Occupy Chicago. As of this writing the Press Office had not responded with an official position or  an explanation of the Mayor’s statements. One thing is clear, that Emanuel’s  statements bordered on outright dishonesty, first saying he was in contact with McCarthy and then saying that he was not.

“I was in – not ‘direct,’ I wouldn’t characterize it that way.  I was in consultation and conversation with the police superintendent.” 
But is there something else weighing on the Mayor’s decision not to support the protesters occupying the street in front of the Bank of America building?

Protesters with Occupy Chicago Friday

Earlier this month, as the protests were growing nationally, Bank of America announced a $1 million donation to the city for a youth program. Bank of America Illinois President Tim Maloney joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former investment banker to announce the bank’s donation at a press conference for the annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The question becomes, did Bank of America buy themselves a mayor, or did the duly elected mayor of Chicago barter his citizens away for a million dollar donation?

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

2 responses to “Defending the Constitution at Occupy Chicago

  • Noa Shayden

    Hey there. This is Noa. Great article, but I just wanted to note that I identify as male and prefer masculine pronouns (he/him). If you could fix that for me, that would be fantastic! I should have mentioned this before, but I slacked. My apologies!

  • ale

    Wow maia, the economy wasn’t bad for all the years you didn’t go to school BEFORE.

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