Written by Occupy Obama working group at Occupy Chicago. Edited by Natalie Solidarity.
Every four years we are asked to step into the ballot box and select a fellow citizen to represent the United States of America at home and abroad. Again and again we are presented with two options whose solutions for the world fail to address even our most basic of needs. The situation is so dire that we are often told to select “the lesser of two evils” without even the slightest hint of humor, and this election cycle is no different. We have been presented with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, whose plans for the United States fail to address the gravity of the global failure of capitalism. In response, this year we must refuse to put our future in the hands of any evil, be it Democrat or Republican.
Join Occupy Chicago in demonstration against the farce that is the 2012 Presidential Election. Occupy Chicago and our allies will not only oppose the crimes of the Republicans while ignoring the crimes of the Democrats. We will not put the Democratic Party’s interests above those of the 99% at home and abroad. We will oppose the pro-1% policies of the sitting President in his hometown on September 4th, the first day of the Democratic National Convention.
With the upcoming presidential election we are going to be given two sides of the same corporate coin. Without question we reject the idea that Mitt Romney, the man behind Bain Capital, can do anything other than gut what remains of the public sector, destroy what remains of our social services and empower corporations to further take over our country.
Barack Obama’s agenda is not so different from that of Mitt Romney’s. If Obama is elected we will continue to see more human rights abuses, the rolling back of our constitutional rights, and a continuation of the silent coup that corporate America is enacting on the remains of our sham of democracy.
Now more than ever, our United States is in need of change, and that change must come from us, the people. We can no longer rely on politicians to save us. Politicians are bought and sold by the very interests that are destroying our society, and our president Barack Obama is no different. After coming into office under the guise of hope and change we have seen more of the same policies and actions that brought us to our current situation. Now more than ever it is time for a real change.
September 9/4 to 9/6, Occupy Chicago will join with activists around Chicago and the nation to take a stand. During the DNC, we will highlight the contradictions between President Obama’s promise of “hope and change” and his actual policy decisions during a three-day occupation of his campaign headquarters. Each day will feature actions, teach-ins, and opportunities to share in community and grow our movement.
Tuesday September 4, Reject President 1% - End Obama’s Wars On The World’s 99% 5:30pm at LaSalle and Jackson march to Obama’s campaign headquarters
Occupy Chicago, its allies and the public will march from Jackson and LaSalle to Obama’s National Campaign Headquarters.
While President Obama throws himself a big commercial during the DNC in North Carolina, we will be presenting a Bill of Grievances against his administration at the Obama National Campaign Headquarters in Chicago.
Some issues highlighted in the Bill of Grievances:
Across the World
- Obama has escalated most of George W. Bush’s wars. The US has troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, a new American military force on the African continent. He has continued to arm Israel while it robs even more Palestinian lands of life and homes.
- Obama has threatened, and enacted, new illegal wars on other nations. He violated the War Powers Act to launch a sustained war on Libya. He looks the other way while the brutal Saudi Arabian dictatorship foments civil war in Syria. He refuses to rule out war, including use of nuclear weapons, against Iran.
- Obama supports dictators and military coups against elected governments across the world. He recognized and arms the military coup governments in Honduras and the Maldives, and the “constitutional” coup in Paraguay. He arms the Saudi Arabian monarchy as they brutally suppress their own people while invading Bahrain to support that dictatorship’s crushing of its pro-democracy movement.
- He sends troops to subjugate countries that don’t want them there. U.S. troops are an intimidation force in130 countries, violating the wishes of the vast majority of most nations.
- Obama’s drone attacks far exceed those of George W. Bush. Obama’s “Enemies List” of people to kill abroad and their subsequent assassinations represent an escalation on Bush’s “extraordinary renditions” of people to torture chambers run by U.S. secret forces and U.S.-allied dictators.
Across the United States
- Obama neglects the urgent needs of the 99% at home and abroad while spending a record amount on the military. He enthusiastically supports the world’s largest-ever military alliance, NATO, while spending 67% of the federal budget on current and past wars. He spends as much on the U.S. military as the rest of the world combined, while half the world’s people live on less than $2 a day.
- Obama promoted the 1% in finance and other big businesses, while barely lifting a finger for the 99%. He and the Bush administration gave trillions to bail out Wall Street, and stuffed his administration full of many of the leading crooks who precipitated the financial meltdown in the first place. While he makes campaign gestures towards the 99% now that his own job is on the line, where has he been for the last three-and-a-half years?
- He has silently watched as Republican governors have attacked public workers’ rights, and through his “Education” Secretary, has attacked teachers’ unions more vigorously than any president before him.
- During the 2008 campaign, he and Secretary of State Clinton both pledged to at least modify, if not repeal, NAFTA. In the last three-and-a-half years, he has not.
- Obama promised to make it easier for workers to democratically decide to form unions by signing “card check. He didn’t.
- Obama has escalated George Bush’s attacks on civil liberties, increasing Bush’s surveillance inside the country, persecuting whistle blowers like Bradley Manning and his supporters, while taking a pass on prosecuting Bush administration officials who ordered torture and launched wars that killed countless thousands of people. He has reauthorized the PATRIOT Act when he pledged to oppose it. He, as a former constitutional law scholar at the University of Chicago, has helped destroy habeas corpus, the right by which people cannot by imprisoned without charges or trials, by signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
- Obama poses as a friend of immigrants after his administration has deported more undocumented people from the United States than any president since Herbert Hoover.
- Obama’s recent executive order stopping deportations of children of the undocumented was an election year gimmick that offers no path to citizenship, and was only conceded after doing far greater harm against immigrants than even the preceding Bush administration.
- He has used LGBT rights like a political football, supporting equal marriage rights early in his career, then opposing it. After doing nothing to oppose the anti-gay constitutional amendment in North Carolina, he endorsed gay marriage, but at the same time endorsed a bogus “state’s rights” approach to the issue. But it was the Democrats who gave us the Defense of Marriage Act in the first place, which he refused to repeal when his party held both houses of Congress. And Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – again a product of the Democrats – was only repealed when a gay Log Cabin Republican suit, opposed by Obama, looked set to overturn the policy.
- By endorsing corporate attacks on the environment at practically every turn, Obama has enabled the Republicans to create even more anti-environmental policies.
- Cap-and-trade is a rightwing fantasy under Republican administrations. To be clear, in Cap-and-trade systems, also known as allowance trading, can be best summed up as “pollution credits.” What happens is that overall air quality goals are set for an area (such as the entire nation) and specific sources of air pollution (such as power plants, waste incineration facilities, etc.) are given a certain number of allowances, which represent the amount of various pollutants that the organization or facility is allowed to emit. Facilities that come in under that allowable limit because of air pollution control systems can then sell their leftover allowances to other facilities and organizations on the open market. This allows the facilities that buy up such allowances (pollution credits) to pollute more, because other facilities are polluting less. Obama touts cap-and-trade as mainstream.
- Despite weeks of high-profile protests, Obama opened the door to the Keystone oil pipeline, which has created the Alberta Tar Sands and the destruction of a boreal forest the size of Texas.
- Obama’s support of natural gas drilling, “fracking,” is evident as its use has expanded greatly under his EPA. Obama has yet to disclose or require disclosure of the toxic chemicals utilized. In Obama’s eagerness to shill for corporate interests, he’s pushing for the new first nuclear power plants in a generation
- The BP oil disaster in the Gulf was preceded just a few weeks earlier by Obama’s announced opening up of huge areas of the eastern seaboard to drilling.
Join us on Tuesday, September 4 to Reject President 1% - End Obama’s Wars On The World’s 99% at 5:30pm at LaSalle and Jackson for a march to Obama’s campaign headquarters. For more information, see http://www.facebook.com/events/194582987339272/
Wednesday, September 5: Protest Obama/Fannie&Freddie/Ed DeMarco for Foreclosure/Underwater Mortgage Crisis. 530pm 1 S Wacker Drive.
There are very few respects in which the current administration is better than the last one, and many more respects in which it has been even worse, betraying the hopes of millions who mistakenly felt that 2008 represented a fresh start in American politics.
The United States is in a state of crisis right now. Almost 100 families are evicted each day from their homes, by big Wall Street Banks and the politicians funded by them. It is a crisis that is killing our most vulnerable communities: over 35-percent of African American homes are underwater and over 1.5 million homeowners over the age of 50 have lost their homes since 2007.
- While much of the blame has justifiably been directed at Wall Street big banks, the Obama administration has thus far avoided taking any actual effective action towards helping the 15 million families in the nation that are facing underwater mortgages and the threat of foreclosure.
- Instead Obama has sought to sell the public the option of small-scale “mortgage refinancing” that clearly doesn’t go far enough. Small scale mortgage refinancing n often adds further bureaucratic burdens to families.
- The answer to the mortgages crisis has always been clear – a large-scale mortgage principal writedown on all underwater mortgages to their current value would create 1 million jobs every year, pump over $70 billion per year back into communities, save American families over $500 per month, and solve the foreclosure crisis once and for all.
- While Obama has had the option of forcing the Federal Housing Finance Agency to engage in large-scale principal reduction for the 60% of US mortgages that are owned or backed by them since the financial crisis back in 2008, he continues to hide behind Bush-era appointee FHFA director Ed Demarco whom on multiple occasions has stated his absolute opposition to any form of principal writedown.
Outraged, Occupy Chicago calling on supporters to join us for a rally at Fannie Mae’s Midwest Regional Offices in downtown Chicago on September 5th at 530PM where families facing the threat of eviction by Fannie Mae will speak out about their situation.
The rally will then be followed by a march over to Obama’s OFA Campaign Headquarters where participants will be chained together to balls that will signify how mortgage debt is enslaving our communities. At the headquarters, we will call Obama out on his hypocrisy in expecting the 15 million families in the United States to vote for him this year when he has done nothing to alleviate their struggles with mortgage debt and threats of foreclosure. Join us to Protest Obama/Fannie&Freddie/Ed DeMarco for Foreclosure/Underwater Mortgage Crisis at 530pm 1 S Wacker Drive. For more information, see http://www.facebook.com/events/159748960829231/
Thursday, September 6, 6pm: #OccupyDemocracy at Obama Campaign Headquarters.
Occupy Chicago rejects the inadequate and unrepresentative electoral process, we will put our vision for a direct democracy on full display.
Join Occupy Chicago in demonstration against the farce that is the 2012 Presidential Election. On the final day of the Democratic National Convention, assemble with us in front of Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, where we will use acts of symbolism to display our dissatisfaction with the democratic and republican parties. We will bind together the issues highlighted in the previous days: our Bill of Grievances, Obama’s anti-immigration policies, Obama’s drone wars and US troop stationing across the globe, Obama’s pro-environmental destruction, and Obama’s indifference to the millions affected by home foreclosure.
At Obama’s headquarters, following the symbolic acts and speak outs, Occupy Chicago and its allies will hold General Assembly meeting focused on the most important issues which affect the lives of the 99% on Thursday, September 6 for #OccupyDemocracy at Obama Campaign Headquarters. For more information, see http://www.facebook.com/events/274717642632695/