May 2012 24

by Tim Hardy

The Christian anarchists Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker movement in the midst of the Great Depression in 1933. They rejected war and pledged support for workers and the dispossessed, maintaining these views even in the face of growing persecution from a state that wanted to destroy what it perceived as a red menace. The Catholic Workers branded the profit motive immoral. They condemned capitalism because it led to grotesque inequality. They worked directly to help those in need, providing food and shelter.

Over 150 of the soup kitchens the Catholic Workers founded are still going around the world. Each is autonomous. There is no central authority. Each refuses to accept grants or to pay taxes or to accept any of the bureaucratic restrictions imposed by the state such as the need to apply for permits or for non-profit status. The food they provide to the homeless is donated by people in the neighborhood not the government.

I am comfortable in my atheism. I should have no problem with other people believing whatever they like but at times I do. Like many ex-Catholics, I have a problem with faith.

I am genderqueer and not exclusively heterosexual. In an ideal world that should concern nobody but me and those with whom I am intimate. Unfortunately I grew up in the era of homophobic legislation that had a chilling effect on discussions of sexuality. Gay-bashing tabloids and Christian bigots were unchallenged in their abuse of anyone who was not straight or cis-gendered and young queer people were left alone, sweating in the dark.

These days the Conservatives pretend they have changed and the tabloids have switched to baiting Muslims and the disabled. The Catholic Church still stands unrepentant, gladly allying itself with tyrants to block measures in the UN to make discrimination on the grounds of sexual or gender identity a crime and condemning hundreds of thousands to abuse as a result, abuse that can escalate to serious violence and murder.

My support for a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion is another issue that frequently puts me at odds with some faith groups.

Sadly there are many religious bodies that promote intolerance and harmful attitudes. I am ashamed, however, that my instinctive reaction when faced with such religious intolerance is to respond in a way that is not that different to the behavior of the racist who generalizes to make judgments about all members of an ethnic group or nation.

Many Christians, like Day, would agree with Gandhi when he said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

When you listen to UK Prime Minister David Cameron justifying selling arms to tyrants or former Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates making excuses for a regime that tortures and murders dissidents, it is worth recalling that, for these men and for many others, ”It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” Men without morals, they capitulate to the false necessities of a brutal world view that warns if they don’t do it, someone else will, and that one can only get ahead by getting one over on someone else. So we sell weapons that will be used to kill innocents in order to stop other nations doing it and profiting from the same deal. That’s what moral, responsible capitalism demands.

For religious people, on the other hand, “That’s how things are” just doesn’t wash. They have a faith at odds with the blind faith of capitalist realism.

For this reason alone, however challenging, those of us who wish to build a better world should embrace people of faith in solidarity and resist the divide and conquer tactics of those who do not want change because they profit from the way things are.

Since the coalition took power in the UK, the bigots have been crawling out of the woodwork. The right-wing papers, apologists for the rich and powerful, are lining up articles attacking gay rights and women’s rights then under cover of this artillery barrage of bigotry start whining that Christians are being persecuted. Such an invitation to attack is hard to resist.
We have to acknowledge that there are strong anti-clerical and anti-religious tendencies on the left but the desire to eradicate religion is futile. As Anatolii Lunacharskii, the Soviet minister of education, realized as early as 1928, “Religion is like a nail; the harder you hit it, the deeper it goes into the wood.” But it is not just a matter of being pragmatic. Those of us who reject a faith in the spiritual realm, need to recognize the value of the human desires and dreams expressed through religious faith.

We commonly describe acts of cruelty by others as inhumane because we find it hard to accept that humanity includes the capacity for such malevolence.

Likewise some ascribe forgiveness and unconditional love to divine powers because they cannot accept humanity is capable of such greatness of spirit.

The Catholic Worker movement, like all progressive movements, is growing weaker in a society that is increasingly atomized and lacks the structures of organized labor and strong local communities. The right is on the ascendant around the world. The reaction to the greatest crisis in capitalism since the Depression has been for the rich and powerful to systematically roll back the hard-won progress of over a hundred years of struggle and to attempt to bring about an order closer to feudalism than to the ideals of democracy, a world where the elite are given special dispensation from the law and from responsibilities to others and the most vulnerable are made to pay for the mistake of their new masters.

Those who believe in a better world have a potential ally in those of faith. For Day, spirituality and the moral life were founded in the constant fight for justice and in compassion for those in need. Whether or not we believe in the gospels from which she derived her faith, these values and a refusal to accept a system that condemns some to suffer so that others may live lives of luxury are the values we need. Only this will carry us through the growing darkness of a world where those in charge seem unable or unwilling to steer the machine of civilization away from its headlong passage down the path to total self-destruction.

Tim Hardy is a software engineer, activist and writer from London with a particular interest in the role of technology in driving social and political change. He is the founder and editor of and can be found on twitter at @bc_tmh.

Related Posts
Trigger Warning: Woman In Distress Over Brutal Policing

May 2012 23

by Nicole Powers

[#M19 wildcat march – photos by @ZDRoberts]

The action that had taken up much of the first part of my day had gone down in my personal history as one of the most civilized political protests I’d ever participated in (see previous post). It was in a great neighborhood – the mayor’s – in the midst of a handsome tree-lined street, which provided just the right amount of shade. The neighbors we surprisingly happy to see us, which is testament to how popular Rahm Emanuel is in his own hood. There was lots of beautiful flowering shrubbery, albeit with riot cops popping up out of it at regular intervals, and vendors were serving ice cream and fruit popsicles out of carts.

Afterwards I’d hopped onto a train and returned to 99% Solidarity’s temporary base to edit images and exploit their wi-fi so I could upload them. I’d also intended to post an updated blog, but then shit started hitting the proverbial fan…

I first began to realize that something was awry when several sources warned me it might be best if I refrained from attending a National Streamers Meeting that was planned for that evening. Then Twitter started to explode with news that superstar livestreamer Tim Pool’s (aka @Timcast) Chicago lodging had been surrounded and searched. Later Pool tweeted that his car had been stopped and that he, fellow streamer Luke Rudkowski a.k.a. @Lukewearechange, and three others has been detained by CPD at gunpoint (see video below). Other 140 character or less posts confirmed the monitoring, detainment and/or arrest of several other online personalities and streamers.

[Sunday M20 at approx. 2 AM: Luke Rudkowski, Tim Pool & Crew Detained at Gunpoint by Chicago Police]

Justified paranoia set in amongst their ranks as they realized they may have become targets of a coordinated effort to silence the truly free media. @YourAnonNews perhaps summed it up best, when they called it “a war on bloggers.”

The rationale for this strategy became all too apparent after two marches – one in support of the NATO 3 who had been arrested earlier in the day and another against police brutality – converged and rapidly devolved into a brutal cat and mouse game. After several hours, the police kettled increasingly panicked protesters in Millennium Park.

At this point, I got a call from one of our #CaliDST members @TRWBS, who’d been shooting at close quarters when a police van had seemingly deliberately plowed down a protester (he was later identified as Jack Amico of Occupy Wall Street). @TRWBS’ footage of the incident was among the first to be archived, and rapidly went viral (see video below). There were numerous other images being posted of shocking uses of force, arrests, and bloody injuries.

Like a deer in headlights, at one point I just sat head in hands, overwhelmed by what was coming through on the various Twitter feeds and Livestreams. Events were unfolding faster than I could process them. I was at a loss for words and stopped even attempting to type. And just when I thought shit couldn’t get crazier, it did.

Likely panicked by footage of the carnage on the street, which by now had hit the mainstream news, a call came into 99% Solidarity’s base saying that the bus company had cancelled all of the NNU-sponsored buses, which had been booked to transport protesters from Occupy Chicago’s Convergence Center to the main #M20 #NoNATO rally at Grant Park the next day. The tone of the bus coordinator’s voice, which I overheard as it was broadcast on speakerphone, said more than any of the words coming out of his mouth as he laid out a litany of so last minute they were implausible excuses as to why suddenly absolutely none of the fleet of 14 buses would be available the next day.

With chaos still raining on the streets, I monitored the livestreams to make sure my fearless #CaliDST friends were OK. One by one they signed off for the night, and as the Twitterverse calmed down I finally succumbed to sleep.

Full disclosure: Nicole Powers has been assisting with 99% Solidarity’s efforts and is in no way an impartial observer. She is proud of this fact.

Related Posts:

99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 1 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago
99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 2 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago
99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 3 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road TripFrom Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago
99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 4 (Pt. 1) Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago

May 2012 22

by Steven Whitney

The long, agonizing, and often unintentionally hilarious Republican debates – the multi-network reality show that ran more first-run episodes than most network series – are finally over. And the one thing you have to grant early loser Rick Perry, the second successive mentally-challenged Governor of Texas, is that he never once claimed that “What three cabinet departments would you eliminate?” was a gotcha question.

While one can hope his restraint was the beginning of a new Republican trend, all evidence points in the other direction. Egged on by Fox (Not Really the) News and an almost complete lack of facts supporting their delusional positions, Republican candidates of all stripes – those running for local and state offices, and those aspiring to the House, Senate, and Presidential chambers – will be forced to campaign on lies, made-up fantasies, wild accusations, and, yes, outrageous whining and crocodile tears (or should we call them elephant tears?) when asked “gotcha” questions, especially when the gotcha is not a gotcha at all.

So where did the gotcha question come from?

Early in the 20th century, the gotcha question grew internationally popular through the fictional mysteries of Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason). Said well-plotted gotchas always resolved the complex story at the climactic moment, freeing the innocent and/or condemning the guilty.

Before long, police detectives across America were encouraged to manipulate frightened, confused, exhausted, and unwitting suspects through a series of questions that would eventually lead to a self-incriminating answer.

So, too did trial attorneys on both sides strive for the most dramatic gotcha moments to impress upon juries the defendants’ innocence or guilt.

Then came the historic 1966 Miranda Decision, in which the Supreme Court restored suspects’ constitutional rights (to remain silent, etc.) by reaffirming the 4th and 5th Amendments. With attorneys now in the interrogation room, it became almost impossible to ensnare suspects into gotcha statements. Indeed, fearing accidental gotchas, most attorneys advised their clients to “shut the fuck up,” and gotchas became largely ineffective as a law enforcement tool.

Spying opportunity, and not bound by legal restraints, the press jumped feet first into the gotcha arena which – with the Cold War, the RFK and MLK assassinations, Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers, global student uprisings, and so much more – ushered in the glory years of investigative journalism. Indeed, Watergate provided perhaps the most famous gotcha question of all: What did he know and when did he know it?

With modern journalism’s mandate to make the news as well as report it, gotcha scenarios expanded exponentially, becoming the coup de grâce of political reportage – the gotcha moment of Muskie crying, the gotcha photo of Dukakis’ tank helmet, the gotcha forensics of a semen stain on Monica Lewinsky’s skirt. The victims were mostly Democrats, wounded by a relentless gotcha strategy employed by the Republican machine (and well-funded by the 1%)…and yet, I never heard a Democrat complain about a gotcha.

That was left to ill-informed Republicans, who bitched and moaned about every relevant question they could not answer while accusing the so-called liberal media of gotcha journalism.

But after the Supreme Court installed Bush and Cheney into the Executive Office, Republicans hit upon a unique solution to hide their cluelessness. If you asked a tough question, or even one they simply didn’t like, you were denied access and, worse, had to “earn” your way back into their so-called “circle of trust.” If a reporter on a political beat does not have or cannot get access to insiders, the news organization has no choice but to install a new reporter who can get access. The new Republican policy was: ask a tough question, you risk your job, your health insurance, your house, everything. So when the counselor at the Midnight Mission wonders how you became homeless and riddled with pox, you can only say: “I asked Dick Cheney what was discussed at his secret meeting with oil executives on May 31, 2001.”

But now that Republicans once again need the media, they’re reluctantly submitting to media debates and interviews. And their awful whining is about to hit fever pitch.

So let’s define it. A gotcha question is one that leads inescapably to a self-incriminating or self-defeating answer. While there may be many forms of gotchas, they are designed almost solely to trap, or corner, or “get” the target.

At the same time, gotcha questions are fair as long as they fall within one unspoken rule of honest journalism – that questions must arise from the real actions, thoughts, promises, and platforms of the person being questioned.

Here, as examples, are some legitimate questions based on the words and actions of some prominent right-wingers.

To Rick Santorum (and other Evangelical candidates): Like Abraham, if you heard God order you to kill your eldest child as a proof of your faith, what would you do?

To Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito: If you were speaking from the bench at a Court proceeding and one of the attorneys stood up and yelled “Liar!”…would that constitute Contempt of Court?

To any Republican running for office: Why is your pledge to Grover Norquist more sacred than your oath of office?

To Mitt Romney: Why are you on both sides of every important issue?

Given these real gotchas…really, how tough is “What do you read?”

Here’s a rule of thumb: anyone whining about a tough but legitimate question must be asked just one follow-up question: are you smarter than a 5th Grader? If you aren’t, you shouldn’t be running for any office, not even dogcatcher.



May 2012 22

by Fred Topel

“This film is really my way of saying we’ve had enough.”
– Nadine-Labaki

Nadine Labaki is my kind of woman. A Lebanese filmmaker, Labaki has lived life and experienced war and tragedy, so the perspective in her art is perceptive and philosophical. Certainly not superficial. You would think coming from a conflicted region, Labaki’s films would be serious and perhaps difficult to take. She actually makes comedies. Her first film, Caramel, was a romantic comedy. Her second, Where Do We Go Now?, is a comedy about religious conflict between Christians and Muslims.

How can such a subject be funny? Well, Where Do We Go Now? opens with a procession of Muslim women marching and swaying in rhythm, so you know there’s something different here. The men of their unnamed village are always on the brink of fighting. The women do everything they can to distract the men, from drowning out news broadcasts to bussing in a group of bikini models. With a light touch, Labaki gets people thinking and talking about important matters. Speaking with her in person was equally impressive. Though she was from the other side of the world, she spoke my language both literally (English) and spiritually. We had a gentle conversation about the culture and film making of Lebanon.

Read our exclusive interview with Nadine-Labaki on

May 2012 20

by Nicole Powers

The day started out so well. We began it with a hearty breakfast (our first sit-down meal in 4 days!), before heading down to the Occupy Chicago Convergence Center. The well-organized facility is located in the basement of Wellington Ave United Church, a branch of the United Church of Christ which is run by Dan Dale, a pastor that is sympathetic to the movement, and has gone above and beyond to help the cause.

By the time we got there, Occupy Wall Street’s Lauren had made herself at home in the Chicago occupation’s kitchen, and was serving up delicious breakfast burritos to anyone in need of sustenance. We spotted many familiar faces from the bus ride from LA milling around in the grazing area/community space, and met up with several personalities we’d conversed with on Twitter and seen on the livestreams over the past few months.

Our friends from OccupyLA’s #BaconBloc, whose mission is to combat the overwhelming veganism of the movement, were busy planning an action involving candied bacon. We were also introduced to the mastermind behind Clown Bloq, which has been enjoying quite a lot of media attention of late. And while we awaited the bus, which was scheduled to take us to our next appointment, which used 99% Solidarity’s stamps to embellish our dollars bills with the meme “THE SYSTEM ISN’T BROKEN – IT’S FIXED.”

When our chauffeur arrived with his big ass bus, we headed to the back to hang with our new heroes, the Bay Area Nine, who’d been through hell and high water to make it to Chi-Town. Our destination was Homer Park, which served as a staging area for our scheduled protest outside the Ravenswood home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Our aim, to exercise the First Amendments rights he’d tried so hard to quash outside his front door.

The atmosphere was jovial as protesters gathered in the park, greeting friends and rehearsing chants ahead of the march. The sun shone and the sky was blue, the only clouds on the horizon where the two omnipresent police helicopters, which hovered overhead.

As our procession made its way through the park, and then the well-manicured streets of the upper-middle class neighborhood, the rotating chants du jour included, “Fight, fight, fight. Healthcare is a human right,” “Healthcare is under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “Healthcare not warfare,” echoing the sentiments of yesterday’s NNU Robin Hood Tax rally, which called for a miniscule tax on trades to pay for, among other things, true universal healthcare. It was indicative of our government’s current priorities, that they spent tax dollars on helicopters to police a march for something that more civilized countries already consider to be a fundamental human right.

While moving through the suburban streets, we were greeted with a surprising warmth by locals, who came out of their business and homes to watch our procession. Code Pink’s “MAKE OUT, NOT WAR” stickers proved to be popular with a group of young female future activists. Other locals en route that I spoke to told me they thought what we were doing was “amazing” and wished us “good luck.”

There was a large police presence when we arrived at Mayor Emanuel’s home. Most were wearing riot helmets, and were armed with plastic zip ties, batons, and bikes – the latter serving as mobile barricades which physically barred us from stepping on the Mayor’s front lawn. Not that we would have. The protesters were very respectful of the fact that it was a residential neighborhood. The chanting had mostly ceased, and the human mic was functioning at a suitably low level.

Vendors were serving refreshing frozen treats from carts. Despite their clear capitalist exploitation of our political gathering, many protesters, including this one, were more then happy to indulge in their wares. Indeed, the scene was more than a little comical, as battalions of riot cops stood amidst flowering shrubbery, policing protesters who were milling around eating ice cream.

[A member of the newly formed Ice Bloc]

After making their point, the protesters gradually dissipated. As I walked back to the train station I saw two ACLU legal observers, who were easily identified by their bright orange T-shirts, thanking a group of CPD officers for their mostly good natured and restrained job. When I engaged the ACLU staffers in conversation, they told me that given the size of the action, which spilled from the pavement and onto the street due to the sheer volume of people, and the fact that it was un-permitted, things could easily have gone another way.

I remarked that this show of restraint was likely prompted, not by the Mayor’s new found respect for free speech, but by the fact that he didn’t want to be portrayed as the bad guy on the world stage. After all, though the mainstream media was conspicuous by its absence at this action, many around the world had tuned in thanks to the feeds pumped out by Occupy’s ever present livestreamers. Little did I know, that in a few short hours these brave citizen journalists would become the prime target of law enforcement agencies.


To keep tabs on the progress of the Chicago bus trip and actions, subscribe to the 99% Solidarity media Twitter list and check in with us via the following livestreams:


Full disclosure: Nicole Powers has been assisting with 99% Solidarity’s efforts and is in no way an impartial observer. She is proud of this fact.

Related Posts:

99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 1 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago
99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 2 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago
99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 3 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago

May 2012 19

by Nicole Powers

[Tom Morello and a crowd that sartorially supports a Robin Hood tax]

After 50 hours on the road, and three days without a proper night’s sleep, tiredness was becoming a serious factor. Our ragtag group of activists, occupiers, and livestreamers had gathered in Pershing Square between 3 and 4 AM on the morning of Wednesday, May 16, and most, including us, had foregone sleep the night before in order to make last-minute preparations. The expected 4 AM departure of the three 99% Solidarity-organized and National Nurses United-funded Los Angeles occu-buses had been delayed for two hours while we awaited the arrival of the Bay Area Nine – a heroic group of Oakland and San Francisco occupiers who had traveled down via Greyhound after their direct ride to Chicago had been cancelled at short notice. It was therefore around 6 AM before we finally set off from Downtown LA.

Our journey time had been further extended by two separate cases of overheated-engine syndrome as we convoyed through the Nevada desert, and a minor medical emergency 100+ miles away from the Illinois state line. A few over-extended, but essential, pee and smoke breaks had also impacted our ETA. When we arrived at our final destination, a short walk away from Occupy Chicago’s Convergence Center at around 6 AM on Friday May 19, we were nearly half a day late. But despite the exhaustion, our spirits were for the most part high, boosted by the excitement of what was to come, and by the beauty of the city, which the majority of our group had never visited before.

As one of three designated bus captains, I hung around to make sure everyone was situated. Since the lateness of our arrival meant we’d mostly missed our accommodation opportunities for the night, some of our group decided to join other occupiers who were occupying Lake Michigan’s beach, some headed off to meet with friends, and the rest followed representatives from Occupy Chicago, who had kindly greeted us with an offer of breakfast, which would be served was soon as their Convergence Center opened at 8.30 AM.

With photos to edit and upload, and words such as these to file, I headed to a motel room which was serving as 99% Solidarity’s temporary base. Having been starved of a reliable internet connection for the past two days, there was much to catch up on, and very little time, since the march leading up to the NNU organized People’s G8 / Robin Hood Tax Rally was scheduled to star at 11 AM.

Following a shower, and a frenzy of emails, uploads, and social media posts, I grabbed a much-needed Starbucks, a liquid breakfast/boost being all I had time for. (Unfortunately, sometimes, corporate crack is unavoidable – and this was one of those occasions!) I met up with a core group of occupiers and activists at Michigan and Madison, and headed over to Daley Plaza with them.

As we made our way down East Washington, we admired the barricades which the Chicago Police Department had kindly laid out on either side of the street to make out of town occupiers feel right at home. Given the much-publicized increased police presence, which involved importing officers from several other states, the atmosphere was surprisingly relaxed. When a group of CPD officers wearing full-on riot helmets cycled past on bikes, at this juncture, quite frankly the sight was more ridiculous than threatening. But as we closed in on Daley Plaza, the police presence was far less frivolous.

[Tom Morello rages against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bullshit machine]

It was heartening to see an impressively large crowd had turned out to support the nurses and their call for a Robin Hood Tax. This overworked and underpaid group are on the frontlines of the war against the working and middle class – the breakdown of the economy being particularly salient to those who staff our emergency rooms. There is therefore a natural affinity between the goals of Occupy and the nurses union, who were among the first of the traditional labor organizations to support the fledgling alternative grassroots activist movement.

Another stalwart supporter of the Occupy movement is Tom Morello, who performed at the rally once the talk was done. He gleefully taunted Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had attempted to silence the Rage Against the Machine guitarist by pulling the NNU’s permit after they announced he was scheduled to perform. The resulting public outcry, and the tenacity of the nurses who were determined to exercise their right to free speech with or without a permit, having forced Emanuel to relent.

“I know damn well I’m welcome in Chicago” Morello said to the cheering and appreciative crowd. “The mayor’s office tried to shut this whole thing down…How ridiculous for the mayor’s office to think I would do anything to hurt Chicago? Chicago is my favorite city on the whole world.”

After Morello’s perfectly pitched mix of rhetoric and rebel songs, the rally dissipated. The nurses took to their buses, occupiers took to the streets, and, after another burst of essential online activity, this activist/journalist voted for sleep.

[Freedom in the crowd]

Visit our gallery at for oodles more images from the event.

To keep tabs on the progress of the Chicago bus trip and actions, subscribe to the 99% Solidarity media Twitter list and check in with us via the following livestreams:


Full disclosure: Nicole Powers has been assisting with 99% Solidarity’s efforts and is in no way an impartial observer. She is proud of this fact.

Related Posts:

99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 1 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago
99Solidarity Occu-Bus: Day 2 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago

May 2012 18

by Nicole Powers

Day 2 of our epic journey was very flat, but literally, rather than metaphorically. Having made it through Denver’s Rocky Mountains under the cover of darkness while most on the bus were asleep, we woke up to a spectacular sunrise as we sped across the border into Nebraska. There the terrain was level, very level, as were heads on our designated LA media bus.

California Dream Stream Team member, OccupyFreedomLA conducted classes aboard the bus on livestreaming and social media. A veteran occupier, she also made sure everyone knew the local Chicago National Lawyers Guild number and also read out a briefing she’d been given on the Chicago Police Department’s provisions for press over the long weekend. The CPD “Ground Rules For Media” included these ‘highlights’:

No “cutting” in and out of police lines will be permitted, or “going up against their backs.” Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken. Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else. Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest…

There will not be any quick personal recognizance bond just for media members…

But police emphasized that those who choose to walk amid the protesters are “on your own.” The department cannot guarantee the safety of those who do so and cannot guaranteed that they can extract any reporter who ends up the target of protesters.

That last line about reporters becoming targets of protesters was particularly inflammatory, and received the appropriate derisive response from our 99% Solidarity media crew, who though not impartial, were there to accurately report the news rather than make it with acts of violence. Indeed, everyone on board all of the 99% Solidarity buses had signed a non-violence pledge confirming their peaceful intentions, which was a pre-requisite for boarding.

Talking of peaceful, positive and progressive intentions, after members participated in one of the weekly Media Consortium Inter-Occupy press briefing calls, we had some great conversations on the direction of the movement over the course of the day – and some even greater ones with our bus drivers’ who shared their thoughts on Occupy, which were all very constructive if not entirely supportive. Of the three drivers we’d had (who’d operated in shifts due to the length of our trip), somewhat surprisingly given his former occupation, it was our last driver who turned out to be our biggest champion. Though a former Marine, he shared many of our anti-NATO sentiments, expressing a frustration at our government’s overseas policy and treatment of veterans, which was naturally tempered by his loyalty to his fellow servicemen.

When the conversation died down, the documentaries Casino Jack and The United States of Money, about corrupt lobbyist (is there any other kind?) Jack Abramoff, and Exit Through the Gift Shop, about street artist Banksy and his accidental protégé Mr. Brainwash, kept our group entertained. The standard revolution diet of pizza, again, kept them sustained.

As we drove into Iowa, we were confronted by another spectacular sunset. Our livestreamers, who by now had their own designated hashtag #CaliDST, were getting quite competitive when capturing these.

A minor medical emergency delayed us for an hour just before crossing the Illinois state border. As we headed into Chicago almost 50 hours after our journey had begun, those on the bus let out a collective cheer as we spied the spectacular skyline. Another sunrise, this time over the waters of Lake Michigan, greeted us as we drove into the heart of the city.

Our buses stopped at Lakeshore & Belmont, just a few blocks away from Occupy Chicago’s Convergence Center. Local Occupy members kindly met us with promises of a much-needed breakfast as soon as the staging area opened at 8.30 AM that day. Most on the bus decided to take them up on their offer, not wanting to make history on an empty stomach. Indeed news of the protesters arrival in the Windy City in a fleet of 14 99% Solidarity/NNU buses had already found its way into the mainstream media, with a photo of the first of four from NYC taking up most of the Chicago Sun-Times front page!

To keep tabs on the progress of the Chicago bus trip and actions, subscribe to the 99% Solidarity media Twitter list and check in with us via the following livestreams:


Full disclosure: Nicole Powers has been assisting with 99% Solidarity’s efforts and is in no way an impartial observer. She is proud of this fact.

Related Posts:

99Solidarity Bus Trip: Day 1 Of Our Epic Coast-To-Coast Road Trip From Los Angeles To New York By Way Of Chicago