Monday, June 17, 2013

We're Pushing the Chicago Air & Water Show to be "War-Free"!

UPDATE: August 19, 2013 -- We had an outstanding day on Saturday at the Air and Water Show! There was an antiwar presence in at least three distinct locations:  east of the North Avenue Bridge with the Free Bradley Manning Contingent, representatives of the Anti-war Committee of Chicago, World Can't Wait, and allies from the north and west suburbs on the west side of the North Avenue Bridge, and members of Occupy Chicago on the bridge itself, as well at various places along the beach.

NOW . . . onward to the Midwest Action Against Drones!

Joe Scarry being interviewed by CCTV, the main network
in China. The replica of a Reaper drone behind him was
supplied by Know Drones.

"WAR is not a SPECTACLE!" banner from Occupy Chicago.

Free Bradley Manning!

*      *     *

Last year, people in Chicago used the occasion of the annual Air and Water Show to conduct a large-scale teach-in and protest about the need to stop U.S. militarism and warmongering, and in particular about the menace of drones.

The anti-war protesters will be flocking to the Chicago Air & Water Show again on August 17, 2013 -- on a day when the crowds will be experiencing their most war-free Chicago air show in years.

This will be an important follow-up to protests in Chicago during the April Days of Action Against Drones, and in the lead-up to the Midwest Action Against Drones (MAAD) in September.

Join the event on Facebook and come meet us on Saturday, August 17 at North Avenue bridge! You can read the full story below!

Fighter Jets Sidelined, and the Peacemakers Are Cheering
(Now, when can we make the Air & Water Show totally "war-free"?)

CHICAGO, August 15, 2013 - Proponents of reduced U.S. military activity and the elimination of war are cheering the announcement that the 2013 Chicago Air & Water Show will be free of the array of military hardware that has been featured in recent years. At the same time, they say, the event still has too much of a military flavor, and needs to do more to emphasize positive civilian and peaceful uses of aerospace technology.

"The fighter jets may not be there, but the military will still be there trying to recruit our young people," said Jay Becker, of Chicago World Can't Wait. "As a result, we need to be there in force to help kids understand the truth about enlistment agreements, what these wars are really all about, and what they can expect if they sign up -- which they won't hear from military recruiters."

Activists also point to the way Air & Water Show slants the event toward a pro-war message. "Chicago-based Boeing co-sponsors the event, and it is one of the largest military contractors in the world," pointed out Joe Iosbaker of the Anti-War Committee of Chicago. "Shell co-sponsors the event, and it is one of the principal beneficiaries of U.S. wars for oil in the Mideast."

Furthermore, activists caution that the new types of military hardware that are being used more and more often, such as drones, shouldn't be allowed to creep into the Air & Water Show. "I'll be there with the model Reaper drone that we use for public education," said Joe Scarry, whose Chicago-based No Drones Network is working with activists nationwide to increase awareness of the extent of roboticized surveillance and warfare. "When they cut out all the pro-war messaging, maybe I will be able to leave my anti-war teaching aids at home, too."

As they have in previous years, volunteers from these and other groups will be at the 2013 Chicago Air & Water Show on Saturday, August 17, to distribute anti-war information and to enlist new participants in their pro-peace efforts.

Related posts
Coming off our experience this past weekend once again protesting against drone killing, drone surveillance, and related acts of militarism at the Chicago Air and Water Show, I am more confirmed than ever in my view that air shows are a very effective place to get our message out to the public.

(See Why Air Shows Are a Very Effective Place to Protest Drone Killing and Drone Surveillance )

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