The Showdown in Chicago has turned into a G8 Backdown. In a stunning about-face, the Obama administration has moved the Chicago G8 summit to Camp David, an ultra-secure military base in rural Maryland. Despite the tough talk of anti-Occupy technology, ordinances and paramilitary preparations, this is perhaps the first time that a major world summit has been relocated due to anticipated protests. And with only two months left before the summit was to begin, the change of venues is clearly a humiliating decision and a surprising victory of the Occupy movement. The specter of 50,000 nonviolent occupiers flooding the windy city with a list of demands for the world’s political elites was apparently too powerful. The NATO summit will still be meeting in Chicago… for now at least.
Check out this take by Occupywallst.org on what could be the movement’s next steps and weigh in below on how you think Occupy should react to the G8 backdown.
The Group of 8 Summit, a meeting of the governments of the world’s eight largest economies, was supposed to convene in Chicago this May. For months, Occupy Chicago, international anti-war groups, Anonymous, and hundreds of allies have publicly planned to shut it down. Now, only two months before the meeting is scheduled to begin, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving the assembly of over 7,000 leaders from the world’s wealthiest governments to the Camp David presidential compound, located in rural Maryland near Washington, DC, one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Chicago Tribune reports that summit organizers are “stunned” by the news.
A big Occupy win?
The White House announced the change in the following statement:
“In May, the United States looks forward to hosting the G-8 and NATO Summits. To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the president is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues.
“The president will then welcome NATO allies and partners to his hometown of Chicago for the NATO Summit on May 20-21, which will be the premier opportunity this year for the president to continue his efforts to strengthen NATO in order to ensure that the Atlantic Alliance remains the most successful alliance in history, while charting the way forward in Afghanistan.”
The 38th G8 summit was to be held in Chicago alongside the NATO summit. It would have been the first time since 1977 in London that the two organizations held meetings in the same city at the same time.
Chicago police estimated that 2,000 to 10,000 demonstrators were expected to show up for the overlapping G-8 and NATO summits. At least two major demonstrations were already planned for downtown during the summit, and organizers said they wanted to send crowds of marchers down Michigan Avenue in the middle of the day.
Meetings of leaders of international economic organizations like the G-8 have drawn violent large-scale protests for more than a decade.
Protests and other forms of activism will be stunted at Camp David, to say the least, but the Masters of the Universe are scared - that much is undeniable.