Established in 2011, Chicago Mass Action (CMA) is an activist organization that engages in street protests directed chiefly against the United States, which it characterizes as “the world’s greatest terrorist,” a nation whose “bloody hands” give testimony to the many “reckless military assaults” it has launched throughout its history. Condemning also “the corporate media” for having allowed itself to be “constantly used to demonize those the U.S. government targets and to promote hysteria in a buildup to war,” CMA asserts that America's “unending” military actions are “only for the benefit of the super-rich who want to expand the U.S. empire and get control over other peoples’ resources, markets, labor power and strategic locations.” “The U.S. has no right to prowl around the world,” says CMA, “looking for opportunities to gain control of more countries.”
On October 8, 2011, Chicago Mass Action participated in a Midwest Regional March for Peace and Justice (MRMPJ) commemorating the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which CMA has bitterly denounced. In an effort to maximize the impact of their message, the marchers paraded past several high-profile and highly symbolic locations, most notably the Obama 2012 National Campaign Headquarters, a military recruiting station in downtown Chicago, and the local Israeli consulate. By CMA's reckoning, the original U.S. decision to invade Afghanistan was a gesture aimed in large measure at placating the Israel lobby.
The MRMPJ had many co-sponsors, including the 8th Day Center for Justice, the American Friends Service Committee, ANSWER Chicago, Chicago Area Code Pink, Chicago Area American Muslims for Palestine, the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, the Chicago Socialist Party, Chicago World Can’t Wait, the DuPage County Green Party, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the International Socialist Organization, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Nicaragua Solidarity Network, Occupy Chicago (an affiliate of the Occupy Wall Street movement), Pax Christi Seed Planters, the Progressive Peace Coalition, Students for a Democratic Society (UIC Chapter), Veterans For Peace, and Witness for Peace (Great Lakes Region).
Additional noteworthy CMA allies include Chicago Indymedia and the Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Beginning in early December 2011, Chicago Mass Action collaborated with a host of fellow “peace and social justice groups” to stage a month-long series of vigils and demonstrations culminating on January 11, 2012, the tenth anniversary of America's “unlawful” establishment of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center—where, according to CMA, prisoners were being routinely tortured. In its promotional literature for these events, CMA identified the office of the White Rose Catholic Worker, which is part of the Catholic Worker Movement, as the key contact that could provide the public with pertinent information regarding the anti-Guantanamo campaign.
On February 4, 2012, CMA participated in a Chicago rally demanding that the United States refrain from punishing Iran in any way—especially via economic sanctions or military measures—for its continuing development of a nuclear-technology program. The protesters' demands also called for the U.S. to keep its “Hands Off Syria,” where President Bashar al-Assad was engaged in a brutal struggle to hold onto power while rebel forces sought to unseat him. Endorsers of the Chicago event included local chapters of ANSWER, Code Pink, Peace Action, and World Can’t Wait. Meanwhile, satellite rallies were held in more than 20 cities across the United States, Ireland, Canada, and elsewhere.
Chicago Mass Action continues to circulate a petition exhorting members of the American and Israeli armed forces to disobey their commanders if ordered to attack Iran or Syria—attacks that, according to CMA, would “violate morality, international and domestic law and the interests of humanity.” In the event that the United States ultimately does invade either of those countries, CMA pledges to stage an “emergency protest” to “try to stop U.S. aggression” and its inevitable “slaughter of human beings.”
For additional information on Chicago Mass Action, click here.