Protesters March to Boeing Headquarters as NATO Summit Continues
– Common Dreams staff Published on Monday, May 21, 2012 by Common Dreams
Protesters headed down Lake Street toward #Boeing. (Photo: via TwitPic / YFrog / NBC Chicago)
In a second day of protest, people gathered this morning for a planned march from Chicago’s Union Park to the headquarters of the Boeing Corporation. The march began later than scheduled at around 11:45 am, and will travel approximately 2.5 miles where organizers have planned a rally.
Boeing ordered most of its employees to stay home today, so organizers say they will hold a ‘victory party’ once they reach Boeing — complete with food, music, and dancing — to celebrate, if only for a day, the shutting down of a company they say reaps enormous profits from the sale of weapons systems and gives little back by avoiding taxes and insulating itself from corporate responsibility by lavishing campaign contributions on elected public officials.
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You can expect to see crowds of people from all walks of life dancing in the streets, listening to live music, and celebrating the power of anti-war voices outside the Boeing corporation Monday. When the people of the world said they would speak out against Boeing and the NATO war machine, their voices were heard, and Boeing shut itself down. We’re excited to celebrate tomorrow.
In 2001, Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago in a plan that stole over $60 million and 20 years worth of free rent from Illinois taxpayers. In 2010 Boeing made over $4.5 billion, yet in the past three years they have managed to avoid paying taxes. In 2010 they received a federal tax subsidy of $1.56 billion. This cost the State of Illinois $65 million in revenue. This money could have been used to serve an additional 16,000 Medicaid clients, provide Medicare Part B coverage to 13,000 seniors, provide 36 million meals to the hungry, or create 1,625 living wage jobs for the unemployed. Instead this money was given to Boeing in the form of corporate welfare by our elected officials.
In total, Boeing has received over 12 billion dollars from the US Department of Defense to produce war machines, which are used to terrorize communities and murder innocent civilians all over the world. These tools of destruction are produced using prison labor, allowing Boeing to make weaponized products for pennies on the dollar. When not using non-prison labor, Boeing goes out of it’s way to bust unions, even moving factories across the country to stifle worker’s rights. Boeing production facilities are continually found to be massive polluters, leading to the company being listed as one of the top 50 corporate criminals responsible for environmental destruction.
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Chicago Sun Times reports:
Many downtown businesses told their employees to stay home during the second and final day of the summit — where world leaders are discussing the war in Afghanistan, European missile defense and other security issues — because of traffic snarls and the possibility of more protests.
A group of demonstrators with the Occupy Chicago movement were planning to protest outside of Boeing Corp.’s headquarters. Officers were stationed there early Monday morning, and an orange barricade blocked off the building’s entrances. Occupy targeted the multi-billion-dollar aerospace company and defense contractor because it produces airplanes for the U.S. military.
About 50 to 100 people had gathered at Union Park by 10 a.m. ahead of the 2.5-mile march to Boeing’s headquarters at 100 N. Riverside Plaza — on the Chicago river between Washington and Randolph. A couple dozen police were lined up on the sidewalks. The march was expected to start at 10 a.m., but by 10:30, the crowd was discussing how the walk would go and how they would protest once they reached Boeing.
Rachel Perrotta, Occupy Chicago spokesperson, said the protesters had already “shut down” because Boeing’s offices were shut down ahead of the protest.
Boeing spokesperson Todd Blecher said the only a few employees were at the Boeing headquarters Monday.