Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Jennifer Wendel, Staff Writer
Two weekends ago Chicago hosted the 25th NATO summit, and the first one ever to be held in the United States. President Obama and leaders from around the world attended the summit. But the clogged city streets were testament to the other attendees: over ten thousand protesters.
Ziggy Zigterman, K’13, made the drive to Chicago to march in the largest protest of the weekend, on May 20th. “I have my problems with NATO and I wanted to go and see what it was like and get involved in some small way,” he said.
The march started downtown Chicago at Columbus and Jackson, continued down Michigan avenue, and ended at McCormick Place which was as close as the protesters could get to the actual NATO conference.
Protesters came for a variety of reasons ranging from anarchist groups, which Zigterman marched with, to the free Bradley Manning movement (a US soldier arrested in 2010 for suspicions of leaking documents to WikiLeaks), to the Socialist Workers Party. There were some clashes with police who were out in force and in full riot gear. Zigterman remembers a police officer wishing him and others on their way to the protest a “Happy NATO.”
Though this was Zigterman’s first big protest in the US, he started becoming politically involved and attending protests while on study abroad in Cáceres, Spain against cutting funds to public universities, and against “the global, economic and political public order.” But he believes that even in Kalamazoo students can get involved with causes they believe in by attending local events like Food Not Bombs, hosted Saturdays in Bronson Park, or joining the Occupy Kalamazoo, Detroit, or Chicago movements.
“I think that most people at K have a very comfortable existence and don’t have to think about NATO’s policies and actions abroad. But I think that if we’re serious about social justice and having a more just world, we have to take the actions of groups like NATO and the American government more seriously. They are destructive to the society and people of nations abroad,” he said.