Shut The Chamber

The US Chamber of Commerce is multinational corporations' top lobbying firm in dc, using their millions to buy off congress. let's shut it down.

http://shutthechamber.org
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch Industries) got paid to speak at the U.S. Chamber’s “small business summit” about Wisconsin’s economy. The Chamber then ranked Wisconsin among the top 10 worst states for job growth. Source: http://bit.ly/15UEMVQ

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch Industries) got paid to speak at the U.S. Chamber’s “small business summit” about Wisconsin’s economy. The Chamber then ranked Wisconsin among the top 10 worst states for job growth.

Source: http://bit.ly/15UEMVQ

The US Chamber lobbies for the deregulation and privatization of public infrastructure, but depends on public infrastructure to guard them from people affected by their lobbying. Also, check out the coverage of our march on the US Chamber on the Scripps news wire- http://www.shfwire.com/node/7713

The US Chamber lobbies for the deregulation and privatization of public infrastructure, but depends on public infrastructure to guard them from people affected by their lobbying.

Also, check out the coverage of our march on the US Chamber on the Scripps news wire- http://www.shfwire.com/node/7713

#OpGreenJobs day 7 wrap-up

We were up not long after the morning sun poked out above the Eastern horizon. It was way too early for any of us on any normal day - especially for me, since I had stayed up the night before playing chess with Guillermo (he said he let me win just to be nice).

We rode the metro downtown and found a place to get coffee and breakfast while we discussed plans for the immediate future. Cheri and I were prepared to get arrested, and I had withdrawn all my remaining cash and given it to 83 year-old Sister Margaret for safekeeping, in case Cheri and I were in jail until after Memorial Day weekend and the group needed money to get back to Philly. Evan also volunteered to get arrested with Cheri and I blocking the US Chamber’s front door.

Reporters were calling my phone every other minute asking us details about the march, and I told them we had several who were prepared to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience to prevent the US Chamber’s front door from being used. The group gathered on 14th and F street, and I took a bullhorn and started leading the group in chants and singing.

As we neared the US Chamber, we started chanting, “The people, are pissed! Down with corporate lobbyists!” to the morning crowd near the White House at Lafayette Square. Several bystanders joined our march, and I met up with David Swanson of warisacrime.org who marched with us and agreed to speak during the action.

It had seemed like such a long time ago when we embarked on this journey from Philly. I remembered the sting of the pouring rain and the squishiness of my socks as we trudged through the water. I remembered my parched throat from yelling myself hoarse with very little water except what we used to fill our bottles whenever we came across a gas station. I remembered my aching feet from marching 17 miles one day, several of which were in bare feet when they had become too raw and moist to wear in wet shoes and socks. I remembered my empty stomach and chafing thighs, sleeping in the supply van at a parking lot, using fast food restroom sinks and paper towel dispensers to bathe myself. I remembered cars and trucks screaming by, the wind shaking the flags we held from their stems. I remembered the unforgiving sun beating down on us with no shade in sight and only countless miles in front of us.

I also recalled a whole week’s worth of walking, and meeting lots of sympathetic people of all ideological backgrounds who agreed with our cause of going after the lobbyists who run our government. I remembered fondly when the hostel outside of Philly enthusiastically let us all stay for free, have a warm bed and a shower and breakfast in the morning, while giving us a donation and asking for a photo with us. I remembered Carmen, the woman in Chester, PA from the Latino church service who let us stay in the trailer in her backyard for a night. I remembered the woman in Maryland driving the station wagon and asking us if we needed a place to rest and shower and eat before continuing our hike. I remembered in my old friend from New Hampshire bringing us a breakfast feast where we were staying in Baltimore before our last day of marching.

As we neared the destination of an entire week’s worth of walking, I couldn’t be prouder of my comrades. Gabe had soldiered on through a breakdown and continued to volunteer his station wagon as a supply vehicle. Mark, his resourcefulness and his maverick attitude kept us on time and on track the whole way there. Sister Margaret and Sister Geretti used their connections as clergy to reach out to churches that ended up offering us their hospitality. Guillermo used his charm as a 10 year-old boy to solicit kind deeds and favors from passersby and keep our group honest. Luciano’s spirit and sense of humor kept us sane. Cheri’s leadership kept us focused. Evan’s GPS kept Gabe from getting lost too many times. Todd and Omar’s senses of humor kept us laughing. Galen’s experience kept us calm even in the midst of confusion and chaos. Liz’s take-no-prisoners motherly attitude kept the group in stride.

Even though we sometimes snapped at each other, lost our patience, grew exasperated, and got tired of each others’ sounds and smells from time to time, our journey had led us all the way here. We were all one united front taking on the chief agent of the American government’s corruption. We had traveled 150 miles, mostly on foot, to be here, right now, at this very spot.

We spoke, shared stories, chanted, sang, and even sat with our arms linked in front of the US Chamber of Commerce’s front steps, while educating drivers and pedestrians about how the US Chamber of Commerce was the symbol of multinational corporations’ hijacking of our government through the lobbying and campaign finance processes. We were in control the entire time, while they were fearful and asked for a phalanx of cops to separate our group from the door. We left on our own terms, nobody went to jail, and there was no police brutality. Lots of press came out to document the event and interview us to hear our personal stories and learn about the march. It was, on all accounts, a success.

As we announced at the end of the action, this is the beginning of a nationwide movement aimed at educating the public about the US Chamber’s corruption, protesting them and their state-based affiliates in public, and getting small business owners all across America to divest their funds from the US Chamber’s radical, dangerous, greedy agenda. We’ll be back there, same time next year. Keep watching this page for more updates as this movement continues to grow.

Cheri Honkala smiling at the end of an eventful, exhausting, successful, week-long action.

Cheri Honkala smiling at the end of an eventful, exhausting, successful, week-long action.

Group shot of those who marched 150 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, DC to march on the US Chamber

Group shot of those who marched 150 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, DC to march on the US Chamber

Cheri announces our return to the US Chamber next year with chants of "I WILL BE BACK!"
Leading chants outside the US Chamber as we announce our return next year, same day, same time

Leading chants outside the US Chamber as we announce our return next year, same day, same time

Blocking the entrance of the US Chamber of Commerce. No dirty lobbyists in or out.

Blocking the entrance of the US Chamber of Commerce. No dirty lobbyists in or out.

83 year-old marcher Sister Margaret of Philly’s New Jerusalem recovery center, prays for the safety of the group and the success of our mission.

83 year-old marcher Sister Margaret of Philly’s New Jerusalem recovery center, prays for the safety of the group and the success of our mission.