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Spirit of ’68: march against war set for 50th of convention protests

A demonstrator at the Democratic National Convention fights off tear gas as he walks in front of a police barricade at the Conrad Hilton Hotel | Sun-Times file photo

Anti-war and anti-police violence protesters have a permit to return to the streets on the 50th anniversary of the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Members of the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism discussed their plan to re-capture the energy of anti-Vietnam war protests and direct it against modern state violence at home and abroad at a press conference Tuesday.

They spoke at the base of the Statue of John Logan in Grant Park, the dramatic center-piece of events in 1968.

“This event … is not going to be about nostalgia,” said Rich Whitney, the co-chair of the Illinois Green Party and the initiator of plans for a semi-centennial protest. “Its going to be about how we can make our society better.

Air Force veteran Natasha Erskine spoke at the press conference about links between military recruiting and the Chicago Public Schools. | Adam Thorp/Sun-Times

Organizers of the event plan to address a broad range of issues, from American wars in the Middle East to the funding of the military at the expense of public services.

“For every bomb that’s dropped somebody in the U.S. goes without: healthcare, housing, food, shelter. Continuing the work of the 1968 generation. … We say: enough is enough,” Marine Corps veteran and anti-war campaigner Vincent Emanuele said.

Protesters will march on August 25 from Daley Plaza to Grant Park, the heart of the 1968 protest. Along the way, their route will circle City Hall and pass the the headquarters of the Illinois Democratic Party at 111 West Washington Street.

The committee is a recent revival of the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, which organized a protest on the eve of the Iraq War which brought about 10,000 protesters onto Lake Shore Drive. The protest led to mass arrests and a $6.2 million settlement payment from the city to arrested protesters.