On July 14, dozens showed up to Federal Plaza in Chicago to denounce international sanctions imposed by the United States government on Iran. The rally kicked off with a car caravan circling the plaza before several organizations gave speeches in solidarity with countries falling victim to sanctions
The action marked the 5-year anniversary of the signing of the Iran-U.S.-EU nuclear deal, which the Trump administration has since rejected. Since stepping out of the deal, the U.S. government has imposed strict sanctions, preventing Iran from receiving medical supplies during the lethal COVID-19 pandemic.
Other countries — despite offering medical assistance in the form of drugs and doctors, like Cuba — are also being sanctioned, with no sign of relief. Countries facing U.S. sanctions include Venezuela, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Palestine and Yemen.
From the crowd, Charles Johnson told Liberation News: “The [people of the] United States really has to wake up to what it’s doing, and how the government is harming everyone else in the world. I want to help move us toward a humane world where we take care of each other.”
The rally was organized by the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism, and was sponsored by organizations including the Party for Socialism and Liberation, ANSWER Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network, Anakbayan Chicago, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, International League of Peoples’ Struggle — Midwest, Chicago Area Peace Action and the Coalicion En Solidaridad Latino Americana.
The speeches were met with loud cheers not only from the crowd, but from pedestrians passing by as well. Kobi Guillory from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression told the crowd: “The problem is we have not been in control of our own communities. That problem extends around the world, where people living in these third world countries are not in control of their own economic situation. So we have to fight for their self-determination, for their right to control their own destiny, as we fight for the right of Black and brown people in this country to control their own communities.”
The speakers tied the current uprisings in the United States to the struggles overseas and across different parts of the world.
Lizzy Turner, from Chicago Area Peace Action, told Liberation News: “Sanctions are unjust. Too frequently they are talked about as if they are harmless. We know that sanctions kill. We need to change our sanctions policy.”