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Sunday, December 3

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The Mechanics
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Chicago Thu Mar 29 2012

Chicago Exchange CEO Mic Checked

Stand Up! Chicago's constant targeting of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has been a thorn in the company's side. The organization joined Occupy Chicago and other organizations in the past months protesting outside of the exchange. Craig Donohue, CEO of CME, went to an energy trading industry conference in Houston last Friday where local activists stood in for Stand Up! Chicago.

Protesters greeted him outside of Melcher Hall on the University of Houston campus. Donohue was there to deliver a presentation but before he could really start his speech, protesters interrupted him with a mic check.

"Mr. Donohue, as you stand here today, preparing to give the 1% tips on how to get even richer, you are 1,000 miles away from the struggling families of Chicago and Illinois and they are further from your thoughts, even though CME will line its pockets with over 1 billion of their tax dollars over the next ten years." "You were only able to get that money by making empty threats to relocate. The 99% of Chicago and Illinois can't afford to travel here so we are here to ask you a question on their behalf and on behalf of all 99% families everywhere.

"What will working families get for their billion dollar investment?"

Security escorted the four protesters out of the room before they could finish but the message was clear. Every day people are not happy with the tactics of the rich and powerful.

Just last year, Donohue and CME Chair Terrence Duffy threatened to leave Chicago over their tax rate. The incredibly profitable company, two billion in 2011, demanded tax breaks that will total more than a billion dollars over the next decade. The Illinios state legislature obliged.

Activism such as this will continue over the coming months. Whether it will have a positive impact on the 99 percent is not yet known. It does create a discussion on this issue and frames it in a manner that benefits working class Americans.

Originally posted to The Political is Personal

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