Though it's been a temperate winter, things are heating up in Chicago. With only weeks to go until May Day and fewer than two months until the NATO summits, Occupy Chicago has come back out into the streets.
The April 7 Chicago Spring action, aiming to break out of the "economic, social, racial, and geographic barriers that the 1 percent have used to divide us," brought nearly 1,000 people to the streets of downtown Chicago for a rally and an afternoon festival.
"I think it went great," said Brian Bean, an activist with Occupy Chicago. "One of the things that marked Occupy in the fall was it sort of exceeded expectations ... sort of like we're coming out into the streets where we were birthed."
Unlike many other occupations around the country, Occupy Chicago did not have an encampment, renting a loft space in Chinatown instead.
This presented some unique challenges, but it also had its advantages, said Bean. Occupy Chicago moved to more conscious outreach - because people were less likely to stop by the space - and became "intimately involved with struggles in their neighborhoods."
The fruits of these tactics were evident on the Chicago Spring, he said.
"April 7 was an arbitrary date that we picked in the winter. It's a good sign that people will come out again in pointed political actions."
And Chicago has plenty coming up.