What is different about the People’s Summit as compared to now separate G8 and NATO summits?
Let’s start with people. The G8 Summit brings together the heads of state of the richest countries on the planet (and Canada). They are accompanied by a retinue of advisers and a security detail. The NATO Summit brings together 50 heads of state, 28 of whom are members of NATO. The rest are members of various other NATO agreements, such as the Partnership for Peace. They are accompanied by their advisers, representative members of their military general staffs, and their security details. They must be at the summits or risk sending a diplomatic signal they don’t intend. The Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin knows this. That is why he chose to signal his displeasure at the NATO agenda item about a missile defense shield by not attending either the G8 or NATO summits. (Russia is a Partnership for Peace affiliate of NATO.)
The people who attend the People’s Summit are there as a result of their own decision. They don’t pretend to speak for tens of millions of people; they speak for themselves.
Now look at the venues. The G8 Summit is at the President’s retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains — Camp David. The NATO Summit is at McCormick Place, a world-class convention center in Chicago on Lake Michigan.
The People’s Summit was held here.
That is, the People’s Summit was held on the fifth and seventh floors of a former Chicago warehouse that is being rehabilitated as work loft and storage space. This space is also where Occupy Chicago held its general assemblies during the winter and holds its work group meetings until–well, that is an upcoming decision of the Occupy Chicago general assembly.
This is the view from the building toward McCormick Place: