"Thousands of teachers, school workers, parents and students joined a mass protest led by the Chicago Teachers Union Wednesday against the city’s plan to close 54 schools, most of them in African-American neighborhoods. About 150 people sat down in the road outside Chicago City Hall and locked their arms together, prepared to risk arrest. Roughly 130 people were detained by police." [via] See photos
Other Press links: CPS closings called a ‘land grab,’ but Emanuel’s done negotiating | CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett May Have Met Her Match in Chicago | City And CPS Gear Up For Protests Over School Closures
On March 20th, 2003, shortly after more than 18,000 antiwar protesters marched against the escalation of the war in Iraq, in so doing overtaking control of the six-lane highway of Lake Shore Drive, in one of the landmark protests in Chicago history.
The protest garnered international attention at the time. Some believe that the coverage embarrassed the local administration, who then ordered police to block the march, doing so at the intersection of Michigan and Oak and arresting its participants. The result was the largest mass-arrest in Chicago history (about 860 arrested), with more arrests in one evening than in a week of the vaunted 1968 Democratic National Convention protests.
In subsequent years, activists commemorated the 2003 protest by trying to resume the march down Michigan Avenue, but again facing resistance by the administration. In 2006, activists finally won the right to do so after three years of struggle, but they continued to face resistance by the city. Activists also saw foot-dragging in the courts when activists sued the city over the suppression of the rights of free speech and freedom of assembly; a multimillion-dollar settlement was reached nearly nine years after the Lake Shore Drive takeover (the lawsuit over the war protest was longer than the war that was protested against).
For years, activists with the Chicago south side group FLY (Fearless Leading by the Youth) have pressured the Chicago establishment, particularly the University of Chicago, to re-establish one or more adult trauma centers on Chicago's south side (where there are currently no adult trauma centers). FLY has been particularly active on this issue ever since one of their members died in part because he couldn't be sent to a trauma center quickly enough.
FLY staged a protest outside a new University of Chicago hospital on January 27, 2013, which saw four people arrested. The arrests have spurred many follow-up actions and coverage, including a petition, a vigil, and a call-in day of action on February 6th, widening awareness of the issue and improving the chances for progress.
Additional resources: FLY on Facebook
On Sunday, February 17, thousands of Americans will head to Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. For more details please read these Frequently Asked Questions. http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageNavigator/NAT_Oil_ForwardOnClimate...
16 top climate scientists once again have sent a letter with their concerns about climate change, similar to the one that was ignored 18 months ago:
- Locality:Summary:Obama quietly changes rules for response to petitions at whitehouse.gov hours after Swatrz petition posted
Less than 2 hours after a petition to remove prosecutor Carmen Ortiz hit whitehouse.gov, President Obama raised the threshold for an official response from 25,000 to 100,000. DEMAND JUSTICE FOR AARON SWARTZ. Here's the petition - it already has 40,000 signatures. We can do it, then bring the ruckus to the bastard in chief was has declared an information war against us.
- Summary:Durbinville calls Senator to his duty
On Monday, December 3rd, activists began offering bread and soup to feed the lines that formed in Federal Plaza, and after three days of breadlines, we saw the erection of the shantytown called Durbinville. It is long past time for people to recognize the relationship between the suffering Americans endured under Herbert Hoover and what we suffer today. People are calling our leaders to make good on the trust of the people who voted for them and finally "reverse the policies of the previous administration", as FDR was able to boast in his pivotal 1934 State of the Union Address. The event and photos of the shantytown protest
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Chicago area Wal-Marts today as holiday shoppers crowded the stores for Black Friday sales. A group of Wal-Mart employees called the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart (OUR Walmart) transported protesters around the city in buses. Protesters want the nation’s largest retailer to offer more dependable schedules, better health care and higher wages to employees.
PHOTO CREDIT: http://johngress.com/
On Tuesday, September 18th, the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted 98 percent to 2 percent to end its nine-day-long strike, the first CTU strike in 25 years. The proposed deal includes a marked salary increase for teachers and the right for teachers to make their own lesson plans. The deal also excludes the threatened elimination of merit pay, lanes (achievement for advanced degrees) and steps (achievement for experience). When asked on Democracy Now! if the CTU won this strike, CTU president Karen Lewis responded: "Absolutely".
And yet, concerns remain over the public education in Chicago, over the detailed language in the deal will actually remain, over the corporatization and neoliberalization of public education in Chicago, and over attempts to break the union. Meanwhile, American schools remain largely segregated on racial and economic lines, and the Rahm "strike is over" television advertisement was paid for by an anti-teachers-union group.
Additional Links: Caucus of Rank and File Educators | Dean Baker: Chicago School Teachers Give Us All a Lesson | A Victory for Solidarity and Struggle | The War on Public Schools | Cartoon: Rahm's Replacement Teachers
In a bold, inspiring, historic, widely-publicized, and risky move, the Chicago Teachers Union, has gone on strike over a host of issues, including compensation, job security, evaluation procedures, and sufficient classroom resources (including air conditioning in the summer).
The strike could be argued as inevitable, given the galvanizing forces on each side: a progressive leadership at the Chicago Teachers Union, and a neoliberal cookie-cutter Chicago Public Schools district which favors non-union charter schools. The strike is unquestionably a big gamble -- if the union wins, they provide a badly needed shot-in-the-arm for public education and for the labor movement. If the establishment wins, they hasten the decline of both public education and dissident labor, spurring further the underway dissolution of middle-class education. The strike has so far garnered support from the public and from union solidarity efforts.
More Chicago Indymedia Links: Chicago Teachers v. Rahm Emanuel | Chicago: America's Epicenter of Resistance | Facebook Photo Album: Rally to support CTU Strike | Rahm Emanuel's Privatize Chicago Plan | New poll: majority support of the strike is increasing
Additional Links: In These Times: Chicago Teachers Strike Headache for Democrats | Robbie Abed's Personal Blog - Chicago Teachers Union Strike: The Real Story | Reuters: Negotiators optimistic Chicago teachers' strike may end soon | Teachers' Leader in Chicago Strike Shows Her Edge | Think Progress: How Illinois' Flawed Funding System Shortchanges Chicago's Students | Democracy Now! - Thousands rally in Chicago teachers strike | Democracy Now- Chicago Teachers Stage Historic Strike | Why are the Chicago Public School Teachers on Strike? | ZNet Commentary: Striking Neoliberalism in Chicago | The Rude Pundit: The Chicago teachers' strike is for the children | Gawker: A guide to Chicago's ongoing teachers strike | Diatribe Media: Education is no cakewalk
Stories fly by quick on our newswire. You many have missed a couple you want to check out – and join in the conversation.
Hundreds Protest I.C.E. and Call on Them to Stop Racist Practices
Claudia García-Rojas on one of Monday’s biggest, most diverse actions – and the ass-kicking that local immigration rights activists handed to a local congressman who had it coming for his cowardice.
IVAW and Afghans for Peace In Historic March On NATO
Every corporate outlet on the planet seems to think that misreporting calculated police violence is more important than military veterans flinging their medals back at the NATO generals and their paymasters. We disagree. Check out this short report from IVAW.
And speaking of police violence – something the vast majority of youth of color in the Windy City live with every single day of their lives – two stories on our newswire about the weekend’s NATO protests have been drawing passionate debate … and some very interesting factual accounts. Check ‘em out: Undercovers lead night march, arrest local | The two faces of NATO: PR spin versus video reality
Finally, from our friends at Occupied Stories and the Occupied Chicago Tribune, the story of one of the dozens of street medics who had our backs this month. Medics, you rock: The Accidental Medic: A Short Narrative From The NATO Protests