By Jess E. Hadden
Yesterday afternoon, via Facebook, I heard about a solidarity march, being organized by an autonomous group. The reason: Leah from the Red & Black Cafe was being imprisoned for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury. I didn’t personally know Leah, but philosophically I supported the stand she was taking against the Federal government’s witch-hunt, targeting activists.
So, I hit “share,” passing the invitation along.
I observed the march as it approached SE Hawthorne Blvd, via 35th Ave. Since I did not recognize the people in the march (it’s hard to recognize a black bloc, especially at night, without my glasses) — and since I myself wear very bright colors — I decided to watch while maintaining a distance. Technical difficulties prevented me from livestreaming, but I still wanted to be able to report the real story.
As the marchers took the east-bound lanes of Hawthorne, I watched a growing crowd of curious people, in regular attire, following the march along the sidewalk, and inquiring about this unexpected sight.
Then, I heard, rather than saw, the sound of glass shattering. Immediately, the disastrous anti-police brutality march of last February 6th came to mind, when Occupy Portland and an autonomous group mixed like oil & water. I expected to see marchers, locals, and lookie-loos arguing and fighting with one another over tactics, and the definition of “violence.”
But that’s not what I saw. I saw the windows of Umpqua Bank — a bank that tries to present a local image, but really isn’t — smashed. And to my astonishment, I saw regular people, watching from sidewalks & bars, cheering. I found myself no longer observing the march, so much as I was observing the people observing the march.
Smash. Wells Fargo. Smash. Chase Bank. Smash. US Bank. Cheers, each time, from regular people, watching. As I passed the tables outside of the Hawthorne Theater, across the street from the Chase Bank at SE Caesar Chavez & Hawthorne, I heard people laughing and talking about how much they hated that bank. One man stood up and yelled, “Yeah! Smash that up!”
The Walgreens, at Caesar Chavez Blvd. & Belmont, appeared to be the last target, before I lost sight of the march. I heard sirens in the distance, but as far as I could tell, the march had already dispersed, almost as quickly as it had begun.
Contrasted with the march from last February 6th, there was a noticeable lack of contention about the targets of this black bloc. The only contention that appeared to exist was in regard to some marchers dragging items like recycling bins & newspaper dispensers into the streets — ostensibly, to block traffic and slow a police response. Other people, not necessarily marchers themselves, quickly removed the items from the streets. The point ultimately was moot; police vehicles came from multiple directions, and were remarkably slow to arrive.
Local corporate media and Portland Police later reported that the marchers were also attacking passers-by with glass bottles. This is, in fact, not true.
To me, the story really wasn’t about the smashed windows. I headed back to Hawthorne, to put my ear to the ground.
People were still buzzing about what had just happened. Absent, was a sense of anger regarding the vandalism. It is curious, how astonishing the absence of something can be. Inner SE Portland is, after all, a sleepy urban community.
I stopped in at Nick’s Coney Island for a drink. Police arrived, and questioned the bartender. I asked her what that was all about, to which she replied, “Some protesters took one of our chairs and threw it through the Wells Fargo window.”
Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “That’s awesome.”
She leaned in, smiling, and replied, “I know! Fuck Wells Fargo.”
The beginning is near!
Alright occupiers, trick or treat,
Let’s all go to Washington, DC, and have a Halloween night party!
Let’s celebrate the wonderful Coke/Pepsi presidential election now in progress … and the honest, feisty way our elected reps in Congress have conducted our nation’s business … pay tribute to the bold visions they’ve put forward.
At dusk on October 31, let’s gather on Capitol Hill, trick or treat Congress and party like we’ve never partied before.
PS And if you cannot make it to DC then party in front of the Bank of America in your community… outside your city hall… or in the squares.
Invite your friends via the Facebook event: #HALLOWEENPARTY
We’ll be there. Will we see you there too?
Anonymous has leaked what they claim to be “hours” of footage of last year’s raid on Zuccotti Park shot by the NYPD from 14 different cameras. A short montage of the footage has been compiled together for a YouTube video, but the file available for download is 11 GB. “While it’s clear that a lot of this police footage is incomplete and has been edited, some may say even tampered with, to remove the most damning incidents (sometimes in very obvious edits),” the uploader writes, “there is still enough material to paint the picture of what really happened in Zuccotti park once the media cameras have left.”
The footage shows helmeted NYPD officers making arrests, some sort of device discharging a large amount of smoke in front of an officer, and officers wielding a saw to cut into metal that is securing a protester to a tree (some protesters used bike locks to prevent themselves from being removed from the park).
An email to the NYPD’s top press spokesman, Paul Browne, has not been returned. Previously, very little footage of the November 15th raid existed because the NYPD forced media away from Zuccotti Park. Footage of the mass arrests during the Brooklyn Bridge action taken by the department’s Tactical Assistance Response Unit was released as evidence in the subsequent trials against the demonstrators.
[UPDATE] As some keen reporters have noted, there’s a good chance this video wasn’t “leaked” by Anonymous, but rather turned over by the City during the discovery phases in the cases of individual protesters who were arrested during the raid. “I can confirm that TARU video and other video arising from the November 15th eviction was turned over to defense attorneys,” says Gideon Oliver, the president of the National Lawyers Guild—New York Chapter. “That happened some time ago.” The NLG is representing some protesters who were arrested in the raid. Oliver adds that none of the cases have gone to trial yet.
The whole world is watching!
What is globalNOISE?
International activists involved in the Indignado and Occupy movements have begun a campaign to create GlobalNoise, a worldwide cacerolazo, or casserole march, on Saturday, October 13th, 2012. The hope is that local Occupations and Collectives will take up the call to march, using the method of a casserole march to highlight whatever issues are the most important to their community.
Historically, banging on a pot has been a universally understood means to gain attention. From children to adults, we all know that a pot or pan can be easily used as a makeshift drum or an alarm. With #globalNOISE, it’s both. The casserole march has its origins as a means to call attention to problems facing the community that the power structure is not addressing, using a method that is hard to ignore. In the past, this form of activism has been used to draw attention to education reform, starvation, government corruption, inequality in resources, and more.
It has been revived recently in the international Occupy and Spanish Indignados movements, and most notably by the Student movement in Canada. Since then, it has spread worldwide. It is from these historical references and recent examples that the idea of a coordinated worldwide cacerolazo emerged. An international showing of frustration and unrest on a global scale that would be hard to ignore. A GlobalNoise.
How to make noise with kitchen equipment
The basic idea behind potbanging is simple. Using any cooking spoon or utensil, you hit the bottom of an empty pot, a pan, or some similarly shaped non-glass kitchen equipment. In our experience, metal or wooden cooking spoons make the best drum sticks.
The goal of the GlobalNoise initiative is to draw attention to itself, indeed that is the very idea behind a casserole march. And while kitchen equipment may be the first choice, it is most certainly not the only choice. Remember, the goal is to draw attention. If you don’t have access to kitchen equipment, you can use whatever will make noise, even actual instruments, like whistles, horns, vuvuzelas, or even drums. DIY instruments or established noise makers don’t matter, just make noise. You can even encourage drivers to join in with their horns as you pass them on the march. In Spain, they call that “Pitodromo”.
As you can see there´s no limit to the imaginative way you choose to make some noise. And if you have any interesting and fun ways in mind, please share it with us. We love suggestions. post on our facebook page, tweet at us (@potbanging), or join the working group!
Size and Shape of a casserole march
A potbanging demonstration can be any size, from small to big. The bigger the group the louder the noise, but even one person banging on a pot makes a lot of noise.
The GlobalNoise working group encourages you to organize Cacerolazo actions in your own city for October 13th 2012. (Due to events already being planned and in progress in various assemblies, some groups and collectives will have GlobalNoise actions over the course of that week. So if the 13th is impossible for your group, try for another day in that week.
Remember, potbanging marches are particularly suited for spontaneous participation, especially if the attitude and tone of the march stays festive and positive. Spectators quickly realize that they don’t need anything more than a noise maker to join in.
Examples of potbanging actions
There have been many potbanging-protests worldwide over the last year since the formation of the Ingdinado and Occupy movements. The reason for unrest has ranged from the student debt crisis to the shortage of resources, while the method of expressing the frustration has been the same. There was a large casserole march against inflation in Argentina earlier this year. Reuters reportedthat “Several thousand Argentines protested against the government… by banging pots and pans in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires.” In Seattle, the “noise making” from the Student Debt Noise Brigade takes place once a week. In addition, as reported by Global Montreal, the Montreal casserole marches inspired solidarity demonstrations worldwide. Even back in October 2010 Oldenburg, Germany held the ‘Krach schlagen statt Kohldampf schieben‘ demonstration demanding living wages and fair access to resources.
A worldwide globalNOISE is coming
In June of 2012, activists from many different countries, social justice movements, and networks began planning a nonviolent worldwide day of action connected solely by this most noticeable of protest methods, the cacerolazo. The collected activists formed a working group, and the following proposal was created. Each collective or general assembly interested in participating is encouraged to identify what local or regional issues most adversely affect their communities and then join the world in a casserole march. We feel using the power of our collective mass can create a sound of our world population calling out for change that will be hard to ignore. The globalNOISE working group has called for Saturday October 13th to be the day of action where we as flood the streets and towns with the distinctive noise of potbanging.
As of late August, members of the Indignado and Occupy movements from many cities, including London, Brussels, Chicago, Madrid, Paris, Hamburg, and Perth, have endorsed this proposal and/or begun planning a globalNOISE casserole action. And the list isgrowing daily.
It’s easy to help make globalNOISE a success. You can simply share the idea of globalNOISE with your family, your friends, on facebook, over twitter, and other social networks. Consider sharing the official facebook page and twitter account, or using the hashtag #globalNOISE.
Contact your local general assembly or activist collectives to begin planning creating an event in your area. And be sure to let us know about it!
If you’d like to help coordinate the global aspect, please feel free to join the working group meetings and listserve. As it’s a world wide global action, we have a need for translators, and other contributors. If you’re interested, we’d love to have you involved. More information can be found on our website: www.globalnoise.net
While we may be separated by physical space, we are all united in our struggle. Help us make sure that on October 13th, in every town, in every city, on every continent, the world will hear the sound of change. We will make a globalNOISE!
For questions, concerns, comments, suggestions, here’s some contact info and web resources:
Twitter: @potbanging #globalNOISE
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/globalNOISE
Facebook group: http://on.fb.me/PWb8L5
InterOccupy hub: http://interoccupy.net/globalnoise/
Email list serve: http://bit.ly/PWbQrI
MON SEPT 17, 5pm, 2012
Celebrate one year of occupy resistance.
Commit in the coming year to keep building a movement of the 99% to end the rule of the 1%.
555 California (B of A and Goldman Sachs) @ Keary (Montgomery BART)
* Honor Foreclosure Fighters; Show love and support to those fighting the banks and winning–over 52 homes have been saved from foreclosure evictions and 300 auctions cancelled since January!
* Brass Liberation Orchestra
* Casserole (Bring Pots, Pans and Spoons-like Argentina, Iceland and Quebec anti-1% austerity uprisings)
6-8pm: DEBT BURNING & STREET FESTIVAL
California @ Montgomery
* Debt Burning (Bring Debt Papers (BYOD) to Burn Symbolically),
* Guerrilla Movies of the last year, live update from Wall St/NYC
* Food (bring some to share), bring a blanket to sit on.
HELL NO, WE WON’T PAY! STRIKE DEBT!
Debt affects us all. Student debt, mortgage debt, health care debt, credit-card debt, and more: debt is the tie that binds the 99%, and it is a primary engine of Wall Street profits. Debt is ruining the lives of individuals, families, and communities while banks get bailed out. We say enough! Join us as we begin to build a people’s movement to strike debt, break the chains of debt, and to create new bonds of solidarity. –StrikeDebt.org, Occupy Wall St.
All Afternoon: OCCUPY THE BANKS! Speak out, move your money, take creative nonviolent action with your neighbors, group, friends, co-workers or classmates. Join one of the neighborhood bank action! Action are below and a full schedule is here:
24 HOURS–SUN 5PM TO MON 5PM: OCCUPATION OF 555 CALIFORNIA/BANK OF AMERICA/GOLDMAN SACHS
555 California Street between Montgomery and Kearny
Occupy Bay Area United will initiate a 24 hour occupation to protest financial malfeasance of corporations including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
12 NOON – 1PM: NOTICE TO BANKS: STOP FORECLOSING ON VETERANS AND SENIORS!
SUPPORT: Robert, a 92-year-old Navy vet has lived in his Vis Valley home since 1972. Don & Tina Baird have lived in their Redwood City home since 1966. Don served in the US Coast Guard in the Pacific, and will turn 90 this month, facing foreclosure Sept 24th. He has heart surgery on Sept 27th. Benjamin Reed, a Tuskegee Air Man, and his wife Irma have lived Twin Peaks for 27 years.
San Francisco War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Ave
1PM: MOBILE STREET PARTY
Gather @ Bradley Manning/Justin Herman Plaza, take to streets @ 2pm
2PM: COMMUNITY NOT COMMODITY IN THE CASTRO
An afternoon of celebration and defiance; Divest from big banks, No More Evictions/Foreclosures–including those with HIV/AIDS!
@ 18th and Castro: Community speak out!
3pm-4pm: March on banks, sit-in at Harvey Milk Plaza to denounce Sit/Lie and the criminalization of homelessness.
3:00- 4:30PM: OCCUPY FORTRESS INVESTMENT GROUP
One Market Plaza, Spear Tower, San Francisco, CA 94105
A multi-billion-dollar corporation–who is throwing our neighbors out of their homes–run by vulture capitalists like Peter Briger, FIG Board Co-Chair, who developed their “Financial Services Garbage Collection” strategy. Who’s the garbage according to Briger? That’s homeowners in foreclosure, students who can’t pay their loans, etc. Bring a large garbage bag if you can!
3:30 PM: MOVER YOUR MONEY WITH OCUPELLA
Wells Fargo Bank, 2100 Fillmore Street (at California)
Occupella occupy with songs and info about moving accounts to credit unions. Meet on the other side of California Street–Royal Ground Coffee. We need both singers and folks to hand out Move Your Money fliers.
4:00PM: COMPOST YOUR DEBT!
PG & E, 245 Market St.@ Main St
OccupySF Environmental Justice Work Group will meet up at PG&E headquarters with our anti-fracking banner, Shut Down, Not Meltdown signs, and our “Compost your Debt!” flag. We will march to 555 California Street to join in the festivities and actions there beginning at 5 pm.
Sponsored by Foreclosure Fighters of Occupy Bernal, ACCE and Occupy Noe, Occupy SF Direct Action Work Group, Occupy Education–Northern California, Occupy Action Council SF, Occupride/Community Not Commodity, Occupy Monterey, Occupy Santa Cruz, Occupy Bay Area United, Occupy SF Environmental Justice Work Group, SF 99% Coalition, Occupy SF Housing Coalition
After many months of tireless preparation, it is invigorating to be able to say that our #S17 anniversary weekend is finally here!
The http://s17nyc.org/ website will contain all of the who’s, what’s where’s, why’s and when’s; text @S17NYC to 23559 for real time updates, and below we did our best to organize and synthesize the litany of actions and events that are in store.
Whether it is an educational event at Occupy Town Square on Saturday or a celebratory action in tandem with the big Occupy Wall Street concert on Sunday, all these efforts collectively exhibit how All Roads Lead to Wall Street. From Sunday night’s Occupy Rosh Hashanah service to thedirect actions and popular assemblies on September 17th, we will ring in the new year in style.
Indeed, Wall Street is our common villain who is robbing the 99% blind on behalf of the 1%. This weekend we will mark the occasion of our anniversary by once again showing the powers that be that we see what they are doing, and that soon enough the whole world will again as well.
You can also Donate to Support S17: The Action Resource Fund helps Occupy Wall Street working and affinity groups get the resources they need to do the things they want on big days of action. Please donate if you can!
— from the ‘Your Inbox: Occupied’ team
(See here for even more resources and calls-to-action related to the one-year anniversary of #OWS - OccupyWallSt.org team)
OWS Anniversary Convergence Weekend
Saturday, 10:30am - 7pm
Washington Square Park
Join us for a special all-day Occupy Town Square for S17, with OWS tables, performances, and teach-ins.
10:30 am-12:30pm – Welcome and Orientation Activities, Lunch including S17 Action Prep & Legal Solidarity training.
Noon: Facilitation meeting for Thematic Assembles
12:30pm-4pm – Inaugural Assembly and Thematic Breakout Groups Some of the thematic assemblies already planned:
4pm-6:30pm – Open Space for teach-ins, workshops, performances any other type of activity. Please fill out the convergence form to let us know you are coming. This information will help us in our preparations.
4pm-6:30pm – Direct Action and Know Your Rights Trainings
Organizers and trainers from the Direct Action Working Group (in New York City and other occupations) will assist in skill-shares and knowledge-shares about activism in New York City and involvement in direct actions. This space will also be open for Know Your Rights trainings specific to New York City, and will also include Plus Brigades training. Check out the full training schedule for the weekend. Attending these trainings is highly recommended for everyone who plans to participate in any aspect of S17.
6:30pm-7pm – Closing Assembly
The day will close with a few words about various events happening throughout the city on Saturday evening. OTS will leave an open space for spontaneous assemblies or soapboxes.
The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual
Judson Memorial Church, Washington Park South
The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual, a project of Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street, is a guide for individual and collective action for those fighting debt in all of its forms. Following its release, Strike Debt will host a discussion about the manual and its role in the emerging debt resistance movement.
S17 Affinity Group Spokescouncil
Washington Square Park
Learn about the action framework for S17, choose targets, and make friends.
Affinity Group Actions and Solidarity Events
March to End Suppression of OWS
Washington Square Park
Join us as we take to the streets to raise to raise awareness of the continued suppression of Non-Violent activists and the Occupy Movement. The march ends at Liberty Park.
Occupy: The Film Festival
Saturday, 6pm & 8:30pm
Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Occupy The Film Festival is feature a full weekend of first anniversary festivities, including prominent guest speakers, interactive screenings, an Occupy fashion show, an Occupy photography exhibit by award-winning artists, and guerrilla projections. Continues on Sunday.
We are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation
Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street
Just days before the one-year anniversary of the action that launched a nascent social movement, the occupation of Wall Street and the encampment at Zuccotti Square, join us for an evening of discussion around the past, present, and possible future of the Occupy movement.
Building the Tools of Consensus
7pm, Liberty Park
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble through what micro-local, democratic participation looks like with #NYCGA, a public assembly for and by the people.
Spectra Frack Pipeline Blast Zone March with the Occupy Guitarmy
Spectra Energy Pipeline Construction Site (Gansevoort Street and Hudson River Greenway)
The Occupy Guitarmy is a leaderless brigade of hundreds of instrumentalists and singers assembled with guitars, ukuleles, cellos, violins, basses, noisemakers and voices. The Guitarmy will team up with Occupy the Pipeline, environmentalists and local community members to stage a parade starting at projected blast perimeter of the Spectra Energy fracked gas pipeline currently under construction in the West Village. Connecting the dots between dirty, dangerous fossil fuels and Wall Street, the parade will end at Foley Square, where the Guitarmy will kick off the OWS “99 Revolutions” concert.
Legal Solidarity Training and S17 Action Prep
We will practice role plays of the actions planned for S17, build groups of trusted friends and associates to work with (‘affinity groups’), and how to make quick decisions on the street. We will also go through a legal Know Your Rights training, which will cover the particulars of the police and legal situation in New York City. Attending these trainings is highly recommended for everyone who plans to participate in any aspect of S17.
Saturday, noon: MASS ACTION SPOKES to coordinate for Monday’s actions
Occupy Town Square Open Space
Sunday, noon - 7pm
Thomas Paine Park on Worth St. between Lafayette and Centre.
Just North of the concert area, OTS will create space for tables, food, teach-ins, workshops, performances, trainings, and political discussions throughout the day in the park adjacent to the concert space. If you would like to give a teach-in or workshop, put on a performance or host any other type of activity, please fill out the convergence form to let us know you are coming.
Occupy Wall Street Anniversary Concert
Sunday, 1pm - 6pm
Foley Square, south of Thomas Paine on Worth St. between Lafayette and Centre.
Occupy Wall Street will host a concert which will include a variety of acts. It will include several headline bands, interactive performances by OWS and allied campaigns and creative Direct Action trainings to prepare the 99% for Monday’s day of resistance.
Occupy Rosh Hashanah
Celebrate the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street (which falls on Rosh Hashanah, September 17) and the Jewish New Year together with a potluck dinner and nondenominational holiday service. Eat some apples and honey, learn some Occupy Torah, and ring in the New Year with a bang!
Affinity Group Actions and Solidarity Events
Occupy: The Film Festival
Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003
see previous description on Saturday
Occupy the Big Screen at Times Square
Trinity Church (79 Broadway) to Times Square
March from Occupy Trinity on Wall Street down Broadway to Times Square. We leave at 10pm, then, at midnight on September 16th, as it becomes September 17th, we take over the big screen with our birthday party!
The People’s Wall
The streets surrounding the New York Stock Exchange
As part of the morning of actions, people from all walks of life are going to assemble in the streets surrounding the New York Stock Exchange in a historic act of nonviolent civil disobedience. We will form a peaceful sitting wall to deliver a clear message: The 99% will no longer stand for business as usual. In building this blockade, we will — symbolically and literally — open space for the 99 Revolutions to emerge, and set the stage for the Storm Wall Street convergence. These actions work together, as essential parts of a greater whole.
Intersections throughout the Financial District
Problem: All Roads lead to Wall Street. Solution: Reverse the Flow of Traffic. The 99 Revolutions will disrupt traffic throughout the Financial District by creating a swirl of roving intersection occupations surrounding the Stock Exchange. Each occupation will enact a World Without Wall Street as envisioned by members of the 99%.
Storm Wall Street
In front of the doors of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, at Bowling Green
At the site from which Occupy Wall Street first arose, we are calling for an end to the corporate occupation of the planet and demonstrating that a just and sustainable world is possible. As the 99% circle New York’s first public park, our groundswell will remind the 1% of their growing debts to Mother Earth and that the Commons belong to us all.
Affinity Group Assembly Points:
An affinity group is a small group of people (typically 5-15), who trust one another and organize around a shared political or tactical goal. Attend any one of the affinity group trainings over the weekend to join an affinity group or learn how yours can take part in the 7am Monday morning actions. Follow the links below for location info:
Afternoon Assemblies and Actions
The 99% Return to Wall Street
Join us to show that the 99% stands united against a corrupted system. This assembly will bring together Union workers, Union Leadership, Economics Experts and Occupiers to let our voices be heard once more.
What are your 99 Solutions?
Liberty Square if possible, Foley Square if necessary
All roads lead to Wall Street, but the road past Wall Street into the future is the one we must pave together. Join Occupy Wall Street for lunch, discussion, and a rocking good time as we seek to be the change we want to see in the world – and help us make it together.
The Popular Assembly
Liberty Square if possible, Foley Square if necessary
The intention of this assembly is to provide the People with a non-oppressive, non-hierarchical and non-confrontational space to discuss issues and projects relevant to envisioning a better world. This is will be the first in a series of weekly Popular Assemblies, which will be a place for project, action, affinity and other groups (like Occupy the Pipeline, Stop Stop and Frisk, Sunset Park Rent Strike, Strike Debt, Chicago Teachers Strike solidarity and others) from all over to come together each week in a space where they can discuss, recruit and share resources.
NYC Affinity Group events
Seward Park, Broadway and Canal Street:
What better way to start September 17th then by joining the OWS Bike Coalition for a free breakfast and an early morning ride around beautiful downtown Manhattan!
The People’s Puppets: Roving Occupy Birthday Bash!
Ferry Terminal and all over the Financial District
Come and celebrate the anniversary with a puppet party procession parade through the Financial District offering music, cake, and literature to the 99%!
Join us for a full day of Outreach, Movement Building, Mobilizations, Consciousness Raising, Organizing, Speak Outs, Fun, Community & LOVE! Incl. Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Assembly
via the Occupied Chicago Tribune:
When a teachers’ strike started to look like a realistic possibility earlier this spring, CPS Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll warned the readers of Catalyst, “Any talk of a strike is the wrong message to send our schools, students and taxpayers.” For her, and the rest of the privatization evangelists at CPS, the “right” message is simple—shut up and do what you’re told.
Of course, Carroll, who makes $165,000 per year, isn’t paid that kind of money to tell the truth. Luckily for us, neither Chicago teachers nor the larger education community are giving much credence to CPS talking points.
The corporate education “reformers” have been experimenting on Chicago’s most underserved students and schools for more than two decades, trying any quick-fix makeovers so long as such schemes keep the public out of the discussion on how best to educate our city’s children. The so-called innovations taking place in charter and turnaround schools are making chaos of students’ formative years and relegating the art of teaching to rote instruction.
Faced with such a dire situation, the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to strike is perhaps the best lesson they could have planned—when the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand. And it’s a lesson that teachers themselves learned from the communities they serve.
Before CTU President Karen Lewis and members of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) became the new union leadership in 2010, the CTU, like its national union, the American Federation of Teachers, was a willing pawn in the privatization game. CORE broke from the CTU leadership and won respect from the majority of union members by actively supporting parent- and student-led protests at schools across the city. After gaining office, they continued to organize against privatization with the already active education community, and to educate its own members about the importance of doing so.
Chicago students are already at the forefront of the fight. Dyett High School students, along with students from 16 other states, have petitioned the Department of Education to investigate racial disparities in the allocation of school resources. They’ve already met with officials at the Department of Education, and on September 20, they’ll be taking “Freedom Rides” to Washington, D.C., to bring more attention to their cause.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students at Social Justice High School in Little Village have disrupted their school day with sit-ins to protest the dismantling of their school. So CPS shouldn’t worry about the strike giving “wrong” ideas to students—the students are already leading the charge, and are just in their cause.
If anything, they should worry about these students further influencing the CTU. Unlike its portrayal as a selfish bully in the 1% Chicago Tribune, the CORE-led CTU has been a partner to community groups fighting for quality public education. Now, hostile contract negotiations have opened a window for the union to elevate the anti-privatization fight to a national level.
As former CPS CEO Arne Duncan continues to spread the hollow gospel of corporate reform as the nation’s secretary of education, and as his predecessor Paul Vallas preaches the same throughout South America, it’s about time that Chicago, the birthplace of this failed faith, denounces it publicly.
Chicago’s Labor Beat has completed its first video from the historic May 23, 2012 rallies and march of Chicago Teachers Union members and their allies, joining towards the end of those at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to protest the ripoffs perpetrated by the rich against everyone else.
Which side do you think Mayor Rham Emanuel and President Barack Obama are on?
On October 13th something special is going to happen.
Take part in a collective action and share positive vibes with the rest of the world!
You + Potbanging + Camera = Your #GlobalNOISE Video-Picture Project