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"When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun / Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one / But the union makes us strong."

It was about an attempt to destroy collective bargaining.  It was about furthering the war on one of the last remaining bastions of union strength, the public sector workers.  It was about entrenching the idea of education as a corporate tool to create “human resources” instead of educated citizens.  It was about destroying another union by pitting the “reserve army of the unemployed” – capital’s most potent tool – against the ginned up image of “union thugs”, worker against worker.  

Piece cross-posted at Voices on the Square

The attacks on the Chicago Teachers Union were typical of the attacks on organized labor all around the United States.  Those greedy, ungrateful teachers – don’t they know that workers are supposed to consider themselves lucky to have a job, any job, under any conditions and for any pay?  How dare they strike when so many people are unemployed?  When the Democratic mayor supports the corporate backed “charter - schools” ?  And  - unspoken, but implicit in every attack – when we are, after all, only talking about minority children and the women who teach them.  

Union President Karen Lewis, an African American woman and the subject of endless vitriol, saw it clearly.

She invited the billionaires, the Gates Foundation elite, the politicians, to sit in unair-conditioned rooms amid peeling plaster and be evaluated.  Be unable to go to a dentist when they have a toothache, a doctor when you are ill, be hungry while you are tested.  Show us, she said, why do the billionaires have so much influence because they can write a check, despite having only one vote?  She asked the questions that needed asking, the questions the media would not ask otherwise.

What, she asked, is unreasonable about what the teachers are actually asking for?  Why do kindergartners need to be tested five and six times a year?  I’m tired, she said, of being called a“thug”.  “We are the foundation and they are trying to destroy us!” she shouted, at an impassioned rally at Union Park.  “Your policies are harming children,” she bluntly stated.  She knew what the attacks were really about and named it. “Introducing the market into the classroom is not education.  You are asking us to do harm to children and THAT’S why we are here!”

From a striking teacher, about Lewis’ words: I want to cry tears of joy because I feel validated. No one has ever validated what I do and how hard I work. As a teacher, no one ever thanks me.

What are public resources?  And what are they for?  This is a germinal issue and your answer will determine which side of the class struggle you are on.  The privatization of public space, public money, public assets has yielded great profits for the few and great hardship to the many.  The attack on public workers in Wisconsin, in Chicago, and across the nation is another front in the war on workers everywhere.  

I am not a human resource.  I am a human being.  Our children are not resources to be exploited by the ruling class for private profit.  And education is not simply an indoctrination process meant to churn out cheap labor.  That is what the Chicago teachers strike was about.  

The tentative ( as I write this) agreement includes the following :

* 600 additional art, music, physical education and world language teachers.
> * Prep time for paraprofessionals and clinicians.
> * Teacher evaluations limited to 30% of the student test scores.
> * Up to $250 reimbursement for school supplies, which are often out of pocket for teachers.
> * Additional wrap-around services, including hiring of nurses, social workers and counselors.
> * Books on day one for teachers and students. Teachers had to wait for up to six weeks for materials to arrive
> * Defeating merit-pay for teachers. (Note – studies show merit pay does not work).

In many states, the attacks on teachers have had different outcomes.  The state of public education in Florida, for example, public schools have been thrown into the volcano to appease the endless appetite of the corporate god: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

High priced “consultants” are brought in to produce reports that will destroy the public schools and the unionized teachers:

http://roconrant.blogspot.com/  (for a glimpse into the truly amoral and horrifying human debris that are being used to destroy public schools and students in Florida, make sure you read this.  )

And all working people suffer.  It’s a scenario that has been replayed in many states.  

The Chicago Teachers Union stood up to the bulldozer of private profit at public expense and said “enough”.  They were supported by a majority of  the public – something that astonished the media and the politicians who were confident that their slander and lies would have the desired effect.  But the Chicago Teachers Union got the facts out:

http://www.wbez.org/... (the truth about school closings)

http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/... (the truth about who is to blame for the conditions in the schools)

http://www.ctunet.com/... (The truth about the origins of the propaganda)

http://lists.portside.org/... (what it is really like to teach in a Chicago public school, and what the challenges mean to teachers and students).

The Chicago Teachers Union did not create the poverty, the crime, the homelessness, the hunger, the lack of essential resources.  The working class people of Chicago did not create them.  The union pointed this out, clearly and sharply, and told the corporate interests and their political mouthpieces that their “prescriptions” would harm, even kill, the “patients”.  

This is a fight for all of us, emblematic of the fight of workers everywhere.  The courage of the teachers of Chicago, their refusal to be intimidated by an apparently overwhelmingly powerful foe, gives inspiration and instruction.  They are winning.  And the eyes of the world are indeed watching - will this start a trend?  Or will it be a hope crushed in its infancy?  

"You can blow out a candle / But you can't blow out a fire / when the flames begins to catch/ the wind will blow it higher"
- Peter Gabriel, "Biko"

The answer will depend on our willingness to live and support what we’ve always known.  The Union makes us strong.

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:00:03 PM PDT

  •  Thank you so much for this inspiring and right on (11+ / 0-)

    Diary.  I grew up in Chicago Public Schools and taught and put my chid in New York Public Schools -- so I know the story!

    New York is somewhat different from Chicago Public Schools in several ways:

    1)the disintegration of the previous union made the development of a new grassroots union from within somewhat easier -- we are still fighting the propaganda and bureaucracy of the UFT.

    2) Since I left Chicago, I understand that chicago has actually had some black leadership and perhaps the problem of racism dividing both the teacher's union and the teacher's from the parents is not as stark as it is in New York City where the teachers are still predominantly white (and few have their own kids in the tradtional Public Schools, especially at the high school level) while in many many areas of the city, our populations are almost totally (or are totally) black and latino.

    3)We have that stupid TAylor Law which penalizes teachers and the union strongly when we strike as public workers. Some of us in the radical caucus (MORE) are working on these issues (including not being afraid of a strike when necessary).

    Am dying to see other comments so I will wait and check back in after others have added their thoughts.

    P.S. I want to apologize for my union's paltry financial support ($10,000) when our President's take home pay is over $200,000 annually.!

    •  Geminijen, you answered one of my questions (6+ / 0-)

      specifically about the Taylor Law (penalised two days pay for one days strike when I was younger; has it changed since then?) as I was wondering if it applied in Chicago. Apparently it doesn't which is great news. I am also really happy to hear that a concerted opposition to that anti-union piece of legislation (I wasn't sure if it was only NY law or was used elsewhere) is fighting. Given the concerted attack on the public sector it is essential that the strike, the most useful weapon of organised labour, is given back to those that will be needing that tool to protect their jobs, pensions, working conditions and those that they serve, that is the citizens of the various states where they work.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:37:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They don't have the taylor law, but they have a (5+ / 0-)

        law that we don't in New York which only leet's them negotiate for a limited number of strictly worker items--wges, pensions, etc. and not for better conditions for their students.  They did, in fact, break that law with strong support from parents and got a number of gains for the students and community --they ended the strike right before the Board of Education was threatening them with an injunction because the Board felt they would ask for more.

        •  Thanks again, that was the other question I had (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KibbutzAmiad

          I swear you are reading my mind across the pond! But you know me well enough to literally anticipate what exactly I need to know! thanks! It wasn't clear to me why they went back as the strike was not illegal as partially it was addressing some issues that they were allowed to strike on; it was the better conditions for students that was the problem. But those also are workers' issues as well as it affects their ability to do their job and relates to working conditions. I guess they used that line as well ... it is an obvious one. :)

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:06:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  MORE (3+ / 0-)

      http://morecaucusnyc.org/

      MORE Solidarity Rally in NYC

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

      by JayRaye on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:36:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  (unlurking) (9+ / 0-)

    I'm on hiatus until after the election due to my (ahem) unpopular position here.

    I had to unlurk to say Bravo!

  •  thank you! (8+ / 0-)

    its so nice to have this spelled out so clearly.

    may workers around the world unite.

  •  The union took on (10+ / 0-)

    some of the most powerful anti-worker forces in the nation today and won.  This was a significant victory and is going to make a difference.  Victories energize - and this one definitely should.  Rahm Emanuel threw everything he had against the teachers, and I think no one was more shocked by the public support they received than the mayor.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:19:13 PM PDT

    •  Well done, Chicago. (6+ / 0-)

      This is a very powerful and concise outline of the barriers to teachers, especially those who work with vulnerable populations. My son went to a public school in Fort Worth similar in make up to the ones you have described. The struggles that teachers went through to support their students was formidable.
      All teachers who are fighting to provide the best education possible should be assisted rather than hindered by the political establishment. That Rahm Emanuel would fight their efforts says reams about both his character and his political allegiance.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:45:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it was a win, but we still have to admit (8+ / 0-)

      how limited it is and how long and hard we will have to fight if we are really going to turn this around.  There are still over a hundred schools closing in Chicago and more charter schools approved.  Same here in New York and elsewhere.  

      Obama's full backing of the charter schools and the race to the top (a few good schools for a few students) is well on its way to being implemented.  The Chicago strike was the first real sign that parent and teachers can fight back.  we have to keep it alive and growing.

      In New AYork, one school started by a hedge fund billionaire is using public space while the space is being paid for by our tax dollars.  Meanwhile the other regular kids in the school where is it housed (usually poorer, less savy middle class households, minoirty) were pushed into unused classrooms in the basement next to the boiler room.  It's so disgusting that AI alsmot don't want to vote for Obama. I will (sometimes you have to retreat to win the war) but I am so discouraged, I wonder if other folks who are less political will just skip the polls.  I'm really tired of all these "self-made" millionaires on both the right and left (including Obama and Gates) who are ripping us off on our own dollar.

      •  It is a start and a good one and that is always (4+ / 0-)

        necessary to build more strikes and strong struggles. The democratic party is showing its stripes and quite honestly, which party of the mainstream is covering working people and the poor? Neither ...

        At the moment as I sit here and look at my ballot paper for the November vote, I am not certain at all who I will be voting for in NY for President ... the education policies are yet one more strike against the current administration in my book (and unfortunately there are many). The lesser of two evils is still a choice between parties neither of which I am happy to support; one of them is an extreme right-wing party and the other one is a right-wing party. Those running the latter know that the republican party scares sensible people silly and which thinks that no matter how far to the right they go as long as they are a smidgeon to the left of the other party that people on the left will vote for them and get nothing in return. We are literally watching them jettison everything that they stood for in the past into the sea while kowtowing to corps and the financial sector. Sigh, I hear you ... wish I could tell you it is better here, it is not ...

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:16:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's a matter of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat, JayRaye, northsylvania

        political strategy.  You vote for the least regressive candidate who has a genuine chance at winning.  But it's obviously a matter of two corporate parties.  Still, there are important differences that matter - matter to the lives of real people. And there are splits in the ruling class that are important and are in many ways demonstrated by the influences on the individual parties.

        Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

        by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:16:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The splits in the ruling class at this point (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, KibbutzAmiad, northsylvania

          are between an extremist neoliberal party and a neoliberal party; primary differences are whether you need to run a completely misogynist ticket and on social issues rather than on economic ones. Both parties as you point out are completely corporatist and serve the interests of the ruling class; they do not even pretend to talk about the interests of the majority anymore. sigh ...

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:33:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Diary Schedule (6+ / 0-)

    September 30th: Don Mickulecky
    October 7th: Isabelle Hayes
    October 14th: Geminijen
    October 21st: Northsylvania:
    October 28:

    November 4th:
    November 11th:
    November 18th:
    November 25th:

    December

    We have a great line up of diaries coming up. We still have an opening at the end of October and all of November and December are open. If you would like a slot, please indicate so below the message, or send a private message to NY brit expat, Justina, TPau or Geminijen, or send a message to the anti-capitalist meet-up group on dkos or to our grou email account: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com. The group depends on our members writing posts and comments, please, volunteer to keep the group going!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:28:35 PM PDT

  •  What I would like to see (6+ / 0-)

    is for the other public service unions to make statements supportive of the CTU.  I work with some people who are married to cops and fireman, and lean Republican, as is often the case.  However, in a neighboring town, there is a move by the (tea party run) village to outsource the police. And in another town, the public library has been privatized.  The janitors did come out in support, which was great.

    The public sector unions are, in many cases, the last vestige of living wage union jobs, manufacturing union jobs having been largely outsourced.  

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:38:33 PM PDT

    •  I had seen that the janitors came out (5+ / 0-)

      in support which was excellent. I was wondering if there were other unions locally and nationally. This strike was incredibly important and solidarity is essential; I am assuming that other public sector workers will probably be going out and developing both national and international solidarity is essential as this is not just an attack in Chicago, it is throughout the advanced capitalist world on the public sector.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:57:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of the difficulties for us public sector (5+ / 0-)

        workers is that our salaries come out of other peoples taxes - in many cases, people who are making a lot less than we are.  Chicago was good because they created a solidarity with the parents (who are often the working poor without a union).  Sometimes, though, the tendency among the labor elite is to talk about the "middle class" movement and differentiated themselves from the working poor as not part of the working class.  This is a very destructive tendency.

        •  well, the very (4+ / 0-)

          phrase "middle class" is indicative of a wedge.  There is no such thing, really, as a "middle class".  But the language of class is not spoken much in the US and we have a great deal of work to do.  The weakness of organized labor is an enormous disadvantage.  I am looking at organizing through communities, such as was done by the Unemployed Councils, as one alternative.  Political education, I hope, could result from meeting the needs of people in a collective way through such organizations.

          Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

          by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:19:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep, any of us who have to earn for a living(and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat

            not live like a parasite off other people's money like the 1% typically do) belong to the working class - white collar, blue collar, or any other color.  And we should use the word "poor" often.

            Me thinks one reason everyone considers themselves as middle class - whether living in a car or a mansion- is because of the shame factor associated with the word "poor". We need to do away with the shame by making it mainstream.

            "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

            by Funkygal on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 02:27:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  that is the line that the UK government is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, KibbutzAmiad

          using to justify the attack on public sector pensions in many senses; the private sector has already destroyed pensions, why should the public sector have a decent pension? It is a race to the bottom and that is why grassroots work with parents to gain their support is so important. When the teachers went out here over their pensions, the gov't and the bbc was trying to sell the line over how inconvenienced parents would be by the strike (it was a one day strike) and the BBC went around trying to find parents that were angry and had to go progressively outside of the cities to small areas full of Tories to get support for the line.

          I agree with you completely and the idea of separating out professionals as middle class rather than working class has been a very effective part of divide and rule as well as a tool where professionals do not think that they should resort to traditional trade union tactics as they are professionals, it is incredibly destructive and disruptive to building a real fightback against the attack on public sector workers many of whom are "professionals."

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:27:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm so proud (6+ / 0-)

    of the Chicago teachers for standing up to that asshole mayor.
    I cannot believe what is happening to our teachers and our public schools in this country.

    The problem with political jokes is that they get elected. ~Henry Cate

    by DavidW on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:47:41 PM PDT

    •  A huge amount (5+ / 0-)

      was on the line and they showed incredible courage and solidarity.  Anyone who thinks Chicago teachers are thugs or greedy should have a look at what is going on in Florida with their schools - teachers being replaced by untrained aides with computerized "teaching programs", half the students being written off (I guess they are the 47%, so to speak, who don't count).  Our heart is where our treasure is, as the bible says, and apparently the ruling class believes we don't give a damn about our kids.  They certainly don't.  Theirs, after all, can go to private schools.

      They are already making a concerted effort to limit tertiary education to the few, and making damn sure graduates are indebted to the point of paralysis.  How can corporations profit from elementary and secondary education, they want to know, and, got their answers in charter schools.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:18:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  KibbutzAmiad, I cannot thank you enough (9+ / 0-)

    for laying out so clearly the aims of the strike, the opposition and the foundations of the situation. What really disturbed me (but which didn't surprise me) was the behaviour of the mayor of Chicago, a Mr Rahm Emmanuel, a democrat. We know which side he is on; shameful that it is, but I wish I could say that I expected more, I didn't given the behaviour of the democratic party to the strike in Wisconsin of public sector workers.

    Not only are state sector workers and unions facing a concerted attack, it is one in which we cannot look to mainstream politicians to stand by those fighting for jobs, their rights and working conditions and also protecting the quality of education that they teach to our children.  I was happy to see other union's support and solidarity. This fightback is essential and it is an international one of the last bastion of unionised labour against neoliberal economic policies wielded by mainstream politicians across political lines; the hard right, conservatives, liberals, so-called socialists. They play employed versus unemployed, unionised versus non-unionised labour, men versus women, white versus people of colour ... divide and rule/conquer is deemed normal and appropriate behaviour, slander and libel are fair weaponry.

    I cannot thank you enough for this diary!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:49:46 PM PDT

    •  There are far too many regressive Democratic (4+ / 0-)

      mayors.  I know Gavin Newsom, who got elected in SF most likely by cheating, is neolib scum owned by the millionaires.  Of course, since he took one good stance he is on his way up the ranks now.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:22:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I heard someone ask recently... (7+ / 0-)

    when did we start hating teachers?

    And what an insightful question that was.

    We entrust our kids to teachers and count on them to help turn our babies into productive, curious adults. In the best of circumstances, with enough funding, good infrastructure and involved parents, it's a tough job. Teachers in the CPS system are working almost exclusively with kids from lower socio-economic levels which makes it even more challenging. Wanting to make those jobs harder and take away pay and benefits? I don't get it.

    Thanks for this insightful, well-written diary.

    They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

    by 1864 House on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:25:15 PM PDT

    •  exactly! when did we start hating teachers? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, KibbutzAmiad, 1864 House, JayRaye

      how did this happen and how was this ever deemed acceptable? I have been hearing the blame the teachers meme for a while as though it is their failure as the education systems are being undermined due to insufficient funding, a bizarre focus on standardised testing rather than actually teaching kids in whatever works bests so that children can learn, substandard infrastructure, but the rhetoric used against legitimate demands and those that teach children has been more than ugly. That is an excellent question 1864 House and somehow I would love to learn the answer to it!

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:59:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only public school teachers, only in inner city (6+ / 0-)

      areas when white parents fled to the burbs or private schools, left the schools underfunded and left the black and latin population to fend for themselves.  As the underfunded schools intentionally distintegrated we had to find a scapegoat.

  •  This diary was (5+ / 0-)

    good for my blood pressure.  Karen Lewis would make a great union organizer, but I suspect her heart is in her role as a teacher.  I only hope there will be more like her, standing up to the mayors and governors (both R & D) who want to solve their budget problems on the backs of public employees.

    Thanks for a clearly written and uplifting take on the Chicago Teachers' Strike.  

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:50:26 PM PDT

  •  by the way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, JayRaye

    I took the title from this:

    If you haven't heard this, it's a wonderful tribute to Steve Biko.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:24:29 PM PDT

  •  Couldn't resist one last piece of music (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad, JayRaye

    which would be appropriate here, although I love Billy Bragg:

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:29:54 PM PDT

    •  Love Billy Bragg's version (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, KibbutzAmiad

      But Joe Hill's is still the best:

      That's a power, that's a power that will rule in every land,
      One Industrial Union Grand!

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

      by JayRaye on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:52:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed completely, always look for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KibbutzAmiad, JayRaye

        the opportunity to just put up Joe Hill's "Preacher and the Slave" (one of my favourites); but updating old favourites sometimes makes them accessible and Billy Bragg lived right up the road in Barking. So, keep playing these songs, teach your kids the words, and keep the flames burning! :) A friend of mine taught her young daughter Bandiera Rossa which she walks around singing everywhere (much to the consternation of the fascists in the area in Italy where they live) ...  

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 06:17:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it isn't an update. Only the titles are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KibbutzAmiad

          same: the  tune, the words, & the feeling, are all different. They are both classic labor songs.

          I consisder this to be Bragg's greatest work thus far (an instant classic). Also agree with Utah that song by same title was Hill's best song. Probably unfair to choose a favorite between the two, purely subjective (Hill is my hands down favorite when it comes to labor songs.)

          I wrote about both songs here:
          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          But I apologize for wondering off topic.

          (PS. where I criticize Bragg is for his rewrite of the International, which changes the class orientation of the greatest labor song ever. This might make an interesting, tho controversial, diary for ACMU.)

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

          by JayRaye on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 06:14:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this diary. (3+ / 0-)

    Did my heart good to see 25000 Teachers in the streets of Chicago & then to see them go further and stand up for the warehouse workers & walmart workers.

    Their strike and then their show of Solidarity with low wage workers after their strike was won: best labor story in a very long time.

    Solidarity Indeed!

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

    by JayRaye on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:29:59 PM PDT

  •  I am so happy to see a union fighting (4+ / 0-)

    back. I had begun to think that they were all just going to roll over and play dead. Not only is it a Democratic mayor they are fighting against, but one with umbilical connections to the White House.

    This diary series is one of the few things that ever entice me back to Daily Kos, so I don't know this site has processed the irony of the above situation after the furor over Wisconsin. Let us not forget that neoliberalism is a bipartisan disease.

     

    Check out Scottie's blog http://burnafterwriting.com/

    by Richard Lyon on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 06:38:15 PM PDT

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