Friday, 6/1: Illinois Humanities Council CD Release Party

Illinois Humanities Council CD Release Party
Friday, June 1st from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Martyrs’ Restaurant & Pub
3855 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

For more info, contact: Illinois Humanities Council

Please join us on Friday, June 1st from 6:00 – 8:00 pm for a CD release party at Martyrs’ Restaurant & Pub (3855 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago) for the first two volumes in the Council’s Folksongs of Illinois series. Performers at this concert will include Jon Langford, Janet Bean, Clark “Bucky” Halker, and more.

This concert is free and open to the publicReservations are required. Reservations can be made on-line, via email, or by phone at 312.422.5580. Free food and a cash bar. This is an all ages show; children must be accompanied by an adult. CDs will be on sale at the concert.

Folksongs of Illinois documents — for the first time — the folk, multi-ethnic, and vernacular music traditions of Illinois from 1800 to 1950. Culled from archives and field recordings in collections around the state, old commercial 78s and LPs, and new studio recordings from contemporary artists, this series reflects the fact that blues, gospel, country, jazz, polka, reels, spirituals, traditional ballads, tamburitza kolos, ethnic comedy skits, corridos, and bluegrass have all enjoyed a home in Illinois.  You may purchase the Folksongs of Illinois CDs on-line through the University of Illinois Press.

Wednesday, 5/30: Three Short Films at Mess Hall

Three Short Films and a Conversation with filmmaker Luis Valenzuela 

Wednesday, May 30 at 7 pm
Mess Hall, 6932 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago
(at the Morse stop of the red line, Rogers Park)

Meeting Face To Face imageMeeting Face to Face: The Iraq-U.S. Labor Solidarity Tour
directed by Jonathan Levin, produced by Michael Zweig

This 27-minute documentary breaks through the media walls that keep Iraqi and labor voices out of the debate about the war in the United States.  Meeting Face to Face brings the voices of Iraqi working people directly into the conversation as we consider the war and continuing occupation and what the next steps should be.

We also see American working people bringing new energy and commitment to the movement for peace, social justice, and a humane foreign policy.  Produced by the Center for the Study of Working Class Life at SUNY.

Two films by Luis Valenzuela: 

Pecado Menor
Follows the conflicted experience of a Latino U.S. soldier in an unnamed Latin American country. Violent and angry, the film does not mince words or images. 
English Subtitles

Bar Talk
Catalogs the conversations between a regular bar patron and the bartenders at the many Chicago bars he frequents.  Talk turns from personal to political, all over the patron’s favorite anesthetic.

Conversation with filmmaker Luis Valenzuela after the films
Luis Valenzuela has directed and produced four short films. Two of his films have been screened in the Chicago Latino Film Festival. Luis has worked on documentary films in Brazil on the struggles of land takeovers, and many projects on education in Chicago. In 1993 he presented a video “The Voice of the Dispossessed” for the Parliament of World Religions. He currently resides in the northwest neighborhood of Hermosa in Chicago with his wife Lourdes.

Tuesday, 5/29: “Learning Curves”

Learning Curves: the Neighborhood Writing Alliance on Formal and Informal Education

Whose education counts?  What does it mean to be educated?  Are schools the only places we learn?  What do we learn from our cultures, families, games, media, etc?  Through poetry and storytelling, writers from the Neighborhood Writing Alliance consider these and other questions about formal and informal education.

Tuesday, May 29th, 6:00-7:30pm
King Branch Library
3436 S King Drive, Chicago

For more information, please call 773 684 2742 or email rsoni@jot.org.

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA), publishers of the award-winning Journal of Ordinary Thought, provokes dialogue and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults to write, publish, and perform works about their lives. NWA provides ongoing opportunities for Chicago residents to engage in the literary arts through writing workshops in low-income neighborhoods, the publication of the Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT), and readings and events.  Participants in weekly writing workshops are encouraged to write about their personal experiences to create narratives and poems and connect these experiences to larger social issues. Selected writing from the workshops is published quarterly in JOT, which reflects and amplifies the strength, thoughts, and ideas of Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods to a broader audience. JOT is distributed for free to the writers and their neighborhoods and is sent to a subscriber list composed of supporters, the media, and policy makers. NWA strives to amplify voices that often go unheard. Please visit  the JOT website for more information. 

Sunday, 5/27: Memorial Day Massacre 70th Anniversary Commemoration

70th Anniversary of the Memorial Day Massacre
Sunday, May 27,   2:00 p.m
11731 S. Avenue O, Chicago
Featured Speaker: Leo Gerard, President, USWA

For more information call Victor Storino, 773-646-0800

Memorial Day Massacre of 1937

Ten demonstrators were killed by police bullets during the “Little Steel Strike” of 1937. When several smaller steelmakers, including Republic Steel, refused to follow the lead of U.S. Steel (Big Steel) by signing a union contract, a strike was called by the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

As a show of support, hundreds of SWOC sympathizers from all around Chicago gathered on Memorial Day at Sam’s Place, where the SWOC had its strike headquarters. After a round of speeches, the crowd began a march across the prairie and toward the Republic Steel mill. They were stopped midway by a formation of Chicago police. While demonstrators in front were arguing for their right to proceed, police fired into the crowd and pursued the people as they fled. Mollie West, a Typographical Union Local 16 member and a youthful demonstrator at the time, still recalls the command addressed to her: “Get off the field, or I’ll put a bullet in your back.”

The union hall of USWA Local 1033 now occupies the area where Sam’s Place once stood. A memorial to the ten who died can be found there at 11731 Ave. O, about a 10-minute drive from Pullman. From Pullman take I-94 northbound to the 103rd St exit. Go east to Torrence Ave, then south to 106th. Turn left past the rotting hulk of Wisconsin Steel. When you cross the Calumet River watch for Ave O. Turn south to 117th. Look for the flagpole. The phone is (773)646-0800.

May 22-25: Café Society Discussion on Labor

For more info, contact: The Public Square at the IHC

Workers of the World…Can They Unite?

As major corporations expand beyond national boundaries and locate branches and headquarters oversees, the United States’ economy has become increasingly globalized.  More and more production and service centers are positioned throughout Asia and Latin America where workers are paid less than a fraction of the wages U.S. citizens earn.

At the beginning of this trend segments of U.S. labor rallied behind a nationalistic campaign to “Buy American.”  However, as the world economy has matured and globalization continued, some have argued that the economic importance of the nation-state has declined.  How should changes in the economy affect the efforts of labor organizing?

Many believe that the very forces fueling globalization undercut the labor force.  They explain the emergence of a “corporate state” in which companies have no allegiance or accountability to a particular nation.  While raising standards abroad and exporting 21st-century business practices like product assembly and computer programming overseas, the United States is also exporting 19th-century labor conditions, wages and rights.  Does a global labor force make global organizing inevitable?

What are the barriers to transnational organization of workers?  How does labor organizing in the U.S. need to adjust to meet the needs of workers in other countries?  What criteria should be used to define labor standards?  What are the most realistic incentives for developing nations to organize if corporations can simply relocate? Will the U.S. worker suffer if union resources are diverted to organizing workers in other countries?  Has the shift to a global economy affected the immigration of undocumented workers to the U.S.?

Join us this week at Café Society to share your thoughts on this important issue.

Suggested Readings:

Organized Labor in Retreat

May Day Alert: Only Global Unions Can Stop the Race to the Bottom

Noble ideal of a global workers’ union may be too little, too late

Why a “Grand Deal” on Labor Could End Trade Talks

Labor Summary

Café Society Locations:

TUESDAY
–7:30-8:30 p.m., Intelligentsia Coffee, 3123 N. Broadway St., Chicago

WEDNESDAY
–10-11 a.m., Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard Ave., Oak Park
–12:30-1:30 p.m., Randolph Street Café-Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St., Chicago
–7-8 p.m., Pause, 1107 W. Berwyn Ave., Chicago

THURSDAY
–7-8 p.m., Caffe De Luca, 1721 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
–7-8 p.m., Valois, 1518 E. 53rd St., Chicago
–7:30-8:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 1126 E. Walnut St., Carbondale, IL

FRIDAY
–5-6 p.m., Ron’s Barber Shop, 6041 W. North Ave., Oak Park

Café Society, a project of the Public Square at the IHC, is a project designed to foster a more robust civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy, and a more informed and engaged citizenry through weekly coffee shop conversations about contemporary social issues. Current media reports (along with ample doses of caffeine) serve as stimulants for the conversations.

Monday, 5/21 – Discussion of Chicago City Council Elections

Monday, May 21st,  5:30-7:00
Labor and the Chicago City Council Elections

The Rice Building  Suite #110
815 W. VanBuren  Chicago, IL 60607

Are you interested in what the recent Chicago City Council elections mean for labor and Chicago’s working-class communities?  Please join us for a conversation about politics and class in Chicago this month. We hope you can attend.

In solidarity,
Nancy MacLean and Liesl Orenic
Co-chairs, Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies
www.workingclassstudies.org

The Politics of the Working Class:
Labor and the Chicago City Council Elections

A Discussion Featuring:

Jorge Ramirez, Secretary Treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor

Jerry Morrison, Executive Director Service Employees International Union, Illinois State Council

The Chicago Labor Education Program
The Rice Building
Suite #110
815 W. VanBuren
Chicago, IL 60607

Sponsored by
The Chicago Labor Education Program, Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations, University of Illinois
Chicago Center for Working Class Studies

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