Mexico: Reinstate sacked workers, recognize union, and drop all charges – support online campaign

Posted by Eric Lee at LabourStart:

In what appears to be a breakthrough, the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME) has lifted its hunger strike based on the government’s commitment to engage in negotiations.

The union sat down for the first time on Monday, 26 July, and the government has agreed to weekly negotiations.

On 27 July there was an assembly which resulted in a plan to send a caravan to Cananea in solidarity with the third anniversary of that strike.

SME has asked for international assistance and that we make our concern clear that the Mexican government reinstate the thousands of fired workers, recognize the legally elected union leadership and drop all charges against workers who have been involved in this dispute.

Support the campaign – take a moment to send off your message here:

Thank you!

Eric Lee

Detroit City Council Rejects Plan to Place Schools Under Mayoral Control

[I live in a city that has borne the effects 0f mayoral control of city schools for 15 years.  Chicago, under the omniscient leadership of Richard (Daley) II, launched the school reform program emphasizing school closings and privatization, emerging on the national scene with the promotion of Chicago school CEO to national Secretary of Education.  It is no accident that out of such a maelstrom has emerged a broad based movement to combat the school closings and turnarounds, expressed organizationally as the coalition Grassroots Education Movement of community organizations and including the Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators in the Chicago Teachers Union.  Nationally eyes have been focused on the Chicago plan as well as  the resistance movement in Chicago.  Teachers and their communities across the country have been talking with each other.  What some have seen in Chicago does not look so inviting.  Milwaukee refused to accept mayoral takeover of the schools.  Los Angeles, despite vigorous campaigning by Mayor   Villaraigosa, also rejected that direction.  Earlier this week, Detroit also rejected mayoral control despite  considerable lobbying by Governor Granholm.  The City Council rejected placing a measure before the electorate in the November ballot that would have ceded control of the currently elected school board to the mayor.  As opponents of the measure said, this was not about giving the voters their right to choose;  it was about giving the voters the right to never have to choose again.  — Lew Rosenbaum]

Here are two links to stories in  Detroit newspapers on this issue:

Council rejects referendum on mayoral control of DPS

Voters denied say on DPS

Sides agree on need for change — but not method

Too Expensive to Teach — Sarah Schulte reports on ABC News

CPS holds job fair for displaced teachers

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sarah Schulte

July 29, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Chicago Public Schools held a private job fair for displaced CPS teachers Thursday at McCormick Place.

Out of 600 schools, there are at least 70 schools that start in August that have teacher vacancies. While laid off teachers are hopeful, many are not holding their breath for a new job.

Hundreds of Chicago Public School teachers are spending their summer looking for a job. Budget cuts have forced many experienced teachers out the door. Yet, there are dozens of schools that have vacancies and are hiring.

“This is a job fair in which principals are coming to interview veteran displaced teachers who have a wealth of experience and could continue and should continue contributing to Chicago Public Schools,” said Rachel Resnick, Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago Public Schools invited 1,800 displaced CPS teachers to look for a job. While the idea is to hire veteran teachers, many who came to the fair say that is not what they are hearing from the principals.

“Most principals do not want to hire veterans who have been in the system for a long time,” said Norma Brown, displaced teacher.

Krystal Garrett is looking for a special education job. She carries with her years of experience, a master’s degree and she is working on her doctorate. Her education places her in a higher pay scale which she says is a problem.

“I have seven principals tell me I’m too expensive,” said Garrett.  [For more and a video of this story click here]

Louder Than A Bomb — Poetry Hits the Big Screen in NY & LA

This is louder than a shout out!  This is a SCREAM OUT to all my friends in NY & LA — you MUST NOT miss Louder Than A Bomb, the youth poetry slam documentary from Chicago.  And, “tell whoever you send [this info to] that if they go, we guarantee three things: 1.) they will laugh, 2.) they will cry, and 3.) they will leave the theater thinking the world is a better place than when they walked in.”


“Louder Than a Bomb will be screening in New York City and Los Angeles as part of the 2010 DocuWeeks Theatrical Documentary Showcase, which is designed to qualify films for consideration for the Academy Awards.

The film will have a weeklong run at the IFC Center in Manhattan (July 30-August 5), followed by a weeklong run at the ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles (August 6-12),” Kevin Coval writes. “It’s an amazing opportunity, but in order to take advantage of it, we need to pack the house at all 28 screenings.”

Read about Kevin Coval here.

Read more about the film here (and see a trailer too)

July 31 — The Defense of Public Education

The Defense of Public Education

Chicago, Milwaukee and Los Angeles are focal points of resistance to the privatization and further destruction  of public education.

We are excited to say that teacher and community activists from these three centers of activity will converge here in Chicago to share experiences and discuss strategy :

L.A. teachers were pivotal in organizing demonstrations against cutbacks throughout the California system uniting battles in higher ed. with those in K-12.

L.A. teachers helped to organize trinational conferences to defend public education, involving educators from Canada, Mexico and the US

Milwaukee teachers connected to a powerful community movement that stopped a mayoral takeover of the city schools like Mayor Richard Daley was able to do here.

And of course, in Chicago — which is the prototype of the federal government’s education planning —  a Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators has defeated the incumbent teachers union leadership and, in partnership with a wide-ranging Grass Roots Education Movement led a massive battle against school closings, turnarounds and cutbacks.

This is a remarkable opportunity to find leaders of the education movement that is sweeping the country in the same room. Be part of this discussion!  Use the attached flyer to invite other folks you know!

Saturday, July 31, 7-9 pm
UIC  School of Education  1040 W. Harrison (@ Morgan)
Commons Room — Room 3233

this event is co-sponsored by CORE (the Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators of the Chicago Teachers’ Union), TSJ (Teachers for Social Justice) and Los Angeles Teachers and Activists

Click on this link to print a flyer for this event: The Defense of Public Education

Education and the Crisis in Public Values — excerpt from a book by Henry Giroux

[In May, Truthout published Henry Giroux’s three-part extensive indictment of our educational system and its drive toward privatization.  It’s useful for us to understand that no one person should be seen as a villain in this process.  There is plenty of blame to spread around.  Nor is it the fault of Republicans alone: Richard Daley, after all, has led the assault here in Democratic Chicago.  No one should be allowed to become a scapegoat for a system not so much gone awry as no longer needed to accomplish the goals that were once necessary for corporate capital.  The first step in claiming education on behalf of our children, our whole society, is to make education actually national and public — no more kow-towing to Texas Board of Education standards for textbooks;  no more genuflecting to the demands of the testing industry; no more excuses for cutting back valuable resources in disposable schools.  World class education in every neighborhood.  — Lew Rosenbaum]

Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform (Part I)

Tuesday 25 May 2010

by: Henry A. Giroux, t r u t h o u t | Feature

(Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

This article is the first of a three-part series taken from a forthcoming book, Education and the Crisis of Public Values to be published by Peter Lang Publishing Group.

Also See: In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis

Part II | Teachers Without Jobs and Education Without Hope: Beyond Bailouts and the Fetish of the Measurement Trap

Part III | Chartering Disaster: Why Duncan’s Corporate-Based Schools Can’t Deliver an Education That Matters

As the Obama administration’s educational reform movement increasingly adopts the interests and values of a “free-market” culture, many students graduate public schooling and higher education with an impoverished political imagination, unable to recognize injustice and unfairness. They often find themselves invested in a notion of unattached individualism that severs them from any sense of moral and social responsibility to others or to a larger notion of the common good. At the same time, those students who jeopardize the achievement of the quantifiable measures and instrumental values now used to define school success are often subjected to harsh disciplinary procedures, pushed out of schools, subjected to medical interventions or, even worse, pushed into the criminal justice system.[1] Most of these students are poor whites and minorities of color and, increasingly, students with special needs.

To be sure, the empirical emphasis of conservative school policy has been in place for decades. In keeping with this trend, the Obama administration’s educational policy under the leadership of Arne Duncan lacks a democratic vision and sense of moral direction. Consequently, it reproduces rather than diminishes many of these problems.  [Read the rest of this article, and find links to the other articles by clicking here.]

Julia Stein: Triangle Fire Poetry and Plays and Novels and Literary Criticism

Julia Stein teaches and writes in Los Angeles

Triangle Fire Poetry and Plays and Novels and Literary Criticism

by Julia Stein

July 24,  10:06pm

Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Fire which took the lives of over 120 women garment workers. Writers throughout the last 100 years have written and published poems about this event. Workplace safety is still horrendous in the United States. Below are some of the poems, novels, etc. written about the Triangle Fire. Steve Zeltzer of the San Francisco labor Arts Festival suggest we publish a booklet of Triangle fire poety.

Triangle Fire Poetry
Burnet, Dana. “Ballad of Dead Girls.” 1911.

Daigon, Ruth. Payday at the Triangle. Concord, CA: Small Poetry Press, 2001.- just died- lived in Marin County, CA

Fell, Mary. “The Triangle Fire.” The Persistence of Memory. New York: Random House, 1984.

Henderson-Holmes, Safiya . “Rituals of Spring.” Madness and a Bit of Hope. New York: Harlem River Press, 1990. – Henderson-Holmes’ poem on Triangle fire is in seven parts.

Llewellyn, Chris. Fragments from the Fire” the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire of March 25, 1911. New York: Penguin, 1987. Llewellyn’s poem on Triangle fire is book length.

Llewellyn, Chris. Steam Dummy; &, Fragments from the Fire: the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire, March 25, 1911: Poems (Huron, OH: Bottom Dog Press, 1993). Midwest writers series. “Fragments from the fire” is a revised edition of the book originally published by Viking Press in 1987. Includes bibliographical references.

Obenzinger, Hilton.”Triangle Shirtwaist Compnay.” New York on Fire. Seattle: Real Comet Press, 1989.
Phillips, Robert. “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.” Circumstances Beyond Our Control: Poems. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

Pinsky, Robert. “Shirt.” The Want Bone. New York: Ecco Press, 1990.

Rosenfeld, Morris. “Memorial to Triangle Fire Victims.” Jewish Daily Forward. March 29, 1911. Five part poem.

Stein, Julia. “The Flame.” Under the Ladder to Heaven. Los Angeles, CA: West End Press, 1984.

Stein, Julia. “Triangle Fire.” Desert Soldiers. Los Angeles, Ca: California Classics, 1992.

Tarlen, Carol. “Sisters in the Flames.”

Literary Criticism, plays, novels about Triangle Fire Poetry
Bogen, Nancy. Bobe Mayse: A Tale of Washington Square. New York : Twickenham Press, 1993.

Kovacik, Karen “Words of Fire for Our Generation: Contemporary Working-Poets on the Triangle Fire,” in Women’s Studies Quarterly, 26, nos. 1-2 (Spring 1998): p. 137.

Malkiel, Theresa S. The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, ILR Press, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1990.
This novel, originally copyrighted in 1910, is a fictional narrative that draws upon the author’s involvement in the 1910 strike, a 13 week-long labor conflict mostly involving young immigrant women in the shirtwaist industry. The novel depicts working conditions and the way of life of workers who were contemporaries of the Triangle Fire victims.

Pielher, Christopher in collaboration with Scott Alan Evans. The Triangle Factory Fire Project. 2005.
A play that uses eyewitness accounts, court transcripts, and other archival material, to create a dramatic moment-by-moment account of this historic fire and the social upheaval that followed. Available for purchase at:

Regan, Sylvia. “Morning Star: A Play in Three Acts,” Awake and Singing. New York: Mentor, 1995.

Tax, Meredith. Rivington Street. New York: Morrow, 1982. Novel.

Weber, Katharine. Triangle: A Novel. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2006.

Zandy, Janet. “An Essay about Triangle Fire Poetry.” College Literature. October 1997.