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. Read the rest of this entry →
Stories From A Street Medic Involved In NATO Protests In Chicago, May 2012
all day i’ve wanted to be left alone, yet needed to be around others.
i don’t remember how i ended up at the front of the lines.
the first anti-capitalist march i went on was proof enough that my instinct is to cut away, dart through the crowd, and get to the front as swiftly as possible to deescalate the situation as quickly as possible.
or at least be there to provide any services within the skill-set of an energy mosh-medic.
so i guess i arrived there on auto-pilot.
be aware, i did not panic through all of this.
when they (cpd) first started shoving us back, i felt confused and in danger.
my perception snapped into slow motion.
(though there remain some gaps in my memory of it all)
what i noticed in those first split seconds was the commanding officer stepping forward. walking down the line. assaulting every other protester in passing.
prepping the army. leading by example. Read the rest of this entry →
There are still dozens of people held in jail in Chicago after the NATO protests. In addition, the police bloodied upwards of 90 people on Sunday, according to the National Lawyers Guild’s Sarah Gelsamino.
For all the great work that the National Lawyers Guild does, raising bail is not something that they can legally do for their clients. That is up to individuals and organizations not legally representing the imprisoned.
An ad hoc group of CANG8 activists has announced a fundraiser at:
Carey’s Lounge, 2251 W. Devon Avenue,
Sunday night beginning at 8 PM
Suggested donation: $10 – no one turned away for inability to pay
The two faces of NATO: PR spin versus video reality
Growing body of videos and eyewitness accounts in wake of NATO summit exposes vast police violence to defend military arm of 1%. See videos below.
While the Obama and Emanuel administrations are congratulating themselves on a public relations coup, NATO protesters are documenting the wave of police violence unleashed on them in recent days — particularly Sunday, when protesters sought to exercise a right they thought they had but didn’t: to speak truth to power.
City and federal officials have doggedly stuck to the spin about a dangerous band of ‘anarchists’ who started trouble on Sunday. But it’s clear from the videos below — and dozens more that have begun to surface on the web — that the only thugs in black on May 20 were the police. And the police unloaded, narrowly missing 75-year-old peace protester Nan Wigmore, who was caught in the crush at the front line of the police violence.
The harrowing scenes in the first two videos below, shot by Substance News contributor John Kugler, show police hammering on protesters with billy clubs and their hands, feet and bodies. Protesters clearly shout “There’s nowhere to go!” as the police line wails on them to push them away from the intersection of Cermak and Michigan. The protesters’ goal? To take their opposition to NATO to the summit itself — a goal denied by the protest ‘permit’ which the City of Chicago and the Obama administration ultimately ‘granted.’ That permit failed to meet even the minimum request of some organizers to be within ‘site and sound’ of the government bureaucrats’ deliberations.
Chicagoan John Whitfield spoke with his neighbor, Substance News reporter and videographer John Kugler, who shot the video of the police assault — and was attacked himself by the police. Cops struck Kugler, who was wisely wearing a helmet, four times on the head; Kugler also lost a shoe in the assault.
Thousands of marchers gathered in Chicago today to continue a week of criticism directed at the arms industry, NATO, and the austerity measures carried out against social service providers on the local level.
The first of three marches on Saturday focused attention on the closures of half of the city of Chicago’s neighborhood mental health clinics as 2-3 thousand people congregated in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home at 4228 N. Hermitage.
Around 3:30pm, Saturday, approximately 1,000 marchers gathered at Daley Plaza to protest the raid of a Bridgeport home and terrorism charges levied against three anti-NATO activists — a group dubbed the NATO 3, inspiring a currently trending campaign on twitter with the keyword #NATO3.
A third march, the Anti-Capitalist march, had been called to meet at the statue commemorating the international labor movement in Haymarket Square at Randolph and Desplaines on the Near West Side.
Several hundred people from the #NATO3 group marched to the South Loop, and in attempting to meet the “Anti-Capitalist” march at Haymarket were divided and redirected by the Chicago Police Department into several smaller groups. By the time the disparate marches converged near Randolph and Desplaines around 6:30pm, the police department had repeatedly stopped the marchers at intersections as the different groups attempted to reach each other, walking through the closed-off downtown streets in 90 degree heat.
One march headed west on Harrison Street over the south branch of the Chicago River, a second became kettled at State and Congress, while the third mustered at 175 N. Desplaines, and proceeded south towards the others. After converging near Madison and Jefferson, the larger gathering moved north, then east, to turn south onto State Street, when double lines of police on foot and bicycles again met, stopped, and kettled the crowd of approximately 1,500, arresting several, while using batons to beat several more. The crowd worked its way south on State Street, and as it neared Taylor, it was again hemmed in, and in response to some provocation (likely the rapid brandishing of metal batons by officers) the noise level in the crowd increased. Around ten people in the assembly were beaten.
Leading dissident political analyst and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky voiced his support for planned protests at the 18-21 May NATO summit in Chicago. Chomsky notes how–according to US and NATO propaganda and the logic of the Cold War–NATO should have disbanded with the Warsaw Pact in 1991. It’s continued existence and indeed, extension east to former Warsaw Pact countries, shows that NATO became an “international intervention force under U.S. command” with an “official commitment” to “defend the global energy system.” Prof. Chomsky winds up by noting that “a protest against NATO is in fact a protest against a vast military machine which of course has no counterpart anywhere and the prospect of endless war and destruction.” Finally, he encourages protestors to link up with the Free Bradley Manning Contingent in support of Manning, who allegedly leaked classified materials to Wikileaks in an action unparalleled since Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers.
For a full calendar of actions please visit the NATO Protest website.
WASHINGTON — The White House abruptly announced Monday that it had scuttled plans to hold the upcoming G-8 economic summit in Chicago, and would instead host world leaders at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland.
It was an unusually late location change for a large and highly scripted international summit and came with little explanation from the White House. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – the former White House chief of staff who personally lobbied President Barack Obama to hold the summit in Chicago – was informed only hours before the official announcement.
White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor simply said that Camp David, the rustic retreat in the mountains of Maryland, was a setting that would allow for more intimate discussions among the G-8 leaders. He said security and the possibility of protests were not factors in the decision, noting that Obama would still host the NATO summit in his hometown of Chicago from May 20-21.
In a major victory for Americans who value liberty and the First Amendment, a Cook County, Illinois judge ruled that the state’s highly controversial eavesdropping law is unconstitutional.
The law made the simple act of recording a police officer without their consent, even during the course of their public duties, a felony offense.
Judge Stanley Sacks declared that the eavesdropping law is unconstitutional on the grounds that it has the potential to criminalize what would otherwise be “wholly innocent conduct.” Read the rest of this entry →
Despite the mass hoax still being promulgated by both the mainstream media and local authorities across America, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is not illegal for citizens to videotape police officers when they are on public duty.
“The filming of government officials while on duty is protected by the First Amendment, said the Court,” reports Daily Tech.
“The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles [of protected First Amendment activity].,” said the Court. “Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs,” stated the ruling, adding that this has been the case all along, and that the right to film police officers is not just restricted to the press.
The case cited several examples where citizens were arrested for documenting acts of police brutality on recording devices, including that of Simon Glik, who was arrested after he filmed Boston police punching a man on the Boston Common.
Another case involved Khaliah Fitchette, a teenager who filmed police aggressively removing a man from a bus in Newark. Fitchette was arrested and detained for two hours before police deleted the video from her cellphone.
The court ruling also made it clear that bloggers who report news based on their recordings of police have equal protection under the law as journalists. Read the rest of this entry →
Could the Nato and G8 summits scheduled for May put Chicago at the crossroads of the next global uprising of the 99 percent?
Chicago’s G8/NATO organizing committee has landed on a slogan for the city as it hosts the twin summits this May: “The Global Crossroads.” This is certainly an appropriate moniker for a town built by immigrants, with its neighborhoods still bearing the names of the ethnic enclaves they once were: Ukranian Village, Greektown, Little Italy and Andersonville, to name a few. Recognizing the inherently global character of the Metropolis of the Midwest would be honorable, if that is what the organizers intended. However, when they say “global,” they are invoking the 1 percent sense of the word, as Don Welsh of the city’s Convention and Tourism Bureau makes clear: “To penetrate international markets takes time and money, and this is going to help us showcase to the international markets in a quick way.” It is the global markets that will cross paths as the world’s political and financial elite sets its agenda behind closed doors at McCormick Place.
In three months, thousands of reporters from around the globe will descend on Chicago for the G-8 summit. Part of what they will chronicle is the protests and police crackdowns that have made each annual meeting so newsworthy. Sadly for all these reporters, and for all the American journalists with plans to film the protestors and cops, any effort to audiotape police activity on public streets or in parks is a crime in Illinois—a crime punishable by 15 years in prison.
Illinois, like Massachusetts and Oregon, is famous for having one of the most draconian eavesdropping laws in the country. The New York Times recently profiled two Illinois citizens who ran afoul of the law that makes it a Class 1 felony to audio record a law-enforcement officer, state’s attorney, assistant state’s attorney, attorney general, assistant attorney general or judge in the performance of his or her duties. It is a crime to use any device “for the purpose of hearing or recording all or any part of any conversation … unless [done] with the consent of all of the parties to such conversation or electronic communication. …”