|Last Night at Decima Musa|
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Pilsen has been an immigrant, working class community since its earliest days in the mid-19th century. Because of these demographics it has also been a neighborhood of struggle. Few businesses or institutions in Pilsen during the last 30 years have embodied this spirit of struggle more than Decima Musa. The 10th muse has indeed inspired countless struggles for social, economic, and cultural justice in our beloved barrio. A list of regular attendees on Thursday nights would read like the who’s who of Pilsen activist of the last quarter century. It’s loss is a devastating (but lets hope not mortal) blow to what makes Pilsen the greatest neighborhood in the country.
I will try to post more reflections after the Gran Fiesta, the final Thursday night. Below are some pictures taken over the past week, a few taken with my low res cell phone camera. Hopefully I will have better pictures later this week from the last night. And to all you Pilsenites, I will see you Thursday…
|Last Days of Decima Musa|
Friday, December 3, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
PERRO's Day of the Dead Procession was a lot of fun, attracting roughly 100 hundred participants, many of the them students from UIC and Loyola University, as well as our partners from LVEJO, RAN, EcoJustice Collaborative, Sierra Club, Greenpeace and others. We received excellent media coverage on Univision on both the 5 pm and 10 pm news, despite the elections being the next day. 25th Ward Aldermanic candidates Temoc Morfin and Ambrosio Medrano Jr. spoke in favor of the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance. Alderman Solis was a no show.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday night will be a music performance and party that is open to all (no registration required). The show is a $5 sliding scale cover, free with registration. On Saturday, will be the presentations and speakers followed by films and socializing. Sunday is a Labor History tour, including Haymarket Square and a tour of Forest Home, the final resting place of the Haymarket Martyrs.
This years presentations will include Occupations and Takeovers, Workers Self-Management, the UE Republic Windows strike & occupation, the Spanish Civil-War, Self-Management in Brazil, and more!
Meals will be provided (vegan.) Please let us know if you have any special needs, food allergies, gender preference, need housing or child care. Tabling space is still available!
You can register by mail, email, or at the door. See the attached documents for the schedule and registration information.
NO ONE TURNED AWAY FOR LACK OF FUNDS!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The occupation of La Casita at
- The issue of the library is yet to be resolved. CPS still insists that they can find space inside the school building for the library. The parents insist there is no space in the school and that the library should be located in the field house.
- The parents insist that Huberman and Alderman Solis already agreed that TIF funds would be used to complete the repairs necessary at La Casita. Huberman’s letter today did not make this clear.
- A half block away from
is the abandon police station on Damen which has sat vacant for several years. The parents say that Solis promised them that the building would be used for an expansion of Whittier . But the city now claims this can’t be done because of concerns over asbestos in the building. The parents argue that TIF funds should be used to remediate the building and fund the expansion. Whittier
The parents are still ask supporters to contact Ron Huberman and insist that the library be located either in La Casita our somewhere else outside the already overcrowded school. That TIF funds pay for repairs to La Casita. And that the expansion of
For more tune into next Monday’s episode of Labor Express Radio - 10 am Monday morning on WLUW 88.7 FM or live online at… www.wluw.org
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
5:30 PM - procession begins into the Pilsen neighborhood, past the Fisk Plant and to Alivio Medical Center.
6:30 PM - rally at Alivio Medical Center - 966 West 21st Street.
Will have music, food, art making and a lot of fun. Feel free to come in costume and bring your own sign expressing your concern about the pollution coming from the
Friday, October 15, 2010
Please, Call Ron Huberman at (773) 553-1550 and fax him at (773) 553-1502 to tell him to accept the parents' demands that were delivered to him on Thursday, October 14th. He has ignored us for too long. Let him know that the Whittier Parent Committee has support throughout the city! It is exactly a month now. Encourage others to do the same.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
It was thrilling for me as I am sure it was for all of you to witness the successful rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped deep underground for 69 days following a collapse at the San Jose copper and gold mine on August 5th. Much of the Spanish language press here in
For one, there are the dangerous working conditions faced by miners world wide and by Latin American miners in particular. Chile is much safer than a place like China were hundreds of miners die ever year, or closer neighbors like Mexico or Colombia, were dozens have died in the last couple years. But the life of a Chilean miner still carries great risk. And by most reports the situation is getting worse. The
Much is being made of the showering of gifts on the miners from wealthy benefactors around the world, including free trips to
But in the end it is worker solidarity and resilience that is the most ennobling element of this story. In the words of blogger Lucian E. Marin of 21stcenturymanifesto.wordpress.com... “The way in which the 33 organized themselves underground, especially during the initial 17 days before they were found – a period they survived on only 48 hours of rations between them – was truly exemplary, reflecting humanity at its best.” Or in the words of Partha Banerjee of Countercurrents.org… “What courage, what resilience, what organization and optimism even against the most extreme adversities! Miracle? Sure, we all know that; we'd say the same thing if one of our family members had experienced the situation. But it's also much more than that. It's the fighting spirit of the working people. It's their solidarity.” And international miners solidarity has been evident throughout, from support in the rescue effort, to vacation time in Greece at the expense of a Greek mining company (an idea put forward by Greek miners), to invitations to visit England from Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton, the son of a miner. Like in so many other recent tragedies around the world, it is workers solidarity that provides the bright light amidst the darkness.
Here are some links that can help shed light on the lessons of the Chilean miners...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Here are some links related to the 9-20-2010 episode of Labor Express…
GET ON THE BUS! Come to D.C. for the One Nation Working Together March on
For more on the Siege of La Casita, you can check out my blog…
For more on the Chicago Teachers Union’s planned rally tomorrow, check out the CTU’s website…
For more on charter school teacher organizing in
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Siege of La Casita:
The war at
The struggle at
CPS contends that the field house is structurally unsound. But it is a case of the dueling building engineers. The firm hired by CPS has declared the building dangerous and recommended that it be placed off limits for any activity. The company hired by the parents and community groups found instead that the roof needed replacement but that otherwise the building was sound. Those currently occupying the building are aware that the outside of the building has seen better days, but given the overcrowded conditions at Whittier and the lack of investment in the school by CPS, they are not interested in conceding any space for demolition.
After 2 days of occupation it looked as if today the police were going to make their move. They surrounded the field house restricting any movement in or out. By mid day the perimeter of the siege had extended for a block around the school. Streets were cut off and even local residents found it nearly impossible to enter their neighborhood. Only a handful of press who we already inside when the police arrived were allowed near the field house. And most importantly, community members arriving with food for those inside were prevented from getting that food to those inside. Police commanders on the scene threatened arrest for anyone attempting to bring food to those occupying the field house. Even James Finnerty, the lawyer for those inside the field house, was prevented from entering the school grounds.
Calls to Alderman Danny Solis for his aid in lifting the siege fell on deaf years. Once again, the community was told Danny was out of town (man that guy takes a lot of vacations). This time it was to D.C. at least and not to
The parents and community members inside told the growing crowd of supporters outside that they had been told that at 2:45 pm, just as the school day was ending and children would be exiting the school building, the police would arrest anyone who persisted in refusing to leave. But the end of the school day just brought a fresh wave of solidarity. A large group of parents, school children and community supporters pushed past police lines with food for those inside. Some started to jump the low fence that had served as the perimeter closest to the field house all day. Frustrated police at first seemed to try to prevent this but were quickly overwhelmed and gave up the attempt to stem the tide. Shortly after that, for reasons that are not fully clear, the police left the area and removed the cordon they had created around the school. CPS security than opened the gate to the playground and all the supporters, many of whom had observed from the fence line all day, swarmed in for an informal pizza party.
It is not clear what CPS next move will be. Negotiations between CPS and those in the field house were inconclusive. CPS indicated perhaps some willingness to dialogue with the concerned parents and area residents, but only if those inside vacated the building and lock smith changed the locks. CPS also put up signs on the outside of the building declaring it condemned and off limits to the public. At least for now the police have been called off, and the
Bring food, bring drink, but most of all bring your solidarity...
Audio interviews from those occupying La Casita and supporters outside will air on this Monday’s Labor Express Radio program, 88.7 FM at 10:00 AM. Or live online at… www.wluw.org
You can find pics of the events described here…
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Yesterday’s celebration of
The protest involved the unfurling of 4 banners at strategic locations letting the Consul know he is no longer welcome in
Now that’s the way to celebrate a revolution.
You can find links to my pictures of the protest here…
Monday, September 13, 2010
This Monday’s episode of Labor Express Radio is a “don’t miss” episode. The entire program will be devoted to my Labor Day weekend visit with the locked out Steelworkers in Metropolis, Illinois, a small blue collar town in the Southernmost corner of the state. Metropolis maybe know as the home of Superman, but the danger to the residents of Metropolis isn’t kryptonite, it is the toxic substances handled at the Honeywell International Inc. plant located on the outskirts of town.
The only uranium conversion plant in the United States, members of Steelworkers Local 7-669 are uniquely skilled and trained to handle radioactive material and highly corrosive acids. But now, locked-out of the plant, the facility is being staffed by poorly trained scabs. There has already been one explosion at the plant on the Sunday
before Labor Day.
Hear more about how proposed cuts to health care and pension benefits lead to a contract impasse and the eventual lock-out. Hear how the town of 6,000 has rallied around the locked-out workers. And hear how a town lives in existential fear. On this Monday’s Labor Express Radio program – The Men of Steel Locked-Out in the Home of the Man of Steel.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
If you haven't already read this, you really must. It is absolutely hilarious as well as poignant, in true Michael Moore fashion. It is really disturbing to think that Rahm Emmanuel could very well be our next Mayor...
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The plans for a strike by clerical workers at UIC has been called off, at least for the time being. It looks as if a negotiations on a new contract are moving forward. Here is a statement issued by Joe Iosbaker, Chief Steward at UIC for SEIU Local 73...
We appreciate all the solidarity we have received from students; from our co-workers, especially the Graduate Employees, Nurses, Teamsters, Faculty, and Doctors; and of course, the labor movement and broader community. We will resume Federal Mediation and hope to gain contracts soon, as our members have been without raises and have suffered job losses over the past year without a contract.
Of course, should negotiations fail to bring us a fair contract with job security and decent pay, we haven’t given up our right to strike.
In solidarity and struggle –
Chief Steward, Clerical/Administrative Unit, SEIU Local 73,
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
This week, 22 workers at the Ex-Cell metal products plant in Franklin Park went out on Strike. Despite major contract concessions by the workers in recent years, the company is now demanding that the workers cover 20% of their health care coverage costs. This amounts to over $300 a month from most workers, and the average wage at the plant is $9 an hour. Most workers at the plant have worked there for many years, some more than 20 years. It is a familiar story. A light manufacturing facility employing low wage Latino workers and forcing them to accept poverty wages by threats of plant closings. Hats off to these workers for taking a stand and saying no to further concessions.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
On today's episode of Labor Express Radio, we talked about the Pension Rights Center's Retirement USA Speakout and "Wake Up, Washington!" campaign. Here are links for more information about how you can become involved...
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
About 20 or so people this evening attended a "People's Dinner" outside a fundraiser for Alderman Daniel Solis of the 25th Ward. While campaign contributors inside the event paid a minimum of $150 a plate to influence the Alderman, attendees of the free People's Dinner called on the alderman to place the health of residents of the 25th Ward above the influence of corporate donors, including Midwest Generation, which owns and operates the Fisk coal-fired power plant on Cermak. Stay tuned for more news coming very soon that illustrates the depth of the relationship between Solis and Midwest Generation.