Thursday, June 23, 2011

Night 1 of the re-newed 24-7 occupation of La Casita...


On Wednesday morning the police, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) security and construction crews showed up a La Casita, the field house on the grounds of Whittier Dual Language Academy in the Pilsen neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest side. As the construction workers setup up fencing that blocked access to La Casita from three sides, the police tried to prevent Whittier moms from entering La Casita. True to form, the moms ignored the police and marched right past. Soon after word was sent to the majority of Whittier Parents Committee members who were at that moment supporting the teachers at a rally at a school board meeting downtown. Suspicions are high that CPS was deliberate in their choice to show up with a demolition team on the very morning that La Casita would be least defended. But once again, CPS underestimated the Whittier moms and their determination to defend their community center.

Things had been heating up for a couple weeks. Ever since CPS announced its intentions to build the library, not in La Casita as requested by the Parents Committee, but instead inside the school building, taking over a special needs classroom for the purpose. CPS has largely broken off communication with the Parents Committee, and refused to answer their questions about what would happen to the special needs students who were losing their classroom. The Whittier parents also question CPS’ use of the funds that were originally intended for renovation of La Casita. It appears that some $18,000 of the over $500,000 raised through the parents activism, was used to pay an architectural firm, for a walk through at Whittier that resulted in the recommendation to use the special needs classroom for the library. The Whittier parents point out that they arranged for the pro-bono work of an architecture firm who have put forward a impressive plan for the renovation of La Casita that the parents claim will be paid for with the funds they helped raise.

Over the course of the day, the parents uncovered a document from CPS verifying that CPS had contracted on May 31st to have a company demolish La Casita and move forward with plans to create a soccer field for use of a neighboring Catholic high school. It appears that CPS has clearly violated ever aspect of the agreement reached with the parents committee after there 43 day occupation of La Casita last Fall. With the threat of demolition once again hang over their heads, a 24-7 occupation of La Casita has recommenced. As of 3:45 AM as I write this, a crew of supporters is well into their first over night shift. Outside a man in a vehicle seems to be keeping close tabs on who enters and who leaves La Casita. It is unclear whether he is with the police or with CPS security, but the message seems clear - the minute La Casita is no longer defend, the demolition team will be mobilized to move in.

I appeal to all of you who have been inspired by the bold, militant struggle of the Whittier Parents committee over the last year, to join the fight once again. Maintaining a 24-7 occupation is no easy feat. Your time, your energy, your support is desperately needed. You can find out more at...

www.saveourcenter.com

But more importantly come down to La Casita. Anytime, day or night, and lend your support... 1900 W. 23rd St.

La Lucha Continua

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

La Casita under threat! Press Conference tonight 7:30 PM...


I have received a urgent request from the Whittier Parents Committee. The police tried to prevent access to La Casita today and a fence has been constructed around two of three entrance to the school grounds. It appears as if an attempted demolition might be imminent.

The Whittier Parent's Committee is calling on all allies to show up at La Casita tonight. They need as many people as possible there to possible prevent demolition.

Here is the statement from their Facebook page...
UPDATE: PRESS CONFERENCE @ 7:30PM TODAY. PLEASE COME THROUGH! We need as much support as possible. More info will be available at the press conference

And...

UPDATE: Call Alderman Solis NOW @ 773.523.4100 to make sure the TIF money allocated for Whittier is used for the renovation of La Casita as he committed to. Solis stated the following during a meeting at La Casita on October 21, 2010 “the money from this district’s [Pilsen Corridor] Tax Increment Financing that would have been used to demolish the community center will be used to renovate it.”

For more info see their Facebook page...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Statement of solidarity with Cuban workers...

This months edition of the Industrial Worker, the newspaper of the IWW carried a powerful statement of solidarity with the workers of Cuba, as they now face not only repression at the hands of a Stalinist state apparatus but also "economic reforms" which will likely mean an even greater lowering of living standards for some in a country in which outside free health care and education, living standards are already precariously low. Unfortunately the Industrial Worker is no longer available online, but the statement, issued by a long list of supporting unions and anarchist groups around the globe was available on one of the anarchist websites...

Statement in support of Cuban Anti-Authoritarian/Horizontalist organizers, workers, activists, artists, musicians y mas in Cuba. Scroll down to see current list of endorsements and the original statement in Spanish.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

The Communist Party of Cuba's VI Congress has just closed with an endorsement of the liberal reforms (“to each according to his labors”) promised in the realm of the economy: but along with these come cuts in social services and an increased presence for military and for technocrats in the machinery of government, with a reduction in the presence of intellectuals and workers.

In terms of rhetoric and deeds alike, efficiency, control and discipline replace equality, solidarity and partnership. Against this backdrop we have indications of a crackdown in the cultural realm, heralding yet another set-back to Cubans' exercise of their fundamental freedoms. Performing artists find their names blackened by cultural officials-turned-censors engaged in frantic campaigns, the length and breadth of the country peddling false rumors and spurious accusations. A prestigious Cultural Theory Center finds its facilities and equipment being sabotaged again by “thieves” who forget to take anything and whom the authorities cannot seem to identify and punish. Poets and community activists are visited by police personnel who threaten to haul them before the courts as “counter-revolutionaries” and to leave them to the mercy of the “people's wrath”, thereby demonstrating that said wrath is not “of the people” nor independent of the powers that be who direct it.

Damage to social property, defamation and physical and psychological bullying (and violence) are not only offenses punishable under legal codes the world over – Cuba included – they are also considered acts of State Terrorism. For decades, the Cuban people gave their best efforts to their children and to the world in order to build up a fairer country with universal and high quality culture, health and education despite the irrational and begrudging bureaucracy that always depicted the people's gains as its own creations. Are the repressiveness and lying of such “apprentice Stalins” to go down in History as the features by which the Cuban process is to be remembered, rather than the day to day heroism of the Cuban people? This is not justice...

For the rest see the following link...