Chicago Teachers Educate a Nation

People’s World

It was nine days that shook Chicago – and the nation. Twenty-five thousand public school teachers, guidance counselors, speech-language pathologists, social workers, nurses and other professionals, members of Chicago Teachers Union Local 1, stood up and said with one voice, “Enough!”

Rahm fix mess520x300

Left with no other choice by an intransigent Board of Education and a politically ambitious mayor, teachers took to the picket line, declaring that the strike was for the kids, the profession and public education everywhere. This was a strike that changed the city.

This red sea would not be parted

For those nine days, the city went red, symbolizing solidarity with the union. Mass protests felt like festivals with clever, and often funny signs (Rahm likes Nickelback), musicians – teachers and high school marching bands -playing drums, brass and woodwinds through the streets of downtown Chicago, chants and singing, passionate speeches describing the corporate-created problems in detail – and offering realistic alternatives, generations marching together from kids in strollers to elders with canes or in wheelchairs, banners from other unions, community organizations, parent and student groups waving to show solidarity. This was a red sea would not be parted. Continue reading

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Quebec Movements Face Election Challenge

by Johan Boyden, Montreal

The community of Trois Pistoles along the northern banks of the St. Lawrence river is known for its picturesque beauty and historic links to Basque whalers, who travelled there hundreds of years ago from Spain. Now it has become a symbol of the pre‑election polarization and fear‑mongering going on in Québec.

A student protester in Quebec

An ecological festival in the town, put on by community activists including some who have been fighting high‑risk shale gas development in the region, wanted to invite student leaders to speak at their event.

A storm of controversy erupted. Mayor Jean‑Pierre Rioux met with organizers and threatened to withdraw all funding. “Around here, people think that [student leader] Gabriel Nadeau‑Dubois is […] like Maurice `Mom’ Boucher” one festival organizer said.

Mom Boucher is, of course, the convicted rapist, drug dealer and murderer who leads the Montreal Hells Angels. Continue reading

Quebec’s Bill 78 Shifts the Struggle to a Battle for Democracy and the Right to Dissent

Rebel Youth Montreal Bureau

Last night the Charest Liberal government tabled its repressive Duplessis-style legislation while thousands of protesters marched well past mid-night in the streets of Quebec City and Montreal, waving flags, chanting and even burning a draft of the repressive law.

Bill 78 passed this afternoon with the right-wing CAQ party voting in favour, propping-up the precarous posistion of the Charest Liberals who are currently holding onto a majority of only one vote (following the resignation of the Minister of Education last week).  Links to the law in English are below.

The vote passed 68-48 at about 5:30 p.m. Continue reading

Students-Labour-Environmentalists Unite for “Quebec Spring”

by Marianne Breton Fontaine and Johan Boyden, based on a presentation given by Marianne, leader of the YCL in Quebec, to YCL student activists

After almost eighty days of protest, the Québec student strike is entering a record 11 weeks. After 250,000 students and their allies from community and labour groups flooded downtown Montreal with a river of people on March 22, another enormous demonstration was held on Earth Day, April 22.

Close to 300,000 people were in the street ‑ students, environmentalists, labour activists and others from diverse backgrounds. The rally, linked explicitly with the student struggle, showed the unprecedented mounting public anger against with the Charest Liberals and strong support for pro‑people and pro‑nature policies and a “Québec spring.”

Making History

The Québec student strike is one of the longest student protests in North American history and has seen some of the biggest mobilizations in Canadian history. Continue reading

Capitalism: A Ghost Story

by Arundhati Roy

Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

CORBIS (FROM OUTLOOK, MARCH 26, 2012)

Antilla the Hun Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey home on Altamont Road. Its bright lights, say the neighbours, have stolen the night.

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked. Continue reading

“90 Years On and We Are Still Fighting!”

by Gareth Murphy (General Secretary, Connolly Youth Movement)

Today, the fifth of September 2006, 90 years after the anniversary of the 1916 rising The Irish Independent staying true to its colours featured an article by Kevin Myers on John Redmond. The article was entitled ‘A Tribute to a Forgotten Hero!’ This article sums up the essence of Irish State politics, north and south. Whether it is the media, politicians or celebrities like Bono and Bob Geldof, Redmond is the essence of the governing ideology and the governing class.

What is this governing ideology? It is Ireland latching on to imperialism in the hope of being fed its scraps, just enough to keep our wealthy rich and our poor from revolting.

Redmond sent thousands of young men off to die on the continent and fed them the lie of home rule and self-determination. Today Bertie Ahern, without our consent, sells our neutrality and sovereignty (the little 26 counties have) and signs us up to military agreements and wars for a couple of euro and dollars. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the PD’s, Labour, the Greens, even parts of Sinn Fein, RTE, TV3, the Irish Times, Bono…the list goes on and on – all support without question global imperialism and Ireland’s role in it and subservience to it. Continue reading

200,000 March Against Tuition Hikes in Montreal

Canadian Union of Public Employees

Photo: Michel Chartrand

Two days after an unacceptable budget was presented, an estimated 200,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Montreal to say no to the tuition hikes proposed by the Charest government – in the biggest demonstration in Quebec since the protests against the Iraq invasion in March 2003. The student movement has made its mark on Quebec history.

CUPE and the FTQ offered their full support to the student movement. Members of CUPE locals joined demonstrators, along with CUPE Québec president Lucie Levasseur.

In the morning, the secretary general of the FTQ, Daniel Boyer, attended a press conference in support of the movement. Surrounded by representatives of other unions and Quebec opposition parties, he explained why the FTQ and its affiliates oppose the rise in tuition. The FTQ sees it as a fundamental issue of fairness:the hikes would reduce accessibility to higher education for middle-class and low-income students.The FTQ also criticised the obstinacy of Quebec, which has refused any form of dialogue with the student movement.

In the evening, at the Metropolis and Le National, a number of artists, including Chloé Sainte-Marie, Paul Piché, Dan Bigras, Martin Leon, Manu Militari and Zapartistes, performed in support of the student cause.

*note: CUPE is Canada’s largest union and organizers primarily public sector workers. The original article on their website can be found here.