America Will Be Venezuela Some Day. Stand up in Chicago.

Rich = super duper rich, poor = even more screwed, education = nosediving. (Maybe we’ll be more like Iran than anywhere in Latin America, with all our religious predators.) Etc. I know you’ve already heard and seen these things. My thought is that, eventually, things left unchanged, America will look something like the exploitative money exporter that was Venezuela before Hugo Chavez. More so, I believe that if that occurs, someone just like Chavez will rise to power here. And, is there really anything to make you think our populist will be any better? I don’t think he will be.

So, here is the thing for today:
Chicago may be the U.S. front-runner for antidemocratic government. I lived there, and if you did too, you know it’s true. Most Chicagoans say that’s OK because life seems to be fine and life used to be worse. The Daley plan though, can be summed up as clearing space for the mid–upper class, then just saying “fuck it” to the 2/3 of the city that isn’t allowed in the Green Zone (i.e. black and brown people). Occasionally, to make room for a Surge of desirable types, Chicago expands the Green Zone while making no accommodation for those who are still outside of it, whether or not they too wish that there weren’t so many god damned bullets flying around their neighborhood.

So, today, I hear that the students at Orr Campus High School, where I used to operate an after school program, are walking out to protest what appears to be some shady & tyrannical moves by the CPS. (par for the CPS course…) I’m sort of proud, even though I know what sort of mayhem those kids are capable of, and wouldn’t be caught dead within 5 blocks of the school today.

Here is copied text about it:

Teachers for Social Justice is calling on all teachers and everyone else who can to take off work and attend the next CPS Board meeting TOMORROW at 125 N. Clark Street. Be there by 9AM. Be there at 6:30 AM if you want to speak.

CPS is phasing out or “turning around” 19 schools. Parents, teachers, and students have been picketing, petitioning, and organizing to challenge CPS plans even though the media have not covered their actions. Some phase outs are supposedly for “low enrollment” but there are actually special programs or other schools in the building. In other cases, the closing is linked to the CHA plan for transformation, and closing the neighborhood school will drive public housing residents out of the area (e.g., Abbott School). Some schools in African American and Latino areas are being handed over to become selective enrolment schools (e.g., Andersen, Miles Davis). Some closings will force children to cross dangerous streets and will result in under-enrollment of other neighborhood schools, opening the way for more closings. The bottom line is that all this is being done without consultation or participation of African American and Latino schools and communities and against their demands and proposals.

CPS “hearings” are even more of a sham than previous years, with no CPS officials present to be held accountable. One parent group was told that all the evidence they presented for keeping their school open was not even going to be considered. The decision was already made before the hearing. These decisions are being made by Mayor Daley’s appointees as part of a larger political and economic agenda for the city that does not include the welfare of working class people of color.

This round of closings undermines any pretense of democratic participation in school decision making, particularly by African American and Latino communities. TSJ stands with the teachers, families, students, and communities to demand equitable, quality education in all neighborhoods, for all children and for the necessity for families and communities to participate in decisions about their schools.

If you can’t attend, call your elected officials!

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