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    Serial School Privatizer "Chainsaw Paul" Vallas Gets Ready For His Next Job

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Neoliberalism holds that all human interactions should to be disciplined and mediated by the market. Paul Vallas is the nation's neoliberal chainsaw man on public education. After savaging public education in Chicago, Philly, New Orleans and Bridgeport, he has been summoned home to Illinois by the Democrat governor as his running mate.

    “Chicagoland” Hero Cops Cook Books to Make Murders Disappear, CNN Pretends Not To Notice

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Chicagoland, the 8 part CNN campaign commercial falsely claims teacher pay and pensions have drove the city to fiscal ruin, that big league stadiums are job creators, that massive school closings are good for the city, and Chicago cops have lowered the murder rate. Except they haven't. Real Chicago journalists have revealed Chicago cops cooked the books to make dozens of murders disappear. CNN missed that, and is still missing it.

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    CNN's Chicagoland: An 8 Part Miniseries Campaign Commercial For Rahm Emanuel and Urban Neoliberalism

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    CNN's Chicagoland "documentary" is an 8 part wet kiss for Rahm Emanuel & neoliberalism by the same crew that made Brick City, a propaganda flick to boost the career of Newark's Corey Booker prior to his re-election campaign.  Black Agenda Report talked to a few real Chicagoans about what it does and doesn't show or tell, and why.

    End Game For Corporate School Reform: Privatized Holding Tanks, Remote Ed, Military Charter Schools

    A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Chicago, the city the president and his secretary of education hail from, has been the laboratory of corporate education reform and privatization. Among its “innovations” are the mass closings of public schools, and handing over entire schools to the army, the navy and the marines.

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    Farewell Jesse Jr., We Hardly Knew Ye: A Lesson on the Limits of our Black Political Class

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

    Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., was the closest thing to black royalty we hope to see. Junior was handed a congressional seat at the age of 30 on the strength of his father's career. His rise and fall should be lessons on the limits of depending on the princesses and princes of our black political class. It's time for new leaders, new pathways to, and new models of leadership.

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    Why Isn't Closing 129 Chicago Public Schools National News?

    A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

    It's an obvious question, with an easy answer. Our nation's bipartisan political elite have decided to privatize public education. They know the only way they can execute this deeply unpopular policy is to do it on the down-low, with a minimum of coverage, and no mention of the p-word, especially of growing civic resistance to it.

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    Standing Up For The People: Chicago Teachers Union Strikes, 1969 - 1987

    CTU, the Chicago Teachers Union, is about as real as unions get these days. Thanks to the courageous struggles of its members over generations, it has a history of standing up for its members, for students and for the people of Chicago.

    Chicago Teachers Gear Up for a Fight

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    The Chicago Teachers Union has gotten permission from its membership to strike. If it comes to that, the local union’s progressive leadership will also “confront the national leadership of their own union, the American Federation of Teachers, who are in President Obama’s and Mayor Emanuel’s pockets.” Chicago’s teachers understand that they can only win if the community views the teachers' cause as their own.

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    The Empire Holds Its War Council in Chicago

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    The administration imposed the most draconian police state legal structures in U.S. history before summoning the heads of NATO to Chicago. NATO accounts for 70 percent of military spending on the planet – combining the capacities of yesterday’s imperialists and the current superpower. “The Black man in the White House is seen, ironically, as the last best hope of the old colonial racial order and the rule of capital.”

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    Freedom Rider: Protesting NATO

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The NATO summit meeting later this month, in Chicago, will be the place “where new Obama administration restrictions on civil liberties will be put into full effect.” Nevertheless, it is necessary to protest NATO’s role as “the armed wing for European and American elites who control the destiny not only of the capitalist nations they represent but of people around the world.” NATO is a club for killers.

    NATO, Chicago's Cheapskate Public Schools Insult City's Children Again

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

    NATO, the armed fist of the US and Western Europe in Asia and Africa is coming to Chicago in May. NATO countries account for more than 70% of the planet's military spending. To underline their contempt for ordinary Chicagoans and their children, Chicago's Public Schools are sponsoring a “welcome NATO” video contest for public school children, but the first prize is much less than what a round fired from many of NATO's guns cost. What cheapskates.

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    Rented Protesters in Chicago, Presidential Hypocrisy on School Reform

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    What's three years of crusading against public schools and their teachers, three years of anti-democratic corporate school reform compared to a couple paragraphs in a presidential State of the Union address? It's base and blatant hypocrisy. If corporate media still practiced actual journalism, this might be an instructive comparison to lay before their readers. Should the Obama administration should follow its own advice about not demonizing teachers, and not relying on high-stakes testing? Or should we continue with the failed experiment of corporate school reform?

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    Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama & Neo-Liberalism are the Daleys' Gifts to Chicago and the Nation. Thanks.

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Chicago's Daley regime was a half century orgy of arrogance, racism and plunder. Thanks to President Obama, it not only continues with the succession of Rahm Emanuel to the fifth floor office of Chicago's mayor, but with nationwide implementation of diastrous policies toward housing, schools, infrastructure and public workers, all pioneered in Chicago.

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey

    Carol Moseley-Braun Last Major Black Candidate Standing in Chicago

    The former U.S. Senator finally emerged as the Black “consensus” candidate in the city’s mayoral race. But labor activist James Thindwa says Moseley-Braun brings lots of baggage, having “managed to alienate major Democratic progressive constituencies" during her 1993-99 term. “Some energy is firming up around her now,” says Thindwa, “but that’s because there is no alternative.”

    Retaliation Against Inmates in Georgia Prisons

    Attacks against inmates by prison guards “were carried out in retaliation for the statewide prison work stoppage, and were not isolated,” said Georgia State NAACP President Edward O. Dubose, speaking for the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners Rights. Some assaults on inmates occurred after visits to prison facilities by the Coalition delegations.

    200th Anniversary of Largest U.S. Slave Rebellion

    The 1811 slave revolt near New Orleans was the biggest and most organized slave uprising in U.S. history, but “because of the power of slaveowners in Louisiana, information about the rebellion was largely suppressed,” said community historian Malcolm Suber. Over 100 slaves were killed in battle and more than 60 others were executed, their heads “placed on pikes that lined River Road between St. John’s Parish and New Orleans.”

    Cuba has been biggest medical helper to Haiti both before and after last January’s massive earthquake, says journalist and community activist Ray LeForest.

    The Tea Party is about “putting white people first,” says BAR senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “The whole notion of a post-racial United States is a farcical one.”

    The “For the People” Summit in Washington, January 20-22, will confront the idea that “corporations are, somehow, persons with certain inalienable rights,” says Backbone Campaign leader Bill Moyer.

    The Wikileaks controversy is an excuse for governments and corporations to perfect their own cyber weapons, says Prof. Christopher Simpson, of American University, in Washington.

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    Black Chicago Teachers Win Discrimination Lawsuit Against Arne Duncan's Mass Firings

    Back in June of 2009, BAR told the story of activist teachers who sued the Chicago Public Schools to reverse the firings of hundreds of committed, experienced, mostly black and female teachers in dozens of schools and their replacement with less experienced, younger, whiter teachers at lower salaries. This pattern of discriminatory firings and school closings has since been replicated across the country, and is a core element the Obama administration’s education policy. Since then, some of those same teachers have won the leadership of Chicago's 30,000 strong teachers union. Earlier this week, a US District Court judge ruled in their favor.

    Privatizing Education: The Neoliberal Project To Re-Imagine America For Them, Not Us

    In this 55 minute audio by U of Illinois scholar and activist Pauline Lippman, she explains how the bipartisan push to privatize education by starving existing public schools, introducing charter schools in the name of “choice” and destroying teacher unions is key to a radical re-fashioning of American society by our wealthy corporate elite, one that is disastrous for the rest of us, our communities and our children. Courtesy of KPFA's Against the Grain.

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    The Dark Underbelly of American Public Housing: What Lessons can we Learn from the Case of Chicago?

    660 W. Division, Cabrini Green, 1980s by Anthony DiMaggio


    In Chicago, as in most cities, the term “urban renewal” is effectively a lie – a scheme to “make room for more affluent white families.” The resulting harms to Black and poor people are premeditated, since “there was never any intention of relocating the vast majority of the former public housing residents in the new, more affluent ‘mixed income’ sites” of the Hope VI program.



    Chicago Teachers Wise Up to Obama School Privatizations

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Reformists won control of the teachers union in the town where Barack Obama became a fan of corporate schooling: Chicago. The new union leadership seems prepared to confront privatization and high stakes testing head on. The tests measure the accumulated results of deprivation, not academics, said Karen Lewis: "Class sizes rose, schools were closed. Then standardized tests...measured that slow death by starvation."
     

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    Teachers File Racial Discrimination Suit Against Obama Administration's School “Turnaround” Plan

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
    Public-private partnerships between Chicago's City Hall, where two men named Richard Daley have ruled more than 40 of the last 55 years, and a gaggle of corporate bagmen from the Gates, Bradley, Walton and other foundations have honed a disastrous “education reform” agenda that is now national policy. In Chicago, where dozens of neighborhood public schools have been shuttered and hundreds of experienced, predominantly black teachers fired in mid-career and replaced by underqualified, underpaid, uncertified and ovewhelmingly white newbie instructors, resistance is brewing and spreading.
     

    BAR Interviews A Real Community Organizer:: James Thindwa, Chicago Jobs With Justice

    thindwaGlen Ford interviews Chicago's James Thindwa on the impact of economic crises on ordinary families, and on the ramifications of the Employee Free Choice Act, soon to be introduced in Congress, with the increasingly lukewarm support of the Obama Administration and its allies.

    Click the flash player to listen to this Black Agenda Radio Interivew.  No transcript is available.  12 minutes. 

    Thindwa was also profiled this week on Bill Moyers Journal.  Read the transcript or watch the video here

    Did Barack Obama Just Appoint An Underqualified Stooge and Privatizer Secretary of Education?

    Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon interviews Chicago educator and activist George Schmidt
    The short answer seems to be "yes."  Before being appointed CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan never saw the inside of a classroom as a teacher.  This is probably a good thing, since Duncan does not possess the academic qualifications to be even a substitute teacher.  Worse still, Duncan's idea of improving inner-city schools in Chicago is handing them over to corporate-run charter schools or converting them to military academies.  This, says longtime Chicago educator and activist George Schmidt, is not the change we voted for. 

    I Remember Fred

    chairman_fred03BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon offers a personal recollection of Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, who was murdered  by Chicago Police and federal agents on December 4, 1969.
     
    To listen to this Black Agenda Radio commentary, click here.

     

    The People of Chicago VS Wal-Mart

    by Paul Street

    Big box retailing giant Wal-Mart has saturated the market in rural and suburban America.  The only ground left for expansion is inner cities like New York and Chicago.  Paul Street recounts the promises and machinations of Wal-Mart and the part local leaders, politicians and community activists have played up till the article's publication in October of 2006.
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