The Revolution Will Be Macro’ed: Chicago teachers’ strike edition

by the Editorial Committee

September 17, 2012

What’s a real social movement these days without viral image macros and memes? Well, maybe it’s not quite as centrally important as the self-organization and activity of the working class–but who can argue with the ability of Dos Equis guy, Scumbag Steve, or advice animals to make a clever political point when used by the right person?

If our Facebook page is any indication, we certainly appreciate the art of the movement meme. Occupy Wall Street gave us quite a few to share over the last year, and now the Chicago teachers’ strike is inspiring a new round of hilarious images. Isaac Steiner, member of Chicago Solidarity and supporter of the Chicago Teachers Support Campaign, made the below images in an incredibly productive use of time theft while at work.

The corporate media would have us believe that the union “bosses” are making decisions without requiring member approval or consulting with parents of CPS students, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. By the way, when’s the last time you’ve ever heard the phrase “bosses” used to refer to someone besides union leaders from any major media outlet?

The attacks on union leadership aren’t exclusively rooted in anti-labor bias…

The capitalists disrupt our lives with their schemes all the time, but it’s only when working class resistance breaks out that we hear about unnecessary disruptions.

Rahm Emanuel, along with other Chicago 1%’ers, sends his kids to the University of Chicago Lab Schools. CTU President Karen Lewis says she “[understands] why he would choose a school with small class sizes, a broad, rich curriculum that offers world languages, the arts and physical education, a focus on critical thinking not test-taking, a teacher and an assistant in every elementary classroom and paid, high-quality professional development for their teachers.”

It’s too bad that most of Chicago can’t afford the over $20,000 in yearly tuition, and even more tragic that all of these things could be available in CPS schools if it weren’t for capitalist austerity programs and reforms like No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top, which propose “accountability” and “evaluation” systems that only hurt teachers and students. Even the administration of the Lab Schools opposes the standards-based policies targeting public schools–but it isn’t really about “improving” schools, is it?

It was a proposal that CPS teachers work longer days without increased compensation that led the teachers to authorize the strike months ago. Teachers everywhere already work absurdly long days (and nights) to service packed classrooms–enough is enough!

From long work days, to long strike days–finally putting overtime to good use!

Many CTU supporters needed the weekend to freshen up those red shirts, worn all week from picket to picket.

It’s important to note that the most politically influential proponents of the reactionary education reforms targeting teachers today are Democrats. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have been leading the charge to standards-based “accountability” measures and union-busting charterization through policies like Race To The Top. The national leadership of the AFT, clearly out of touch with its activist base in Chicago, still considers the Democratic Party the best friend of teachers, however…

Well, unless you happen to be in that alliance of Republicans, Democrats, and capitalist foundations pushing education reforms without addressing the broader conditions affecting working class families.

Shocking concept, right?

When a Chicago math teacher’s sign accused Rahm of the serious musical crime of appreciating Nickelback, possibly the worst band of the last decade in the opinion of the editors here, his office was compelled to issue a public denial.

This Sunday, the CTU House of Delegates reviewed a proposal from the negotiating team and democratically decided to remain on strike. In just one week of their strike, the teachers have demonstrated to Mayor 1% and all those seeking to transform public education for the worse that they have the power to resist those efforts and demand what’s only right for teachers and students. As many macros as it takes, let’s get what we deserve!

Perhaps the most hated decision by Chicago politicians in the last decade was the giveaway of city parking meters to private corporation Chicago Parking Meters LLC, who will continue to give Chicago drivers the shaft in parking fees and tickets for generations to come. Most City Council members did not even read the bill before signing it. By contrast, the CTU House of Delegates insisted on a thorough review of the proposed CPS contract by all of its members, organizing meetings of rank and filers throughout the city after Monday morning picket duty.

Scumbag Rahm or the teachers? We know whose side we’re on! If you’re on the teachers’ side too, be sure to do whatever you can to support their struggle!

Have you seen any creative or clever images about the CTU strike not listed here? Please share them in the comments section below!