Tuesday, August 11, 2015

George Schmidt: Chicago Teacher Strikes have always had community support

Our gang at UCORE
George Schmidt wades through the fiction. When I asked people over the weekend at the UCORE conference who think they know the story of CORE and the CTU if they knew of George and Substance, they said NO. Why ruin a political narrative?

There are loads of books and articles on the CORE/CTU events of the past few years. See if you see a mention of George and Substance -  a monthly newspaper and a presence in Chicago schools for 40 years - and a CORE supporter and promoter from the day the caucus was formed. Do ya think it had no impact on the growing influence of CORE? I only wish I had the means to keep up the Ed Notes copycat version of Substance, which I abandoned in 2005 after ICE formed.

Over the weekend I was gratified to find people from around the nation who read Ed Notes (thanks Francesca from New Mexico and Mel from Buffalo). I often find when I mention somethings reported on Ed Notes before anywhere else some of our local activists have no clue until they read it elsewhere. OK. I also expect that if one day someone tells the story of MORE, Ed Notes might also be missing from that narrative.

Call us both crotchety old men - searching for the truth often steps in political narratives. But when surrounded by my pals in the pic above I feel in a safe place and get less crotchety. I wish George had made it to Newark which is close to his home town in smelly Linden, NJ.

Here is George's report for today:
HISTORICAL FACT. CTU has always had "community support" during every strike. One of the histories I'll be putting into print in the next week is the fact that the Chicago Teachers Union has always had community support during our strikes. The termination of the 1987 strike was based on a false claim, actually, a conspiracy of the media (most notably Channel 5) and some slimy opportunists (most notable, Leon Finney) to make the claim that the "community" was demanding the strike end. In fact, that "community demonstration" in the background was in support of the union! I reported it at the time, and will re-report it soon. But please, let's not repeat some of the nonsense that has been around since the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 that CORE's unique contribution to CTU was finally gathering "community support." My first strike in 1971 had that, and I know of no strike after that where we did not have massive community support. But in order to clear our heads for what's ahead, we need to know history, not mythology. 

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