The significance of the Chicago teachers strikes lies in its winning combination of internal democracy, it’s militant approach and its refusal to kowtow to Obama and Emanuel, especially now while the circus of the two parties of management and the rich is underway. It was a very impressive strike because: 

1) We won and the children won. 

2) CTU was built as a democratic, anti-Democrat union

3) the Strike was a slap in the face for Union busting scabs like Emanuel and Obama. LABORNotes 09 07 2012 “As Chicago Teachers Head Toward Strike, Democrats Turn on Their Union – With Chicago teachers preparing to strike Monday, unionists say it’s a “which side are you on?” moment for Democrats. But Have Democrats abandoned teacher unions in their pursuit of a corporate-backed education overhaul? From the looks of the Democratic National Convention, it would seem so”. 

It’s the biggest strike since the 1997 teamsters strike against UPS and the series of regional strikes by the National Nurses Union. KC LABOR 09 18 2012 “Some important unions, such as National Nurses United, SEIU janitors, and Chicago Transit Authority ATU locals, have shown genuine solidarity with the teachers. So has Rev Jesse Jackson and other community allies. Early polls showed many more supporting the strikers than the Mayor.”   

4) They fought and won a battle to provide first class education for youth from the working class and people. “Chicago Mag.com 12 03 2011 “CTU President Karen Lewis: Race, Class at Center of Education Debate — The Waltons; Warren Buffett, by virtue of the fact that he’s given a lot of money to Bill Gates’ foundation; Eli Broad; all of these people who have been putting money and money and money into education. And all they come up with is, “Let’s just get rid of all the teachers; let’s have a national curriculum; let’s test people to death.” None of this stuff works; not only does it not work, it exacerbates the problem.… Standardized tests have been disguised as merit when they’re just ranking and sorting, and they’re disguising race and class privilege. We don’t want to have those discussions….. We don’t have honest discussions about education in this country because we don’t want to have honest discussions about race and class.”

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Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis