Jacobin magazine is not my favorite publication on the Left, mostly because it seems to have some spots where it is putting its layout editorial policy ahead of everything else, producing gorgeous magazines that sometimes seem to be all over the place ideologically. That said, they did a fantastic job this summer commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Union victory in the Civil War. Earlier this year, they released a short documentary titled THE SCHOOL CLOSURE PLAYBOOK that explains how the neoliberal charter school deformation of public education has been executed against Chicago.
Since then, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has entered one of the most politically treacherous waters since perhaps the 1968 Democratic Party Convention devolved into street fights between Mayor Daley’s militarized Chicago Police and thousands of anti-war protesters who were disgusted with the machinations of the pro-Vietnam War Hubert Humphrey. It seems unlikely that Emanuel will emerge unscathed from the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal. Yet regardless of what happens to one over-glorified and under-qualified Clinton-era political hitman who somehow tricked voters into electing him, we can be sure that the neoliberal teacher union-busting strategy he has implemented in Chicago is going to continue to be used across America, a strategy that sounds eerily familiar to those who watch the policies in Providence and other school districts in the Ocean State. In this sense, this video is a Christmas gift for local public school teachers. As the Chicago teachers prepare to go on strike again, thanks in no small part to the rise of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators in the ranks, we should see Chicago as both a warning and guide for strategy.