Ashley Judd: Kentucky’s Joan of Arc?

ashley judd

Berry Craig: If movie star Ashley Judd runs for the senate in Kentucky she’ll likely find friends among Bluegrass State voters who pack union cards.

Rich Klimmer: Pride of the American Working Class

chalkboard

Mark Naison: Richie, a tough, working class kid from Chicago who had played basketball at Marquette, approached this campaign as if it might be the last of his life because, in fact, it was.

America’s War on Teachers

striking teachers

Mark Naison: One question we must ask is why this campaign has acquired such strong bipartisan support and why the public has not spoken out more against it.

Why Teachers Must Become Community Organizers and Justice Fighters

occupy lausd

Mark Naison: Teacher Activists must put forth a vision of Radical Democracy which envisions an education which empowers students as critical thinkers and agents of historical change, not just as obedient test takers and which envisions schools playing a central role in neighborhoods united and mobilized to get a fair share of the nation’s resources.

Who Says It’s Not About Destroying Unions?

Frances Perkins

Stanley Kutler: For those with a historical animus against the organizating and advancement of labor, the current strife in Wisconsin and other states offers a happy prospect for the resurrection of a dismal past of exploitation and the re-creation of a downtrodden working class.

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Author Spotlight: Berry Craig

berry craig

As that rare bird—a union-card-carrying, left-leaning NASCAR fan—Berry Craig brings four strong threads to his writing for the LA Progressive: Years working as a daily newspaper reporter and opinion columnist, a full career as a college history professor, strong attachment to his Kentucky roots, and deep involvement in union organizing.

Fetishizing School Chiefs Hurts Kids

Cathleen Black, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Randy Shaw: Unfortunately, the media’s excessive and irrational devotion to school chiefs as saviors for the nation’s schools ignores the reality that no school chief, can overcome inadequate school funding by running schools like corporate turnaround specialists, and fetishizing their importance distracts from schools’ real needs. Education seems to be the only field where rising to the top requires no experience. Careers spent in the profit-driven corporate world are now identified as the best backgrounds for public school leadership.

Billionaires Unite! (Against Public Education and Teachers)

teacher and student

Shamus Cooke: If the teachers’ unions combined with other public sector unions, parent associations, and the community at large to demand fully funded public education by taxing the rich, the billionaires would find themselves without allies. Their money might then be put towards something useful.

Are Teachers and Democrats Headed for Divorce?

Randi Weingarten

Shamus Cooke: The Democrats continue on the road to corporate-inspired charter schools, using the tried and true method of “stronger teacher evaluations” to undermine “underperforming” schools and teachers — thus opening the door wide to private charter schools with their non-union workforce.

When Teachers Unions Back War Escalations

troops

David Swanson: There is nothing altruistic in the idea of peace activists helping workers and the unemployed here at home. That’s how you build a movement for any political end, and that’s how you keep our young people from becoming cannon fodder.

Tea Baggers and “Populist Anger”

Berry Craig

Berry Craig: The Tea Baggers have bought into Social Darwinism, the 19th century gospel of the rich and powerful that extolled the “free market” as almost divinely inspired. “God gave me my money,” Rockefeller said. Social Darwinists said if you’re poor and powerless, it’s your own fault. Some Tea Baggers feel that way about health care. “YOUR HEALTH YOUR PROBLEM,” said another sign at a Tea Bagger rally.

Labor Movement Backs UNITE HERE Against SEIU Raids

Photo by Virginia Blaisdell.

In a dramatic blow to SEIU’s efforts to raid UNITE HERE members and jurisdictions, 15 of the nation’s leading unions pledged Monday to provide UNITE HERE with “material and moral” support. Before a wildly cheering and upbeat crowd of 700, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee denounced SEIU for the “poaching” of UNITE HERE, and for engaging [...]

Teachers Union Stands with Students for Obama

The student movement meets the new labor movement in the classroom. “How do we make democracy stronger?” community college instructor Salvador Sanchez posed to the room crowded with more students than chairs. By the end of the day, all the students stood loudly chanting “Yes, we can!” as Sanchez (pictured here) writes their paper assignment [...]

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