'Stand Up Chicago! joins with 'Occupy Chicago' against corporate arrogance and greed... Thousands protest on Columbus Day in Chicago

Thousands of people fanned out across various locations in downtown Chicago as part of protests against Chicago's corporations and the ways in which the city is being destroyed by corporate rule and corporate greed. The protests converged on the Art Institute of Chicago, where corporate heads were holding a confab. Protesters gathered at five downtown locations and challenged holiday evening traffic on Michigan Ave. and other streets. They marched to a reception at the Art Institute of Chicago sponsored by the "Futures Industry Association", held in the the Art Institute's "Modern Wing."

Many of the signs along Jackson Blvd. were from the Chicago Teachers Union, as CTU members wore their union red for the day. On Jackson, the police closed the street so the marchers, who numbered in the thousands, could get to Michigan Ave. The march was to end at the Art Institute of Chicago, where a group of bankers and brokers were holding a social event. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.The organizers viewed it as "five fingers" (the 5 rallies) meeting up in a FIST in front of the CEOs at the Art Institute. This article will be compiled from several sources, since the marches and the events of the day were too large for any one reporter to cover completely. After the Substance report, we will cover the ways in which corporate media portrayed the events of October 11, 2011.

The October 10, 2011, marches were part of the movement and protests that had begun in Chicago earlier. (These included the protests against the Chicago Board of Education's June 22, 2011 meeting and the earlier War Are One! protests on April 9, 2011. For those following the history, the URL for the June 22 teachers' protest is§ion=Article and the URL for the earlier We Are One! protest is:§ion=Article ).

While the bankers and brokers partied inside, the people held a sit-in on Monroe Street at the Art Institute. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Most of the teachers who assembled for the protests began their afternoon near the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, at LaSalle and Jackson a block south of the headquarters of Chicago Public Schools. The different feeder marches were scheduled to converge on the Art Institute, just as an earlier group of marches had converged at the Regency Hyatt Hotel.

When the group from the Federal Reserve moved out, many of the signs along Jackson Blvd. were from the Chicago Teachers Union, and CTU members wore their union red for the day. On Jackson, the police closed the street so the marchers who filled it from LaSalle to State St. and beyond. The marchers numbered in the thousands, all heading to Michigan Ave. The march was to end at the Art Institute of Chicago, where a group of bankers and brokers were holding a social event.

Throughout the march, there were a thousand stories to tell, and no one report can do justice to what is growing in Chicago and across the USA. The teachers, who have been marching for the past two years and have escalated their protests since Mayor Rahm Emanuel set out to bust the Chicago Teachers Union almost immediately following his May 16 inauguration, were among the most spirited at the march. And the public schools were also represented by students and parents.

One highlight was the Morgan Park "Mustangs" marching band, which played along the way, recalling the contribution of the King High School marching band a few months earlier. Some observers wondered what it will be like when a dozen high school bands assemble on Clark St. below the windows of the headquarters of Chicago Public Schools to protest the privatization and union busting agendas of the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education appointed by Emanuel, and the expensive new leadership "team" now operating the schools under "Chief Executive Officer" Jean-Claude Brizard.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was one of the people who spoke to the crowd. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Already many are talking about an "Occupy CPS" day for October 26, the date of the next meeting of the Chicago Board of Education at 125 S. Clark St. The members of the Board of Education appointed by Rahm Emanuel don't even pretend to support democratic public schools, and one of them is Penny Pritzker, the billionaire plutocrat who is on the Board of Directors of Hyatt Hotels. Pritzker has voted at every Board meeting since June 15 to rubber stamp the proposals coming from the Brizard administration.

Protestors on October 10, 2011, in Chicago were taking on the sacred texts of Market Capitalism ("The Invisible Hand Belongs to a Thief" references Adam Smith's fiction that the "market" is governed by an "invisible hand" which sets things right by pricing according to demand — which stops being viable as soon as monopolies and oligopolies become standard...) and the symbols on American currency. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.The following groups (an incomplete list!) were present as seen by Substance reporters with signs or t-shirts: Grassroots Collaborative; Action Now; Chicago Teachers Union; CORE; Teachers for Social Justice; Albany Park Neighborhood Council (*great t-shirt/ahead); Illinois Hunger Coalition; Brighton Park Neighborhood Council; National Nurses United; Occupy Chicago; Jobs With Justice; International Socialist Organizations; Morgan Park High School Marching Band; Wellington Avenue UCC; Northside P.O.W.E.R.; Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; United Building Maintenance; Soul in Chicago; National People's Action; SEIU Local 729; SEIU Healthcare; U.S. Postal Workers; and Machinists Local 126.

There were three coordinated protests on October 10. The Chicago Teachers Union members were most active in the protest that focused on the schools. The "Schools Marches" began at the Chicago Board of Trade (Jackson & LaSalle) and declared (according to a CTU press release: "The Chicago Teachers Union is Taking Back Our Schools from politically connected developers, pseudo school reformers and people who want to destroy public education in Chicago. Our students deserve a world class education — one that includes a rich, broad coherent curriculum, adequate facilities, appropriate funding, ample resources and qualified professionals in the classrooms. Join our members as we march against corporate greed, political indifference and misplaced public policy. Additional protests have been announced for the week of October 10 as follows:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel deployed hundreds of police to protect corporate heads form protestors in Chicago on October 10, 2011. Above, Chicago Teachers Union members (red shirts) are among the thousands arrayed adjacent to the Art Institute during the protest as the sun set on Columbus Day. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Monday, October 10, 2011

Mass Mobilization

@4PM: Jobs March

Federal Plaza @ Adams/Dearborn

Daley Plaza @ Washington/Dearborn

@4PM: Homes March

Hyatt Regency @ Wacker/Stetson

@4PM: Schools March

Hilton Chicago @ Balbo/Michigan

Chicago Board of Trade @ Jackson/LaSalle

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take Back Our Homes

By the time the marches began to join at the Art Institute (above), there were several thousand people on the march. Crowd estimates were almost impossible because of the various feeder marches. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Take Back Our Schools

A banner proclaiming on of the major themes of the action — "Topple The Pyramid" — was unfurled from a building across the street from the Art Institute, inspiring the huge crowd. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Thursday, October 13, 2011

Take Back Our Jobs!

For those who needed and explanation, the "Pyramid" in "Topple the Pyramid" is the Pyramid of Wealth and Poverty that currently depicts the reality of life in the USA, with the 99 percent at the bottom and the plutocracy on the top. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.CHICAGO SUN-TIMES ARTICLE POSTED ON THE EVENING OF OCTOBER 10 IS BELOW HERE:

Marchers heading down Jackson Blvd towards the Art Institute and the plutocrats' soiree. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.As men and women in evening wear sipped cocktails behind a high glass wall at the Art Institute of Chicago, a crowd in the thousands stood outside, chanting “Shame! Shame!” and hoisting signs denouncing corporate greed.

The “Stand Up Chicago” marchers came in five downtown streams Monday afternoon, converging into a river of frustration, anger and dissatisfaction outside the Art Institute’s Modern Wing, where a reception was being held for the Futures Industry Association, which is holding its annual Chicago Expo.

“People are mad as hell at these financial organizations that wrecked the economy, that caused this whole mess,” said Catherine Murrell, a spokeswoman for Stand Up Chicago, which counts some 20 Chicago community groups among its members. “They broke the economy, they played with it like it was a toy. It’s something you teach your children — you break it, you pay for it.”

Murrell said protesters numbered around 7,000, with groups of teachers, healthcare workers, college students and others reaching the Art Institute from five downtown locations. Police put the crowd size at about 3,000 people, and reported only minor crowd control issues. Charges were pending Monday night against one individual for battery to a police officer, police said.

In addition, 24 people were cited for being on the roadway, police said.

As the chanting marchers made their way south along Michigan Avenue toward Monroe and the Art Institute, they held up signs that read, “Banks Got Bailed, Englewood Got Sold Out,” and “Stop Greedy A--holes!” Even though traffic came to a halt on stretches of Michigan Avenue to accommodate the protesters, most folks did not seem to mind, including cabbie Samson Obadunke.

“I’m upset too,” Obadunke said. “We should do more of this [protesting]. If we got more jobs, more people would take my cab.”

As the protesters converged in the middle of Monroe outside the Art Institute, a kind of frenzied drumming began, with chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!” echoing up to the third floor, Terzo Piano restaurant, where guests mingled. Some guests peered down at the chanting masses and took photographs with their cell phones.

As a woman in high heels and cocktail dress headed into the art museum, a protester yelled: “The wine is cheap, just like your soul!”

The partygoer did not respond. Another protester then shrieked, “Save yourself now — you don’t have to go in there!”

By about 6:15 p.m., police had begun to clear protesters from Monroe, and the crowds began to disperse.

Murrell declared the protest a “wonderful” success.

“I started crying when I saw everyone come together — there is so much positive energy and hope,” Murrell said.

Murrell said her organization hopes to enact a tax on high-risk financial transactions that she says could raise $1.4 billion and generate 40,000 jobs.


By Erin Meyer and Carlos Sadovi, Tribune reporters

October 11, 2011

Chicago teacher Margeaux Temeltas was among several thousand demonstrators who marched through downtown streets Monday, the latest in a series of protests across the country that have targeted economic equality.

One of the highlights of the march was the contribution of the Morgan Park High School marching band, seen above (in part) at the corner of Michigan and Jackson as the teacher march made its turn north. Substance photo by Susan Zupan."My students are under-educated," said Temeltas, who teaches at Orr Academy High School on the West Side. "Their parents are unemployed and losing their homes to foreclosure."

The demonstration was organized by Stand Up Chicago, a coalition of some 20 community groups and organizations that want "to reclaim our jobs, our homes and our schools," according to the group's website.

"We are here to restore economic equality," said Phillip Mueller, 73, who said he was a Vietnam veteran from northwest Indiana. "We are not sold on one or two issues. It's about a lot of problems."

Protesters gathered at five downtown locations and snarled evening traffic as they marched toward a gathering at Monroe Drive and Michigan Avenue, next to the Art Institute of Chicago. The march was timed to coincide with a reception of the Futures Industry Association in the museum's Modern Wing.

A large contingent organized by the Chicago Teachers Union crowded the plaza outside the Chicago Board of Trade before marching east on Jackson Boulevard.

"For teachers, all of these (economic) issues are connected," said Elizabeth Parisian, spokeswoman for Stand Up Chicago. "It's a matter of money moving out of our neighborhoods and into the hands of these bankers."

As the sun was setting, the marchers neared the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Ave. where the Plutocrats were playing. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Teacher Pablo Tinajero, 24, said he was marching in opposition to the longer school day being pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others.

In New York on Monday, music mogul Russell Simmons and the Rev. Al Sharpton lent their celebrity to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has galvanized those who feel marginalized nationwide. Occupy Chicago supported the march Monday but kept a presence in the Loop's financial district.

On Sunday, police in Des Moines, Iowa, arrested 30 adults and took two juveniles into custody during a protest against economic inequality.

Stand Up Chicago wants a $1.4 billion tax levied on trading at the city's biggest financial exchanges to fund a jobs program.

Calling CME Group Inc. and CBOE Holdings Inc. "giant casinos" that fuel the kind of "excessive risk-taking" it says brought on the financial crisis, the group is floating a 25-cent-per-contract tax on the two exchanges.

A CME spokesman declined to comment on the proposal. A CBOE spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

The Mortgage Bankers Association also was meeting in Chicago on Monday. The association's chief executive officer, David Stevens, warned members of the planned protest during a morning session and urged them not to "engage or confront" the protesters.

When all of the protesters came together shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, they filled Monroe from Michigan to Columbus Drive, chanting as people on the Nichols Bridgeway snapped photographs of the scene.

At one point, marchers turned their attention to a group that was drinking wine while watching the demonstration from inside the Art Institute.

"Look at them. They are laughing at us," said Morese Logan, 49, holding a banner that read "Take Back Chicago."

Police worked to disperse the crowd and keep protesters on the sidewalk. At least one protester was taken away by police after confronting officers. Police said they made one arrest for battery to a police officer.

Eventually, protesters began cooperating with police and cleared out of the street by about 6:30 p.m.


October 11, 2011 at 8:32 PM

By: J. Whitfield

The Sit In & Housekeeping

Nice to see the march end up where it did.

That is, right in front of the entrance where those in housekeeping at the Art Institute and other workers enter and leave.

Much injustice there folks, where some women receive less pay than men doing the same thing. Others that have had no raise in a decade making barely $10. / hr. Oops I have to go pick up Fatima in holusekeeping, who gets off at 8pm.

She has been working there since 6 am. Can you imagine that?

October 11, 2011 at 11:31 PM

By: John Kugler

Rahm's 'More agile bureaucratic structure'???

The merger of special units and the combined Police and Fire headquarters at 35th and Michigan will create a “more agile bureaucratic structure” that Emanuel called unprecedented.

This is from rahmbos press release of his budget tonight. What an asshole. This guy is a one man wrecking machine.

October 11, 2011 at 11:37 PM

By: John Kugler

Da scoop

nice comment on second city cop about rahmbos budget


Da scoop is anyone one with clout will come out smelling like a rose. They can gerrymander all they want but the folks who have a "Chinaman" will stay happy. Everyone else will get screwed. Emmanuel keeps trying to fix the financial disaster Daley left behind. All we see is Richie looking rested and laughing a lot. The only scowl we have seen is when the media was poking around about Maggie's after school programs. I didn't see any mention about putting some of those TIF funds into the pension system. The city owes us countless millions. Will we ever see it? I doubt it.

10/11/2011 03:33:00 PM

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