'We're not going to tolerate this Robber Baron behavior...' Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says on ten-minute video of the massive October 10 Chicago protest

October 2011 will be marked in history as one of those turning points. By the time Chicago turned out more than 10,000 people against the billionaires and their government, Occupy Wall Street and others had set the tone for a new decade. But how to report and analyze this as "news"?

The "Take Back Chicago" banner, one of five, filled Jackson Blvd. as the "schools" feeder march headed east past the two federal buildings towards Michigan Ave. on October 10, 2011. Substance photo by John Kugler.As we learned early and again often during the massive mobilizations and protests against the imperial war in Vietnam a lifetime ago, it's impossible for reporters to completely cover any really big event. Whether it was the mobilizations against the Vietnam War or the nationwide protests such as "Armed Farces Day" (which shut down military bases around the world as soldiers and others in the military joined the anti-war movements across the globe by the thousands), news had to come from a thousand points. The best we can do is get a piece of it accurately and with as much truth as we can. That was true when I was writing about the "G.I. Movement" that ended the Vietnam War from inside what was called the "Belly of the Beast" and it is now true in 2011, as millions of people surge against the empire and those who profit from it. Also, who is to set a value on a protest by 100 people in Junction City Kansas (at Fort Reilly Kansas, home of the first Infantry Division) or in Clarksville, Tennessee (down the street from Fort Campbell, Kentucky home of the 101st Airborne Division) while a half million people are doing a simultaneous protest in Sheep's Meadow in New York City? It was all part of the growing movement, and each piece was a big job to organize and part of something even bigger.

One of the highlights of the "schools" feeder march was the Morgan Park High School Marching Band, which lent both music and energy to the march as it came down Jackson Blvd. and went north on Michigan Ave. Substance photo by John Kugler.By October 10, 2011, we were clearly at that point again. Just as we were going to stop "Too big to fail" (either in finance or in politics), so also were we no longer saying "Too small to notice." While "Occupy Wall Street" and "Take Back Chicago" were huge, Occupy Brownsville was just as important, as everyone agreed (except, maybe, pundits in the corporate media and some hard core CEOs). And now, not so suddenly, the outbursting for democracy and freedom is back and in the streets. In Chicago today, we have the latest and one of the greatest examples: Chicago's Labor Beat has finished producing and released its video of the protest in Chicago on October 10, 2011, that drew more than 10,000 people to five feeder marches finally ending outside the Art Institute of Chicago to protest the presence in Chicago of some of the robber barons who currently prey on the world and its people. There are already hundreds of stories and reports on what happened in downtown Chicago on October 10, 2011, but this is one of the best from brothers and sisters who have been covering our struggles during the dark days while a new generation was preparing to launch itself on the stage of history.

A key role in the marches was played by the marshalls, who had to give people some direction while allowing the spontaneity of democracy full play. Above, some of the schools marshalls on Monroe St. between the marchers in the middle of the street and the Chicago Police Dept. cavalry behind. Substance photo by John Kugler.The URL for the video, for those who can't click to the link in the paragraph above, is:

Of course, we are not alone, and we are not the first, so for a second, a diversion to one forgotten piece of our same and shared histories.

[Those who wish to learn about how the Vietnam War really ended — with what amounted to a general strike of the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who were supposed to be fighting that war — can get a copy of the video "Sir No Sir!" but that's another story for another time about another chapter in our peoples' history that has been covered up by our ruling class. Those who don't want to get a copy of the video can watch the trailer. And those who are members of the staff of Substance can see the original documents that begin the trailer, the collage of logos from the G.I. underground press that fill the screen in the first minutes of that video. Substance provided those to the makers of "Sir No Sir" because Substance is the heir of that movement and the reporters of Substance are in that rough tradition of advocacy journalist. We will have a brief discussion of that historical material at the beginning of the September 22 meeting of the Substance staff. The link to the "Sir No Sir! trailer, for those who can't get a hotlink, is].

Today, in 2011, that movement for justice, interrupted but never suppressed, continues, and the challenges of creating and sharing our history as we make it is as great as ever, despite all the advances of communications and "new media." But we cannot forget how much we have been told not to know, and how much of our own history has been left out by the spin of corporate media and corporate history. Soem of the more than 10,000 people who protested in downtown Chicago on October 10, 2011. Above, the marchers filled Monroe Street on the north side of the Art Institute of Chicago while American millionaires and billionaires partied inside. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.In a way, the "Sixties" began with the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1956 and "ended" somewhere around the liberation of Siagon in 1975. In other words, it was a decade that lasted for a generation, and era of liberation and historical confrontations with powers, from white supremacy to patriarchy, and those confrontations resulted in an expansion of freedom for people just as previous eras had in previous times. One of the questions not answered in the history books is "How did the Vietnam War end?" For some of us, the answer is: It ended when the soldiers went on strike. And because that fact is so threatening to empire, it has to be erased from the history books that are prepared for children of future generations. Instead of being asked to visit veterans hospitals on the various military holidays (July 4, Veterans Day, Memorial Day), children are offered copies of "Atlas Shrugged" and the chance to "win" essay contests on the most vicious propaganda created during the years of reaction. With billions of dollars to devote to brainwashing, the ruling class will offer copies of one or two books (for "free") to schools without book budgets. And that is happening right now, and has been for a quarter century.

And then, in September and October 2011, from Occupy Wall Street to October 10 Chicago, it all shifts. And now, we have the personal history of the past couple of years to share, plus the visual, audio and written histories of October 10, 2011, Chicago. In 1970, 1971, and 1972, amazing things were happening in the cause of justice and democracy, a lot of which were carefully erased from the history books as "entreprenuersbhip" and the gospel of "Atlas Shrugged" were pushed on a generation of Americans. Today, again, justice is breaking out all over, and on such a scale that no one could do justice to every piece of them. Today, in 2011, from Chicago to Wall Street to Tahir Square and beyond, the spirit of democracy is raging across the world, and the best we can do is try and keep up a little. But during such times, we also have help from our brothers and sisters, and one of the stalwarts of that has been "Labor Beat," a Chicago news service that goes back almost as far as Substance. So now we have the latest and one of the greatest examples: Chicago's Labor Beat has finished producing and released its video of the protest in Chicago on October 10, 2011, that drew more than 10,000 people to five feeder marches finally ending outside the Art Institute of Chicago to protest the presence in Chicago of some of the robber barons who currently prey on the world and its people.

The video is available now at:

In their brief introduction to the video, Labor Beat writes:

Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share

Watch it on YouTube

On Oct. 10, 2011, a combination of five feeder marches gathered in Chicago's Loop to protest the Futures & Options and American Mortgage Bankers Association expos. The feeders represented constituencies for jobs, housing, and public schools. They generated a combined march of 7,000, and finally ended up at the Art Institute where the banksters were having a reception dinner. Here are selected scenes and comments from a big spectrum of interests affected by the dictatorship of capital being forced upon the workers of Chicago. Includes the march for homes/housing starting from the Hyatt, the Occupy Chicago location where the teachers union gathered, and the final convergence at the Art Institute. Street interviews. Also, interview/speech by Karen Lewis, President of Chicago Teachers Union.

Nearly two minutes of the video are the words of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, whose transformative leadership of the 30,000-member union has helped catalyze the protest movements now igniting across Chicago. The Chicago Teachers Union helped lead one of the five "feeder" marches that fed into Michigan Ave. in Chicago ending on Monroe Street, which was filled with the protestors as the sun set on October 10.


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