'Chicago Teacher' music video joins 'Solidarity Forever' as an anthem of union and working class struggles

It's not often that a piece of music joins the canon quickly, but it's possible that the music video Chicago Teacher will become that in 2012. Across Chicago after the picket lines came down and the symphony of traffic horns ended on September 19, 2012, teachers and students were beginning to pressure schools to begin each school day with "Chicago Teacher." (The "Symphony," as Substance called it, were people hitting the horns of cars, buses, trucks, and even City of Chicago police cars and fire trucks during the seven day strike from Howard Street on the north to 135th St. on the south).

Although it's still less than a week since the suspension of the picket lines of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, the compilation of the creative work by teachers, students, and the supporters of the strike led by the Chicago Teachers Union is only beginning. Never has a working class struggle in the USA been so completely documented in thousands of different ways. And while the delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union were singing the traditional labor song "Solidarity Forever" as we left the House of Delegates meeting on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, a song that was beginning to join "Solidarity Forever" was making the rounds more and more. The URL for the best Pete Seeger version of the union song (with pictures of classic American strikes) is: com/watch?v=kYiKdJoSsb8

Rebel Diaz did "Chicago Teacher" during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012."Chicago Teacher," by the rapper Rebel Diaz, was being played more and more. The URL for Chicago Teacher is:

Leaders of CORE (the Caucus of Rank and File Educators) are planning to play both "Solidarity Forever" and "Chicago Teacher" at the beginning of the October 1 CORE meeting at Chicago's letter carriers union hall.

And with the Board of Education already planning to continue its massive privatization offensive against the city's public schools (a $56 million plan to privatize Early Childhood Education is on the Board's September 25 agenda), many teachers and parents are beginning to speculate that the Board is trying to sabotage the contract that was supposedly negotiated between the leaders of the teachers union and the Board. As late as September 23, Board representatives were still quibbling about the language of the final Tentative Contract, according to informed sources.


Pete Seeger has been a rebel for more than 90 years.SOLIDARITY FOREVER! By Ralph H. Chaplin (Tune: "John Brown's Body", "Battle Hymn of the Republic") Below are the four ‘main’ verses of the union song “Solidarity Forever”. Two other verses from the “original” have been deleted. These below are the ones usually sung. The original was first published in the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) “Little Red Song Book”. A favorite You Tube rendition of the song is sung by Pete Seeger with illustrations from the early history of the union movement in the USA, including general strikes and many of the most famous figures in the history of American labor The URL is:


When the Union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,

There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun.

Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?

But the Union makes us strong. CHORUS Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever! Solidarity forever! For the Union makes us strong.

It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade. Dug the mines and built the workshops; endless miles of railroad laid. Now we stand, outcast and starving, 'mid the wonders we have made; But the Union makes us strong. (Chorus) They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn. But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn. We can break their haughty power; gain our freedom when we learn That the Union makes us strong. (Chorus)

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold; Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousandfold. We can bring to birth the new world from the ashes of the old, For the Union makes us strong. (Chorus)



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