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Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity

“An indispensable account ... Uetricht explains why the struggle of teachers in Chicago should matter to all of us.” – Liza Featherstone

The Chicago Teachers Union strike was the most important domestic labor struggle so far this century—and perhaps for the last forty years—and the strongest challenge to the conservative agenda for restructuring education, which advocates for more charter schools and tying teacher salaries to standardized testing, among other changes.

The teachers took on the bipartisan, free market school reform agenda that is currently exacerbating inequality in education and waging war on teachers' livelihoods. In the age of austerity, when the public sector is under attack, Chicago teachers fought back—and won.

The strike was years in the making. Chicago teachers spent a long time building a grassroots movement to educate and organize the entire union membership. They stood up against hostile mayors, billionaire-backed reformers out to destroy unions, and even their own intransigent union leadership, to take militant action. The Chicago protest has become a model for how reforms to the school system can be led by teachers and communities. It offers inspiration for workers looking to create democratic, fighting unions. Strike for America is the story of this movement and how it triumphed in the defining struggle for workers today.

Reviews

  • “Indefatigable reporting and elegant writing backed by an erudite command of the relevant history, and by precious on-the-ground experience as an organizer. Uetricht’s first book establishes him as the most exciting young labor writer today.”
  • “A short, accessible guide to one of the most important and inspiring events of our time.”
  • “A wonderfully readable, smart account of the CTU’s transformation into a democratic, militant union that with its community partners took on Chicago and the nation’s power elite.”
  • “An indispensable account of a strike that was badly misconstrued and underreported by the mainstream media. Uetricht not only tells the story lucidly, but explains why the struggle of teachers in Chicago should matter to all of us.”
  • “A read to sustain all of us who continue to fight for the next victory for education justice and for those who want a vision to fight for.”

Blog

  • Like Strikes, the CTU Is Still Relevant: Incessant Praise for Uetricht's Strike for America



    With a rave review by CTU striker Marilena Marchetti published today in the Socialist Worker, Micah Uetricht's book Strike for America continues to garner diverse and enthusiastic press coverage for its portrayal of the Chicago Teacher's Union strike in 2012.

    Marchetti's piece combines a thoughtful analysis of the book with an inspiring account of her own experience on the picket line, and confirms Uetricht's description of the support that the striking CTU received from the greater-Chicago community.

    From large general-interest publications such as Salon, to literary outlets like Lit/Rant, to radical publications like the International Socialist Network, which insisted that "every trade unionist and socialist worth their salt should read this book," the Internet has been abuzz about Strike for America.  

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  • Interns, Occupiers, and Strikers: A May Day 2014 Reading List



    The 1st of May marks International Workers' Day, a festival of working-class self-organization stretching back over 130 years. It was originally inaugurated to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago, where a bomb thrown during a worker's strike kicked off a period of anti-labor hysteria.

    In 1890, the first internationally coordinated demonstration for an 8-hour day was held, in commemoration of those killed in the massacre. Eight anarchists were executed on trumped-up charges after the event.

    Here, Verso staff present an updated reading list for May Day. Since first posting the list a few years back, we've added some of our recent titles that trace the changing nature of work and the labor movements in the U.S. and around the world. 

    All books listed are available for direct purchase from our site at discounts of 40% off paperbacks, 30% off hardcovers, and 50% off ebooks, with free shipping, and ebooks bundled with your print purchase where available. 

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