Monday night Chicago Teachers Union and Occupy Chicago protesters, along with some local residents, showed up in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood to protest converting 18 public schools into charter schools. While none of the schools considered for conversion are in the north-side neighborhood, these community organizers chose this location specifically because it is where Mayor Rahm Emanuel resides.
We asked several protesters the meaning of their signs and what brought them out to join the protest march. Many were quite pleasant and agreed to respond–despite being completely unaware of both the meaning and the names mentioned on the signs and stickers they held. There was one group in attendance, however, that responded to questioning with both defensiveness and aggression, directing their surprising hostility both at myself and another journalist on the scene.
After explaining who I was, a woman [see the video] began to follow me through the crowds, interrupting interviews I was conducting and instructing protesters not to participate. One of her companions confronted me as I was attempting to cover the event, and refused to respond when I asked his affiliation or give his name, as well as acknowledge any organizations he is a part of. After further research, we identified him as Dennis Kosuth, a socialist organizer and longtime member of the International Socialist Organization. Both became quite confrontational and continued to harass myself and the other citizen journalist on the scene for the duration of the protest.
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Other protest organizers as well as members of Occupy Chicago refused to disclose their affiliation with any organization, and refused to state their reasons for attending the protest. This gives rise to the question, what are the true intentions of the protest organizers? Clearly individuals are being used to convey a message they are not even able to accurately explain themselves, and when questioned, they are shielded by socialist organizers and members of Occupy Chicago from inquisitive journalists.
An eyewitness observer spoke with us off-camera and explained how they overheard some teachers bragging about the indoctrination system they have in place to bring new teachers in to support their cause. According to this source, new teachers are required by the union to attend protests and work on behalf of the union initiatives or they are ultimately forced out of teaching or fired.