I’m giving everyone a chance to post on Marx until Wednesday AM (Those who’ve already written one post may write another one that covers different ground). It’s “open” as far as course material (Remember, try to address key concepts from Marx, i.e.: class, bourgeoisie, proletariat, forces of production, relations of production, capital, surplus value, alienation, labor theory of value, exploitation, class consciousness.) We’ll discuss capital, labor theory of value, surplus value (and profit), and exploitation on Wed., and then begin Durkheim.
In Chicago right now, we have an instance of labor struggle. Think about how Marx might assess the situation and the position of the union (e.g., how forcing teachers to spend the bulk of their time on test prep can be seen as de-skilling). Here’s an extended version of the strike announcement by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, where she describes what the teachers are striking over: Chicago Teachers Launch Strike for Better Pay, Benefits and Work Conditions.
More on the national political background: Chicago Teachers Strike Could Portend Referendum on Obama Admin’s Education Reform Approach
This Reuters article situates the Chicago teachers strike in the national context, and includes lots of important demographic statistics.
Chicago teachers walking picket lines on Monday, in a strike that has closed schools across the city, are taking on not just their combative mayor but a powerful education reform movement that is transforming public schools across the United States.