Ethnic cleansing is considered by some to be too harsh a term to use for the school closings in Chicago being performed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his financial supporters. Ethnic cleansing goes well beyond bigotry and prejudice. It reeks of racial and ethnic undertones, murder, vast wealth accumulation, enforced poverty, inflicted suffering, mass territorial shifts, erasure of cultural history and other vile behavior. But, this is precisely what appears to be happening.
Why would anyone do this to human beings? The answers are simply power and money.
Lots of power and lots of money.
Imagine a city where public mental health clinics, libraries, youth services, schools and other essential services are simply closed and neighborhoods made uninhabitable while the publicly elected officials grant hundreds of millions of tax dollars to the wealthy financiers of their campaign funds. “Starve the Beast” is the book definition for this form of legalized graft and corruption. Now, don’t imagine. In fact, this is Chicago, today.
The vast majority of schools scheduled or already closed are in poor black and brown neighborhoods that sit on land that is marked for gentrification and/or new railroad yards. The same people who are pressing for public school closings are heavily invested in real estate development and privatized (public tax money paid to private profit) charter schools. Some of these same people even give the new charter schools their own names, as narcissistic as that may seem.
What’s in a name? History and identity.
As an example, here is a list of honorees celebrated during Black History Month: Jesse Owens, Crispus Atticus, Mary McLeod Bethune, Garrett A. Morgan, Mahalia Jackson, Arna Wendell Bontemps, Matthew Henderson, Marcus Garvey, Benjamin Banneker, Louis Armstrong, and Robert Henry Lawrence. From the first black man killed in the Boston Massacre to the first black astronaut. These are also the names of the schools scheduled for closing. HERE.
Close those schools and cultural history is destroyed. Name the new charter schools after their wealthy investors, and history is being revised.
Erasing history and culture borders on being a war crime in the ongoing onslaught for land sold at incredible markdowns – often for a mere percentage of back taxes alone.
Borders on. Why? As the powers that be are the governing body, who would prosecute whom for what?
Rahm Emanuel is governing the forces overseeing the largest youth murder spree in the nation. Horrific. Is the entire Chicago Police Force incapable of alleviating the numbers of youth murders even though the Police were totally capable in keeping world leaders safe during the last NATO Conference? That is very hard to believe.
Two notable Chicago charter school names and the people whose names they bear are Penny Pritzker and Bruce Rauner.
Penny Pritzker, billionaire heiress to the Hyatt fortunes, was appointed by Rahm Emanuel to the Board of Education for the Chicago Public Schools. Appointed, not elected. She strongly supports school closings even as she proudly invests in the charter schools which benefit by the tax money taken from public schools and granted to the charter. There are, of course, other public tax incentives that provide additional profit for charters. Her Pritzker College Prep (HERE) offers not only a school library and art and P.E. and music but also has sports and clubs for Ultimate Frisbee (for boys), cheerleading (for girls) and, of course, Rugby. (All of these and more had already been cut from the public schools prior to having them declared as failing schools. None of those schools ever had Rugby.)
Penny has stepped down as a School Board member ever since her scandalous demand regarding her property taxes; they were, of course, lowered to her demand level. She also needs to clear her slate temporarily if she expects to be appointed Secretary of Commerce of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Rauner College Prep charter school (HERE.) is operated under the auspices of Bruce Rahner who openly brags verbally and in writing about “wearing an $18 watch and riding a Harley.” His school, however, offers Latin classes, a supportive small school environment, Marine Corps ROTC, and Robotics – none of which was offered in Chicago’s closed schools whose student bodies included 2,865 homeless children whose futures are uncertain.
Now, about Bruce and his companies –
“Former Chairman of private equity firm GTRC where he and his partners helped form and finance the growth of over 200 companies in diverse industries including business services, technology, and healthcare. Bruce is the current Chairman of the Education Committee of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, Co-Chairman of the Chicago-China Initiative, Chairman of ACT Charter School, and Past Chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund.” HERE.
“GTRC LLC is a private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout, leveraged recapitalization, growth capital and rollup transactions… The firm principally invests in high-growth industries, including business services and outsourcing…” HERE. Bruce also plans to run for Illinois governor.
(By the way, The Commercial Club of Chicago is a private club of billionaires and multimillionaires who are behind the attempted pillaging of teacher pension funds in both Chicago and the entire State of Illinois. Public school children and elderly retired teachers have been targeted by this wealthy organization.)
Disclaimer: None of this information and none of the above mentioned people are engaged in anything that – today – would be considered by most as illegal.
On the other hand, here is the definition of Ethnic Cleansing.
“Ethnic cleansing is the process or policy of eliminating unwanted ethnic or religious groups by deportation, forcible displacement, mass murder, or by threats of such acts, with the intent of creating a territory inhabited by people of a homogeneous or pure ethnicity, religion, culture, and history. Ethnic cleansing usually involves attempts to remove physical and cultural evidence of the targeted group in the territory through the destruction of homes, social centers, farms, and infrastructure, and by the desecration of monuments, cemeteries, and places of worship.” HERE.