WBEZ | boycott http://www.wbez.org/tags/boycott Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois advancing measure to divest in companies boycotting Israel http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-advancing-measure-divest-companies-boycotting-israel-112037 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/State-Capitol-Front-1_WBEZ_Tim-Akimoff_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An international movement to boycott Israeli companies is prompting Illinois state lawmakers to react. Legislators are advancing a measure, which has the support of Gov. Bruce Rauner, that would prevent state pension funds from supporting those who are boycotting Israel.</p><p>&ldquo;We, as a state, are making an affirmative statement that if you&rsquo;re going to boycott Israel, an ally of the United States, a democracy in the Middle East, then we are going to divest from you,&rdquo; said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), who&rsquo;s a sponsor of the bill.</p><p>Feigenholtz advanced the proposal out of the House Executive Committee Wednesday with unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans. It still needs approval from the full House of Representatives. Last month, the proposal passed the Senate on a vote of 49-0, with three senators voting Present.</p><p>The bill calls for the creation, and monitoring, of a list of companies that boycott Israel so the state pension funds would know not to invest in those companies. Divesting is seen as an economic strategy to put economic pressures on those entities that aren&rsquo;t in line with U.S. -- or Illinois -- policies.</p><p>State pension funds already divest in companies that have ties to Iran and Sudan. Feigenholtz explained to lawmakers this week that adding companies that boycott Israel to Illinois&rsquo; divestment strategy would further align the State of Illinois&rsquo; policies with the United States&rsquo; foreign policies. Two years ago, state lawmakers failed in their attempt to create another divestment strategy in which the Illinois would cut ties with gun manufacturers in hopes those companies would be motivated to get on board with gun control measures.</p><p>&ldquo;We need to do our part to stand up to anti-Semitism, whenever and however it appears,&rdquo; Rauner said in a written statement about the bill.</p><p>With unanimous support from lawmakers so far, criticism of the bill has come mostly from individuals or groups watching the politically-charged debate involving Israel. Reema Ahmad lives in Chicago&rsquo;s Rogers Park neighborhood, and testified against the bill in a House of Representatives committee Wednesday.</p><p>&ldquo;It politicizes our pension systems,&rdquo; Ahmad said after the vote. &ldquo;International politics, regardless of how you feel about issues in the Middle East, have no place in our state politics and much less within our pension system. We need to get our own house in order.&rdquo;</p><p>Ahmad referred to a recent Supreme Court decision that rejected lawmakers&rsquo; attempts to restructure the retirement benefits of state employees. The now-defunct law was legislators years-long effort to save the state estimated billions toward its $100 billion pension debt.</p><p>Dave Urbanek, with the Teachers Retirement System, one of the pension funds potentially affected by this legislation, said they&rsquo;d not yet done an analysis of how much of the fund, if any, is invested in companies that boycott Israel. He said if the bill is passed, and signed by the governor, a monitoring board would have to comb through about $45 billion in investment assets for the teachers fund alone. Another pension fund for state university workers has more than $17 billion in investments. And it&rsquo;s not yet clear what mechanisms would be put in place for the pension funds to identify the companies that are in fact boycotting Israel.</p><p>But another critic of the measure warns that Illinois lawmakers are establishing policy based on recent high-profile efforts to boycott companies that do business in Israel. On its <a href="http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro">website</a>, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement defines itself as &ldquo;a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.&rdquo; It encourages the use of &ldquo;various forms of boycotts against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law,&rdquo; which includes, &ldquo;ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;While it doesn&rsquo;t directly affect the rights of individuals in the U.S. to engage in boycotts themselves, it does create a chilling effect,&rdquo; Dima Khalidi, the director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support in Chicago, said of the bill in Springfield.</p><p>Khalidi defended the BDS movement as being motivated by human rights, and denies the protests against Israel are anti-Semitic in nature. She also criticized the scope of the proposal that&rsquo;s awaiting a full House vote, saying the bill includes language to not only divest in companies boycotting Israel, but also those that take economic action against companies &ldquo;in territories controlled by the State of Israel,&rdquo; according to language in Senate Bill 1761.</p><p>&ldquo;It applies to companies that not only boycott Israeli companies, but companies that operate within the occupied territory,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It does have important implications for what is considered Israel.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois lawmakers have acknowledged the proposal before them is a response to companies that take part in the BDS movement.</p><p><em>Alexandra Salomon, a producer for WBEZ&rsquo;s Worldview, contributed reporting for this story. </em></p><p><em>Tony Arnold is WBEZ&rsquo;s Illinois state politics reporter. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 15 May 2015 09:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-advancing-measure-divest-companies-boycotting-israel-112037 Test protest: Chicago teachers say they'll refuse to give ISAT http://www.wbez.org/news/test-protest-chicago-teachers-say-theyll-refuse-give-isat-109772 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr-by reallyboring saucedo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Protesting what they say is too much standardized testing in schools, teachers at Saucedo Scholastic Academy declared Tuesday they will refuse to administer the state-mandated Illinois Standards Achievement Tests that are scheduled to begin next week.</p><p>&ldquo;This has been building. We&rsquo;ve been discussing this for a long time, and we finally said enough is enough,&rdquo; special education teacher Sarah Chambers told reporters at a frigid Tuesday afternoon news conference outside the school, where she was joined by fellow teachers, supportive parents and students, and&nbsp; Chicago Teachers Union officials.</p><p>Chambers said &ldquo;about 40&rdquo; Saucedo teachers scheduled to administer the ISAT voted in a secret ballot referendum Tuesday morning to boycott the test, and &ldquo;every teacher voted to refuse to give the test&mdash;100 percent. Unanimous,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The action could cost Saucedo teachers their jobs.</p><p>The teacher boycott is a new development in a growing backlash against testing in Chicago public schools&mdash;most of it led by parents up to now.</p><p>The ISAT has become a target this year because it&rsquo;s being phased out. In Chicago&mdash;where the exam usually carries especially high stakes&mdash; scores won&rsquo;t count for school or teacher ratings, student promotions, or admission to selective schools.&nbsp;</p><p>Teachers at Saucedo say they were bolstered by the 320 parents at the school who have yanked their kids from the test. Jason Reese is one of them. His seventh-grade daughter sat in the passenger seat of the family&rsquo;s minivan at dismissal, reading her second novel of the week. Reese says he opted his children out of the ISAT because &ldquo;they&rsquo;re constantly taking tests over and over again. They need to get more instruction in the classroom as opposed to being tested for everything that they do.&rdquo;</p><p>The parent group &ldquo;More than a Score&rdquo; has encouraged parents to have their kids skip the test. The group says parents at 38 different schools have opted their children out so far. The &ldquo;CORE&rdquo; caucus within the teachers union, which currently controls the union, has also been running a campaign to encourage parents to opt their children out.</p><p>But the district has defended the exam. Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has sent letters home to parents asking them not to pull their children out of the test. It will &ldquo;help teachers tailor instructional planning for the following year,&rdquo; the district said in an emailed statement. The test will also give them a taste of questions aligned to the state&#39;s new &ldquo;Common Core&rdquo; curriculum.</p><p>The Illinois State Board of Education believes this is the first time a group of teachers has refused to give the state-mandated exams. A Seattle high school gained national attention last year when teachers there refused to give a standardized test. In late 2002, teachers at Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago said they would refuse to give a district-mandated exam that was unpopular with teachers, the Chicago Academic Standards Exam. CPS eventually ditched it.</p><p>Teachers union vice president Jesse Sharkey called the Saucedo teachers &ldquo;courageous&rdquo; and &ldquo;principled&rdquo; and said he hopes more schools follow suit in the coming days. The union said it would &ldquo;strongly defend&rdquo; Saucedo teachers from any discipline, which Sharkey admitted could include dismissal, though he said it would be &ldquo;absurd&rdquo; for the district to fire teachers &ldquo;for insisting on the right to teach&mdash;which is what they&rsquo;re really doing.&rdquo;</p><p>The union has opposed the widening use of student standardized testing in the district; some of that testing helps determine teachers&rsquo; performance ratings.</p><p>In a statement, CPS said &quot;district employees that fail to execute their job responsibilities face appropriate disciplinary actions.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 05:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/test-protest-chicago-teachers-say-theyll-refuse-give-isat-109772 The pointless boycott http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/pointless-boycott-104561 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5101399_62ae450468.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Tiger Mask" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.7611763020019411">I used to date a guy who absolutely, positively would </span>not shop at The Gap. He simply thought it was evil, to the point that if we were shopping together and I wanted to pop in, he would wait outside the entire time. I found this boycott pretty dumb considering that he did patronize Banana Republic and Old Navy (all part of the same company), but he held firm. The Gap was bad for reasons he could not articulate and he would not shop there.</div><p><br />We broke up (unrelated to this) and now I am married to a man who feels similarly about McDonald&rsquo;s. No real explanation why &mdash; he will eat at Arby&rsquo;s, Burger King, Wendy&rsquo;s, any old fast food crap out there when the time calls for it &mdash; but not Micky D&rsquo;s, and, like with the other guy, has no particular explanation why. This perturbs me as sometimes (especially in the morning) I think McDonald&rsquo;s is the only option. Last summer we went on a road trip and were about to make separate fast food lunch runs: me to McDonald&rsquo;s, him to Subway (which I boycott myself but for a very good reason: the food has a bland taste in my mouth when I eat it) when we compromised on Sonic and neither of us was happy.<br /><br />But I am not immune to the steadfastness of the pointless boycott. Last week I asked a girlfriend what she had on her Christmas list, and she said she was hoping to receive some clothes from Lululemon, the ladies&rsquo; workout gear store.<br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t shop there,&rdquo; I said. &ldquo;And I don&rsquo;t really have a good reason for it.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;I know why,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the symbolic clothing of rich stay-at-home moms who have extra money to blow on designer exercise clothing.&quot; Which was kind of a sick burn aimed at herself.<br /><br />&ldquo;Not really,&rdquo; I said.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not as deep as that, and if it were, I wouldn&rsquo;t diss my friend like that by saying I thought she looked like an idle jerk. I happen to like workout clothes from Nordstrom and a company called Athleta (owned by the evil Gap) and they&rsquo;re really no different that I can tell from Lululemon. It&rsquo;s just that I have decided that this is going to be the one, really stupid and specific way I will resist a particular lady clothing tide. It&rsquo;s not them or their corporate practices or their clientele or their product; it&rsquo;s me. I am somehow different and unique this way. A special snowflake, you know?<br /><br />So, what have you got? What are companies that you refuse to patronize for no good reason?</p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 09:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/pointless-boycott-104561 Bakery owner apologizes for ‘Humboldt Crack’ http://www.wbez.org/story/bakery-owner-apologizes-%E2%80%98humboldt-crack%E2%80%99-96679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-23/Tipsycake.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Protest" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-23/Tipsycake.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 346px; height: 306px;" title="A protest hits the bakery’s Humboldt Park facility Thursday afternoon. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Facing a boycott backed by two Chicago aldermen, a Northwest Side bakery owner on Thursday afternoon apologized for comments some Puerto Ricans had called racist.</p><p>TipsyCake proprietor Naomi Levine posted the <a href="http://www.facebook.com/TipsyCakeChicago/posts/10150671283345845">apology on Facebook</a>, calling the comments “insensitive” and acknowledging she “never took any time to develop a real understanding of the very community and the history of the people that I have had the fortune of living among for the past six years.”</p><p>Levine moved her business into a Humboldt Park storefront, 1043 N. California Ave., in 2006. Her baking facilities remain there but last year she moved the retail shop to 1944 N. Damen Ave. The shop stands in the middle of Bucktown, a higher-rent neighborhood.</p><p>Explaining the move <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbPbeCcHs2c&amp;feature=youtu.be">on a local Internet show</a> this month, Levine laughed about Humboldt Park gunshots. “We really wanted Bucktown for a location as opposed to the Humboldt Park [shop],” she said on the show, “so that [we could have] any type of client, not feeling nervous.”</p><p>Levine also told the host about a pastry she had nicknamed “Humboldt Crack” because “the cops would knock on the door and ask to taste the crack.”</p><p>The interview went viral and sparked outrage.</p><p>“You’re making an attack on a community that I personally have worked so hard to sustain,” said Juanita García, who helps run an alternative high school in the neighborhood. “I’m choosing to raise my child in this community.”</p><p>On Thursday afternoon, Alds. Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward) and Proco Joe Moreno (1st) blasted Levine and called on community members to make their bakery purchases elsewhere.</p><p>García praised Levine for apologizing but said she couldn’t call off the boycott on her own. She said she would speak with other neighborhood activists about it.</p><p>Levine did not return calls from WBEZ.</p></p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 00:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bakery-owner-apologizes-%E2%80%98humboldt-crack%E2%80%99-96679 A day in the life of the Zapatistas http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-02/day-life-zapatistas-89984 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-02/zapatista photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 1994, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation staged a rebellion in the Mexican state of Chiapas. These indigenous peasants said they were fighting for equality and against exploitation. The Zapatistas were driven back into the jungle, but they still exist in autonomous, self-governing settlements that boycott the Mexican government.</p><p>The World Vision Report's correspondent in Mexico, Grant Fuller, got permission from Zapatista leaders to spend a day in one of their settlements.</p><p><em>This story originally aired on the </em><a href="http://www.worldvisionreport.org/" target="_blank">World Vision Report</a><em> and is provided by the <a href="http://www.prx.org/pieces/55831-a-day-in-the-life-of-the-zapatistas#description" target="_blank">Public Radio Exchange</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 02 Aug 2011 16:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-02/day-life-zapatistas-89984