PSAT for 8-7-12: Boycott Hyatt for public education

A recent article by Chicago Teachers Union staff coordinator and activist Jackson Potter inspired me to renew my call for the use of boycotts to fight corporate school reform.

Jackson has always been one of the few who share my belief in the powerful impact a boycott can have on the fat cats who fund and direct corporate school reform.

Boycotts used to succeed or fail based on the economic impact they had on the corporate bottom line but that’s really not how they have worked for a while.

I have in mind the kind of boycott that targets a company’s public image. It works because a lot of corporations consider good deeds to be simply one aspect of their advertising program. They don’t want any bad advertising or other bad karma associated with their product.

I know this is true because I cut my organizing teeth on PURE’s Walgreen’s boycott back in 1993.

Jackson led some Chicago GEM folks in a picket of McDonald’s back in 2009 to protest the fact that the CEO of McD’s chaired the Renaissance 2010 Fund. The action drove a McD’s PR man out to Hyde Park to see what was going on. This stuff scares them.

Anyway, while I have sporadically suggested going after folks like Bill Gates’ and his image as a great, big-hearted do-gooder, and others behind the attack on public education – United Way, Eli Broad, Robin Steans, BP, Ford, Hewlett, Philip Anschutz, the Koch brothers, Searle Freedom Trust, and on and on, I am going to begin today to pick on someone icky for the first PSAT of every month. And, yes, I will give you at least one idea about what to do to help with this school reform-related boycott.

So – our inaugural PSAT Boycott of the month award goes to my favorite icky person, billionaire Chicago Board of Education member Penny Pritzker.

And here’s what you can do. Of course, stop stay8inbg at Hyatts, if you ever did.

And come early to Hyde Park tomorrow for the Parent-Teacher forum and join folks at the site of the new Hyatt Hotel which is being built courtesy of TIF money that ought to be going to our schools. The demonstration is sponsored by the Chicago Teachers’ Solidarity Campaign.

Meet up at 53rd and Lake Park at 5:30 pm this Wednesday Aug. 8 and then come on over to the forum at the United Church of Hyde Park down the street at 53rd and Blackstone, which starts at 6:30.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.