The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike today – if you didn’t know that, you must have spent the day on a deserted island! It was the top news story in the United States and had massive international coverage as well. We’re throwing our 2 cents in to say: “Victory to the Chicago Teachers Strike!” A victory for the Chicago Teachers Union against the union-busting Democratic Party henchman Rahm Emanuel and his sock-puppet City Council will be a victory for every worker in Chicago and across the United States. It’ll also send a message to Washington that the working class has had enough of wage cuts, benefit slashing and cuts to social services. It is the duty of every class-conscious worker to give their support to the Chicago Teachers Union in this struggle.
We thought we might do our friends in the CTU a bit of a favor by going over the news for them, briefly, so that they could have some idea who was busy trying to stab them in the back while they were out walking the picket lines today. And it will come as no surprise to them that not only did the usual suspects – the Republicans – trip all over themselves rushing to the microphones to denounce the teachers, but the Democrats had to do so, too, pretending to be standing up for the children while giving nothing but backhanded “support” to the teachers.
The Teachers hit the picket lines in excellent spirits and determined to win. The capitalist press, as usual, went all out to discredit the teachers by presenting their demands as unreasonable and the teachers as overpaid. The capitalists’ pet politicians of both of their wholly owned parties bent over backwards to lick the boots of their capitalist masters, giving their strong support to “poor little” Rahm Emanuel, self-appointed Emperor of Chicago, who tried unsuccessfully to portray himself as the victim in this case. His utter lack of diplomatic skill has won him well-deserved contempt of the Chicago Teachers Union President, the members of the CTU and the working class population of the city of Chicago.
The teachers are in an excellent position to win this strike and simultaneously humiliate the little would-be Napoleon Emanuel, who goes around acting as if he actually runs the City of Chicago. Emanuel is held in such low regard by the citizenry that when he recently ran in a triathlon in Chicago, he was largely ignored by the crowd as he passed, and then the crowd urged on the triathletes running behind the Mayor: “ ‘I was running the last leg of the race and people started shouting, “Rahm’s right ahead of you! Catch up! Beat Rahm!” ‘ said Rich Mallahan, who started and finished the Sprint Triathlon (swim 0.75k, bike 22k, run 5k) nearly abreast of Emanuel.” [Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Rahm sets pace for some tri-athletes” by Mitch Dudek, 26 August 2012]
The supposed friend-of-labor US Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) showed his true colors by coming out in support of Emanuel’s union-busting efforts: “I understand what the mayor is trying to do, he’s trying to say to [Chicago Teachers Union President] Karen Lewis … ‘Roll up your sleeves, let’s sit down and get it done.’ And that’s exactly what needs to occur… the sooner [the strike] ends, the better it is for Chicago”. [Source: The Hill, “Durbin tells teachers, Chicago schools to ‘get back to the table’ ” by Daniel Strauss, 9 September, 2012]. Durbin and his friends in Congress are still trying to pretend that they matter to the working class, after it having recently been announced that the number of citizens in the United States who think that the Congress is doing a good job has fallen to ten percent!
We think those approval numbers look suspiciously high! How did they find even 10% to support Congress? Even Senator John McCain tells people that the 10% number doesn’t matter because those numbers represent “only blood relatives and family pets”! [Source: CNN]
The Obama administration was given a sweet present by the CTU leadership, who made sure that the strike didn’t get underway until the Democratic Party’s coronation of the banker’s best friend and war criminal and defender of torture Barack Obama was completed at the Dems convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Obama has been laying low, refusing to make a statement on the teachers strike, knowing that whatever he says will hurt him in his much-dreaded (by the working class) re-election bid.
In today’s formulaic insulting of the nation via what is called a “press briefing”, White House mouthpiece Jay Carney was ready for the first question lobbed his way by the softball tossers of the bourgeois press. The AP’s Ben Feller led off with the following ceremonial first pitch: “I’m wondering what the President’s reaction is to the teacher strike in Chicago, assuming he’s had a chance to follow that story, and whether he has any reaction to both the strike and how his former Chief of Staff is handling it.”
Carney’s response was: “Well, I’m sure he’s aware of it — I know he’s aware of it, but I haven’t spoken with him about it, so I can’t speak for his reaction. I can tell you that as a — more broadly, that our principal concern is for the students, and his principal concern is for the students and families who are affected by the situation. And we hope that both sides are able to come together to settle this quickly and in the best interest of Chicago’s students. But beyond that, I haven’t got a specific reaction from the President.” [Source: whitehouse.gov, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 09/10/2012”]
What a load of baloney! A major teacher’s strike erupts in Chicago, the President’s political “hometown” and his Press Secretary hasn’t spoken with him about it? What did they talk about this morning at the White House? Snooki’s new baby? “Our principal concern is for the students”, yeah, right. The United States ranked 14th in reading, 25th in math and 17th in science in a 2009 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
It was reported today that more than 80% of Chicago’s public school students qualify for the free school lunch program! And we know how much the American capitalists and their politicians care about the children, with more than 1 out of 5 living below the poverty level nationally – and much higher rates of poverty in every single Democratic-Party-run US city among black and Hispanic workers. And let’s not even talk about how Barack Obama “cares” for the children of immigrants, whose parents without citizenship papers are routinely seized and torn from their families and summarily deported, while their kids are tossed into the hellish conditions of massively underfunded state-run foster homes and homeless shelters.
With the Democrats and Republicans “taking care of the children”, our children have plenty to worry about.
[To be continued]