The would-be Emperor of Chicago, Democratic Party vulgarian Rahm Emanuel suffered a major disappointment today as a judge refused the City of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools’ request for a court injunction to force the Chicago Teachers Union to go back to work. This blatant effort at naked union-busting by the Democratic Party must be burned into the memories of the working class of Chicago. As we have always said: the Democratic Party is just as much an enemy of the working class as their partners in crime, the Republicans. The two parties once solely differed in their tactical approach to the union movement, but now it is all too clear as Democratic Party mayors and Governors from California to New York have torn off their “friends of labor” mask to reveal an organization fully in the pockets of the wealthy capitalists who bankroll both parties. It is way past time for the working class to break away from the Democrats and Republicans and form an independent workers party dedicated to the abolition of the capitalist system.
The rebuff to Emanuel is only a temporary reprieve for the CTU; it does not indicate that the capitalist court system is going to prove to be a defender of the CTU. What it DOES show is that Rahm Emanuel’s stock in the upper reaches of the Democratic Party in Cook County as well as on the national level is rapidly plunging into the abyss. The full-on attacks by the Chicago Democrats against the union movement in a Presidential election year can only be described as political suicide. Where there is only 5% difference in polls of voters asking which party they support, the Democrats can hardly afford to start attacking the base of their support among the working class – the AFL-CIO unions, who insanely donate hundreds of millions of dollars in every election to the labor-hating, war mongering Democratic Party, and also compose the majority of activists who go door-to-door in the major cities to get out the vote for the Democrats. Emanuel has stupidly gone out on a limb, Wile E. Coyote-like, and is furiously sawing away at the branch he’s sitting on; the national Democrats are likely going to let him saw away and dump him at the first opportunity rather than lose their crucial union backing.
That this judge would not kowtow to Emanuel shows that Rahm’s support even among the Chicago capitalist class whose boots he is trying to lick is rapidly dwindling. It does not indicate that the union has friends in the court system though. It is highly likely that if the union members instruct their delegates to vote down the HORRIBLE SELLOUT “FRAMEWORK” negotiated by Karen Lewis’ team, this same judge will quickly issue the injunction. The teachers need to prepare to stand tall against what will be a tornado of pressure from the capitalist courts, and their press and politicians. The CTU had better have a plan to shut those schools down tight and keep scabs out, because the next stage of this fight could get very ugly indeed.
The agreement worked out between the CPS and the CTU leadership of Karen Lewis was so disgustingly bad, selling out the CTU at a time when they had every reason to win and win big, that it should never even have been brought to a vote in the first place. We warned the CTU members about the dangers of having a cop-loving Democrat for a union president and it is clear from what has been divulged regarding the “framework” brokered by Lewis’ team that she is far too willing to compromise the future of the CTU members in order to ingratiate herself to “public opinion” and her “guy” in Washington, Wall St. puppet Barack Obama. This proposed contract SUCKS and it should be voted down by a large margin. The “raises” of 3, 2, 2 and 3 percent over 4 years are not raises at all: they are pay cuts disguised as raises. The union-busting gutting of seniority rules would decimate the ranks of union teachers as schools are closed. The proposed rules allowing principals to decide who gets to return to work allow the anti-union principals to undertake cherry-picking of those who suck up to the bosses and the firing of those who are the most politically active union members. These proposals must be shot down in flames: the existence of the union is at stake here.
VOTE THIS ROTTEN DEAL DOWN! GET READY FOR A LONG BATTLE, CTU MEMBERS! Have no faith in the courts: whether this strike leads to a strengthening of the union or its decimation will be decided on the picket lines – one way or the other.
It is necessary to elect a class-struggle strike leadership that fights for a contract that includes real wages and benefits increases, the defense of union seniority and full funding for a quality free public school education for the children of Chicago!
[to be continued]