Tag Archives: Chicago Teachers Union

Emanuel Emails Reveal Close Collaboration Between Democrats, Republicans to Destroy Unions, Rob Workers

We are pleased to publish the full set of the recently released emails from Chicago Democratic Party Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s private email server that were finally divulged after a lawsuit brought against the Emanuel Administration by the tepidly reformist “Better Government Association” (BGA – former Chicago TV newsman Andy Shaw’s hobbyhorse).  We’ve also added the court documents released by the BGA along with the emails, because you never know when the BGA’s website will “lose” the links to the emails and start producing the usual “404 error” page we see all the time with releases like this.

DOCUMENTS:

  1.   rahm-emanuel-personal-email-court-documents
  2. 122116-wls-bga-emanuel-emails settlement agreement
  3. BGA vs City of Chicago_Rahm Emanuel private email server emails (3276 pages. censored)

Like the infamous and insecure private email server of Hilary Rodham Clinton, Rahm Emanuel’s email server is purpose-built to help Democrat Emanuel to hide his behind-the-scenes close collaboration with the Dems’ Republican “opponents” as well as the allegedly pro-union Democrats’ secret collaboration with the anti-union capitalists who bankroll both the Democratic and Republican candidates for all the major political offices here in the “Land of the Free”(TM).  Under the toothless “government transparency” laws, all emails and other correspondence from and to government leaders is supposed to be carried out via official  communications channels where they can be archived and preserved as public records, reviewable by the citizenry via Freedom of Information Act requests.  Every communication of every President, Senator, Congressperson and on down through the government to local mayors is supposed to be subject to public scrutiny – if only after a number of years have passed.  The “secret” private servers of Clinton, Emanuel and other “public servants” are kept secret only from the supposedly supreme power in the US’ phony democracy: the citizens.  In fact, private, illegal communications networks set up by top US politicians and federal agency heads are constantly being revealed which prove to anyone paying attention that the only people who these bought-and-paid-for public servants “protect and serve” are the wealthiest people in the USA: the 10% of the US population who own 75% of the national wealth.  Billionaires like Penny Pritzker and Bruce Rauner have full access to the ears and eyes of politicians like Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel via these “secret” email servers, where they can conspire against you behind your back while they publicly pretend to be at each others’ throats.  These repulsively wealthy people, who actually run the USA in their own selfish interests, have 24/7/365 access to the big-city mayors and all the top politicians who are in their turn busily stuffing their and their friends’ pockets with whatever they can filch from the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax money stolen every year from you, the struggling members of the working class.

Even the cursory examination of the emails which we’ve been able to do provides a rare glimpse into the backroom deals constantly being engineered by the phony “friends of labor” Democrats and their real friends among the capitalist 1%ers who actually run Chicago and the USA.  The billionaire who is now the Republican governor of Illinois – Bruce Rauner – whom the Democrats publicly pretend to be their enemy – turns out to be on a first-name basis with Rahm and is revealed to be actually a member of the (very small) Rahm Emanuel fan club.  “You’re a good politician” Rauner gushes at Rahm in an email in which he and the “friend of labor” Emanuel administration conspire to coordinate their attacks on perhaps the last popular and powerful bastion of union labor in Chicago, the Chicago Teacher’s Union.

Rauner conspires with Emanuel to Crush Chicago Teachers' Union

Emanuel and his Republican allies are seen in the emails conspiring to carefully engineer their attacks on the Teachers Union so as to justify smashing the union. They plan to take pains to minimize the “psychological shock” to the pro-teachers’ union majority of the working-class population of the city when they launch their final assault on the union’s ability to protect tenured teachers from summary dismissals based on their poverty-stricken students’ weak GPAs. In other words, the US capitalist class and their politicians are cutting funding to the very social and educational programs necessary for students to excel in school, and then they plan to use the low test scores generated by their cuts to justify the gutting of the seniority rights of “underperforming” teachers!

The emails were released in a single .pdf file of over 3200 pages, which makes searching the individual emails a chore to say the least.  The Chicago press corps and the BGA itself have bent over backwards to downplay the significance of the evidence of close collaboration between the two capitalist-owned-and-operated political parties of the USA when it comes to attacking the teachers’ union and shoving the greedy agenda of the Chicago capitalist elites  down the throats of the workers of Chicago and Illinois.  The head of the teachers union, Karen Lewis, is herself a close friend of her “opponent” Rahm Emanuel and spends her time in a pantomime of opposition to the union-busting operations of her own Democratic Party directed at “her” union.  As we have pointed out to the workers time and time again, the Democratic Party is not now and never has been composed of the “friends of labor” but is in fact owned and operated – just as the Republican Party is – by the mortal enemies of the workers of the US and the world: the US capitalist class.  So long as the leadership of the US trade union movement is politically shackled to the pro-capitalist dung-cart of the Democratic Party the union movement will not advance a single step but will continue on its downward trajectory into oblivion.  Only a class-struggle Trotskyist leadership of the union movement dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist system which systematically robs the working class of the fruits of its labor can lead a resurgence of the US labor movement.

The emails also reveal the careful massaging of the news media constantly being undertaken by the Democrats in order to get the most positive coverage possible for their never-ending attacks on the unions and the working class in general.  The masses must be kept blind and must always have pro-capitalist propaganda driven down their throats continuously lest they discover how badly they are being screwed by their political “friends”.   And of course the media – like the politicians themselves, wholly owned and operated by the 1%ers – dutifully obliges, covering up the actual collaboration between the anti-union capitalist class and the “friends of labor” in the Democratic Party.  “Everyone” wins – except the vast majority of the population in the working class, who see their standard of living being steadily eroded.

The close collaboration betwen the “friends of labor” Democrats and their murderous, racist police is also laid bare by the emails.  Emanuel and ex-Chicago police chief McCarthy fret over news media coverage of the latest atrocities committed by the police and desperately try to maintain the fiction that the police in a capitalist state are supposed “to protect and serve” the working class.  As every intelligent worker knows, the police are the mortal enemies of the workers, racist thugs who think nothing of shooting workers – especially black and Hispanic workers – who dare to stand up against racist police terror.  The cops in a capitalist state have one role to play: they defend the racist capitalist status quo, crushing any attempt of the working class to fight for their rights.  The cops defend capitalist private property and the “inalienable right” of the 1% to 75% of the national wealth!

Democrats have been running the murderous, racist police departments in almost every major US city for ever. Source: Rahm emails, page 220.

Democrats have been running the murderous, racist police departments in almost every major US city for ever.  Source: Rahm emails, page 220.

Democrats' killer cops ever-vigilant to protect citizenry from themselves.  Cop "intelligence" confused by "Guy Fox" masks.  Source: Rahm emails, page 269.

Democrats’ killer cops ever-vigilant to protect citizenry from themselves. Cop “intelligence” confused by “Guy Fox” masks.  Source: Rahm emails, page 269.

We wish we had the time to do a thorough dissection of these emails so we could present you with the juiciest evidence of how the Democrats are selling you out to their wealthy owners day in and day out, but we just don’t have the personnel to enable such a project.  We need honest, hard-working workers to put down their TV remotes and dedicate themselves to fighting for the rights of the working class by joining our party or at least helping us do this work on a regular basis.  Until you start to take your working class political responsibilities to yourselves and your families seriously you will continue to get pummeled by the endless assaults being launched against you by your mortal enemies: the capitalist greedheads and their political hatchetmen in both the Democratic and Republican parties.  The enemies of the vast majority of the population of every capitalist nation-state – the working class – needs the kind of 24/7/365 representation that the top 3% have.  Until you build that kind of organization you will be stuck impotently “speaking truth to power” to a ruling class that is so completely insulated from you that the desperate pleas of your hundreds of millions of workers sounds like a plaintive whisper they need not trouble themselves to notice.

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

 

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Democrat Rahm Emanuel’s Injunction Against CTU is an Expose of Systematic Abuse of Chicago Children at Hands of Democratic Party

The City of Chicago, in its lying, hypocritical and disgusting attempt to prove to a Cook County judge what a terribly dangerous situation the CTU has placed the 355,000 CPS students in by going on strike has produced a searing indictment of the capitalist system itself, and a graphic description of the horrible poverty that the youth of Chicago are suffering in this most Democratic of all Democratic-Party-run cities!  The text of this union-busting court injunction, aimed at the membership of the Chicago Teachers Union comprises a scathing denunciation of the capitalist system and its brutal administration by the Democratic Party in all the major US cities. It exposes the terrible living conditions faced by 84% of the students who attend the Chicago Public Schools: conditions created and enforced by the Democratic Party of which Rahm Emanuel is one of the top leaders!

Here is how Democratic Party Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel describes the conditions under which Chicago’s schoolchildren suffer in a city that has been run by HIS OWN POLITICAL PARTY FOR THE PAST 81 YEARS!:

“The strike has affected nearly 355,000 students in the Chicago Public School System… characterized by a student population strongly dependent upon a broad range of services [which he and his Democratic Party intend to cut to ribbons!] extending far beyond the education they receive… 84% of these students come from low income families [!]… they receive free or reduced price meals when school is in session [what about when school is NOT in session!]…For many if not most of these students, the meals they receive at school are the only nutritious meals they receive on a regular school day.”

This is positively amazing!  In their utter desperation to paint the CTU as the biggest threat to the safety and well-being of Chicago’s student population, the Democratic Party Mayor has indicted his own party’s administration for the way they have imposed below-subsistence-level conditions on more than 3/4 of the schoolchildren of this city – which his party runs and which conditions they are planning to make even worse by slashing social spending across the board!  In order to smash the union, the Democrats have produced a searing indictment of themselves and the capitalist system they are dedicated to defending!

There’s more:

“Additionally, while the City of Chicago makes every effort to reduce violence in our neighborhoods, the fact is that CPS students, like students in many urban areas [nearly all of which have long been administered by… the Democratic Party!] are at risk of violence when they are not in school… 50,000 of these students qualify for special education services because of a range of conditions, including autism and other profound disabilities… all of these students now face the all too real prospect of prolonged hunger, increased risk of violence, and disruption of critical social educational services, and all because of decisions not of their making, in which they did not have a voice or a vote”!

This is truly astounding anti-capitalist propaganda!  The most strident communist propagandist could not have done a better job of exposing the brutal conditions in which children in America’s major cities are forced to live, the vast majority of which cities the Democratic Party has been running the show without interruption for well over half a century!  How desperate must Rahm Emanuel be – not to mention how embarrassingly stupid – in order to present to the entire world this documentary proof of the utter bankruptcy and brutality of life in capitalist America in the cities run by his own party!  Thank you Rahm Emanuel!  You have exposed your party’s contempt for the working class more effectively than all the communist propaganda of the past 40 years in this one brilliantly misguided attempt to make the Chicago Teachers Union the scapegoat for your own party’s vast inhumanity!

How stupid the Chicago Democrats are!  This imbecile Emanuel who has just exposed the Democrats abject fealty to an economic system that impoverishes the vast majority of Chicago’s children was Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff!  What a monumentally bankrupt party the Democratic Party must be in terms of qualified human material in order that these kinds of utterly stupid people would be placed at the head of the government of the United States of America!  The whole world will read this document and shudder to think that this is the level of intelligence of the political class that runs the most powerful government on Earth, and which has placed at the fingertips of the leader of the Democratic Party the power to blow the entire planet to kingdom come!

This fool Emanuel apparently wants the world to believe that it is the Chicago Teachers Union which is to blame for the abject poverty under which the vast majority of Chicago’s schoolchildren and their families live!  Apparently, we are supposed to believe that until the CTU went on strike, life for these young people was idyllic – only in the last week since the CTU went on strike have the conditions of life for Chicago’s youth precipitously plunged to levels so hideously low that it is nothing short of an international disgrace.  Blame the Chicago Teachers Union for these conditions, he says; not his party, the Democratic Party, who have run Chicago since the 1930s without interruption, creating the ghettos, earning for Chicago the sobriquet “Segregation City”, unleashing the racist Chicago Police against the black and Hispanic population in order to maintain the hideous status quo which Emanuel’s party is entirely responsible for, conditions which he, in his desperation to smear the CTU, has so brilliantly exposed to a stunned world!  Bravo, Mayor! Bravo!

Let’s hear more from Rahm Emanuel about the great job his Democrats have done “caring for the children of Chicago” ‘lo these many years:
“At a critical time in their lives, a vulnerable population has been cast adrift by [the capitalist class?  The Democrats running the city? No!] the CTU’s decision to close down the schools”!!

Can you believe this effrontery!  This scumbag and his Democratic Party have already announced to the world that THEY – not the Chicago Teachers Union – intend to close [hundreds of] schools in Chicago over the next several years!  Even as part of the rotten contract they are trying to shove down the CTU’s throat, the Democrats have openly asserted – in just the past week! – that they intend to close “80 to 120” public schools over the next few years.  But of course, the Emanuel administration denies this, while even the anti-union Chicago Tribune was able to find several sources inside the Democratic Party administration as well as CPS who admit it’s true:

“Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton called the idea of up to 120 school closings in the near term ‘completely untrue,’ as did CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll.

“But several sources said that while details of the closings and the time frame remain fluid, there are plans to launch a targeted outreach program to broach the topic with community groups as soon as a teachers contract is settled [our emphasis – IWPCHI]. Communities expected to see the greatest share of school closings include Bronzeville, North Lawndale, Garfield Park and Englewood. Many of the affected neighborhoods have seen dramatic population declines in the past decade.

“An administration source said there is not a final number or list of schools for closing but that both underperforming and low-enrollment schools will be considered. ‘That’s for after’ contract negotiations are completed, the source said” [our emphasis again – IWPCHI].  [Source: Chicago Tribune: “Mayor’s plan to close schools fuels union fears during teachers strike” by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, John Chase and Jeff Coen, 11 September, 2012]

Yet this arrogant lapdog of the capitalist class has the chutzpah to attempt, before the eyes of the entire world, to place the onus for school closings on – not the capitalist class whose toady he is; not his Democratic Party who are keeping their plan to gut the public school system secret from the working class – but the Chicago Teachers Union!  We’d call him a pig for saying this, but that wouldn’t be fair to actual pigs!  What a scumbag.  And – believe it or not – we’re only up to page 2 of Emanuel’s 43-page indictment of Democratic Party rule in Chicago!

The document will go down in history as one of the most amazing acts of self-immolation, self-denunciation and self-humiliation ever committed by a capitalist politician.  Here is an interesting usage of the English language by this graduate of elite Sarah Lawrence College – which “is known for its rigorous academic standards, low student-to-faculty ratio, and highly individualized course of study. The school models its approach to education after the Oxford-Cambridge system of one-on-one student-faculty tutorials, which are a key component in all areas of study – and his hilarious law department in which the words “final” and “tentative” become synonyms!: “Following commencement of the CTU strike on Monday, September 10, 2012, the parties continued negotiations for a final labor agreement to resolve the strike, with the result that on Friday, September 14, 2012, both sides reported reaching a framework for an agreement to end the strike.  The parties finalized language on a tentative agreement [!] over the weekend, and on Sunday, September 16, 2012, a final, tentative agreement [!!] was presented by the CTU senior bargaining committee to the CTU House of Delegates for a vote to end the strike and return students to school on Monday, September 17, 2012.”

This gang of Democratic Party criminals in Chicago’s City Hall need to go back to school themselves.  What kind of Law Department can not only write such a piece of absolute nonsense but have the complete lack of self-respect necessary to present this internally contradictory and hastily put together jumble to a judge in a court of law?  But we are not surprised that the lawyers for the City of Chicago would do such a thing: Cook County isn’t internationally infamous for its thoroughly corrupt legal system for nothing.  This is the Democratic Party-run county that produced the legendary  “Operation Greylord” scandal after all, and whose law department signed off on the prosecution of scores of innocent men who were railroaded onto Illinois’ Death Row after they confessed to crimes they never committed after being tortured at the hands of the racist Democratic Party-administered Chicago Police Department – tortured in police stations while the Cook County District Attorneys like former mayor Richard Daley and his assistant DAs stood outside in the hall waiting for the “confession” to be written up by the torturer-cops and signed by the victims!  This gang of Democratic Party “legal eagles” has no moral compass at all.  The standards of evidence they subscribe to were codified by their ideological forebears during the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s.  For them, lying in court to obtain a politically desired outcome in a case comes as easily as breathing.

The hideously misnamed “Democratic” Party, in this document shows its utter contempt for the democratic process admirably adhered to by the CTU leadership [so far] in the following passage [we are only up to page 3 of this astounding document, sisters and brothers!]:
“Notwithstanding the tentative agreement reached at the bargaining table, on the evening of September 16, 2012, the CTU failed to vote on the parties’ agreement, [sic] failed to vote to end the strike,[sic] and scheduled another meeting on the subject of the strike for Tuesday, September 18, 2012.  As a result, the CTU has advised that its strike will continue for an unknown duration while the House of Delegates reviews the agreement, notwithstanding the above described clear and present danger that continuation of the strike poses to the health and safety of the public.”

What, the Democratic Party hack Emanuel asks, is wrong with the CTU?  We cut a deal with them in classic, time-honored Chicago backroom politics style; they’re supposed to shove this abhorrent tentative agreement down the throats of their membership like all the other AFL-CIO unions always do!  That’s the way the Democratic Party works!  If any members of the CTU’s House of Delegates try to vote against the “deal” worked out between the union leadership and the capitalist class’ bought-and-paid-for Democratic Party administration, they are supposed to be bounced down the stairs of the meeting hall like basketballs by the union’s loyal Democratic Party operatives!  That’s the “Chicago Way” perfected by the old Daley machine!  Karen Lewis has betrayed Rahm Emanuel by not following this time-honored Democratic Party tradition! What’s wrong with her? Doesn’t she have “control over her union”? That the CTU’s House of Delegates have done exactly what decent trade union representatives are supposed to do – make an honest attempt to represent the will of the union members who elected them – is anathema to Democratic Party principles; and Rahm Emanuel and his henchmen have done the working class of the United States a major favor by putting this fact down in writing for all of us and the future historians of the labor movement to marvel at.  THIS is how the Democratic Party seeks to prove its’ counterfeit credentials as the “friends of labor”!  Pay attention, union sisters and brothers!  How can you ever again donate your hard earned money to elect Democrats to public office?  What better example could be given to show that the Democratic Party is inherently, fundamentally hostile to anything even remotely resembling honest trade union democracy?  What better example could be given of the vital necessity of the formation of a workers party completely independent of the capitalist class and their twin puppet political parties, the Democrats and Republicans?

We can’t stomach reading to you any more of this repulsive documentary proof that the Democratic Party is no less a sworn enemy of organized labor than the Republican Party.  In fact, their pretence to being the “friends of labor” is what makes them far more dangerous to the working class than the Republicans, who at least have the decency to tell the unionized workers to their faces that they hate their guts.  The Republicans are at least honest in that one solitary sense: they honestly hate the unions and  don’t even think of pretending that they love the working class.  The Democrats are wolves in sheeps’ clothing.  Read this document, brothers and sisters, and see if you can find any evidence here of even the slightest shadow of the friendship the Democrats are supposed to have for the working class.  And then ask yourselves: why have we waited so long to build our very own working class political party?  What are we waiting for?

Democratic Party Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Injunction Against Chicago Teachers Union 17sep12

[Additional sources: Mother Jones, Wikipedia, The Chicago Reader]

IWPCHI

Photos from Chicago Teachers Union Rally and March, Union Park, Chicago IL, 15 September 2012

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis addresses CTU members and their supporters at rally in Union Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

Fraternal Order of Police leader, Chicago Police Department Spokesman and professional liar Pat Camden addresses the Chicago Teachers Union rally at Union Park, Chicago, IL 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

Scene from behind the stage at Chicago Teachers Union rally in Union Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September, 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

The Chicago Teachers Union’s march to Garfield Park was led by a Chicago High School’s marching band. September 15, 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

As you would expect in a union rally of teachers, the protest signs were creative and in many cases, hilarious.

“Godfather”-themed and “You gave us NO Choice” signs at Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“Hey Rahm: Your DNC Speech Sucked”. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“How do you know when Rahm Emanuel is Lying?” Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

This one refers to the way that the political career of Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic ended prematurely due to his administration’s poor performance at snow removal during the blizzard of 1979.  There’s also another nice one that says: “Yes, We Are Working Right Now!  The [Lesson Is?] Democracy”:

Comparing the apparently similar trajectories of Mayor Emanuel’s and ex-Mayor Bilandic’s careers. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September, 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“What’s Your Super Power?” Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“Rahm Got Schooled”. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

A contingent of teacher drove all the way from Milwaukee to participate in the rally.  Others came from as far away as Minneapolis and there were some from downstate, other midwestern towns in neighboring states and we heard that there were teachers from Seattle and California in attendance as well.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin teachers in Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI.

Chicago High School marching band leads the Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI.

In a marvelous demonstration of the value of art in the public schools, the Little Village Lawndale High School’s union banner was magnificent!

The Little Village Lawndale High School shows the value of teaching art in the public schools with their awesome union banner. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

IWPCHI

UPDATED: Bourgeois Press Reporting that “Tentative Agreement” has been reached in Chicago Teachers Strike

In the last hour [@3pm Chicago time] , the capitalist press has been reporting that a “tentative agreement” between the Chicago Teachers Union and the union-busting Democratic Party administration of Rahm Emanuel has been reached.  We have no way to confirm the reports; the CTU website has not published an update on the talks since this morning.   The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

“Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said negotiators for the union and the Chicago Public Schools are trying to work out the language on a framework for a deal that she can present to the union’s House of Delegates on Sunday…

“ ‘We don’t have a contract yet,’ Lewis said shortly after 4 p.m. ‘We have a framework for an agreement.’

“[Lewis] said the union had no plans to give members an advance look at the highlights before the Sunday meeting [but that] the deal on the table ‘looks like something we can figure a way to work out’ and that she was ‘very comfortable’ with the provisions dealing with teacher evaluations, which earlier had been a main point of contention.”

“Overall, Lewis said the union ‘made compromises,’ but she refused to detail what they were.

“A Chicago Teachers Union official said the union negotiators will recommend a contract proposal to its House of Delegates on Sunday.”

[Source: Chicago Sun-Times: “Teachers’ strike over? Won’t know until Sunday” by Rosalind Rossi, Fran Spielman, Maudlyne Ihejirika and Lauren Fitzpatrick, 14 September, 2012]

It is a long-standing union principle that until a contract agreement is finalized and ratified, the strike continues.  Taking down the picket lines before the membership gets to review and vote on the final agreement is a sellout of the union membership and would be a clear sign that the Democratic-Party-friendly CTU leadership intends to ram the “tentative agreement” through whether the membership agrees to it or not.  Now is the time for CTU members to pay very close attention to the way the CTU leadership proceeds.  If they ask to to accept an offer without reviewing it first, vote it down.  And don’t accept what the bourgeois press prints as the truth: contact your union representatives and find out what’s going on.  The capitalist press will spread lies that an agreement has been reached in order to force the union to come to an agreement before a contract is approved by the union membership.

NO CONTRACT, NO WORK!

IWPCHI

Victory to the Chicago Teachers Strike!

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]

Chicago Teachers: The Fraternal Order of Police are Not Friends of Labor or of the Working Class!

The IWP proudly  attended this Monday’s labor rally in support of the Chicago Teachers’ Union.  However, we were – how do we put this? – not at all surprised and quite disgusted at the fondness CTU President Karen Lewis displayed for the head honcho of the Chicago Police Union President, Mike Shields.  In fact, she was downright chummy with him, high-fiving the man who routinely defends all kinds of police brutality of working class citizens of Chicago.  President Lewis even gave FOP Boss Shields a great big hug in front of the 18,000 assembled representatives of Chicago’s working class!

We’ve stated before that we do not trust the pro-capitalist, pro-Democratic party trade union leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union to effectively lead the union in a strike against their own best friends.  And now we can add to our distrust the obvious fact that Karen Lewis can’t tell the difference between a friend of her own union and a mortal enemy!

Here we have seen that, on the very eve of what should be a major class battle between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Democratic Party leaders of Chicago – a battle on behalf of the rights of children of every member of the working class who lives in Chicago to a top-quality, free, public school education – not only does the “General” leading the working class into this battle not know the difference between her own forces and those of the enemy class – she actually embraces the leader of the very shock troops that the enemy intends to use to smash the picket lines of her own union soldiers!

By so fulsomely embracing the leader of the Chicago Police Union, Karen Lewis – has effectively attempted to spread the deadly lie that the Chicago Police can be counted on to defend the rights of the members of the Chicago Teachers Union to go on strike and to defend their picket lines.  By doing this, Karen Lewis shows that she is not the side of the workers, but on the side of the capitalist class, and in the final analysis can be expected to bow down to the dictates of that ruling class and its bought-and-paid-for Democratic politicians and judges who will do everything in their power to smash the Chicago Teachers Union if they go out on strike.  And on top of that, by expressing her confidence in the leadership of the racist Chicago Police Department to defend the rights of workers, Karen Lewis is leading her union’s membership into a deadly trap – because the Chicago Police are not friends of the working class, but constitute a “special body of armed men and women” who are dedicated to the defense of capitalist private property, and who take orders from the capitalist class – and no one else!

Karen Lewis has already betrayed her union by embracing a man who leads an organization that is responsible for the daily brutalization of black, Hispanic and all other workers and youth all over the city.  The Fraternal Order of Police has defended every single instance of police torture and every single police shooting of suspects, “armed” and unarmed.  Their members are going out daily and beating, humiliating and imprisoning people of color all over the city.  They routinely shoot to death suspects and then plant guns on them to cover up their crimes.  They have been recently charged with the widespread use of stun guns to torture unarmed suspects – the overwhelming majority of whom “happen to be black”.   They defend racist Chicago Police Department in all cases except when it comes to their pay and benefits.  The Fraternal Order of Police are no more a “workers union” because they pretend to be one than Hitler’s “National Socialists” were Marxists because they lied to the workers by including the word “Socialists” in their party’s name!

Every schoolchild who has read even just a few lines of the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels knows that the police are not the friends of the working class.  Every worker in the world who has ever walked a picket line knows this!  On a picket line, you will see the class line clearly delineated:  on the one side are the workers and their unions and the socialists who defend the unions; on the other side are the capitalist class, their lying news media, politicians, their courts and their  SPECIAL BODIES OF ARMED MEN AND WOMEN who will enforce the laws of the capitalist system – by any means necessary!  These special bodies of armed men and women can be expected to ALWAYS attack the workers and ALWAYS defend the capitalist system and its status quo, not because they are necessarily all depraved individuals, but because that is the role of the police in a capitalist society.

It is true that in the past 30 years, with a relative absence of class struggle in the United States – thanks in very large part to the sellout pro-capitalist trade and labor union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO – the class lines have been blurred to such a degree that it is quite astounding to anyone familiar with the normal order of things.  It has been so long since the class line was clearly drawn in this country that people on both sides of the class divide are confused as to what the calss line is, where it is, and what their relationship to it is.  Workers who have never in their lives been beaten down by the cops on a picket line labor under the delusion that the cops are their friends.  likewise, there are some cops who have never had to attack a picket line, and so they are deluded into believing that they are part of the workers movement.  believe us, as soon as some serious class struggle takes place in this country, both groups will have their delusions cruelly destroyed in front of their very eyes. The so-called “decent” cops are going to have to choose between obeying orders and obeying their conscience.  The “decent” ones will have to quit the police force or will quickly find themselves kicked ass-backwards off the force for refusing to “do their job”.

No US trade union leader of the 1930s would be so foolish as to expect the police to defend union picket lines.  The history of the Chicago Police – like every other big city police department in the capitalist world –  is replete with instances of savage brutality against workers organizations.  The world-renowned Haymarket battle took place the day after the Chicago Police gunned down a number of workers picketing the McCormick Harvester plant in the city.   During the “Haymarket” battle, the police opened fire on the peaceably assembled workers and shot a dozen to death and wounded an unknown number of others, and in the next days and weeks attacked and destroyed the headquarters of every single trade union and pro-worker socialist and anarchist organization in Chicago and beat and arrested workers leaders on the flimsiest charges imaginable.  They howled for the blood or the workers leaders to be shed in retaliation for the killing of a handful of cops by a dynamite bomb that was hurled by an unknown assailant at the Haymarket, until they got their demands and 4 innocent men were murdered by the State of Illinois to assuage their blood-lust.

The Haymarket Martyrs’ Memorial

The Memorial Day Massacre, May 30, 1937, south side of Chicago. The “heroes” of the Chicago Police Department open fire on retreating steel workers, shooting them in the back at pointblank range.

The Chicago Police were once also infamous for the shooting down of unarmed men women and children during the Little Steel strike in 1937.  They opened fire on unarmed strikers who were fighting to unionize the Republic Steel plant on the south side.  Today’s labor sellouts don’t even bother to commemorate these police murders of unionists in Chicago – they are too busy making friends with them and trying to erase the memory of these notorious examples of the “impartiality” of the police from the memories of the working class!

It would make us look foolish to stand here and remind the black and Hispanic workers of Chicago about the brutality of these “friends of labor” in blue!  Cook County Jail is full of the victims of police frame-ups and police brutality.  That a so-called “labor leader” would dare to stand in a public square and declare the Chicago Police to be her friends gives a perfect example of why the union membership is on the decline even here in this proud union town of Chicago.  With workers “leaders” like this, who needs enemies?  Need we remind you of the involvement of the Chicago Police in the murder of Fred Hampton?

The scene of the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, slaughtered by the Chicago Police. Democratic Party States Attorney Ed Hanrahan and the FBI and their friends on the Chicago Police had an informer drug Hampton and then they murdered him as he slept.

Must we go over again with Ms. Lewis the history of the Chicago Police Riot in 1968 at the Democratic National Convention, during which hundreds of protestors and news media representatives were brutally beaten by Mayor Daley’s racist cops?

Chicago Police “protecting the rights of demonstrators” in Grant Park, 1968.

Should we remind her that a popular T-shirt worn by Chicago Police officers during the Democratic Party National Convention in 1996 read: “We kicked your dad’s ass in 1968: wait ’til you see what we’ll do to you”.  The guy who printed them here in Chicago reportedly sold hundreds of them to Chicago cops – and Democratic Party politicians.

Shall we go into the story of the Chicago Police Department’s torture of African-American men into “confessing” to crimes they never committed?  Shall we describe how Jon Burge, a Chicago Police Commander, created a team of torturers who used electric shocks and suffocation techniques to extract false confessions?

Or that dozens of men were framed in that way and sent to prison for years, even decades, even to Death Row?

Perhaps Karen Lewis would like to  ask the members of Nurses United about the way the Chicago Police “defended their right to protest” just last year at the Occupy Chicago demonstration in Grant Park?

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has shown everyone with eyes to see – her true colors by embracing the leader of the Fraternal Order of Police and by portraying the Chicago Police as “friends of labor”.   You don’t tell a lie this big by accident.  “By her friends shall ye know her”!

IWPCHI

CTU CONFIRMS: Chicago Teachers Union Authorizes Strike by nearly 9-1 margin

[When we published this article this afternoon, the CTU still had not confirmed the press reports saying that the vote to authorize a strike taken by CTU members had resulted in an overwhelming YES vote.

[The CTU’s website has now confirmed these reports.

[Continuing to downplay the anger and determination of the CTU membership, and to attempt to defuse the very justified sentiment for a strike, current union President Karen G.J. Lewis stated boldly “The results are not a win. They are an indictment on the state of the relationship between the ‘management’ of CPS and its largest labor force, members of the Chicago Teachers Union… we want a contract that gives Chicago’s Students the Schools They Deserve [sic]. So we call on CPS to take the process seriously and negotiate with us in good faith…”  As the article says below, the CTU President has done nothing that shows us that she is even at all interested in, never mind is capable of, leading a victorious teachers strike.  Her repeated anti-strike statements even serve to COMPLETELY UNDERCUT her half-hearted plans to use the strike authorization vote as a bargaining chip in the negotiations with the School Board.  – IWPCHI]

Thee CTU website still has not confirmed it, but capitalist press websites are out with stories claiming that the Chicago Teachers Union has voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, by a nearly 9-1 margin.  According to the Sun-Times, the strike vote was:

Yes:  23,780     (89.73%)
No    482           (1.82%)
Non-voters, spoiled ballots     2,240     (8.45%)  [Source: Chicago Sun-Times]

This vote undoubtedly will raise hopes in the hearts of many of the teachers who voted in favor of a strike that, this time, maybe, they will get out on the picket lines and get a chance to show that they mean it when they say that they want to fight for quality education for the children of Chicago.  But don’t start setting up picket lines just yet, because your so-called “leader” Karen G.J. Lewis, never misses an opportunity to hammer home her position that “Strikes aren’t good for anyone and if the Board is wise it will work with us to do what’s in the best interest of our public schools.” [Source: ctunet.com, “President Karen GJ Lewis Casts Her Ballot”, June 6, 2012.]

What does her statement mean?  Just this: she has no intention of leading a strike at all, under any circumstances.  If she does so, it will be under duress, and only after she has exhausted every means for negotiating an settlement with the Chicago Board of Education – a settlement in which the teachers will lose and lose big.

Why doesn’t Karen GJ Lewis… (hey, who really cares what her middle initials are anyway? Pretentiousness is not an admirable trait in a union leader)… want to go on strike?  Polls show that the all-important “public opinion” (to union bureaucrats who are almost all cheeseburger-eating surrender monkeys) supports the teachers.  Parents and schoolkids support the teachers too.  So why doesn’t Ms. Lewis want to lead a strike in which she can count on nearly universal support from the community?  If the dire situation of the massive underfunding of the US Public School System isn’t enough reason to go on strike, what the hell is?

Well, she probably doesn’t want to mess up Barack Obama’s re-election circus just a little over month before the election takes place.  The interests of “Karen GJ Lewis'” career and her political alliances with the Democrats are more important to her.

So, Chicago Teachers: if you want to go on strike, you’ll have to DUMP both “Karen GJ Lewis” and the Democratic Party at the same time.  Going into a strike is no joke, and if the leadership of your union is more interested in furthering their own career than in fighting for your rights and the right of every child in this country to a free, first-class public school education, then you’ll have a huge roadblock instead of a leader at the helm of your strike.

Ask yourself… or even better yet, ask Karen G.J. Lewis if she’s ready to lead a strike in which the teachers take the most obvious tactics – the occupation of all the schools in Cook County in sit-down strikes that seize the schools and make it impossible for the city to bring in scabs.  Because if she’s not ready to lead this struggle, then the CTU will have to remove her from office and elect a serious strike leadership.  All Karen G.J. Lewis is interested in is using your strike vote as leverage in the bargaining sessions – oh and to make the charade more effective, they will be “round-the-clock” bargaining sessions!” – in which Pres. Lewis, having already expressed her unwillingness to lead a strike, will attempt to convince the other side that, somehow, the strike authorization vote really means something.  But if it doesn’t stand for the union’s iron determination to actually STRIKE… then its effectiveness is equivalent to using a wet noodle to try to take lug nuts off a car’s wheels.  And believe us, the union-busting hitmen hired by the Board of Education to smash the CTU will NOT BE FOOLED by phony posturing by Karen G.J. Lewis.

So get ready to demand answers from Karen G.J. Lewis as to whether she is truly capable of leading a serious strike that will go up against the cops, courts and the full weight of the “friends of labor” – the Democratic Party – and if she ain’t up for it, get ready to elect a new leadership capable of leading this strike.  Because the Board of Education is not going to budge one millimeter – they don’t think the teachers have the guts to go out on strike – and that if they do, they’ll be easy targets with the crappy sellout union bureaucrats – Rahm’s friends – running the strike!

Just telling you the truth, is all.

IWPCHI

Aside

Notes and a tirade based on the video of CTU President Karen G.J. Lewis posted at YouTube, available here (omit brackets): [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4WQE9dj_v0&feature=youtu.be] 1 June, 2012 Press Conference – CTU President Karen G.J. Lewis on Strike Authorization Vote set for 6 … Continue reading