Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chicago teacher's leader lets Rahm Emanuel off the hook


But he doesn't really mean it!
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, Retired

I commented earlier
on the pathetic response to the attacks on Chicago teachers by Rahm Emanuel and the CPS board from CTU president Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey, the union’s VP. Sharkey is a Socialist from what I understand and obviously can’t figure out that refusing to fight the boss is not the most inspiring way to draw members in to activity or to the ideas of socialism.

It seems not much has changed and their allegiance to the Team Concept is still strong. Lewis responded to claims by the president emeritus of Northwestern University and friend of Rahm Emanuel, Henry Bienen, that the union has “never met a reform it likes”  when she talked to Carol Fenselthal the  political writer for Chicago Magazine that was published today.

Lewis had some nice things to say about some members of the school board saying they “were very receptive” this is meaningless union officialdom talk that is often used to let the liberals off the hook. But Lewis saved her most interesting comments for Rahm himself:


“I think that my relationship with Rahm is better…...”,
she told Fenselthal,  “…..That’s a good thing. He’s the ultimate decision maker. I can just run [my ideas] up the flagpole by Rahm. And he has been very open. I think part of the problem we had last time is that Rahm had an agenda that was pushed by other people, including [Gov. Bruce] Rauner, that I don’t know if Rahm even truly believed in. A lot of it was kind of like, “Put the union in their place and dah dah dah.” The elephant in the room is the budget and not having any money. So then it becomes a matter of what your priorities are, what your vision is. And I think we have yet to see that, but I think [Rahm’s] thinking about it.”

So it’s not Emanuel’s fault; it’s the Governor’s. This is standard as Bruce Rauner, the Gov. is a Republican, a money lender, lawyer and former VP of Motorola. He never had any help from his parents of course, he’s “self made” his bio says. As the labor officialdom has all their eggs in the Democratic Party basket they cover when Democrats like Emanuel attack workers. Emanuel is another millionaire and former Israeli solider.

Emanuel is “very open” Lewis says. Keep in mind this is the guy that is laying off teachers and has closed 50 schools that has had dire consequences for the poor and people of color as parents and teachers. I think part of the problem we had last time is that Rahm had an agenda that was pushed by other people…” Lewis says. This is plain dishonesty but is necessary as she needs to cover Rahm’s ass as national elections are around the corner and Rahm’s friend Hilary Clinton will most likely be getting union money and endorsements.

Lewis claiming to have doubts that Rahm Emanuel , “..even truly believed in..” the savage assault he has waged on working class people and the teachers of Chicago is simply more lies, the whole lot of it is pure betrayal of her role as a union leader. One wonders when the ranks will tire of this class collaboration from the union hierarchy.  And who cares whether he believed in it, he did it.

I was in Chicago last week and I saw some old poster on a lamppost that said something like plumbers or union plumbers for Rahm Emanuel. This must have been from his reelection campaign. This is trade unionism at its most reactionary really.  The plumber’s union bureaucracy supports Emanuel in the hope he will dole out some public projects for their members, keep them working and the dues money rolling in. In return, the plumber’s paid officials will force concessions on the membership, keep them in line, and suppress any opposition to cuts that might be developing in the ranks.

The members follow along with this regardless of the assault Emanuel wages on the unorganized, the poor, and the public school system. It is a process that hurts the poor most in the immediate term but all workers, including those very same plumbers who will suffer in the not so distant future. It is also a position that basically says “f*$%k you to the rest of the working class.

Lewis is no better and it will be interesting if the CTU’s VP, the socialist Jesse Sharkey steps up and offers a counter to this disastrous class collaboration on the part of his colleagues. Will he separate himself from them?

I am not holding my breath.

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