Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Direct Action Movement and the Labor Movement unite against the Capitalist Offensive.

Bruce Rauner
by Sean O'Torain

Chicago is one of the major cities in the USA. With its hinterland, the population is close to ten million. It is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies and one of the world’s busiest airports. It is in the state of Illinois.

The recently elected governor of that state is Bruce Rauner. Before his election he was Chairman of R8 Capital Partners and Chairman of the private equity firm GTCR. Like all of his class, his foray in to politics is in order to strengthen the power and influence of the billionaires over the rest of us.

Rauner is an extreme right wing Republican. He made his money in finance capital speculating with other peoples’ money and therefore is one of those people responsible for the crash of 2008. Included in his vast list of crimes against American workers is 5 million homes, stolen from the people that lived in them by the bankers and their security forces.

The world economy was only saved from a total collapse because Rauner and his friends  were bailed out by the US taxpayer, that is working class and middle class people's money. Rauner was elected to power by a fund of over $60 million which was got together by his equally extreme right wing finance capitalists, and not only in Illinois but around the country.

These vultures see Illinois as a chicken to be plucked and Rauner as the person to do the plucking. Rauner is a vicious capitalist who personally threatened the family of one of his rivals. A journalist in the Sun Times was temporarily fired for reporting this. Rauner is going after state pensions, the minimum wage, blocking any attempts to increase taxes on the rich. It is the usual extreme right wing agenda. However it is good to say, and grounds for hope,  that Rauner is not doing so well. His poll numbers are sinking.

Then there is his pal in Chicago, the extreme right wing mayor Rahm Emanuel a former aid to the capitalist stooge Clinton, former chief of staff to the bailer out of Wall Street and the mad bomber of the Middle East Obama. Emanuel came to Chicago to stamp the working people into the dirt in preparation for a return to Washington in the future for higher office.

Emanuel has a resume similar to Rauner. Both made fortunes in finance. Emanuel also has on his resume a stint in the occupying army of the Israeli Zionist state. His father was a member of the Zionist terrorist group the Irgun. But just like Rauner, Emanuel is having some difficulty. He has just had to fire his police chief over police murders and cover up. He himself had seen to it that the video of  Laquan McDonald murdered by the cop was not released until after his relection. 

These brief resumes are important. Especially for the activist movement in the Chicagoland area. It is very important to understand what and who the enemy are and what they are doing. Rauner and Emanuel represent the capitalist forces in the state and city. But not only that. They represent the capitalist forces which want to step up the offensive of capitalism against the working class. This capitalist offensive is what dominates all our lives. This capitalist class wants to take away all that was gained in the 1930’s, 1960’s and it wants to crush any effort to prevent it from looting the planet even if this means destroying life on earth as we know it. We need to understand who our enemies are, the Emanuels and Rauners and the class they represent. We need to understand what they are trying to do. We need to understand that they are monsters. 

Emanuel and his class as part of their offensive have just closed 50 Chicago schools. This is incredible. I do not think any of their kids went to any of these schools.  90% of these schools were African American. Emanuel and his class as part of this offensive allow I in 5 Chicagoans to live in poverty, 33% of the African American people, 24% of the Latino people and 10% of European Americans. 1 in 3 children, approximately 200,000 children, live in poverty.

Then this class refuses to provide jobs for hundreds of thousands especially the youth of the minorities, refuses also to provide social services and income and so shoot them down in the streets or jail them in horrific conditions. Or keep them in such poverty and alienation that they can see no way but to turn in on each other with the horrific murder rate this produces. Over 400 people were murdered in Chicago last year. 

The city of Chicago is ruled by the Chicago capitalist class, by the bankers and the Board of Trade and the stock market. They buy and pay for the politicians and lawyers and their servants such as the Emanuels. They fund their servants such as the cops. The city is in a budget crisis. Emanuel brought in a city wide property tax which hits working class and middle class home owners. The class that run the city refused to even respond to the demand to implement a Financial Transaction Tax which, even at the extremely low rate of 1/1000% would have brought in $10 to $12 billion dollars and solved the problems. But no, the working class and middle class would have to pay because these vultures who run the financial and industrial corporations of the city and the country control the politicians and the mass media.

But so far I have just been looking at the one side of the coin. I have left out another force. If you read article after article in paper after paper, watch news program after news program about the city’s affairs you will hear no mention of it there either. I am talking about the city’s organized and un-organized working class. There are 320 union locals organized in the city and affiliated to the Chicago Federation of Labor. These bring together half a million trade unionists. They include transport, communication, health care, industry, education, water supply, and many other vital sectors. Without these workers organized in these unions the city could not work. It would be completely paralyzed. These unions have the power to change things. Just consider this. 

The Financial Transaction tax. These unions could explain through their membership and resources  what it would mean to the city’s population. No property tax, no cut in pensions, make the swindling speculators , make the rich, make the 1% pay. Then act and make this happen. This is entirely possible. Give the city and these swindling outfits a couple of days to pay up otherwise close them down. They could not speculate, send their vast sums of money round the world if the electrical power was cut to the Stock Exchange, the Board of Trade and the Banks. Mobilize the working class to make this change. Pull the plug. These 1% swindlers do not know how to keep the electricity going. But do not leave it there. Mobilize the working class to increase the minimum wage, to create jobs through public works programs at union rates and conditions, end the mass incarceration and create jobs instead, take on the police brutality, the sexism, the brutality of the system.. This is the way to go forward.

It makes so much sense. And the power exists to make it happen. This power is the trade union movement and the working class organized and unorganized. So why does it not happen? It does not happen because the leaders of the trade unions are supporters of capitalism and completely cowed by the capitalist offensive.  Instead of mobilizing their huge potential forces and drawing with them the unorganized workers these leaders cozy up to the Democratic Party and also to the bosses and for the promise that the workers will not have to give up as much as they might have to give up if they did not cozy up, they hold the workers movement down. They refuse to mobilize the forces in their ranks. They are the problem. They are the problem and a disgrace.

The 1%, their parties and state apparatus, these are the forces that attack working people, these are the forces that initiate and keep going the offensive against the working class. However the reason this 1% are able to keep their offensive going is because the union leaders refuse to mobilize their members and fight back. They refuse to mobilize their members and withdraw their members labor until the offensive is ended and working people get what we all need to live a decent and productive life.

In the Chicagoland area now there is the very inspiring Action Council and Rising Tide movement. With close to 100 different groupings dedicated to opposing climate change, police brutality, racism, and capitalism this is a great cause for hope. These mainly young people have to be given the greatest of praise and support. Their direct action struggles are inspiring. If there is to be a future they will bring it about. But they need allies. This needs to be thought about both by the direct action movement and the trade union movement.

Very few young people are in the trade unions. Very few trade unionists are in the direct action movement. This separation has to be ended. Unity has to be built. All young people who are not in unions should seek out friends and relatives and others who are in unions and seek to get invited to union meetings to speak on their issues and ask for support. They should seek to get union jobs and when in jobs to organize into unions. Every action council should have a union caucus which meets regularly and organizes to build links with, to bridge gaps with, to build links with the minimum wage movement and to help its own members organize in their workplace. These caucuses should also immerse themselves in the extremely rich history of the Chicago union movement.

Every direct action member should seek to become a union member and be active in their union. The best, in fact the only way, that ideas can be tested and clarified is in interaction with the working class. This means putting forward proposals for joint action and struggle to organized and unorganized workers, hearing what they have to say and interacting with them, having a dialogue with them.

The offensive led by Rauner and Emanuel on behalf of their class will not be ended by their temporary fall in support. They or another member of their class will take over. It is up to us to be better prepared, to see who our enemy is and what are their tactics and to unite all sections of the working class and youth in the battle against the capitalist offensive for a working class offensive instead and from this the building of a new and sustainable world. 

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