[Marxism] Arrest of Illinois guv: Were real targets Obama and UAW?

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 21 09:38:30 MST 2008


Blagojevich punished for double-crossing corporate powerhouses

Thursday, December 18, 2008


By: Sean Pavey 
http://www.pslweb.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=10773



Threatened moves against Bank of America last straw
In the early hours of Dec. 9, the U.S. Attorney’s office and agents
from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Democratic Illinois
Governor Rod Blagojevich at his home on the north side of Chicago. The
charges brought up included allegations of corruption and "pay-to-play"
politics in which the governor would accept or shake down campaign
contributions in exchange for political favors or state funding. 







One
such accusation infered Blagojevich threatened to cut off $8 million of
state funding to Children’s Memorial Hospital unless he received a
personal $50,000 contribution from the hospital’s CEO, Patrick Magoon.
Other charges include attempts to cash in on tollway projects and
horseracing tracks as well as efforts to have editors critical of the
governor’s administration fired from the Chicago Tribune in exchange
for state money to help the Tribune sell Wrigley Field.
But the most notorious accusation against Blagojevich is his
alleged attempt to sell off the vacant U.S. Senate seat left behind by
President-elect Barack Obama. The appointment of that seat is the sole
responsibility of the Illinois governor, and federal investigators say
that Blagojevich was prepared to give up that seat for a position as
Secretary of Health and Human Services, an ambassadorship, jobs for
friends and family, or—of course—campaign contributions. 
Though three previous Illinois governors have been indicted, with
two serving time for similar charges of corruption, Blagojevich is the
first sitting Illinois governor to be arrested at his residence.
(Chicago Sun Times, Dec. 10)
Though Blagojevich has allegedly been making criminal deals for
years, it was only after he made enemies of Bank of America, the
Chicago Tribune, a major hospital chain and many others that federal
investigators intervened. The governor was not taking on the
corporations on behalf of workers, but to enrich himself and to promote
his own political career.
When Republic Windows and Doors closed down its Chicago factory
after Bank of America refused to extend credit to the company, the
workers, who had received only three days’ notice of the shutdown,
began a heroic six-day occupation of the factory. At a rally in support
of the workers, Blagojevich told reporters that "the State of Illinois
will suspend doing any business with Bank of America" until the bank
agreed to give the workers their due. He said he was also prepared to
seek a temporary restraining order to push the courts to make Bank of
America comply with the provisions of the Warren Act, a federal law
that guarantees the rights of workers to receive any owed severance or
vacation pay.
State steps in to defend capitalist interests
The idea of retaliatory measures being taken by the capitalist state
against an insubordinate politician on behalf of one of the most
powerful financial institutions in the world is not altogether
unbelievable. Up until the arrest of the governor, the Republic
workers’ struggle was the top news story for days in Chicago and one of
the top national news stories. After the arrest, the workers’ struggle
all but disappeared in the mainstream media. The intervention of
federal investigators came on the heels of Blagojevich’s statement
against Bank of America.
Capitalist politics is synonymous with crime and corruption.
Politicians who work for and are directly funded by the highest
corporate echelons in the United States are prone, if not obligated, to
have money dictate what policies will be enacted instead of the demands
and needs of workers and oppressed peoples in this country.
Blagojevich’s corruption is not an exception to the rule—but his arrest
is.
Thousands of capitalist politicians are guilty of being paid to
support the interests of a tiny minority of society. Most expect to use
their administrative positions to enrich themselves. In Blagojevich’s
case, powerful players in the country decided to remove him from office
for overstepping his place in society and expecting too much in return
for his elected position.
Under the rule of the bankers and corporations, elected
officials—especially prominent ones—serve in government only as long as
they serve the interests of the rich. Usually, they are defeated in
elections in which their opponent gets more contributions and more
favorable media coverage. At times, the capitalist state will intervene
to remove from office those who, like Blagojevich, forget who is in
charge and cross the boundaries stipulated by the capitalist class.
"Pay-to-play" corruption is but the most blatant example of the
illusory nature of U.S. democracy, where the rich can buy votes and
influence while the workers essentially remain politically powerless.
Such activity should not be accepted and workers should stand and unite
to rip the reins of control out of the hands of the bourgeoisie and the
corrupt puppets whose strings they pull.
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