[Marxism] Finding Labor’s Political Independence in Chicago
dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Thu Aug 21 08:44:26 MDT 2014
*By DAVID McCAINE*
[Revised August 17th, 2014]
CHICAGO — Will Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis run for mayor,
and will such a possible candidacy create a third party break with the
Democrats in city government? Events leading up to these two questions go
back at least four years.
In December of 2010 the CTU, under newly-elected Karen Lewis, sponsored a
forum to hear all of the candidates in the upcoming 2011 mayoral election.
All the candidates speaking at that forum were Democrats.
The event was unprecedented for the CTU — to make deliberations about
mayoral endorsement so public. It suggested that the way the CTU decided
should not be an automatic, undemocratic process. And it suggested that
politics-as-usual in Chicago was on its way out. Although the forum set out
to hear all mayoral candidates, one of the invited candidates did not show
up — Rahm Emanuel. He went on to win the spring Democratic Party primary,
and then the election.
With that election victory of Rahm Emanuel, the die was cast for an
historic confrontation between the re-born, militant CTU and City Hall. The
fireworks came in 2012 with the five-day strike in the country’s third
largest school system.uch has been written about the size, impact, and
outcome of that strike, involving some 30,000 teachers, 350,000 students
and their households, and a broad network of community organizations. It
was a political watershed, for two reasons.
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