Friday, September 28, 2012

Chicago Strike Reaches Stalemate as OWS Sinks into Irrelevance

Webster G. Tarpley
Islam Times
September 23, 2012

The Chicago public schools are the third largest school system in the United States, and with almost 30,000 members the Chicago Teachers Union is one of the flagships of public sector labor in the country.

The strike was provoked by the bullying of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former top official of the Clinton White House who had most recently served as the White House Chief of Staff for Obama. The teachers have suspended their strike pending a vote on whether to go back to work, but it is already clear that the results of this long-overdue labor action are disappointing.

Since the 19th century, the United States has had a strong tradition of free, universal, compulsory education, and no country can hope to remain competitive in today’s world without an effective educational system. Nevertheless, it is now the ambition of powerful corporate predators to asset-strip the US school system in the same way that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital vulture firm has asset-stripped and destroyed so many companies.

These corporate privatizers want to realize the fabulous profits by putting an end to the Chicago public schools. In this enterprise, they are joined by a lobby of so-called “education reformers,” represented nationally by such super rich plutocrats as Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli Broad, and others, who have no background in education. The approach of these pseudo-reformers claims that the existence of teachers’ unions capable of collective bargaining is a betrayal of low income black and Hispanic pupils in big-city schools. They, therefore, claim that busting the unions will provide more resources for these pupils.

This philosophy of education “reform” is emphatically shared by Obama, who made his own attempt 20 years ago to destroy the Chicago Teachers Union through an initiative known as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. This attack failed, mainly because of support from black parents for the teachers’ union. Another of these fake reformers is Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, who calls his union-busting program the Race to the Top. The ultimate outcome of this campaign is likely to be the end of free, universal, public education in the United States, with literacy becoming the privilege of the wealthy, as it was in the 19th century. Naturally, no modern nation can survive on this basis, but the incompetent US ruling elite is unable to see beyond their greedy desire to profit from the destruction of the teachers union and the public schools.

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