The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Teachers Back the “Reformers” Off

Nov 25, 2013

In 2011, the Illinois state legislature passed Senate Bill 7–written by an “astroturf” organization–a fake organization pretending to be grassroots–funded by Bill Gates and other so-called reformers. The law allowed Mayor Emanuel to radically lengthen the school day without negotiating with teachers–and without providing additional money to schools for necessary salary, staff, playgrounds, computer labs or programs to make a longer day worthwhile.

The law also targeted Chicago’s unionized teachers’ ability to fight back. It forbids teachers to strike unless 75% of them voted to strike. That’s not 75% of those voting–which no politician ever gets–that’s 75% of anyone eligible to vote. One of the “reformers” bragged several months later that a teachers’ strike was now “impossible,” leaving the mayor a free hand to attack teachers. He had to eat his words a year later–Emanuel’s full tilt attack galvanized teachers to respond: 90% of them voted to strike.

The strike, lasting a little over a week, was a slap at the mayor–a mark of the teachers’ determination not to accept his attacks.