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Workers Vanguard No. 1066

17 April 2015
The closing date for news in this issue is 14 April.

Workers Vanguard

Obama’s Hatchet Man Beats “Progressive” Rival

Chicago: Democrats’ Segregation City Elections

We Need a Revolutionary Workers Party!

The Chicago mayoral elections drew national attention after incumbent Rahm Emanuel failed to win re-election on February 24, forcing a runoff. The mere fact that Emanuel, former chief of staff of Barack Obama’s White House, could not get a first-round knockout in Obama’s hometown was, as the Chicago Tribune put it, a “national political embarrassment.” Emanuel is widely despised for having pushed through brutal austerity measures in his first term as mayor of “Segregation City,” so named for its entrenched residential and school segregation. Most notoriously, he closed nearly 50 schools, overwhelmingly in black and Latino neighborhoods, as part of carrying out Obama’s “school reform” policies.

The once seemingly invincible Cook County Democratic Party machine has not been so for years and can no longer turn out the living and the dead to the polls as it did in its heyday. More than ever, the city’s Democratic Party electoral apparatus is dependent on the trade-union officialdom. In the face of widespread disaffection with the arrogant labor-hating mayor, many prominent union leaders along with the reformist leftists who tail them rushed to promote Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who finished second in February. Castigating Emanuel as “Mayor 1 Percent” and a “corporate Democrat,” they worked overtime to paint Garcia as some kind of alternative. Central to this effort was the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which had waged a widely popular nine-day strike in 2012.

Many did not buy the idea that Garcia would be any better than Emanuel, who handily won re-election in the April 7 runoff. Despite all the hype, the voter turnout was 40 percent. Garcia’s main qualification was that he was not well known and hence didn’t have so much to live down. But “Chuy” is as much an enemy of working people as his much better funded opponent for mayor or any other Democrat. As floor leader on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Garcia served as hatchet man in his own right, pushing through attacks on public workers. In the campaign, Garcia vowed that he would wring concessions from the unions more effectively through negotiations rather than Emanuel’s ham-fisted provocations. He also promised to hire 1,000 more cops.

Last summer, there was much ballyhoo about the possibility that CTU president Karen Lewis would run for mayor against Emanuel. But then Lewis became ill, and she persuaded Garcia to take her place. Forces from national teachers unions to radical black professor Cornel West and the liberal quickly jumped on Garcia’s bandwagon. In reality, Garcia’s campaign platform made clear that his “friend of labor” credentials were just lipstick on a pig. Among other lowlights, he upheld a 2007 state law enacted by Democrats that jacked up transit workers’ mandatory retirement contributions by more than 400 percent! (read on)

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About the ICL

V.I. LeninLeon TrotskyThe International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is a proletarian, revolutionary and internationalist tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties as national sections of a democratic-centralist international. Our aim is the achievement of new October Revolutions—nothing else, nothing other, nothing less. The ICL bases itself on Marxist historical, dialectical materialism and seeks in particular to carry forward the international working-class perspectives of Marxism developed in the theory and practice of the Bolshevik leaders V. I. Lenin and L. D. Trotsky and embodied in the decisions of the first four Congresses of the Communist International as well as key documents of the Fourth International such as the Transitional Program (1938) and "War and the Fourth International" (1934). We also look to James P. Cannon, a leader of the early American Communist Party who was won to Trotskyism and went on to become a principal founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), working in close collaboration with Leon Trotsky. The origins of the ICL are in the Spartacist League/U.S., which began as the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP and was bureaucratically expelled in 1963. Our ICL "Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program" was modeled on the Declaration of Principles adopted at the 1966 founding conference of the SL/U.S.

Adopted at the Third International Conference of the ICL in early 1998, the declaration presently exists in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Greek and Tagalog. In this post-Soviet period, marked by a deep regression of proletarian consciousness, we continue to be guided by Trotsky's statement that "the task of the vanguard is above all not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow; it must swim against the current." Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!