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Fri Feb 20, 2015, 07:15 AM

We Need Syriza in Illinois


The new governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, is a hedge fund manager whose salary last year was $60 million. He spent $65.9 million—including $27.6 million of his own money—buying his last election, and he’s about to introduce an austerity program that will make most folks in Illinois think they are living in austerity-wracked Greece, with less idyllic weather. While he’s generating national headlines by trash talking unions, he is quietly taking a scalpel to every important social program in the state, starting with an Illinois program that subsidizes high-quality childcare for 160,000 low-income kids. Instead of extending a small tax increase that passed the Illinois legislature in 2011, staving off a crisis, he’s letting the increases expire. Rauner is methodically manufacturing an economic crisis for his state, one that will let him do what he has long been set on doing: shrink the government and squeeze the 99 percent.


The corporate right has a worldview, and, as Edelman’s speech demonstrates, it also has a power analysis from which all strategy flows. In the 1930s, the progressive movement’s analysis of power rested squarely on the faith that workers in large numbers—organized workers—could challenge unfettered corporate power and improve social conditions. And for many generations, through their unions, that is what they did. Now, progressives in and outside of unions have replaced power structure analysis with short-term tactical maneuvers that rely on something fashionably known as narrative change, done best through paid social media, devoid of vision and without the active participation of large numbers of workers. Worse still, despite our defeats in Wisconsin, our own movement continues to throw large numbers of women and African-Americans under the bus by characterizing public service workers as somehow different from, and of lesser importance than, the heroes of the twentieth century’s labor struggles, the largely white male labor force of heavy industry.


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Reply We Need Syriza in Illinois (Original post)
deutsey Feb 2015 OP
rogerashton Feb 2015 #1

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