Illinois: Why haven’t Democrats used supermajority to stop Rauner?

DSC_0451_CROPPED_580wHere’s a question: What possible use to the people is a political party if it does not carry out the will of the very people who helped put it in power?

In Illinois, the Democrats have a veto-proof supermajority in the state house. As a party, the Democrats can pass whatever law they want. They have absolute power over billionaire Gov. Rauner who is demanding merciless cuts. They can pass a budget at any time. Instead, Illinois has had no budget for eight months while people’s lives and livelihoods literally hang in the balance.

Without a doubt, the vast majority of the people the Democrats represent want them to defeat Rauner’s attacks and pass a state budget.

That there has been no budget for eight months is a direct reflection of the fact that there is no real representation of the people in the Illinois state house. None. Let’s remember. The overwhelming majority of people who voted in Illinois in 2014, in the very same election in which Rauner was elected, voted overwhelmingly that they wanted the state to raise taxes on the rich to increase education spending. The vote wasn’t even close.

Tell me, what kind of party is it that cannot wield its very real power and widespread public support to rescue the people from Rauner’s war on the poor, the disabled, our children, our schools, the homeless and the entire working class of Illinois?

The answer is pretty obvious: The Democratic party is not a party of the people. How else do you explain such meekness in the face of Rauner’s heartless war?

The Democrats are in a position of power. What is needed now is not talk, but real deeds to save education, badly needed services, real people’s lives and so much more.

Why are they not delivering? A handful of Democratic state representatives are preventing their own party from passing veto-proof legislation with their super-majority. One of them, Ken Dunkin, recently received an unparalleled campaign contribution of $500,000 from a Republican-related conservative policy group. How is that possible? What type of political party is it whose members can be bribed by the opposition party and remain in the party? How can such a powerful political party like the Democrats allow a few individuals to hold their entire party and millions of people hostage?

Here’s what I think: a political party can be of no fundamental use to the people unless it closes ranks to fight the oppressor. The establishment which dominates the Illinois and Chicago Democratic party apparatus has no interest in using their power to discredit and defeat Rauner. The Democrats are ultimately a party of the rich too. After all, they have engaged in brutal budget cuts and anti-worker attacks too. Michael Madigan, the most powerful person in the Illinois Democratic party organization, is a wealthy corporate lawyer who specializes in getting tax breaks for big real estate interests.

The Democrats may yet yield to public anger and take the actions necessary to pass a budget. Gov. Rauner may do the same. Or there may be some combination of forces that come together to get a budget passed. Either way, the capitalist politicians have completely exposed themselves as unwilling to take on the minority, mostly the rich and the reactionaries, who want to cut budgets and play games with people’s lives. The two parties are in no way servants of the people.

We clearly need new movements, organizations and institutions to be successful in our struggle against the dictatorship of the rich and their servants in government houses. If we held a statewide referendum free from the influences of wealthy policy makers and the media that they own, we would have a budget tomorrow that greatly expanded government spending in an attempt to equalize society.

The current situation in Illinois clearly shows that the people are the only real rational thinkers and actors and not the bought off politicians or the billionaires. They would rather shut society down than follow the will of the people. They think that they alone should own the budget and everything else in society.

To win, to take power over society’s decisions, we must be organized. We need to build organizations that do not in any way tolerate traitors to the people in their ranks. We need organizations that are committed to revolutionary political programs where the people have power over the decisions regarding society’s well-being. The Party for Socialism and Liberation is one such party and people of conscience should join with us in a struggle against the fraudulent system of two party rule which serves only an antiquated dictatorship of wealth and pomposity.

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