Rauner and Quinn: officers in the enemy’s army

rauner-quinnThe race for governor of Illinois will be one of the most closely watched this election season.

Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, is a very rich man who is anti-worker and reactionary. The incumbent Democrat is Pat Quinn.

Quinn sounds more progressive. For example, he says he wants to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and protect a woman’s right to choose. Many unions and progressive people are engaged in a high-profile campaign to defeat Rauner and elect Quinn.

You can certainly see where labor is coming from. The election of Republican governors in Midwest states in recent years has coincided with a devastating escalation in the war on labor rights and on funding to programs that benefit students, women and the poor.

Let’s be clear. Rauner has no business running the state of Illinois—plutocrats have no right to make decisions for society—but, Quinn has proven, in reality and beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he will faithfully carry out the war on working and poor people in the interest of Wall Street.

Quinn’s running mate, Paul Vallas, is a notorious enemy of public education. He is actually to the right of Rauner on education, even though Rauner is a major source of funds and a hands-on promoter of an apartheid education system in Chicago.

Both Rauner and Quinn are purveyors of the biggest lie of our time, that there is no money for people’s needs and that drastic government budget cuts are an existential necessity—the biggest and most inexcusable lie from the perspective of true justice, freedom and equality.

I mean, Governor Quinn has even violated the state’s constitution to slash workers’ pensions while at the same time facilitating the tax evasion of the state’s elites. Only a quarter of Illinois corporations pay taxes. Only 8 percent of state revenue comes from the corporate tax. Working and poor people pay over 30 times as much in taxes as a percentage of income compared to Illinois-based corporations. On top of that, Quinn has handed out millions of taxpayer dollars to major corporations.

For example, under Quinn, Sears got a $275 million handout when they threatened to leave the state. All they had to do in return was promise not to lay off more than 33 percent of their workers. What?! They could still lay off thousands of workers and keep the welfare check? That’s nothing other than shameless and criminal extortion—and Quinn facilitated it. Sears, which closed its flagship store in Chicago shortly after Quinn gave them our money, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Quinn has taken a hatchet to health care, education and other badly needed services. A hatchet.

Examine just one of Pat Quinn’s anti-worker achievements in his time in office and it must lead any thoughtful, caring person to the conclusion that if Rauner is a general in the war on working and poor people, then Quinn must be an officer in the same army—an army that simply has two different political wings that start with a “D” and a “R.”

Finally, let’s really think about what happens if Quinn wins. What would be his reason to help out or fight for workers if he wins with the support of progressives and labor? What would compel him to switch sides?

Will Quinn stop laying us off, raising our taxes, slashing our pensions, destroying public education, facilitating the tax evasion of the 1% and so much more? Not likely. To think so would be to completely ignore the facts.

Maybe—and that’s a big maybe—the cuts won’t be as deep or harsh if Quinn is elected, but that doesn’t change the criminal nature of the war on the poor that is underway in the richest nation in the history of the world. Without militant struggle, the dream of the rulers to completely destroy unions and the social safety net would be accomplished in no time—and it wouldn’t matter, not even in the slightest, who is governor of Illinois or which of the two parties of Wall Street they represent.

If Quinn is elected, Wall Street does not lose the election. Working people don’t win. Only the people can stop the war on workers and the poor. To put the billionaire exploiters and their bought-off politicians in their place we will have to fight.

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