I know the word "Socialist" was dragged through the mud during the last presidential campaign. Barack Obama is showing himself to be quite the centrist — I know my friends in the right will disagree with that, but it’s the truth.
I try to avoid extremes. Strict socialism is too far to the left for my tastes. There are those who would call all public education systems exercises in socialism.
I disagree. Just because an organized governmental entity is running something, that does not mean that particular endeavor is socialism. If that were so, one could argue that government doing anything is socialism: street repair, police, fire, or paramedics.
Socialism is much broader, "a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production," where "private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control."
Socialism is too far to the left to me.
It appears, however, that Socialism is not too far to the left for the Chicago Teachers Union.
Incoming Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and incoming Vice-President Jesse Sharkey are strongly affiliated with the Socialist Worker Party. In fact, Sharkey is scheduled to speak at the Socialism 2010 convention in Chicago beginning June 17.
Did the rank and file know they were electing socialists?
Too late now.
Socialists of all stripes built the labor movement in this country. Sadly, many self-described “liberals” actively engaged in the McCarthyite witch-hunts that drove the Left out of the unions and led to their long decline.
I am a second-grade teacher who has been active in the Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators. Karen Lewis is not “strongly affiliated” with any socialist organization — although she’s willing to speak to socialist audiences who support democracy in our unions. Jesse Sharkey has never made a secret of his socialist politics. He’s said that socialism, for him, means working people running society rather than the wealthy. However, he doesn’t see leadership in the CTU as a means to promote socialism so much as a means to promote power for working teachers.
Your post, unfortunately, falls entirely in line with the red-baiting whisper campaign launched by the do-nothing “old guard” who just lost the union’s leadership. Too bad some “liberals” seem more interested in pleasing their “friends in the right” than in standing with socialists who are willing to fight for working families.