The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership."
Karen Lewis was elected on the CORE ( Caucus of Rank/File Educators) slate of the Chicago Teachers Union. CORE is the Caucus backed by the ISO -International Socialist Organization. Karen Lewis is CTU President and Jesse Sharkey is the Vice President
ISO is International - says so right in the title. Jesse Sharkey is an ISO big shot, as well as second in command of CTU. Jesse Sharkey is a Marxist/Trotskyite, which is nice for him; I am a Catholic Democrat, which is nice for me. Free country. . .for now.
Anyway, Jesse Sharkey is another below the radar power-player in Chicago. He is the power behind Karen Lewis and some power that be.
Let's look back in our Chicago CPS history. Bear in mind that Education Reform will not happen until Vouchers - Real Choice - is mandated. Let's return to those thrilling days of yester-year - The Dawn of CORE.
Marilyn Stewart, " whose smile would light up a room" as the our media icons always told Chicago readers, was once head of CTU and headed the United Progressive Caucus (UPC) Ms. Stewart was a standard issue Progressive mediocrity and grifter who had tossed every pack of race cards available ( WBEZ, WTTW, Carol Marin, Mary Mitchell & etc) at Deb Lynch, the last effective CTU President, in order to grab power. Ms. Stewart looted the CTU six ways to Sunday once in power only be ousted by Karen Lewis with the full public relations might of ISO's plant in the CTU Jesse Sharkey.
Jesse Sharkey is a Brooks Brothers Bolshevik and a leader of the ISO - and international oragnization of retro-Communist Trotskeyites. Jesse Sharkey is not unlike lawsuit lotto lawyers, G. Flint Taylor, Locke Bowman and Jon Loevy - all have the imprimatur of the Illinois Progressive guru Abner Mikva and the lesser lights like Dick Simpson. They are Google scrubbed and patient revolutionaries.
Last April, when America turned its eyes on Wisconsin and even Illinois pulled its noggin out of its rump for a peek, SB7 came to be.
Lewis’s betrayal of the union ranks caused some embarrassment for the International Socialist Organization, since CTU vice president Joel (sic) Sharkey, elected on the CORE slate, is a long-time prominent ISOer. For several days, the ISO kept mum about this dirty deal behind the backs of the membership. But on April 21, the ISO’s main writer on labor and the Democrats, Lee Sustar, posted an article on the Socialist Worker web site, “A crisis for teachers union reformers?” saying that Lewis had “shocked” CORE members by her stab in the back. Sustar said that Lewis “acted alone,” and complained that she “withheld that information from the CTU House of Delegates,” which she addressed by Skype on April 13. He claimed “other CTU elected officers and members” only learned of the deal after the meeting. What Sustar didn’t tell readers is that the ISO is up to its neck in the CTU bureaucracy, whose paid staff includes a number of ISOers, and that the ISO’s CTU vice president Sharkey learned of Lewis’s sellout on the night of April 12, as he admitted to a CORE meeting two weeks later (according to a May 21 leaflet by the League for the Revolutionary Party). So Sustar’s April 21 article was a cover-up for the ISO’s own betrayal.
On the day that article appeared, Marjorie Stamberg of Class Struggle Education Workers posted a commentary, “Big ‘Surprise’ – Chicago Teachers Union Reform Leader Sells Out,” on several New York education activist blogs. A week later (April 27), an ISO supporter responded by posting a defense of CORE and arguing, “No one should have to apologize for supporting these genuine reform movements – warts, growing pains and all.” “We should see union leadership as merely a tool, not an end-all be-all” he intoned, denying that the Sustar article was “somehow hiding” the ISO’s role in CORE. But there was no mention that Lewis’s No. 2 in the CTU leadership, Sharkey, is a prominent ISOer, or of Sharkey’s April 25 admission before many witnesses that he knew of Lewis’ betrayal almost immediately and said nothing of it to union delegates at a meeting the next day. The writer piously hoped that the CTU ranks would reject Lewis’s “unilateral agreement,” and on May 4 the CTU House of Delegates did reject SB7. Yet this was just covering CORE’s ass, since the CTU tops did nothing to mobilize against the bill which was ultimately signed into law by Democratic governor Pat Quinn, whom the CTU had endorsed (along with other Democrats) in the November 2010 elections. Maybe that political support for capitalist politicians is one of the “warts” the reformists want us to overlook.
You see Karen Lewis endorsed Illinois SB7 which required a 75% strike vote by the rank and file and has worn a big target on her back ever since. Karen Lewis must prove that she is 'all that' and go strike happy, even though she is committing the political Dutch Act.
Here's why -
Class-struggle unionists are not opposed to using every legal means to thwart the attacks on the public schools, the students, the teachers and staff. But we underline that the courts are not neutral, they are part of the bourgeois state just as the police and legislature are, and they exist in order to enforce the interests of the exploiters against the exploited. We hold that to defend the workers’ interests it’s necessary to mobilize the ranks of labor at the head of all the oppressed independently of and against the courts, the cops and all the capitalist parties and politicians. Reformist leftists, in contrast, pretend that if enough pressure is brought to bear in the streets, or otherwise, the courts can be induced to come down on the side of “the people.” So what happened in this case? For starters, the CTU suit said nothing about the over 500 “provisional” teachers who were dumped, and did not challenge the CPS’s “right” to lay off the 749 tenured teachers, only the way it was done. In October, a sympathetic judge ruled against the CPS and ordered that these teachers be put on a recall list and given priority when hiring resumes. Lewis hailed the “stunning court victory” – yet almost 1,300 teachers were still out of a job. ISO -International Group
Karen Lewis is finished no matter what happens, or however long this strike will last. Jesse Sharkey will see to that.
Jesse Sharkey, it seems to me, is the architect of the current CPS Strike. While media follows Karen Lewis like goslings, Jesse Sharkey appears strategically. He's the Veep. Personally, I do not believe that Karen Lewis can make change, much less effect educational reform at any level.
CPS and CTU are gobs of stinky cheese cut from the same John Dewey wheel and things are playing out according to plan - Jesse Sharkey's plan: