This is an open letter written by myself, CSP Treasurer Fernando Contreras, three days before the April 1st Day of Action, and sent via snail mail to Bruce Rauner. All power to the people, all power to the unions, the budget can’t wait!
Solidarity with all those in action today, the people of Illinois can’t wait any longer for a budget. At the head of all this political stalling and anti worker legislation, is the current governor Bruce Rauner. He has, with the help of some machine politicians and republicans, almost singlehandedly doomed the most vulnerable of residents to suffering, that is why I write to him and voice my disapproval and ire. My letter to him is as follows, un-edited, as it was delivered.
Mr. Bruce Rauner
Oh how I loathe even speaking your name. I write this is for all the inopportune and working class people of our State of Illinois; for the single mothers, the working fathers, the sick children and the mentally ill whose lives you have actively worked to destroy and bury in order to amass more wealth not only for yourself but your business partners in crime; I write this letter to you as one of those who stands to suffer further under your neo-liberal, anti-minority, anti-poor, anti-disabled, and anti-worker platform. You went on and on with messages like “Shaking Up Springfield” and “Bringing Back Illinois” during your election campaign. One thing I can say for certain is that you definitely shook things. However, as these many months have shown us, you have not managed to shake UP our broken political system, rather you have shaken DOWN the hardworking people of Illinois and have stolen their desperately needed resources. Acts like your first executive order halting the hiring of new employees by the state and selling “surplus land” demonstrate that you are not working, in any semblance of the words, “for the people”, rather, you confirmed as soon as possible that you act in the interest of private businesses and the ruling elite of this state. Since then you have both proposed legislation and passed executive orders harming the most vulnerable residents of Illinois; cutting back or entirely discontinuing funding for programs that the mentally ill, the disabled, victims of domestic violence, the homeless and migrant workers rely upon to live lives as healthy and productive human beings. To call these actions wrong would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions, they are despicable, vile and abhorrent. Study after study and various statistics have shown that these programs and more not only benefit communities in the immediate, but in addition, when talking in the grander scale of things, are a boost to the economy. But what can one expect from an elitist businessman such as yourself, the economy is not really what you and your kind, the conservative right wing politicos of this country, concern yourselves with; as long as the pockets of your fellow oligarchs are filled along with your own, it’s all quiet on western front. You, a proponent of, and name holder of a charter school, one which harshly punishes students with debts to their name before they can even legally work, for things including; tardiness, low grades, disciplinary detention, summer school, uniforms, even books; it’s no surprise at all that this is who you are and I would not be taken aback for a second if the very students of the school which bears your name, know of your villainy.
All your history has led to this moment in time. Your continuous vetoes of legislation such as that of the MAP grant funding and of course the main dish on the table, a failure to pass a state budget without your glaringly obvious anti-worker, anti-labor agenda in the mix are not only childish but have already proven to the people of Illinois that you care more about your own money and that of your friends in business, than the immediate wellbeing and education of millions of people. Racial and class discrimination is alive and well in the Land of Lincoln, as many of the institutions like the publicly funded Chicago State University, various social services which include help for those unable to afford mental health service and an array of state run services, are relied upon heavily by people of color and those living below the poverty line. It is not beyond reason to call your refusal to pass a budget and jam privatization where our public institutions stand now, a direct attack to the common people of Illinois and the residents of color. I write this from my home, three days before the APRIL 1ST Action in Chicago, whether the general strike is a success or not, my message to you remains the same and remains simple; So long as a budget is not passed, so long as you attempt to undermine the lives of millions of people with no other option but the state for survival, so long as you destroy the educational rights of millions of people in this state, you can consider me, the unions, the workers, the disabled, the poor, the students, the sick, the elderly, the homeless and every other person who gives a damn about their fellow human beings in this state as an enemy. We will take to the streets if need be, we will vote en masse, we will protest and we will make you listen until justice is achieved. If we so choose at any moment, we WILL call for and seek your removal. Never forget that the people put you in office along with many others in Springfield, the people will always hold the true power and you will never destroy our desire for justice. From the machine controlled, gestapo patrolled, and slowly being sold City of Chicago, you have my anger and message.
—Your Friendly Neighborhood Socialist, Fernando Contreras