Illinois Workers Fight Against Budget Cuts

June 26, 2009

Throughout the state of Illinois, workers are speaking out against proposed budget cuts. On June 23, for example 5,000 people converged on the capitol in Springfield to demand an end to spending cuts. The protest included large contingents of health workers, public employees, unemployed workers, seniors, students, and people from many walks of life.

Illinois lawmakers are poised to cut $7.5 billion in funding to vital social services. These cuts would mean that thousands of workers would face job-loss, pay cuts, and furloughs. Cutbacks would mean a drastic reduction or elimination of many basic services including money for schools, homecare workers for the elderly and disabled, health services for tens of thousands of people with mental illness, childcare assistance programs, domestic violence programs, teen pregnancy prevention programs, college aid, etc.

The June 23 demonstration is part of an on-going and growing state-wide movement. On June 18, 3,000 people rallied in Chicago at the Illinois State Thompson Center to protest budget cuts. Thousands of people have organized protests in front of government offices throughout the state.

The struggle of the Illinois workers is part of an emerging nation-wide movement which is fighting against the devastating effects of the recession and against the government policy of shifting the entire burden onto the backs of the working people. On June 7, over 2,000 people protested in Portland, Oregon to oppose state budget cuts and layoffs. In fact, rallies expressing outrage at state budget cuts, layoffs, and higher taxes have taken place in North Carolina, California, Indiana, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

The mass protests spreading throughout the country show that the working people are joining together and taking the path of struggle to defend their economic rights and improve their conditions. The people can win their rights by making the rich pay for the crisis of their capitalist system. The government budget can readily guarantee the social services and economic needs of the people even while drastically lowering the taxes imposed on the working people. All that needs to be done is to tax the rich and the monopoly corporations.