Governor Rauner Issues Executive “Psych”

Springfield, IL – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner stunned the electorate on Tuesday by issuing, what he called, an executive “psych.”  Sources close to the Governor claimed he had something akin to a religious conversion.  Speaking to reporters at a press conference in the capitol rotunda late Tuesday afternoon, the Governor said, “PSYCH!  Ha, ha, you idiots.  Did you really think I have the audacity to throw children in poverty out of government subsidized childcare?  Y’all must have really thought I was an asshole.”  Said David Yepsen of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, “Needless to say we’re relieved.  I think the Governor’s sense of humor, while timed impeccably, was a little – how do I say? – crass.”  In the accompanying press release, titled “Psych!”, the Governor offered details of how he would support the generation of new revenue with targeted tax hikes of the upper 1% of income earners in Illinois.

Rauner, Walker support real “right to work”

By Joe Hill

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surprised constituents in their respective states Tuesday by redefining the concept of “right to work,” a principle both had previously advanced under a different guise.

Rauner and Walker were champions of what has come to be called “right to work” legislation. The legislation, enacted in 25 of the 50 states in the US, prohibits unions from collecting “fair share” payments from workers to support the collective bargaining that benefits them.

More than 150 years ago, the notion of “right to work” meant something different, especially in France where the “droit au travail” campaign recognized society’s responsibility to guarantee everyone in need the right to fairly remunerated labor under decent conditions. Since concentrated power reacted to the passage in 1935 of the National Labor Relations Act in the US, the meaning of so-called “right to work” has been inverted. It has come to mean the “right” to sell one’s labor power and submit to the authority of those owning or in control of an enterprise without having to contribute to the organizational efforts of fellow workers struggling to obtain decent pay and protections for all workers from those who purchase human labor as a commodity and otherwise control it.

But Rauner and Walker want a return to the old usage.

“I’m a conservative,” said Rauner, who garnered attention not long ago for his billionaire status and anti-union agenda. “As a conservative, I don’t like these new meanings being attached to words. I’m contesting what ‘right-to-work’ has come to mean, and calling for a return to the principles of what the term used to signify.”

More than mere re-appropriation of old meaning, Rauner said he aims to implement the mid-nineteenth century version of the “right to work” program.

“The move is consistent with my platform,” Rauner said. “I distrust dangerous progressive measures. Associating “right to work” with new ideas – even those generated decades ago – is too progressive, even if it is actually regressive for working people. Despite the appeal of crushing labor, I’m just uncomfortable with the idea that things – including what phrases denote – can change over time. So I guess I have to support unions now, you know?”

Walker, who ignited a pro-labor fire in Madison when he signed legislation back in 2011 to curb collective bargaining rights for public employees, recently signed a “right-to-work” bill that bars mandatory collection of union dues necessary for keeping organized labor afloat.

Even more recently, he has reversed course.

“While signing the ‘right-to-work’ bill, I sat at that table with the banner hanging down that read ‘Freedom to Work’ – only to realize later I was not promoting freedom,” Walker said. “The mid-nineteenth century ‘right to work’ campaign made it clear that the freedom to work for a decent pay – a freedom denied by my legislation – is the sort of freedom I should really favor.”

Walker said he long-planned to turn back the clock on labor rights, but now he’s turning back the clock even further to stay true to his conservative values while ironically supporting organized labor.

“Sure this comes after I implicitly compared anti-austerity protestors in Wisconsin to an organization the US drops bombs on abroad, and it comes after I claimed the ‘most consequential foreign policy decision’ of my lifetime was Reagan’s decision to break the air-traffic controllers when they went on strike in 1981,” Walker said about actual assertions he really made. “Yet, I’m not doing this – and I doubt my buddy Bruce in Illinois is doing this – to restore our union cred. Rather, we have a legacy to protect.”

The recasting of “right to work” heralds another sea-change, Reaganesque moment, Rauner said.

If it re-empowers the working classes who have been systematically dis-empowered since Reagan’s infamous confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, so be it, Walker added.

“Reagan is my personal hero, but I’m going farther back in history to reclaim popular-progressive movements for conservatives,” he said.

Rauner and Walker both said they are absolutely serious about the recasting of “right to work,” and they added more outlets like the Advocate should run serious stories about such serious news.


“Serious” About Sharing Budget Woes: Dunn Takes Pay Cut

Carbondale, IL – “I’m serious about sharing the burden,” SIU System President Randy Dunn said late Thursday, “and I want you to see that we’re all in this together.”  Reflecting on the spike in educational administrative salaries over the past 30 years, Dunn said, “You all know that President’s and CEO’s rarely defend their salaries.  This is because we’re the ones who shoulder the burden to make the cuts, and that’s not easy.”  Repeating a now-familiar mantra from the new SIU System President, Dunn claimed “We should all be getting engaged politically, and that means calling your legislators and the Governor, attending rallies and protests, and in short, taking action to preserve the quality of our university.”

Students at SIU Convene a General Strike

Carbondale, IL – Student organizers pulled off an unprecedented general strike to protest the budget cuts proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner on Tuesday.  Citing budget reductions to “third tier” programs like the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute ($280,571 proposed cut), the University Press ($96,560 proposed cut), Broadcasting Services ($488,692 proposed cut), and much more, student organizer and Doctoral Candidate in Economics, Saul Alinksy, said “It’s time to organize folks.  Stop being armchair activists.”  Continuing, Alinsky said, “If students care about the quality of our university, our community, and our state, then it’s time to get educated on the issues, to find appropriate avenues for engagement, and to take action.”  The strike was well received across the university system.

Rita Cheng Returns to SIU


Cheng with Shaman Mendoza

Rita Cheng has returned to SIU.

Cheng left SIU Carbondale in July 2014 to become president at Northern Arizona University but after a controversial trip to Peru, NAU has reportedly declined to honor that contract.

Reports are still coming in but what is clear is that former Chancellor Cheng took a vacation in Peru after leaving SIU, some saying that Cheng spent an impromptu extended period of time in an ayahuasca commune.

“These accusations are completely misinformed” reports Chancellor Cheng’s attorney Hugh G. Dumas. “Cheng’s trip to Peru included a trip to a coffee plantation; everyone knows that Mrs. Cheng loves her coffee.”

Alfredo Flores, the owner of the so-called coffee plantation, confirms that “coffee was just one aspect of the business. It is in fact an ayahuasca commune that, under a trained shaman, promises the participant to reach the highest levels of spiritual enlightenment.”

Former Chancellor Cheng’s response to the DMT influenced meditation resulted in her disappearance for three months. When she resurfaced, Cheng arrived via private jet at NAU with 30 Peruvians requesting student housing for her “enlightened brethren.”

An official report from NAU states that “NAU has elected to release President Cheng after a bonfire held in the administrative office that resulted in the Fire Department putting out several small fires and, according to one report, a campus security guard realizing that “all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.”

President Dunn was the first to find Former Chancellor Cheng on SIU’s campus. “She was camped out in front of her former office with several people dressed in potato sacks, smelling like patchouli oil and burnt hair.” While Cheng awaits the Board of Trustee’s decision for the Chancellor search committee, she has enrolled as a graduate student for Fall 2015 Classes.

“I just want to take this opportunity to pursue my real passion: teaching English as a Second Language. Until then, my fellow brothers and sisters have started collecting signatures for an RSO we will call ‘Friends of DMT.'” Cheng and her followers have collected over a thousand signatures so far.

Colleges of Applied Sciences and Arts, Science, and Business to bail out flagging College of Liberal Arts Departments

In a surprise move, three of SIUC’s colleges have elected to pool funds in order to keep the doors open at several flagging College of Liberal Arts departments. However, this bail out comes with certain conditions, namely, the elimination of Marx and other texts deemed “subversive” from department curriculum.

Several department chairs were both surprised and dismayed at the turn of events, with many Graduate Assistants accepting with resignation new teaching assignments like “The Philosophy of Ayn Rand” and “Fiction Writing for Business.” Several Graduate Assistants have reported increased existential dread as a result of these new assignments.

Administrators occupy Anthony Hall

By August Spies

Enamored by recent student occupations of administrative buildings at universities across the globe, administrators at Southern Illinois University seized space in Anthony Hall, refusing to leave until they make history.

“We’re not making history per se,” qualified one anonymous administrator who no doubt makes more than anyone reading this. “Like all revolutionary classes, we’re exploding the continuum of history, to paraphrase the late Walter Benjamin.”

One higher-up in the academy sited the pointlessness undergirding all the structural violence within institutions of higher learning as a justification for occupation.

“Anthropologist David Graeber is right,” one of those atop the academic hierarchy said. “We live in a time of total bureaucratization. The university has become a degree factory that only a select few – namely, those like me and those heading the financial institutions issuing all the loans with interest to students who cannot afford the exorbitant costs associated with higher education today – benefit from. Even though – or perhaps because – I’m a beneficiary with a sweet six-figure salary, I feel empty inside. That’s why I occupy.”

Another Anthony Hall occupier stretched parallels between these efforts at SIUC and the ongoing occupation of the main administrative building at the University of Amsterdam, the Maagdenhuis.

“Occupiers in Amsterdam are right to reject the way major decisions within the university are made by managerial elite – that is, by those like us – who are largely unaccountable for the consequences of those decisions and remain removed from the concerns of those most impacted. Those in positions of power within the university – that is, we – should not be making top-down decisions that force injurious workloads and unreal expectations on graduate assistants and adjunct faculty who bear the brunt of our concentrated power. Democratize and decentralize!”

Those occupying the Vera Anstey Suite at the London School of Economics are onto something, one dean at SIUC, reveling in the rebellion, said to unlikely comrades.

“The LSE occupiers called for ‘a drastic reduction in the gap between the highest and lowest paid employees,’ as well as authentic university democracy in the form of ‘a student-staff council, directly elected by students and academic and non-academic staff, responsible for making all managerial decisions of the institution,’” the dean recounted. “I’m down for all that. Creating this non-hierarchical space here with my colleagues with this Anthony Hall occupation, this might be a step in that direction. I really don’t know though. It’s hard to tell. The ideological fog gets pretty thick up in this privileged strata of academia, so I could be wrong.”

Whether the administrator-initiated Anthony Hall occupation – or anything administrator-initiated – can be a step in the right direction is probably just an academic question, the dean added.

“Sure, to carry this through means elimination of all of our privileges and perks – and gee whiz, those things are great – but there’s a ‘subterranean fire’ that has started,” the dean said. “We can’t put it out.”