Chicago at Center of Battle to Keep Public Education Public
The motion around public education provides tremendous opportunities to introduce new ideas and reach new revolutionaries. The State is reorganizing public education at every level to put corporations in control. But corporations are driven to make private profit at the expense of the public. They can only exacerbate problems with our schools and colleges, since private property leads to the destruction of society.
To these ends, capitalists are also reorganizing government to eliminate any expression of democracy (e.g. emergency managers in Michigan and appointed school board in Chicago). We hold government responsible and accountable to the people to guarantee the highest quality of education for everyone.
Chicago occupies center stage in the battle over public education, where a historic 49 schools were closed at the end of the last school year, 3,000 school personnel were laid off (including nearly 10% of all the teachers). As if the layoffs weren’t enough, the city blames the estimated $1 billion school budget deficit on teacher pensions. The city and the state are orchestrating the total destruction of public worker pensions, using the teachers as their chief target.
In a further slap to the face of teachers and parents and students in the schools that remain open, severe cuts slashed the budgets of all Chicago Public Schools – especially those on the South Side of Chicago, affecting the communities in which African Americans are concentrated.
The response to the attacks on public education has been widespread. Within Chicago the movement leading up to the teachers’ strike last September showed a beginning recognition of common interest among teachers, parents and students. The city launched an unprecedented campaign of sham public hearings and lies to split communities, antagonize races, and set one school population against another. Yet through all this the section of society being dispossessed of their education voiced a united opposition to CPS and their elected officials and their appointees. As school opens in the fall, clearly the anger may break out in new and unanticipated ways.
All eyes are on Chicago, but responses will take place everywhere. This is an all out attack on the impoverished African American and Latino communities which were the first to feel the effects of the leap from industrial to robotic production with a disproportionate loss of jobs and subsequent loss of homes.
The ruling class will not educate workers who are no longer a source of profit. The dismantling of public education will encompass the new class and affect all of society. And while what most of the public sees is the crisis in the pre-college educational system, the systemic crisis is also eviscerating public access to higher education.
Rally, Comrades! has spoken to why the attack on education and at whom that attack is leveled: a new class is in formation and expelled from capitalist relations. Among the practical leaders of this struggle we will find revolutionaries in combat, where the League can play its role.
“What does public education mean for a system that needs an ever-smaller number of highly educated people? What kind of education will it offer those who will only work part-time, and those who will never work at all?” Rally, Comrades!, July-August 2013
“. . . the discussion over jobs is directed toward those who have had decent jobs and are now falling into economic instability and poverty. It is directed to that group of people in America whose economic situation puts them in a position to move the entire revolutionary process forward. These millions of people we call the dispossessed, and are at the core of the new class. Rally, Comrades!, Nov-Dec 2012
At the same time the public education crisis is raging across the country, from Detroit’s bankruptcy to school closings and layoffs in Philadelphia to the privatization of the entire New Orleans school system to the destruction of city colleges in California.
Can there be any doubt that we have abundant resources for education that could resolve all the “shortages”? Do we not have enough teachers, books, electronic resources, school buildings? Is there any reason in the world that we could not provide education for all, with resources allocated according to need? Can’t we guarantee every individual the right to fulfill all their potential?
These realities point clearly to the need for the kind of organization LRNA offers. The League is dedicated to not simply exposing capitalism’s failings, but seizing the opportunity to show a vision of what is possible and a strategy to get there. We call on any and all who share this vision to join with us in creating the new America that is possible.
The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011