Teachers, workers march to defend public education in California
'Stop the cuts!'
The writer is a member of the Newport-Mesa Federation of
Teachers local 1794/AFT/AFL-CIO.
On April 21, thousands of marchers descended on the capitol
building in Sacramento, demanding an end to the cuts to education and other
The rally was the culmination of a protest march through
California’s central valley organized by the California Teachers Federation and
a coalition of labor and community groups.
The crowd consisted mostly of organized labor, including
members from the California Federation of Teachers, the California School
Employees Association, the California Faculty Association, and public sector
unions and organizations, including the Service Employees International Union,
the United Domestic Workers of America, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the
Spirit of Aztlan Chicano Consortium, as well as students representing the K-12
education system and higher education. Party for Socialism and Liberation
members were present from the Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco
Over the last two years the state legislature has cut $17
billion from the education budget alone. The message of the protest was clear:
“Stop the cuts! Fully fund education and public services!”
However, the proposed solution to the budget crisis was less
clear. Some “solutions” included liberal proposals to tax the rich and amend
California’s constitution so it would no longer take a supermajority two-thirds
vote in the legislature to pass the budget or raise revenues for the state.
This anti-democratic two-thirds requirement allows the minority in the
legislature to hold the budget hostage and delay funding while education and
public services suffer. Only two other states in the United States have
budgetary minority rule: Rhode Island and Arkansas.
These “solutions” are progressive reforms that could help
ease the crisis in education but ultimately cannot solve the crisis.
While it is important to make progressive demands, it is
equally important to understand that for revolutionary socialists and
communists, progressive taxation is not the end goal for a just society; it is
merely a means to a new beginning. That beginning starts with the complete
overthrow of the capitalist system and an end to private ownership and the
privatization of public services.
With millions of people unemployed and millions more
suffering from poverty, class lines are hardening. More workers are beginning
to achieve a higher level of consciousness. Now is the time for the left to
grow and organize for the struggles ahead.
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