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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 public services.

dont terminate education

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 branches.

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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