Community college administrators and student-government leaders plan to mobilize students to demand “revenue enhancement” (higher taxes) instead of budget cuts with rallies and marches in Pasadena (Feb. 27) and Sacramento (March 16). Members and friends of the communist PLP are organizing students and workers to participate around the theme: Smash budget cuts and racist unemployment! Make the bosses pay! This system — which can’t provide education, housing or health care for all — must be destroyed!
More than 600,000 California workers lost full-time jobs between November 2007 and November 2008. Close to a million are officially “unemployed;” a million more can find only part-time work or have given up looking. Nearly 200,000 more aren’t counted because they are in jail. In L.A., the real unemployment and underemployment rate is close to 20% and double that for black and Latino workers. Many who still have jobs are forced to take pay cuts, like San Jose teachers and CSULB workers who agreed to a two-day “furlough.”
The California budget deficit is now $42 billion. The bosses plan to increase the sales tax, reduce dependent tax credits, and cut billions from education while increasing tuition 9.3% in the University of California (UC) system, 10% in the California State University (CSU) system, and up to 50% in the community colleges.
As paychecks shrink, as IOUs are threatened in place of state income tax refunds, as financial aid checks shrink, more students and workers seek answers. Using our revolutionary ideas in patient long-term struggle we can build a base for communism.
“I gave a report on capitalism to my English class, but nobody reacted much,” a community college student, who is a Navy vet, told a student activist friend. She urged him to keep it up. “Its good to have a chance to talk about things like this. When they don’t know what they think about something, it doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.”
Communists Fight Budget Cuts, Racism, Liberal Misleaders, Capitalism
Under capitalism, workers can’t pay for needs, like health care, especially when wages are falling and racist unemployment is skyrocketing. Bosses push the lie that people who use public programs and services are being “selfish” or “greedy” for taking advantage of “entitlement programs” instead of “paying their fair share.” The racist idea of a “culture of poverty” encourages workers to blame other workers instead of the system. This racism justifies cuts in programs like CalWorks which supports many community college students and their children. This same racism aims to pit us against each other. As communists we fight racism showing that it attacks all workers, building a united working-class movement to fight back.
Our Future Depends on Revolution, Not Reform
Liberal leaders want us to rely on them to fight the cuts, saying the community college system is the “key to California’s economic recovery” since many unemployed people come back for new skills or a new career.
But unemployed workers will now pay more for their classes with no promise of a job when they’re done. Any “economic recovery” for the capitalist bosses will come off the backs of the working class and from wider, deadlier wars.
We can’t rely on liberal capitalist politicians. The deepening crisis is an opportunity to build working-class unity, expose capitalism, sharpen the class struggle against the bosses and build the revolutionary Party that will one day lead workers to take power and build a communist society. We’ll meet the needs of the international working class, eliminating profits and banks. We plan to expand the readership of CHALLENGE newspaper now and rely on our readers to bring these ideas into the movement against racist unemployment and budget cuts.
In doing so, we educate ourselves. We reveal the class system, our place in it, and our power to eliminate it. In our study groups we learn history, political economy, philosophy, and science so that we can understand what a revolution and an egalitarian communist society would look like. Join us!