Fight ‘Choice’ of Wage-cuts or Layoffs at Cal State

LOS ANGELES, August 5 — “Banks got bailed out, we got SOLD OUT” chanted the crowd throughout their Cal State University (CSU) campus to students passing by. Despite the small summer attendance due to decreasing class offerings and increasing fees and unemployment, a good turnout fought back against the worsening conditions students and faculty are experiencing across the CSU system, the State’s educational system and in the economic crisis in general.

Students received CHALLENGE and leaflets calling on students, faculty and workers to strike against these attacks and to join the long-term fight to eliminate the racist capitalist system which attacks the working class, wages imperialist war and bails out the banks. This campus demonstration followed the Board of Trustees’ meeting where it voted for a fee hike for students, raising the total increase by 32% in one year! (See CHALLENGE, 8/12).)

As community college faculty in Los Angeles were forced to choose between layoffs or furlough days, CSU faculty face the same “choice” — 24 furlough days a year or layoffs. Many faculty, and even students, albeit from good intentions, see the furloughs as a lesser evil of this “choice,” but in reality furloughs put the bosses’ crisis on the backs of working-class faculty, staff and students. It amounts to a 10% wage-cut.

Through conversations with students, as well as various working-class people during PLP’s recent Summer Project, it’s clear that this crisis is an all-out attack on the working class, regardless of occupation, while hitting black and Latino workers and youth the hardest.  In the schools, professors, teachers, staff and K-graduate students are all affected by the budget cuts in apparently different but essentially similar ways. As these attacks on the working class sharpen, we must participate in these struggles in order to fight for the only solution to this crisis: communist revolution.

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