NEW YORK CITY, May 5 — Over 800 members of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) union and City University students rallied at City Hall today to protest planned budget cuts by billionare Mayor Bloomberg. Chanting “Tax the rich, not the poor, stop the war on CUNY!” they marched across lower Manhattan to the Manhattan Community College (BMCC).
At BMCC union members and students addressed the crowd. The main PSC speaker stated that they would not accept the austerity budgets of Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo, nor an austerity contract. Increased class sizes, shortage of counselors and other staff would severely impact on the quality of CUNY education. “Our working conditions, are your learning conditions,” she told the crowd. We are faced with “not a crisis of capital, but a crisis of capitalism,” meaning that it’s not a crisis of government funding, but of the capitalist system.
Students described how racist tuition increases were affecting them. Some are working longer hours to pay for school and to contribute money to their families because their parents are unemployed. Many fellow classmates have been forced to drop out of school.
20 members from UNITE-HERE, Local 100 arrived to express solidarity with the PSC in its struggle and was warmly welcomed. As reported previously in CHALLENGE, PSC members in the Bronx have been supporting laid-off UNITE cafeteria workers who are fighting to get their jobs back.
As more and more workers are becoming critical of the capitalist system and seeking to build a united working-class movement, PL members on the campuses must step up our efforts to put forth our political line in a mass way. Capitalism can’t be fixed; it must be eliminated once and for all and replaced by communism, a society where the workers are in charge.