DALLAS, June 15 — This year there has been an upswing in student and teacher activism against school cut-backs at a high school here. A combination of anger over the cuts plus talk with students about fighting back has sparked a militant spirit among many students and teachers, one absent for many years on this campus. The fact that these cuts affect a predominantly black and Latino student body reveals their racist nature.
The school bosses fired a veteran English teacher and, having no intention of hiring another teacher, rotated substitute teachers in and out of the class every day. With no curriculum, students created their own lesson plan: using the wasted time in class to make protest posters and organize a rally and walkout.
The following day, about 30 students walked out of class during 2nd period, the one used to calculate the average daily attendance. As students streamed out they chanted to bring back the fired teacher.
Students held their ground throughout the period and into the next one. Then 40 more students joined the rally. A few teachers, including a PL’er, stood nearby to show solidarity with the protest. As the rally grew, administrators became increasingly worried and sent cops to threaten students with $500 fines. Most students then returned to class.
Back in the classroom students told their stories: about how the media refused to cover the event and how administrators made threatening and degrading remarks to individual students. The rest of the day we discussed how the budget cuts would bring even more layoffs and the need for more student fight-back. For the first time many students began to see the real impact of the cuts on the school as well as their own power to fight the cuts.
The challenge since the walkout has been to maintain this heightened level of struggle and student confidence in their power to make change. Even though the teacher was not rehired, it was a learning experience showing the potential to build a movement against the cuts and eventually for communism, a system without profiteers.
In the following weeks, the level of fight-back has been uneven. While activity died down after the walkout, several faculty and students have participated in off-campus rallies and demonstrations opposing the cuts. Primarily the liberal teacher unions and other liberal misleaders, with the explicit message of “voting for change,” have led these actions.
At one rally, the local teachers’ union organizers held up signs displaying the phone numbers of congressmen. They told the crowd right then and there to call “their” legislators to “save our schools.” Instead of phoning these political phonies, PL’ers and our friends began chanting, “No cuts, no way! Make the bosses pay!” Soon the entire crowd joined our chant and, in order to save face, even the union misleaders did so.
As this school year ends, several faculty are being laid off or placed in “excess” pools from which their hiring is questionable. At a final faculty meeting, a PL teacher publically denounced all the layoffs in the entire school district, pointing out to those in attendance that they may not have a job next year, saying we should hold the administration and school board accountable.
While many teachers agreed with this speech, very few said so publically. The fear that these fascist cut-backs bring is evident; the majority of teachers are afraid to simply talk about the cuts for fear of losing their jobs. This is the paralyzing grip of fascism, a fear forcing one to accept worse and worse conditions, and bite the bullet one more year, even as everyone around you is being laid off. This grim reality means we must re-double our efforts. Despite heightened levels of fight-back throughout this school year, there is still much work to be done.
PL’ers and the new friends we’ve made are planning to continue the struggle into the summer with a study group to discuss the relationship of the cuts to capitalism and imperialism. As was revealed during the struggle, the ruling class’s inexorable drive to finance its imperialist wars is behind the constant cuts in budgets allotted to workers’ and students’ needs, especially for blacks and Latinos. We will make these connections by showing CHALLENGE to more people and developing CHALLENGE study groups out of these summer groups.
In order to raise the level of class struggle even higher, we must do more to involve parents and win more students and faculty to a spirit of unity and fight-back like never before. This will enhance our ability to recruit them to the Party.J
Racist Philly Cops Murder Unarmed Black Youth
PHILADELPHIA, June 15 — On May 9, a racist Philadelphia cop murdered a 19-year-old unarmed black worker, Albert D. “Audi” Purnell, Jr. This young man was shot in cold blood after he had followed police orders and raised his hands in the air and surrendered. He was shot in front of a number of witnesses. The KKKops claimed he had a gun and “fit the description” of a suspect they were searching for. The witnesses have all declared that the police murdered him.
Audi’s father, Albert Purnell, Sr., a hospital worker and friend of PLP, and his mother Tracey are demanding justice for their murdered son. Hahnemann hospital workers are mad as hell and supporting this struggle against the racist cops.
Audi had just graduated from high school and begun working in the mechanical engineering section of the Department of Welfare. He was the father of a young daughter whom he loved dearly. He was on his way to visit his fiancé and their daughter when he was killed. The police and district attorney are doing everything they can to cover up this racist murder, including arresting and trying to intimidate the witnesses and seizing any video surveillance cameras in the area. They’re refusing to reveal the names of the cops and other details of the investigation.
Since this police murder, they have shot seven more black men in Philadelphia, including a SEPTA bus driver. PL members, along with their friends among the hospital workers, are taking an active part in the growing movement against this racist police terror. (More details in future issues.)J
Palestine: Racist Israeli Rulers Steal Workers’ Land
AL-WALAJA, EAST JERUSALEM, June 8 — A group of PL’ers visited the village of al-Walaja guided by a village council member. The village is near the Har Giloh neighborhood and the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), and is home to 2,600 workers in Palestine. There is a separation wall between the village and its fields. There is a separate entry gate for Israeli settlers to al-Walaja and Beit Jallah. These settlers from Susya occasionally come to attack the village – to close the water line, poison the vegetation or burn trees. Across the apartheid-style “separation” wall, there is a new Israeli settlement called “Givat Yael”; this is the Zionist dream of “Greater Jerusalem” — stealing land all over the place.
Until the wall was built in April 2010, al-Walaja was open to Jerusalem. It is still relatively easy to get to al-Walaja from the Knesset, but when the wall is completed, access will be permitted only through an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) checkpoint.
There is also a bridge connecting Giloh to the Israeli settlements, which can only be used by Jews. Last year, this was brought to court because it was built on private Palestinian land. Its racist exclusion of Palestinian vehicles could not be justified by “security” excuses. The main reason it exists is to freeze Palestinian land development and push Palestinians away from their homes by making their lives intolerable.
One third of al-Walaja’s houses were demolished or heavily fined due to alleged “construction permit violations!” Half of the village is within Jerusalem’s municipal jurisdiction, while the other half is controlled by the IDF’s “Civil” Administration. The residents of al-Walaja have Palestinian IDs and thus no civil rights under Israeli law, despite the fact that they could prove that they lived on their lands since before the 1948 war. Al-walaja needs two schools, but in practice there is only one. The infrastructure is also terrible.
The only solution is the dictatorship of the proletariat worldwide. In a communist state, workers will receive according to need and work together to build a better future for everyone. The capitalist racist Israeli regime is colonial by definition: it enforces the exploitation and division of the working class, both Jews and Arabs. Therefore, it must be replaced by communist workers’ state.