Chicago Teachers: Battle Racist Education

CHICAGO, September 18 — The strike of 26,000 rank-and-file teachers who broke the bosses’ law in fighting to defend their students was suspended today after a vote of 800 delegates in the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), pending a membership-wide vote over the next several weeks.

This was a strike for the students and their parents. The teachers’ fight is one which opposes the school bosses racist oppression of the students. The teachers are fighting for better learning conditions for students and better working conditions for themselves. Many were open to Progressive Labor Party’s ideas and leadership shown by over 2,000 CHALLENGES and tens of thousands of fliers were distributed, and several teachers’ agreed to work more closely and learn more about the PLP.

The strike demonstrated that workers, united can defy the bosses’ laws. When teachers strike they openly defy the state’s plan to indoctrinate the next generation of workers in the classroom.

The teachers struck against racism. More than 80 percent of Chicago students are black and Latino and the school bosses run a system founded on racist discrimination that drives students into low-wage jobs, mass unemployment or the military, to kill our sister and brother workers in imperialist wars.

During the strike, the rank and file picketed every one of the system’s 585 schools, every day. Daily rallies of tens of thousands of people, including parents, students, and workers from other unions backed the strikers. Members who had formerly been inactive learned what it means to fight back against the boss. Others stepped forward into leadership roles. A strike changes people!

Smash the Bosses’ Dictatorship

This is only one battle in a long class war of workers against bosses that can be won only when the rulers’ state apparatus is smashed by a communist revolution led a by PLP.

The bosses are pushing their agenda to indoctrinate working class students and blaming teachers for capitalist failures. The leaders of the national unions are helping them; while the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten reluctantly came out in support of the strike. The fact is the trade unions as a whole, including the AFT and the National Education Association are partners with the bosses in opening the door to “reforms”. This will break seniority by re-writing tenure and starting the process to make teacher evaluation dependent on phony test scores.

The strike has already inspired millions of workers and youth and set an example of what kind of fight-back is possible. The experience of defying the bosses’ laws must be extended to a strike against their closing of even one school.

With the national elections just weeks away, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reminds us that we live under a class dictatorship and that the state apparatus (the government) serves the ruling class of billionaires, bankers and school reformers no matter which party is in the White House. The bosses and their politicians may disagree on how to save the U.S. empire but they are united on keeping their class in power and terrorizing workers and youth into accepting a future of racist terror, poverty and war. And part of the bosses’’ purpose in cutting back school budgets is to use these resources to fight their continuing imperialist oil wars.

The legal system that attacked this strike is the same court system and ruling class government that has:

• Enacted laws in Illinois, backed by both parties and signed by a Democratic Party governor forcing teachers to have a super majority (70 percent) to call a strike but CTU members smashed that barrier with a 90 percent vote;

• Passed another law that if a teachers’ strike “presents a clear and present danger,” the Mayor and school bosses can use the courts to force them back to work;

• Created the world’s largest prison population, over 2.4 million, 70% black and Latino;

• Deported over 400,000 immigrants last year alone, with tens of thousands more sitting in immigration jails, separated from family and friends;

• Foreclosed the homes of millions of workers and their families since the economic crash of 2008;

This ruling-class dictatorship must be smashed and replaced by dictatorship of the workers, in which millions of workers and youth will serve the needs of the international working class.

The strike helped expose the Democratic Party and its revolving door between the White House and Chicago’s City Hall. This includes Emanuel, Obama’s former Chief-of Staff (who was replaced by William Daley) and now head of Obama’s political fund-raising committee; Arne Duncan, national education Czar and former Chicago school boss; and Obama himself, former Illinois Senator.

Part of this bosses’ dictatorship is the use of their election circus in which both political parties are used to divert workers from looking to revolt against the ruling class that exploit us. By continuing the fight, the teachers will continue to get the support of parents, students and workers from all industries, in Chicago and beyond. PLP can expose the bosses’ class dictatorship, point workers in another direction, off the treadmill of endless reform and onto the road to revolution, a vital lesson that educators can learn on and off the picket lines!

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