Tag Archives: education reform

50 Years Strong! Long live the PLP!

From South Carolina to the Middle East, capitalism keeps killing the working class. From bombs falling on Shia to bullets blasting their way into the back of another unarmed Black worker being fired out of the gun of a KKKop, the violence of this economic system continues to brutalize the working class.

Every bomb that falls in Syria or Iraq as the jihadist fascists fight the imperialist puppet fascists and workers keep getting slaughtered is a testament to the need for Progressive Labor Party’s egalitarian vision of Communism. 50 years ago, the international Communist movement appeared to be unstoppable. There were no suicide bombers or Jihadists in the Middle East because there was a powerful Communist movement that inspired the working class with a secular humanist vision grounded in the need to improve our society to benefit everyone. The essence though, was that that movement was flawed due to it being based on maintaining capitalist economic and social relationships.

PLP was born out of breaking with the old CP-USA. The CP was Communist in name only because they had abandoned fighting for Communism by then. By breaking with the CP, PLP was then able to continue the fight against revisionism as an integral part of the fight for Communism. Half a century later and Stalin’s warning of the dark ages of human history should the Communist Movement fail have now come true. The worst part is that these are still the good old days. Nobody has fired off the nukes yet, people are still eating, and the first world countries can still live in the bubbles of safety that come at the expense of the rest of the world’s billions of workers remaining in oppressive exploitation at the behest of profit.

China is now the most oppressive regime in the world. It is wantonly destroying the environment in our already damaged oceans by building landing strips on top of corral reefs in the South China Sea in order to impose their imperialistic aims on The Evil Empire. The US Evil Empire is worried about this strategy, as it will be able to deny them from their pivot to Asia. It looks like the US’s pivot to Asia is going as well as their last two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only war the US has been successfully winning has been the class war they are waging as pigs are free to kill and deport Black and undocumented workers, hospitals are closed and schools are being redesigned to meet the needs of the imperialists. Two years ago, many workers died in a factory fire in Bangladesh, yet the factories are still unsafe and still making vast profits for the bosses. The working class in the US and all over the world is under attack by capitalism.

Half a century ago, the world was divided into two camps, Soviet Imperialism crept under the guise of Communism – even though millions of workers were inspired by Communist ideas, The USSR used them to advance their imperialist aims. Today, the world is still divided by inter-imperialist rivalry and they have no scruples in what fascist groups they use. The Evil Empire uses Nazis in Ukraine and Jihadists in Syria, Iraq, and China to challenge Russian and Chinese imperialism.

In order for a ruling class to build imperialism abroad, they must build fascism at home even more intensely. These fascist attacks in the US use the tried and true strategy of divide and conquer in order to attack the working class as a whole. The fascist attack on education was first done in New York City, and then spread to the mostly white upstate area. It is now affecting them. The attacks on Black workers help to set up the attacks on White workers because “labor in the White skin will never be free so long as Labor in the Black skin is in chains.” Walter Lamer Scott was another victim of the racism that capitalism needs in order to maintain itself. The racist pig Michael Slager who murdered him is on charges of murder, but how many other racist murders have happened since? How many more will happen? It is not just one cop doing the killing, but the system of capitalism requiring the force and terror of the state in order to protect its profit system.

PLP has broken with the Old Communist Movement’s (OCM) focus on reformism, vanguardism, and the two stage theory. Though PLP will always fight to alleviate the burden of wage slavery and the inherent injustice under capitalism, we are clear that this is part of the uncompromising struggle for Communism. We know that capitalism can never be reformed to meet the needs of the working class just as slaves could never run the plantations in order to get rid of slavery. PLP is a mass party dedicated to relying on and trusting the working class. The OCM didn’t believe that the masses could grasp the ideas of Communism and fight for it directly. We do. We know that the working class has built this world and will rebuild a better world. We know that the working class is at its best under Communist leadership. We know that one Party dedicated to creating one world of the working class is what’s needed. Finally, PLP has negated the struggle for socialism. Socialism is just another form of capitalism. Egalitarian profit-based wage slavery can never emancipate the working class. The same ideological superstructure is necessary in order to maintain an economic base predicated upon systemic inequality.

Communism is the answer to the problems wracking the world today. From the way that homosexuals are treated all over the world, to the racist attacks happening in South Africa as one group of workers uses nationalism and racism to attack another group, to racist pigs blasting our working class brothers and sisters on the streets of the US, to fascists massacring villages and rewarding themselves with young girls as sex slaves, the world needs an answer that is based on a scientific understanding of necessity rejecting racism, sexism, and nationalism. We need to organize based on class, the relationship to production, and fight for Communism. In order to do that, we must build PLP wherever we are so that the next 50 years will see victory for the world’s working class. PLP started with less than 20 dedicated revolutionaries in a room of a seedy hotel and has now spread to over 20 countries on 4 continents. We can’t be stopped and we won’t stop until we have ultimately emancipated the working class from all forms of slavery. PLP fighting for Communism is the only hope for mankind.

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Won’t Believe The Bosses’ Fascist Lies!

Won’t believe the Bosses lies!

 

The new film being produced by the arch-fascist who also made the deceit infused “mis”-documentary “Waiting for Superman” is called “Won’t Back Down”.  This fascist film has a parent and a teacher unite to fight.  This, in and of itself, should be lauded, but the enemy that they fight is the teacher’s union.  The film has workers and parents unite to fight against their own interest in the interest of the bosses.  This is the basis of fascism.

 

This film portrays teachers as the problem of schools and that by uniting parents and teachers to get rid of unions, salaries, tenure, and institute corporate backed charter schools, the education system can be fixed.  This is the pipe dream of the capitalists in their current assault on education.  This film has minority actresses and is a classic example of reactionary ideology attempting to wear the clothing of the left.

 

This film played at the Republican and Democrat primaries.  Democrat Party PACC master flash Rahm Emanuel is Obama’s henchman carrying out the aspirations of this film against the teachers in Chicago. Both the Republican Party and The Democrat Party are the party of the bosses, and this film is a part of their arsenal against the working class.

 

We need to fight back and organize against this film.  We should protest outside theaters that are playing it, and point out that it is capitalism that is wrong with education today.  The needs of the capitalist class to steal money from our children in order to pay for their wars and increase their profit margins is the real problem with education.  In order for them to do so, they must make the workers do more and more with less and less.  We should do everything we can to make sure that people don’t watch the fascist propaganda of “Won’t Back Down”.

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Billionaires Rule the Schools, but — REAL Education Comes from Class Struggle vs. Capitalism

As the economic crisis and wars abroad deepen, the U.S. ruling class has moved toward more direct control of the schools nationwide. In New York, billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg runs the city’s school system on a corporate model, with lawyers and business people in top leadership roles while teachers and school staffers are downsized. This structure attacks the students, the working-class of the next generation.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed a new school board full of corporate “movers and shakers” like board chair David Vitale, the former vice-chairman and director of JPMorgan Chase, and Penny Pritzker of the Hyatt Hotel dynasty. John Veasy, the Los Angeles schools superintendent, worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and completed an executive training program funded by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad.

In spite of rhetoric to the contrary, these billionaires and millionaires have no intention of creating policies to benefit students. Children who attend urban public schools are disproportionately black, Latino and low-income, the children of the same workers these bosses exploit. The racist segregation of housing and education in the U.S. makes poor black and Latino students the most likely victims of closed schools, empty test-prep curricula, and inexperienced teachers.

In this still-racist (not “post-racial”) country, children of the most exploited workers, including the unemployed, are the ones most likely to attend schools where rigid obedience is demanded and rote learning is the norm. The critical analysis skills that all students need are the last thing the rulers want most of them to learn.

The degraded conditions of these schools — and of an economic system that thrives on low-wage/no-wage workers — push nearly half of their students to leave without having graduated. The system needs only a handful of working-class students to be well-educated, for skills the bosses need and for use as misleaders of the mass of workers who are left behind by the school system.

Members of the ruling class are directly funding “reforms” in education through the Broad and Gates foundations, along with Walton Family Foundation and groups like Democrats for Education Reform and Educators 4 Excellence. The new Chicago schools’ CEO is Jean-Claude Brizard, who left his job as the Rochester (NY) superintendent of schools with a 95% no-confidence vote from teachers and a similar lack of support from parents and community members. Brizard is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy, described by James Horn, of the blog Schools Matter, as “Eli Broad’s corporate training school … for future superintendents who… [learn] to hand over their systems to the Business Roundtable.”

This stepped-up corporate control is both about making money in the short run and trying to save capitalism over the long haul. A revolving door of new, lower-paid teachers saves public systems money, while attacks on teachers’ unions and pension funds are cutting wages and benefits for all education workers.

More fundamentally, the nationalization of education will prepare workers for increased fascism and war by defining the ideas taught to youth. Common Core State Standards and the accompanying battery of tests (now in development) will advance the centralized control of the content of education. By tying seniority, pay, and job security to teacher evaluation and student test scores, the ruling class hopes to develop a teaching force that shies away from independent thinking, both for themselves and their students. The end goal is a working class trained to be loyal to U.S. imperialism and willing to fight in wars to defend it.

All unions, including the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, work within the framework of a capitalist system that aims to destroy their members. The NEA leadership recently pledged to support President Barack Obama in spite of his implementation of Race to the Top, a policy that forces corporate-style reforms upon public schools. At its last convention, the AFT honored Bill Gates, the champion of larger class sizes — the key to massive teacher layoffs — in urban schools.

Both of these national unions have many members and local leaders who are fighting the attacks on education, like the “anti-billionaires” campaign of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Unions, however, are bound by the confines of the capitalist system. They negotiate contracts and lobby for laws that set the terms of workers’ exploitation. The CTU cuts deals with politicians when it should be organizing its militant rank-and-file to fight. Recent legislation agreed to by CTU leaders makes it harder to strike and undermines seniority protections for teachers. In reality, workers can never win in the legislative arena; any “victories” are short-term and can always be taken away by the class that rules.

The real value of class struggle doesn’t lie in the reform crumbs that workers may or may not win, but in the experience of fighting the bosses — an experience that too few workers have today. (In 2010, there were only 11 major strikes in the U.S., compared to more than 4,000 strikes in 1937.)

Communists advocate breaking the rules, and to fight back wherever we can. The mothers at Whittier School in Chicago did this last fall, when they took over a building to demand a library. In Brooklyn, students, teachers, and parents recently joined together to demand that the racist Department of Education withdraw its plan to insert an elite school into the John Jay Campus, where black and Latino students face prison-like security scanning and under-funding. Currently, students at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn are battling a trumped-up investigation of PLP teachers.

Militant fighting is insufficient; it needs to be coupled with a revolutionary communist outlook and a long-term struggle against capitalist ideology. We must understand how ideas like individualism, racism, nationalism, and class unity with the bosses are built into the schools’ curricula. To keep our students from killing and dying for capitalism, communist teachers must win other teachers and students to see through the rulers’ lies. We must learn and teach the skills of scientific analysis, the true history of workers’ struggles, and the multi-racial, international unity required for revolution. This is the role of a communist education, and the goal of PLP: to build an army of workers and students to destroy the profit system, once and for all

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Bosses’ Education Reform: Use Schools to Strengthen Profit System

Every September, parents send their children back to school in the hopes that they will learn, grow and prepare for bright futures. But the capitalists who run the public school systems have their own racist plans for our children. As the economic crisis deepens and inter-imperialist rivalry over the worlds’ resources expands, the capitalist bosses become more and more entrenched in their own problems. Desperate to bail out their crumbling financial system and to prepare for more military conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the U.S. bosses spend billions. Shamelessly they continue to steal from the working class to save themselves and their system.

The current budget crises affecting U.S. school systems is a clear statement of capitalist priorities. These cuts are strangling a school system that was already failing our class’s children. In big cities where the majority of students are black and Latino, and families are already disproportionately suffering from unemployment and low wages, the cuts will be the worst.

In Los Angeles, classes will average 42 students. In NYC the school budget has been slashed by billions. This is forcing larger class sizes and cutting anything the Dept. of Education considers non-essential: art music, foreign language, sports, and after-school programs. In Chicago, where Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan honed his skills at cutting services to black and Latino students, many reading coaches, after-school and tutoring programs were eliminated. In San Antonio, schools full of black and Latino students are being shut down.

Washington, D.C, with a nearly all-black public school system, has been in the forefront of the bosses’ reform experiments, even as students continue to suffer. There, cuts are leading to layoffs of teachers as well as less money for vouchers and charter schools. While the schools are slashed, not a dime has been cut from the billions of dollars in interest going from the education budgets to the banks.

The attacks on working-class students are driven by the current crisis of the capitalists. In the 1950’s, the U.S. had emerged victorious from World War II and was launching the Cold War. U.S. bosses had the money to build huge factories that produced steel, autos, airplanes  and factory equipment. After the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into space, the U.S. bosses drove to invest in education for the “Space Race.” Now the U.S. is a power in decline. Those higher-paying industrial jobs are almost all gone. And the school systems with working-class students, always the poorest, are being gutted.

Capitalists view our children only as fodder for the bosses’ system. To the extent the bosses do care about educating working-class youth it is to have a politically loyal, skilled workforce to exploit. Technical education and patriotism are being pushed for black and Latino students. The advocacy for technical education reflects the growing need the ruling class has for skilled workers like engineers, drill press operators, and machinists, jobs needed for war production. Developing curriculum for the schools to create a workforce prepared for war is often masked by rhetoric saying the U.S. “needs to compete” with international rivals.

President Obama’s speech to school children on September 8 urged them to “set high goals, knuckle down in their studies and persevere through failure.” (NYT 9/9/09)  Many parents embrace hard work and perseverance for our children but the subtext of the speech is that if children don’t succeed in life, it must be their own fault because they did not work hard enough. This idea ignores the reality of the capitalist world. No matter how hard school children work, they will not be allowed to all become doctors or lawyers. They will not even all have jobs. Capitalism relies on a pool of unemployed workers to keep wages low. In the current crises, unemployment is even higher; teaching workers to blame themselves prevents them from blaming the true cause of unemployment — capitalism.

Capitalist schools spend much time dividing students into different groups. Tests are designed to magnify differences and assign arbitrary cut-offs, so children get sorted into different programs from gifted and advanced placement to prison-like dumping schools. Capitalist schools prepare a select few to steer towards the elite professions. The majority of students are left to fight for low-paying jobs or join the military (see letter, p. 6).

“Tough Choices, Tough Times,” the report of the rulers’ New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, proposes that capitalism’s divisions be further entrenched in the schools by forcing students into a defined path after the tenth grade, either college-bound or vocational. Obama wants school children to knuckle down in their studies and persevere through a system that is failing and that fails to offer them the future they deserve.

This latest economic crisis and the quagmire of constant war have left the rulers in a political bind. Individualism is a cornerstone of capitalism and since the anti-war and anti-racist rebellions of the 60’s the U.S. bosses have championed the politics, the art, the music and the philosophy of “me-first.” Schools collaborated with a curriculum rich in the stories of individual success and national progress as the result of individual “can-do” spirit or single-minded pursuit of individual success in the face of great odds.

The fact that the Nazis were defeated by the Soviet communists has been written out of history books. The bosses rewrote the truth of racism in the United States as the fiction of enlightened individuals struggling to champion the ideals of individual freedom. Slavery became an unfortunate “mistake” rather than the conscious policy of 250 years of racist rule codified in colonial law and the Constitution and enforced with ruthless violence that continues to define U.S. society today.

Obama tried to shift the message of individual success when he told students, “Don’t give up on yourself, because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.” National service has been a part of the Obama campaign since the beginning and now Obama is calling on schools to teach children to serve their country and to be inspired to sacrifice for the good of the nation. But it’s not “their” country, it’s the bosses’.

Obama and the rest of the ruling class know that the schools have been failing our children for a long time. They cynically use their own failure to meet workers’ needs as a rallying cry for reforms. Many of these reforms have won the support of parents and teachers who hope that they will improve education; but none of these reforms will change the fundamental problems of a system that doesn’t care about working-class children.  After years and years of education reform plans, 39% of children in the U.S. live in families earning less then the amount needed to meet their basic needs. (Center for Children in Poverty) Capitalism cannot educate the majority of children, and for the bosses it is not a principle whether students learn to accept inequality in a large school or a small one.

Reading CHALLENGE in the last few years, one can see many examples of fighting against anti-working-class attacks in the schools: from high school students protesting budget cuts and walking out against police brutality, to college students demonstrating against a pro-torture professor  and developing a Freedom School when summer session is cancelled. The Progressive Labor Party is not training students to calmly accept the life capitalism has in store for them. We want students to learn real history and real skills, to learn to organize, to learn to fight back and to learn to serve our class by building the fight for communist revolution.

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