Red for Ed in LA

By Magally Miranda Alcázar

https://communemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/teacherstrikebanner_1024.jpg
Courtesy Molly Steele/Commune

This is the second article in a series that we are republishing and/or hosting on the recent United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) strike. Originally published in Commune

In their six-day strike, Los Angeles teachers refined the model of community unionism developed in West Virginia. Along the way, a generation of working-class students has discovered something you can’t learn in a classroom.

Long before the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) capitulated to union demands, it was clear the teachers were winning over Angelenos in the court of popular opinion. The teachers’ strike had an 80 percent approval rating in LA county (the largest in the United States). Organized under the banner of United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), approximately thirty-thousand teachers struck in nine-hundred campuses throughout the city. School staff as well as parents and community members joined teachers on the picket lines in numbers that grew every day. This strike was not only enormous; it was also incredibly well organized. In fact, it was UTLA’s first strike in thirty years. Nevertheless, daily picket lines at 7 a.m. blocked scabs—both substitute teachers and critical staff hired by the district—from entering the schools. Teachers also engaged in city-wide marches and a picket at the home of LAUSD School Board member, Monica Garcia. An estimated one third of students, about five-hundred thousand, were absent from school each day for the duration of the strike, costing the district $97 million by Thursday. The coordination of these demonstrations despite soaking rain was nothing short of amazing in a city known for shutting down after a few drizzles.

Privatization and Beutner’s Board

Across the country, teachers are fighting to preserve public education against an onslaught of privatization. A key target of this strike is the new superintendent of schools, Austin Beutner, a former hedge-fund manager who is leading a campaign to expand charter schools. Beutner ran on a campaign paid for by the California Charter School Association. Unelected but shadowing him on the school board are venture philanthropists like billionaire Eli Broad and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, whose financial contributions give them incredible steering power. Beutner’s election to the pro-charter board was controversial but not surprising, since the swing vote in the election was Ref Rodriguez, who had been forced to resign after convictions on felony charges of corruption and money-laundering. The UTLA strike took place ahead of an upcoming special election to replace Rodriguez’s seat on the school board. Teachers hope to fill the seat with an anti-charter voice, but they know the struggle does not stop or start with that election.

Yvette, a special education assistant I met on a picket, gave voice to the anti-privatization movement growing up around public education. “New Orleans lost all of its public schools after Katrina. Now they’re trying to spread this privatization all around the nation.” She continued: “These charter schools think that they’re doing everyone a favor by providing more options, but the reality is that they amplify discrimination. Test score based acceptance to charter schools weeds out the students they don’t want to take. How can you tell a student they’re not worthy of education? And all the kids that are being affected are the brown and black kids.” For teachers like Yvette, charter school reform is the wrong direction; she envisions a radical transition from a system of standardized testing to one that values students with differential needs and abilities.

In addition to the struggle against charter school reform, UTLA had five demands: 1) a 6.5% pay raise retroactive to July 1, 2016; 2) a cap on class sizes, because California teachers rank 48 out of 50 in the nation with regards to class sizes and LAUSD is among the worst of the worst; 3) discretion to determine when standardized assignments are given; 4) increased per-pupil funding, given that California ranks 43 out of 50 in per-pupil spending despite being the richest state in the country; and 5) additional school staff including nurses, counselors, librarians, and social workers. Prior to the negotiated settlement, the student-to-nurse ratio was 1,224:1 and the student-to-counselor ratio was 945:1.

Continue reading “Red for Ed in LA”

Advertisements

Coalition Hosting Two Panels at Left Coast Forum: “Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism: What is Internationalist Socialist Solidarity?” and “One Year of the CPRSJ: A New Kind of Anti-War Coalition”

The Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice is pleased to announce its hosting of two panels at Left Coast Forum at the Los Angeles Trade Tech College (LATTC) next Saturday, August 25th: “Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism: What is Internationalist Socialist Solidarity?” and “One Year of the CPRSJ: A New Kind of Anti-War Coalition.”

anti-imp true

The first session, “Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism: What Is nternationalist Soialist Solidarity?”, will run from 11:30am-12:45pm. Panelists include Frieda Afary, John Reimann, Alexander Reid Ross, and Sina Zekavat, with Javier Sethness moderating. The description follows:

In light of the fate of the Syrian Revolution, which has been crushed by the bloody counter-revolution carried out by Bashar al-Assad together with his Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies, there has debate in the global left about the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism, and the political implications these carry. Many authoritarians claiming leftism cross-over with the white-supremacist right’s open support for the Assad Regime by denying its crimes and overlooking the imperialist role played by Russia and Iran in Syria, focusing exclusively on the U.S.’s supposed opposition to Assad’s rule.

This tendency is a worrisome development, suggestive as it is of a red-brown alliance (or axis) that is not consistently anti-imperialist but rather, only opposed to U.S. Imperialism. It also fails analytically to see how the U.S. has increasingly accommodated Assad’s counter-revolution. In contrast to such approaches, participants on this panel will present anti-authoritarian class analyses of militarism and imperialism. Panelists will discuss the red-brown alliance (or axis) as recalling the “Holy Alliance” and fascism; the concept and reality of imperialism in the Middle East; the current wave of popular protests in Iran; left and right interpretations of geopolitics and political geography both historically and today; the lessons of the Bosnian genocide; and the tragedy of the Syrian Revolution.

Anti-war

The second panel, “One Year of the CPRSJ: A New Kind of Anti-War Coalition,” runs from 5pm until 6:15pm. Panelists include Mimi Soltysik (Socialist Party Los Angeles), Javier Sethness (Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation [personal capacity]), and Kevin B. Anderson (International Marxist Humanist Organization).

Report-back from Year 2 of Trump: L.A. Rise Up!

Last night, January 26, 2018, the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ) sponsored a banner drop on the theme of observing the onset of Year 2 of the Trump Regime, calling on L.A. to Rise Up! in downtown Los Angeles. We had positive responses from several motorists and passersby, and also held a brief rally with speeches by Mimi Soltysik of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition on police surveillance, Ali Kiani of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization (IMHO) on war threats and imperialism in the Middle East, and Silvia La Rote of the Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation (BRRN) for an update on the J20 protesters and resisting the criminalization of social movements.

Year 2 of Trump: L.A. Rise Up! Friday, January 26, 2018

eclipsecomp1500

Courtesy Roger Peet, Justseeds

Year 2 of Trump: L.A. Rise Up!

Call for Demonstration and Banner Drop by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ)

Friday, January 26, 6PM, Wilshire overpass over I-110, downtown Los Angeles (2 blocks west of Wilshire and Figueroa)

No War! No Trump!

Defend the J20! Drop the Charges!

Defend Mother Earth: End Capitalism!

#FreeAhed! Free Palestine! Stop Yemen War!

Stop LAPD + ICE!

This demonstration will mark one year of the Trump Regime, focusing on rising up against it and the stagnant, moribund U.S. capitalist system of which it is the latest manifestation. We will defend the J20 demonstrators, who stood up against Trump’s inauguration a year ago and who are facing decades in prison. We will defend our environment, wracked by fire stemming from climate change stemming from unbridled capital accumulation. We will defend our communities against new and old forms of police surveillance and repression. We will defend the rights of women, people of color, the LGBTQIA community, and the working people as a whole in the face of a tax “reform” that enriches plutocrats and impoverishes the working class. We will oppose Trump’s war threats against North Korea and Iran and his moves against Palestine, while refusing to defend regimes that, while adversaries of the U.S., nonetheless repress their own people. We will advocate rising up against the whole system represented by Trump. We will rally in the spirit of the old IWW slogan, as powerful today as when it was coined a century ago: “Don’t Mourn! Organize!”

Sponsors of the CPRSJ:

Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation-Los Angeles

Campus Marxist-Humanists, UCSB

International Marxist-Humanist Organization, West Coast Chapter

Socialist Party, Los Angeles Local

Members of Solidarity: A Socialist, Feminist, Anti-Racist Organization, Los Angeles Branch

Co-sponsors of this event (list in formation):

CodePink

Health Care for All – Los Angeles

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/CPRSJ/

https://cprsj.wordpress.com/

https://www.twitter.com/PaxRevSocJust

cprsj@protonmail.com

Responding to Capitalism’s Wars at Home and Abroad: Sunday, January 14, 2018

26Fall2_1500

Courtesy Fernando Martí, Justseeds

Sunday, January 14, 2018, 6:15 PM

Art Share

801 East Fourth Place (Arts District), Los Ángeles

(Free parking in roof lot across the street on Hewitt St. by the Aztec calendar, also accessible by Metro)

Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ)

Speakers:

Hamid Khan, Stop LAPD Spying Campaign, on domestic surveillance

Maureen Cruise and Kirsten Magnuson, Health Care for All-Los Angeles, beyond Obamacare

Kevin B. Anderson, UCSB Professor and CPRSJ, on Trump’s wars and war threats

Ali Kiani, International Marxist-Humanist Organization, on Iranian uprising

The thoroughly reactionary processes put into motion by the Trump regime range from wars, threats of wars, and an increase in the international arms trade, to the wars on working people and people of color here in the U.S. These include increased police surveillance and the attempts to abolish Obamacare. Trump’s open support of racial and gender hierarchies and of authoritarianism represent, along with his economic nationalism, new politics with fascist overtones. But the way for these policies was prepared by a series of neoliberal administrations, from Clinton, to Bush, to Obama. And while the U.S. is by far the world’s largest and most aggressive imperialist power, it is not alone in threatening or making war, or in repressing its people and lowering its living standards. This has been shown by the uprising by Iranian workers. We need to rise up, not by fighting for a return to the neoliberal Obama years, but by deepening the struggle against both Trump and the system that produced him.

Sponsors of the CPRSJ:

Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation-Los Angeles

Campus Marxist-Humanists, UCSB

International Marxist-Humanist Organization, West Coast Chapter

Socialist Party, Los Angeles Local

Members of Solidarity: A Socialist, Feminist, Anti-Racist Organization, Los Angeles Branch

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/CPRSJ/

https://cprsj.wordpress.com/

Mass Incarceration and the Global Rise of Racist Authoritarian Capitalism: Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Los Angeles Coalition for Peace, Revolution & Social Justice (CPRSJ) invites you to a panel discussion:

fists

MASS INCARCERATION & THE GLOBAL RISE OF RACIST AUTHORITARIAN CAPITALISM

What is the Prison-Industrial Complex in the U.S. and how does it affect African Americans, Latinxs, and working people as a whole?

Who are the political prisoners in the Middle East today and how are they challenging authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism, occupation, imperialism and war?

Why is racist authoritarian capitalism on the rise globally today?

Speakers:

German Gallardo, Critical Resistance, Los Angeles

Romarilyn Ralston, California Coalition for Women Prisoners

Celine Qussiny, Palestinian Youth Movement

Yasser Munif, Co-founder, Global Campaign for Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution (via Skype)

Frieda Afary,   Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7:00-9:30 p.m.

Peace Center, 3916 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City

for more information, go to www.cprsj.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/events/573374359453141/ or call 310-409-3932

Report-back from CPRSJ Launch in Los Angeles, July 14

On July 14, Bastille Day, nearly fifty people came to the Westside Peace Center for the first public meeting of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ). There was a healthy mix of younger and older activists with representation of much of LA’s ethnic diversity as well.

Four speeches were given by representatives of groups that convened the Coalition: Frieda Afary from the Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists, Zach Medeiros from Socialist Party USA, Javier Sethness from Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation, and Kevin B. Anderson from the International Marxist-Humanist Organization. The speeches have been posted at the Coalition website here.

A lively debate followed about the Coalition’s published Principles of Unity, its membership, actions for the future, and strategies for moving forward. Representatives of several other organizations participated in the discussion, which centered on issues like our position of targeting all imperialist powers, including but not limited to the U.S., and the relationship of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity to building a solid movement in LA. Other discussion points included incorporating opposition to ableism into our work, especially in light of the leading role played by persons with disabilities in confronting the Republican assault on healthcare. Overall, support was high and most people in attendance felt that there was a need for a new revolutionary, anti-capitalist, and humanist anti-war coalition that opposes all forms of war and militarism, whether from the greatest global hegemon, the USA, or from other powers, great or small. At the same time, those in attendance who supported our work also wanted to keep the focus not only on war and imperialism abroad, but also on the fascist threat at home and the struggles against it on the part of working people, immigrants, people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and people with disabilities.

In the coming weeks, the Coalition will broaden its work, reaching out to the individuals and organizations that have expressed interest in working with us, and also to the broader LA community.

In the meantime, we encourage all of our supporters to subscribe via the Contact page on our website, and to download and distribute our Principles of Unity.