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Vol. 74/No. 11      March 22, 2010

Defend social gains, workers’ unity
From Sacramento, California, to Albany, New York, the capitalist rulers have put public education on the chopping block, laying off teachers, increasing the size of classes, terminating after-school sports, cutting out English classes for immigrant workers. College students face a lifetime of paying off debt. The example of thousands of students, teachers, and other workers who demonstrated in California March 4 to protest these assaults should be emulated across the country.

The attacks on education are part of the attempt by the employers and their government to maintain their profit rates by cutting wages, slashing social services, and making fewer workers produce more and faster. Democratic and Republican Party politicians claim they’re “boxed in” by deficits and have “no choice” but to cut vital services and make “hard choices.” The capitalist rulers try to get us to blame fellow workers, including teachers, for earning “too much” money or receiving too “generous” benefits.

They never talk about the capitalist bondholders who rake in trillions every year. They are paid on time and in full—always. Amidst severe cuts in the New York City public transit system, for example, the government will pay out $1.9 billion for interest and principal on the debt to bondholders in 2010. That money could pay off the transit “deficit” five times over.

As Jack Barnes points out in the new book Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, “Working people have a vital stake not only in defending the social wage we’ve fought for and won, but above all in building a mass social and political movement of the working class to extend these conquests as universal rights—not means-tested charity—for all. Through our labor, the working class, in this country and worldwide, produces more than enough wealth to provide education, health care, housing, and retirement to every human being on earth, for a lifetime.”

We urge our readers to join in the protests against the attacks on workers rights and standard of living. The March 21 demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and other cities for legalization of immigrants and an end to deportations are part of this fight. The actions are winning labor support and are one important opportunity to answer the employers’ attempts to pit working people against each other by scapegoating immigrant workers for the high rate of unemployment and underemployment today.
Related articles:
Calif. protesters say: Stop education cuts!
Thousands rally against school layoffs
Scotland protest opposes school cutbacks
‘We can’t be passive’ about attacks on public education
Seattle students march against tuition hikes
Students and workers protest N.Y. transit cuts  
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