After a decade without a raise and facing ongoing attacks on their health care, Oklahoma teachers and state workers plan to strike April 2, with a mass rally that day in Oklahoma City. Arizona teachers fighting similar conditions have called for a protest at the state Capitol in Phoenix March 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. Dozens of schools in Kentucky shut down March 21 as teachers walked out and protested in Frankfort, the state capital, with more to come.
The nine-day strike by teachers and other school workers in West Virginia proved that it’s possible to stand up through our unions to the anti-working-class attacks of the bosses and government and win. Workers in Oklahoma and elsewhere today point to their example.
The Militant urges workers, youth and the labor movement to join these fights. Go to Oklahoma or Arizona, stand with the school workers and meet fellow working-class fighters. Get your union, church group, community organization and co-workers to send messages of solidarity and contributions to their strike funds.
In Arizona, teachers have been organizing red T-shirt days, like West Virginia school workers did. In Oklahoma they are setting up food banks to make sure no child who depends on school meals will go hungry during a strike. Doing this, they’re winning allies and building a broader working-class movement.
The school workers aren’t just fighting for themselves. They’re gaining self-confidence and pointing a way forward for working people coast to coast. Their struggles point the way to rebuild a fighting union movement and organize the unorganized.
These fights grow out of a widespread discussion and debate in the working class today. They take place in the midst of political developments around the world that are important for working people — from Korea to Iran to Brexit to Israel and Palestine.
For decades the bosses and their government have pushed the growing crisis of their capitalist system onto the backs of working people. We see it in the spike of drug, suicide and liver disease-caused deaths that has led to life expectancy falling for the first time in 60 years.
We see it in the closings of hundreds of retail stores, the layoffs of thousands of workers and speedup on the job, a consequence of the capitalists’ cutthroat competition. We see it in dairy farmers being driven off their farms. And we see it in the workers and farmers in uniform who die or return disfigured from the rulers’ wars abroad.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with the school workers. Members and supporters of the Socialist Workers Party are using the Militant to tell the truth about these fights and getting books by revolutionary leaders into their hands — books that contain valuable lessons for standing up to the bosses and building a movement to take political power out of their hands.
See you March 28 and April 2!