Los Angeles, October 25 — The big problems facing public education are not necessarily a lack of funds or bad policy, but in fact the system itself which operates on the basis of maximizing profit. That was the message from panelists at a local community college forum titled “Beyond Elections,” attended by close to 150 students. The forum was in the context of the recent push by faculty and teacher unions to pass Proposition 30 which would raise taxes in California to pay for public education.
But the panelists pointed out that the problems originate in the political economy of capitalism; unless public colleges and universities can be turned into profitable enterprises, they will always be depending on a system that prioritizes the building of a racist police state and imperialist war.
This forum reflects the efforts of a group of college professors and students, disappointed with unions’ lack of fight-back, who have been meeting regularly to figure out how to put forward an anti-capitalist analysis in the struggle over budget cuts. PL members are actively helping organize this group, creating opportunities to discuss moving beyond a reformist outlook and how students and workers can work together to build a revolutionary communist movement.
The message was clear: elections are not enough; in fact, they are a trap. No matter the promise, they cannot move workers and students beyond capitalism, which is based on the exploitation of the working class. In his concluding remarks the last panelist pointed out that students and faculty need to recognize that workers have tremendous social power and do not need to depend on ruling-class politicians.
PL students and professors will continue to help organize more forums and actions, especially in public universities and community colleges throughout LA and Southern California. Also, they are already connecting these students to the fighting Walmart workers.
A few days after the forum, several students visited a local Walmart where they met the workers who have organized walkouts. In their discussions, they raised the need for building a worker-student alliance on the basis of class-consciousness and the need for a revolutionary communist outlook.