BOSTON, May 23 — Faculty, staff, and alumni of Roxbury Community College (RCC) demonstrated today at the Boston Globe headquarters, charging the newspaper with reporting racist lies to discredit the only predominantly black, Latino, and immigrant college in Massachusetts. The action was organized by PL’ers and friends. Our signs read: “Boston Globe: Racist Mouthpiece for the 1%” and “Boston Globe: Leading the Charge to Attack Public Education.” Many hundreds of motorists saw our signs and dozens honked in support of our anti-racist message.
Over the previous two weeks, the Globe had printed several columns, articles, and editorials slamming the college administration for mismanaging financial aid for students, under-reporting crime statistics, and refusing to cooperate with businessmen who wanted to start a job-training program at the college.
While there is truth to some of these charges, the long history of mismanagement at RCC is the fault of bosses much higher up than the college’s president, Terrence Gomes, who is retiring under pressure. It reflects the racist neglect of working-class students by the capitalist class in Massachusetts and its servants in the state government. Decades of mismanagement and corruption at RCC has damaged generations of students and made the college more vulnerable to cutbacks.
The timing and manner of the Globe’s attack illustrates how all capitalist media are tools of the same bosses who want to transform the community colleges into job-training centers that serve local corporations. Driven by the global economic crisis to maximize profits, the capitalists need all their schools, from kindergarten through college, to serve the economy more directly and efficiently. They need rigid educational tracks to produce a small number of highly skilled professionals, a larger number of workers with narrow skill training, and another large number to fill the ranks of the unemployed and the military. In line with this plan, some schools will be eliminated and others restructured to give workers less.
Although most RCC faculty and staff are highly committed to fighting for students’ education, many have illusions about the role of the administration and the college itself. They need to understand the class role of RCC as a capitalist institution that helps to perpetuate racist inequalities. President Gomes has made close to $200,000 a year to serve the needs of local capitalists. One important part of the president’s job is to maintain social control by pretending to represent the interests of students, faculty, and staff.
Because of liberalism, which obscures class differences, many faculty and staff side with “good” bosses like Gomes. These alliances render workers unable to fight in our own interests. As capitalism descends more and more deeply into crisis, and rulers build fascism to hang onto their power, they rely on liberalism to keep our class divided and weak.
The liberals will parade before the workers as the “peace” wing of the ruling class and offer themselves as the lesser evil to vote for, as against the more open fascists. The liberals then turn around and enact exactly what the bosses need — president Johnson expanding the war in Vietnam and Obama’s post-election 30,00 troop increase in Afghanistan, among others.
When the newspaper articles first appeared, many faculty thought that defending the college and its administration was an anti-racist response. The demonstration at the Boston Globe presented a pro-working class alternative to the liberal line of uniting with the administration. PL’ers at RCC need to work more consistently to build a unified base for faculty, staff, and students while exposing the dangers of reforms.