CHICAGO, September 3 — At least 10,000 Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members and supporters attended a Labor Day rally here, followed by a march around City Hall and to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offices. Chanting, “the workers, united, will never be divided” and “we’re going to beat back the bosses’ attack.” Participants were enthusiastic and feeling their power. On August 30th, CTU’s House of Delegates had voted unanimously to strike on September 10. Speaker after speaker rose to report members at their schools were ready to strike. This developed after months of CPS insults and attacks on students and educators, followed by rallies, marches, informational pickets and outreach to parents and community by CTU members.
The situation is ripe with possibility, but without communist politics, these workers in struggle can turn cynical. This is because the ruling class has only begun to attack education workers and our students. We will not be able to beat back all the attacks, no matter how militantly we fight. As long as the capitalists are running things the workers will be left behind.
The capitalists’ plans for our students include war, low-wage jobs or unemployment and a tightening of restrictions to prevent fight-back. The implementation of Common Core State Standards, gives the bosses free reign to impose national standards with no opposition from local teachers. The proliferation of charter schools and online “learning” are all aimed at busting the teachers’ unions. These reforms help the capitalists carry out their plans, no matter how many slogans they develop claiming this is all to benefit the students.
All of the rally speakers represented labor unions. One speaker was from the FOP, Fraternal Order of Police. Teachers should not be uniting with the cops who brutalize their students!
The ruling-class attacks hit black and Latino students the hardest, and is the reason education “reforms” are pushed the hardest in urban areas. Chicago, whose public school students are only 8% white, is a test in many ways. Workers around the world have sent messages of support and millions are rooting for a successful strike. Whatever gains may be won, will be temporary as long as the capitalists continue to rule. The role of Progressive Labor Party in spreading its message of communism in this strike will be heard worldwide.