Recent CHALLENGE articles about fascism’s growth in Haiti (see issue 12/14/11) and its attacks on the Occupy movements worldwide inspired me to report recent efforts to build PLP amid growing fascism in Chicago.
I am a laid-off black schoolteacher here, among the disproportionate number of laid-off black teachers. These racist layoffs and those of all groups reflect the economic and political crises of capitalism.
Global fascism and its imperialist wars make workers’ lives miserable, attacking the working class in many ways. One tactic is forcing government employees (teachers, health workers, among others) to accept lower living standards — reduced wages, skimpier benefits and lousier working conditions. For teachers, this includes layoffs, denied pay raises (or lower pay scales, inducing them to move to a growing number of higher-paying charter schools), more expensive health care coverage and increasingly poor working conditions.
In education, one such condition is overcrowded classrooms. More students per teacher are cheaper for capitalists, whose gain is the working class’s loss in schools. Classroom overcrowding reduces the quality of education for students, often implemented in a racist way. Black and Latino students, already enduring racist oppression, are stuffed into learning environments ill designed to meet their needs.