We would like to introduce you to the Advance the Struggle Free Education newsletter, an agitational tool we use at various campuses across the Bay to connect with school workers and students interested in engaging around the conditions and struggles of the education sector.
We welcome any feedback and encourage our friends and supporters to spread these widely!
Here is our first edition:
Even leftists and revolutionary minded people who are critical of Bernie Sanders have put forward the idea that, despite his limitations and the problems with his politics, he’s still defending the public sector more so than other presidential candidates. However, this position fails to take into account Sanders’s position on standardized testing, punitive measures against public school teachers, and the fact that he has in various ways supported both Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Obama’s Race To The Top education policies. We present the Class Struggle Education Workers leaflet critiquing Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s positions on public education because it concisely presents the problems with their positions. Click image for newsletter.
All of us have been paying close attention to development of black insurgency over the past few years. The power of street protests, new black activist groups, and recent anti-racist demands at universities highlight the direction that the movement’s energy is going. Further, the recent spread of pro black, anti-racist demands at numerous universities following the Mizzou protests demonstrate one possible way in which the movement is cohering: through the development of common demands on college campuses.
The Berkeley High School walkout that went down last week shows us that high schools have tremendous potential in also becoming sites of anti-racist and black resistance. In the spirit of exploring the dynamics of insurgent energy spilling over and taking new forms on high school and college campuses, we present to you some reflections on a high school walkout that happened a year ago in Oakland.
While this action is no longer in the recent memory of activists, the way in which students self-organized and developed a set of demands on their specific institution – the Oakland Unified School District – presents an interesting moment that preceded this recent uprising on campuses. We hope that it can contribute to the ongoing discussions on strategy that we’re all taking part in.
November and December of 2014 in Oakland
Protesters block Interstate 580 in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Oakland was an exciting place to be, again, during the hot winter weeks of late November and early December 2014. Protests raged nightly, and so many of us found ourselves marching together through the streets, evading cops, and blocking freeways and BART stations wherever was possible. Walking down Broadway, turning right on 7th street and heading toward the West Oakland BART station. Stopping midway and having debates about which direction to go – toward 980? Back toward the 880? Piedmont? The chaotic discussions we had brought that familiar feeling of ungovernability back to our lives. Our militant and disorderly activities were creative and generative to the extent that we got practice in challenging the infrastructure of Bay Area capitalism, attempting to block flows of traffic in ways that at least felt like we were disrupting flows of capital. Celebrating militancy is important, but perhaps more important is pointing out some of the limitations of our courageous actions.
There are three key limits that we want to highlight here.
We’ve been a little dormant lately, but we have a number of events and writings on the way. Please come reconnect with us at our upcoming event on farmworkers struggle in Mexico. Below is a description of the event and the event flyer. Please spread the word!
Do you know who picks your strawberries, cucumbers and pumpkins? Have you heard of the Driscoll’s produce company? Did you know that workers just hours south of the Bay Area are getting paid starvation wages? Did you hear that these workers waged a historic strike demanding dignity earlier this year?
Join us at a forum to hear a reportback on the struggle of agricultural workers in the San Quintin Valley of Baja CA, Mexico. A delegation of bay area activists along with a local San Quintin organizer (via Skype or in person, depending on their travel schedule) will present information on the historic strike that happened earlier this spring and how you can connect with and learn from the ongoing organizing of farm workers just across the border.
Wednesday Aug. 12th 6:30-8:30 PM
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA
Sponsored by Advance the Struggle
Facebook event page: https://goo.gl/sy2OVi
Click for high res flier
The following piece is a contribution from a high school student in San Francisco. This is the first in a series of student and youth political writings on our blog. Big ups to all the young people engaged in the fight for justice and liberation!
by The Act of Kindness
Women’s rights have changed over the years. Back then women were suppose to just take care of the children and clean the house. They were not given a right education. In the millennial generation we have progressed to all women having voting rights at the age of eighteen, right to education in the U.S, and abortion rights. Currently, in the U.S having the right to abortion hasn’t really been the case. In a case in Indiana March of this year, Purvi Patel was charged twenty years for having a miscarriage; she is supposedly guilty of “feticide.” This charge not only caused a petition and protests, but made women wonder if it is really safe to tell doctors, clinics, etc. about their abortion due to the very real fear of getting locked up.
This is because of the gender roles that society “naturally” gave to us. We as women are considered the ones that must take care of the child and if not we are considered “bad” women because we don’t follow through with society’s ideology. In many cases, women cannot provide for their child because of lack of affordable if not free health care, substandard education, and affordable housing because the government lacks support for families.Yet the government still demands women create strong families.
In order for women’s rights to be passed working class women need to be aware that the government is not doing anything to help them. Then once they are aware women would sign a petition for women to have the same rights and present it to a government official and if that doesn’t work, strike until they get reproductive rights. Women need to fight for their kids so their kids don’t have to live in the same condition and once and for all have equal rights for women as men.
To the theoretician of capital and it’s destruction, the founder of the First Communist International, and father of modern communism, we wish you a happy birthday!
For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
– Karl Marx, The German Ideology
This reflection was written by a comrade of the Advance the Struggle crew on November 29th, a day after the Black Friday shutdown of the West Oakland BART Station. It was not published because it provoked some internal debate and discussion within our crew that we wanted to have prior to putting it out online.
We offer it here in its rough and unfinished form as an artifact of what some of us were thinking of in the beginning of the national rebellion against the non-indictment of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Riots, Freeways, and BART Stations: Reflections on How We Attack White Supremacy
The police execution of Mike Brown is not simply another example of black youth experiencing a state sponsored murder. In addition to the tragedy of another black life stolen by the white supremacist state, Mike Brown’s death has called into being a nationwide movement against police brutality. This movement has further impressed upon many people’s consciousness the delegitimization of the state that the murders of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin and others have left. Further, the rebellions and direct actions that have been carried out by individuals, communities and organizations have demonstrated an expansion in the repertoire of resistance tactics that new and experienced militants are willing to carry out in order to disrupt the white supremacist capitalist economy and its racialized state.
So far, the two main forms of militant action that people have taken have been street rebellions characterized by informal, decentralized and evolving leadership structures as well as targeted direct actions featuring highly organized, formal and centralized leadership structures. The rebellions that happened in the streets of Oakland on the the three evenings after the announcement of the non-indictment of Darren Wilson were examples of the former, while the Blackout Collective’s shutdown of the West Oakland BART Station is an example of the latter.
Both sets of actions were successful in disrupting sections of the economy during the holiday season, inflicting high value damage to a capitalist economy during its peak season. Further, both actions played a role in developing the leadership capacities of young black militants, and secondarily other militants of color and white militants, though in very different ways. Reflecting on these experiences may help us to begin thinking through how we can build upon the successful acts of resistance we’ve taken, and move forward together in continuing our organizing operations.