Monthly Archives: August 2013

Defend and Transform: Next Steps in the CCSF Struggle

ccsf

Two days ago the battle to stop the destruction of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) took another step forward when a protest of 300 students and supporters of CCSF gathered in downtown San Francisco.  The two principal demands of the movement at this point are for the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, to immediately intervene to stop all sanctions against CCSF by the ACCJC, and to immediately fire the “Special Trustee” dictator Bob Agrella who has been specifically appointed by the ACCJC to carry out their plan for the destruction of CCSF’s existing programs through budget cuts and privatization. They’ve undermined the democratic decision-making power CCSF professors had in running their departments and determining their curriculum, along with the community learning aspect that remains deeply rooted in San Francisco’s working-class culture, all in order to “reform” the school along the corporate, privatized education model: bloated administrative bureaucracies, underpaid and overworked teachers with weak or non-functional unions, a reduced and underpaid staff, and a severely downsized student body with the limited options of a streamlined junior college-type transmission belt to four-year universities for those who can afford the debt, or technical programs for the development of an elite managerial class separated and above the working-class people CCSF still serves. For proletarian communities of color in San Francisco, this is a gutsy frontal attack. If not resisted, it will relegate tens of thousands of youth to low-wage service sector jobs without the chance of social advance, such as fast-food chains; it will exacerbate unemployment and speed-up the gentrification process that has so drastically changed San Francisco from a hub of multi-national/racial working-class neighborhoods to the next chic destination for wealthy Silicon Valley professionals in the high-tech industry.

As of today, we’ve found out that the lawyer for the city of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera, has initiated legal proceedings against the ACCJC for breaking federal regulations and having conflicts of interest, and against the Board of Governors that oversees California’s community colleges because it has ceded its legal authority over standards and funding in relation to community colleges to the ACCJC, a private body.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the City’s announcement of this lawsuit comes a day after the protest and sit-in that we organized. We should continue to demand that the local state, and the mayor in particular, intervene against the attack on CCSF;  this lawsuit and any possible actions on the part of the mayor are are possible only due to the self-organization of the students, teachers, and staff of CCSF. Now that the ACCJC is beginning to be delegitimized largely due to organized resistance, we are in a position to seize the momentum and expand the movement to put a definite end to the ACCJC’s reign of terror and take the struggle forward to expanding and improving the community college in the interests of the Bay Area’s exploited and oppressed.

Currently, the AFT 2121 leadership and a core of active teachers have expressed sympathy for a strike. The staff union leaders from SEIU 1021 have played a reactionary role by acquiescing to the ACCJC’s demands in hopes that teachers, who are actively fighting the ACCJC, receive the brunt of the attack while staff make it through this process unscathed. Rank-and-file staff have remained under the radar as they are unsure of the situation and know that their jobs are the most dispensable and likely to be cut.  As of now, the major strategic orientation of the movement should be the activation of the student body; it is a sleeping giant. However, it is critical we begin to build links with the two other key sectors of the proletariat in education, the teachers and staff. While one important step is for teachers and staff to self-organize within but independently of their union, we need a concrete plan to reach out to these sectors as students to build the links and lay the basis for a unified class struggle that takes up the demands of all three.  It is the social force of those who use the university that can be the backbone of the fight not only defend CCSF against its current round of attacks, but to be the organized body that can reconstruct and transform the CCSF we know now – a college that since the recession in 2008 has faced a total of $809 million in budget cuts, especially to lifelong learning and community programs that are not directly transferable to a four-year university or a technical profession, such as: childcare, ethnic studies, programs for ex-cons, seniors, and immigrants and help change it into the people’s college that we want it to be.

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Solidarity with BART workers from Argentinian factory workers

We received this message of support for the BART workers struggle from a worker militant from the occupied factory of Zanon in Argentina.  We offer it here for you to read and respond to.

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All support to BART workers,

BART has unleashed a string of attacks against the workers and their unions, wanting to eliminate the union to carry out the privatization of public transport.

Although the company states that it is in crisis, it has an annual profit of 125 million dollars. We face a crusade by employers, engineered by the government against the workers and passengers fighting for their rights. 

In the context of our economic crisis, in which the plan of the employer and government is to get the workers to pay for the crisis, the struggle for a democratic organization of the labor movement is essential to challenge layoffs, suspensions and pay cuts.

Fellow workers, we extend our support to you and stand in solidarity with your ongoing fight in defense of your jobs at BART.

Raul Godoy – PTS (Socialist Workers Party) – worker at Zanon ceramics factory under workers’ control and MP (Minister Of Parliament) for the FIT (Left Front) in the province of Neuquen, Argentina.

Claudio Dellecarbonara – Train system Delegate of Buenos Aires. Candidate for the Senate through PTS and FIT (Left Front)

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Todo el apoyo a los trabajadores de BART

La empresa de trenes BART ha desencadenado una seguidilla de ataques contra las y  los trabajadores y su sindicato, quieren eliminar el sindicato para llevar adelante la privatización del transporte publico.

Aunque la empresa plantea que esta en crisis, cuenta con una ganancia anual de 125 millones de dólares . Estamos ante una cruzada por parte de los empresarios, amparados por el gobierno, contra las y  los trabajadores que luchan por sus derechos y los de la población usuaria del transporte.

En un contexto de crisis económica como el actual, en el que el plan de las patronales y los gobiernos es que sean los y las trabajadoras los que paguen la crisis, la lucha y la organización democrática del movimiento obrero es fundamental para enfrentar los despidos, suspensiones y rebajas salariales.

Compañeros trabajadores de BART, queremos hacer llegar nuestro apoyo y nuestra solidaridad con la pelea que vienen llevando adelante en defensa de sus puestos de trabajo.

Raul Godoy – PTS (Partido de trabajadores socialistas) – obrero ceramista de Zanón bajo control obrero y diputado por el FIT (Frente de Izquierda) en la provincia de Neuquen, Argentinacia.

Claudio Dellecarbonara – Delegado del Subterráneo de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Candidato a Senador por el PTS (Partido de trabajadores socialistas) – FIT (Frente de Izquierda).