Written by the Editorial Team
Well into the Trump administration’s first term, and after many hit or miss, and largely failed attempts to implement draconian policies to blatantly enrich the ruling, wealthy class at the expense of, and often direct attack on, the working class, poor, and oppressed peoples, we are now facing the hard truth that “The Resistance” is not able to hold back the political onslaught brought on by agents of the state. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as part of the Department of Homeland Security, was exposed to the public for separating children from their families, causing mass protests across the country. This led Trump to publicly change direction, but not dial back any of his zero-tolerance stance towards refugees/asylum seekers from Latin America. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled narrowly in favor of anti-reproductive rights, an anti-Muslim travel ban, and anti-union legislation. On the same day of the upholding of the Muslim ban and the defeat of fair-share dues collection for public sector unions in the ruling of Janus vs AFSCME, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his impending retirement, all but assuring a replacement conservative judge, likely with the potential for a career lasting many decades to come.
What these atrocities remind us of is that we, the working people, cannot rely on our democratic institutions to protect us from the divide-and-conquer tactics and assaults to our livelihoods and bodies that the ruling class exerts through the state apparatus. Though a counterinsurgency is building in fits and starts, we will need to activate untapped sectors of our class to sustain the massive fightback needed to reverse course and rebuild our society in the interests of the many. Our unions are still a bastion of organized workers, and the setback of Janus offers an opportunity to reevaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Labor Movement and learn vital lessons from history. In addition to labor unions, we must look to our unorganized and unemployed compatriots, as well as our international comrades facing similar and often more difficult struggles. It’s only through mass unity that we can have the strength and power needed to overcome the great obstacles in our collective path.
In this issue of La Voz, we examine the teacher-led, statewide rebellions in an interview with veteran education labor activist, Joel Jordan, and attempt to map out these strategies and analyze the similarities and differences in Blue States like California. Along these lines, we discuss the experiences of AFSCME 3299, the service workers’ local union at UC Berkeley, in their recent three-day strike. Catching the zeitgeist of labor militancy, two other unions at UCB went on strike in solidarity with AFSCME: UPTE and CNA. In another article on the education workers’ struggle, the San Francisco public schools’ union, UESF, faced a difficult choice with their tentative contract agreement last Spring. The recounting of events sheds light on the often drastic outcomes that come from settling for weak compromises orchestrated through conciliatory union leaders.
On the international arena, we take a Marxist view on the BDS Movement as an intervention to reverse the oppressive Israeli regime in Gaza, and fight back against colonialism and predatory global capitalism. For our history section, we look at the Nicaraguan revolution and explore the relation to conditions today. In the section on theory, we revisit imperialism (Part II), and in particular focus on the growth of monopoly capitalism post World War II, in an effort to understand how incendiary this phenomenon has been and still is to labor and the world at large. Lastly, this issue contains a transcribed speech by Blanca on the negative effects of neoliberalism in higher education and an envisioning of an alternative way to structure our institutions of learning to meet the needs and enrich the public good.