Boston: educators stand vs. genocide

03 February 2024 297 hits

There has been a lot of organizing among workers and students against the U.S. backed Israeli bombing of Gaza. At the November Boston Teachers’ Union membership meeting a friend of the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) introduced a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire over Gaza and for the basic civil and human rights of those living in Gaza to be restored. The motion was adopted from the UFCW3000UE, (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America), which was passed by several other union locals and areas around the U.S. - including the Massachusetts Teachers Association, (MTA). The motion is both antiracist and anti-war and humanitarian but doesn’t address the imperialist nature of the conflict.

Educators demand a ceasefire, now!
When the motion was made it was toward the end of the meeting. The membership was asked if they wanted to speak for or against the resolution. Two people spoke for it and no one spoke against it. One person called “quorum,”which means if there are not enough people at the meeting the vote won’t count. But no one seconded that call. One Palestinian man who had lived in Gaza spoke of the conditions there. The room was silent. The motion passed unanimously! Several teachers thanked our friend for making the motion and new connections were forged.

Out of the meeting, a group of Boston Public Schools (BPS) staff, mostly teachers, formed to organize for the truth around this conflict to be taught in the schools. A teach-in was held and attended by approximately 60 staff and friends. The strengths were that the presenters and audience were multiracial. The panelists were from diverse backgrounds and two had lived in Gaza. One panelist mentioned the existence of a large natural gas reserve right off Gaza's shore.

Student-worker unity: a sharp weapon against fascist attacks
The following week there were walkouts by students in two different high schools. Some of these students faced disciplinary actions, but this was called off when a parent and staff spoke out. This shows the importance of building unity between students, families and educators.

At another school, students were brought in to speak to an Israeli studies professor, presumably to be intimidated and indoctrinated. These same students courageously led a rally and march at a school committee meeting demanding that the pro Palestinian position be heard. BTU members and friends, including PLP members rallied in support. We distributed a leaflet supporting the students, calling for Jewish and Arab workers to unite against Israeli fascism and Hamas’ terrorism.

The friend of PLP, reconnected with the daughter of an old friend, who had biked down to the rally herself to join. A friend led a chant with students: Black, Latin, Asian, white -  against genocide we must unite!

Capitalism, not religion, is the root cause of the genocide and Apartheid
Although Zionism was brought out as the racist ideology of the ruling elite of Israel —it wasn't brought out as an aspect of Israeli and U.S. supported dominance of the Middle East. Capitalism and the striving for profits and the necessary control of natural resources, such as oil and gas are the root cause of the conflict. We need to bring this out in educational activities and demonstrations otherwise people are easily manipulated into seeing it as a religious conflict or a clash of civilizations. It has to be understood that the same capitalist system that created the Warsaw Ghetto, the Holocaust, South African Apartheid, the oppression and genocide of Palestinian workers in Gaza, creates racism, misery and death worldwide. We need a movement that unites all of us, breaks down borders to create a new system that doesn't exist for profit but for betterment of the lives of all workers - an egalitarian society - a communist society.