Filed under: Action, Austerity, Community Organizing, Education, Labor, Midwest, Video
Submitted to It’s Going Down
On Saturday October 1st, In Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, around 50 people gathered to demonstrate their opposition to the sale of a city owned building to a profit driven military style voucher school. The school, called “Right Step” is currently under investigation for child abuse due to their cruel hazing of students. The sale of the publicly owned building is part of a broader plan of austerity and privatization. Wisconsin’s right wing regime is attempting to force the City of Milwaukee to sell 55 vacant city owned school buildings to private voucher schools. These voucher schools suck money from the public school system and present a number of ethical dilemmas, promoting Religious Education and in this case Military Education.
The demonstrators included IWW members, Anarchists, education workers, parents of MPS students, and neighborhood residents. We gathered in Gordon Park to listen to Teachers and Parents voice their concerns over the treatment of students at Right Step. A member of the Teachers’ Union explained the parasitic nature of these profit driven voucher schools before the crowd took off down the middle of Center Street. We chanted “We Need Teachers, We Need Books, We Need the Money that Walker Took,” referencing Wisconsin Governor Walker’s massive cuts to education. People on the sidewalk joined in the chants and cheered us on. The Police tried to intimidate us by asking who the leader was, and threatened to issue a ticket to the organizer, but no one was afraid of them. The demonstration lined up on the sidewalk along the building on Center and Holton to listen to a few more people voice their opposition to Military style education and this attack on Public Education. Somehow the gate to the backyard was open, so we filed in and occupied the yard for a while.
This demonstration was just another step in building a movement to challenge austerity and privatization in Wisconsin. This struggle is a part of a broader challenge that began with the passing of Act 10, which eliminates collective bargaining rights for public sector employees. Act 10 led to the occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol building along with wildcat strikes and other occupations by students and workers. As this class war wares on we’ve seen the University System in Wisconsin cut by 250 million dollars and attacks on the transit system in Milwaukee, prompting a strike by the bus drivers last summer. Further cuts to K-12, university, technical college, transit, healthcare, and foodshare continue.
We can only beat back these attacks by the bourgeoisie and their dogs when we activate the creative power of the working class. We have to strike, occupy, and take over the places that they have left empty. We can only build for direct action by education workers and students by articulating a vision of a class conscious and anti racist education. We don’t stop at the defense of the Public system, but struggle for an Education that truly belongs to the Commune.