Education is a Right
Free the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners
Teacher Evaluations and Funding
Demand Full Funding Now No Strings Attached!
Education is a right, not a privilege. Governments, as representatives of society, are duty bound to do everything possible to guarantee that right. And that includes full funding based on need — meaning students in greatest need, like those in impoverished cities like Buffalo, Detroit and Philadelphia, receive greater funds. Instead, huge funs are given over for war abroad and prisons at home. The states are crying "broke" while the federal government is sayng fus will onoy be provided if state governments submit to their testing and evaluation requirements. States in turn are forcing local school districts to submit or lose funding, holding them hostage to the federal demands. Federal and state governments should be held to account: Full funding now with no strings attached.
Federal and state governments are also using their insistance the all distracts accept their teacher evaluation regime as a means to divide parents and teachers and to block their united struggle for the right to education. Parents and teachers are supposed to blame each other for not getting funding, while the federal and state governments, which are the ones arbitrarily withholding the funds, are let off the hook. Unions are also being told they must sign agreements (often Memorandums of Understanding) outside their existing contracts.
In Buffalo, New York, as one example, the most recent federal and state interference involves teacher evaluations. One of the more important aspects of the teacher evaluations being imposed, by the federal government, is that they will be a mechanism to remove local authority in the hiring and firing of teachers. The evaluations, if implemented, give the federal government authority, using its hated testing regime, to have teachers removed. This fact is being completely hidden while the government and monopoly media strive to put blame on the teachers. Currently local authorities, usually the principal, together with the teacher’s union, have a role to play.
Parents and students both need a bigger role in evaluations, not less. But if the new federal evaluation is put in place, federal authorities will decide. If the portion of the evaluation based on student test scores does not meet federal standards, it can be utilized to fire teachers, even if they score well on the portion based on peer and local evaluation. This fact too is being hidden behind promotion that 60 percent of the evaluation is supposed to be based on local evaluation. This makes it appear local forces are deciding. The reality is federal authorities are deciding, just as they are the ones deciding to withhold funding until their demands for increased control are met.
Teacher evaluations, like absenteeism and high suspension rates are all important issues of great concern to teachers, parents and students alike. Both as collectives and together based on common concerns about education, it is teachers, students and youth who need decision-making power.
What is needed now is not more divide and conquer maneuvers and diversions from the actual problems we face. Problems of education are social problems requiring social solutions. They are matters of rights, requiring that the starting point be organizing for the right to education and holding governments, especially at the state and federal level responsible for guaranteeing that right. This means demanding full funding now, no strings attached! It also means taking matters into our own hands and organizing our own alternative curriculum and schools that provide enlightenment that is relevant and necessary for our youth and society to flourish. Let us take up our social responsibility to create educational institutions that serve humanity and its forward march!
For The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign, April is FREEDOM MONTH! A time to raise awareness about Puerto Rico’s independence struggle and the work to free the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners—Oscar López Rivera, Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, and Norberto Gonzalez Claudio. [All have been jailed for their resistance to U.S. colonialism and for organizing to win Puerto Rico’s independence.]
FREEDOM MONTH is a time to organize activities; to begin writing to the political prisoners; to write poetry; to organize pickets and protests; to talk to your youth group, church, union or community about the political prisoners; and to demand the President, our local elected officials, and human rights leaders act to secure freedom for the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners.
Monday April 2-Friday April 6:
President Obama FREE Oscar López Rivera Week
During this week, ProLibertad is asking everyone to call President Obama at 202-456-1111and demand that Oscar López Rivera be given the parole he was denied last year! Remind President Obama that Oscar has had exemplary behavior in the 30 years he has been incarcerated; that thousands of people have sent letters to the parole board asking for Oscar’s release; and that the prominent leaders in Puerto Rico and various elected officials throughout the United States have demanded Oscar’s freedom! [Oscar was jailed for fighting to end U.S. colonialism of Puerto Rico and he has been kept imprisoned for his refusal to reject the fight for Puerto Rican independence and the right of Puerto Ricans to resist U. S. imperialism. Calls can be made all month long]
Friday April 13: Avelino Gonzalez Claudio Film Night
Join ProLibertad for our Avelino Gonzalez Claudio film night in El Barrio!
We are screening the film, “Machetero” by artist/filmmaker Vagabond, who will join us for Q&A! Join us for a night of film, discussion, letter writing, food and fun!
“Machetero” is a meditation on violence as a means toward liberation. Post 9/11 definitions, ideas and notions of terrorism are challenged in this highly controversial and experimental film. Machetero is an allegorical narrative that follows French journalist Jean Dumont, played by Isaach de Bankolé (The Keeper, Ghost Dog, Manderlay, Casino Royale, The Limits Of Control), to a New York prison where he interviews Pedro Taino, a so-called "Puerto Rican Terrorist" played by Not4Prophet (lead singer of the Puerto Punk band RICANSTRUCTION). Pedro is a self-described Machetero fighting to free Puerto Rico from the yoke of United States colonialism. He is obsessed with freedom, freedom for his country, his people and for himself. Jean questions Pedro about his decisions to use violence as a means to achieve that freedom. Jean utilizes a global perspective in questioning Pedro, referencing examples of achieving his goals through more peaceful means. However Jean soon finds that Pedro is well versed in liberation struggles from around the world and their debate over the use of violence as a catalyst for change escalates. (“Machetero” can be downloaded free from the Internet).
Saturday April 21, 2012 Freedom Ride for The Cuban Five
"Cuba and Puerto Rico are the two wings of the same bird, they receive flowers and bullets in the same heart!" — Revolutionary poet Lola Rodriguez de Tío
Join ProLibertad as we bring the demand for freedom for the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners to Washington D.C. in solidarity with the Cuban 5 political prisoners! Become a Freedom Rider for the Cuban 5! The rally in front of the white house is part of the “5 Days for the Cuban 5” initiated by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5.
For More Information call: 917-887-8710
A new book about Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera has been published in Spanish by the Comite pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico. The book is comprised mainly of letters by Oscar to his daughter and his lawyer and renowned human rights activist and author Luis Nieves Falcon, who also co-authored the book. Efforts are now underway to publish the book in English this fall for wide distribution in the U.S. The book and its use are part of efforts to free Oscar López Rivera who has been unjustly held in U.S prisons for more than thirty years.
As the successful kickstarter campaign organized to raise funds for the project brought out, “Our goal is to publish, in cooperation with Luis Nieves Falcon, the English-language edition of Oscar López Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance. It is the story of one of the longest-held political prisoners, a Puerto Rican pro-independence activist who was convicted of the political "crime" of seditious conspiracy, not of harming anyone. Lavishly illustrated with photos of his life and artwork (he has become a painter during his now over thirty years behind bars), the book is an easily accessible introduction to U.S.-Puerto Rico relations and contemporary prison issues.” (A video, produced in conjunction with the National Boricua Human Rights Network, giving a brief overview of Oscar's story is still available on the kickstarter.com page; search for Oscar Lopez Rivera).
The kickstarter campaign was successful in raising $4,183, more than 115 percent of the goal of $3500. As Matt Myer, the main organizer of the campaign in the U.S. reported, the funds raised will guarantee timely publication of this important book in the Fall. Matt goes on to say, “Many of you did more than simply make a financial contribution. We exceeded our goal because you passed the word along to your friends and family members. Once the book comes out, we will be honored to send you the rewards you asked for — but be well aware that between now and then, the campaign for Oscar's release carries on. No Easter, Passover, or Spring break dinner conversation should be held without mention of Oscar's thirty-plus years behind bars; no summer ‘vacation’ should go forward without a pledge of some work for his return home.
“When Oscar's book comes out for widespread U.S. distribution, we will all get to take a moment of pride, to read through the pages and smile at the full-color graphics of Oscar's life and work. Then, we must use the book as intended: to bring his story to places not yet touched by the campaign, to re-double our efforts to ensure that this freedom fighter is freed.”
Voice of Revolution will be distributing the book in the fall and we urge all to join in the work to Free
Oscar López Rivera!
March 31, 2012 marks the 42nd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). The Party's Central Committee sends revolutionary greetings to all Party members and supporters calling on them to intensify their efforts to strengthen the Party and expand its influence and the quality of its leadership in the class struggle to defend the rights of all, establish new relations of production of socialized humanity in harmony with the socialized economy and free the country from the imperialist system of states.
CPC(M-L) also conveys its warmest regards to all workers who are resisting the attacks on their rights and organizing themselves into contingents of the Workers' Opposition to build the new, and to the peoples all over the world who are defending themselves from imperialist war and exploitation and asserting their sovereign right to chart their own course of development.
CPC(M-L) calls on the entire working class including professionals and other Canadians engaged in small and family businesses to mobilize themselves more effectively to break new ground in the struggle to defend the rights of all against monopoly right. Our collective social responsibility is to bring into being a new direction in the country's political and economic affairs that properly reflects the socialized interconnected nature of the economy and the modern way we live. A new direction means that the people must have control over their political and economic affairs and the right to make decisions that affect their workplaces, economic sectors, social institutions, neighborhoods and society. This means that social product produced by the working class must be reinvested in social programs, public services and the productive economy, especially manufacturing, so that all can prosper from industrial mass production and not just a privileged few. The people wherever they work and live must become the decision-makers. The owners of monopoly capital who possess enormous wealth and influence, their ruling oligarchy and monopolies, and other private and public institutions they may control must be deprived of the power to deprive the people of their rights and the wealth of their socialized economy and its proper functioning.
Ninth Party Congress
This anniversary year is an important juncture in the life of the Party when we begin engaging activists and advanced forces to sum up their work since the Eighth Congress and outline our plan of action for the next five years. Also, next March 13, we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Internationalists, which gives all communists a moment to reflect on the contribution of Hardial Bains and to size up our work on the path that he opened up for the world. Comrade Bains fought his entire life to reassert the authority of communism and bring that authority into harmony with the modern conditions. Modern communism and the Party of today reflect Hardial's passion for the new and his determination to fight constantly for renewal, the enrichment of theory, strengthening of the Party's organizations and the creation of new organizational forms of the working class for its defense, politics and democracy.
Through actions with analysis, the building of groups of writers and disseminators, leading the class struggle on all fronts within the constantly changing conditions, Party comrades through their own efforts are deepening and broadening revolutionary theory and contributing to Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought. By tackling the world as it presents itself and analyzing the concrete conditions where Party members and supporters are involved in revolutionary work, the Party and all its organisms can respond effectively to the call of history and move the world forward to a break with the obsolete authority that is in contradiction with the conditions both in their own particular work and in society generally.
The Party upholds Lenin's thesis that without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement which always emphasizes that without revolutionary practice revolutionary theory withers and dies as dogma. For communists, theory is the Goddess of Light that illuminates the path forward but first we must be on the revolutionary path and fighting to advance the class struggle. As we fight and advance our revolutionary practice, theory must advance as well to deal effectively with the conditions that constantly change objectively and subjectively through our own efforts in organizing and waging the class struggle.
Change, Development and Motion
The world never slows down in its constant change, development and motion and neither should our brains in dealing with the call of history. Who would have thought even a decade ago that Harper, Obama, Cameron and other capitalist leaders would dare to smash the social contract with labor to the extent they are doing today? All the post-war arrangements with labor are being overturned leaving the working class exposed to the most diabolical assaults by the state and monopolies such as Rio Tinto, Air Canada, U.S. Steel, the auto and forest monopolies, Vale and others. Not a day goes by without another infamy against the working class including attacks even on the dignity of teachers, scientists, other professionals and public service workers, wrecking of manufacturing and austerity budgets that deprive the people of the social programs and public services they need to live in dignity and health.
However, this is not an occasion to mourn the present situation and express frustration and desperation. It is an occasion to test our mettle as communists and workers. The contradictions within state monopoly capitalism are so intense the ruling oligarchy to save itself, its crisis-ridden system and its life of wealth and class privilege is attacking everyone except a small minority that holds economic and political power and influence. Using the power of the state and the immense wealth at their disposal, monopolies and their private interests are assaulting the vast majority of the people and their basic interests. They are politicizing their private interests and depoliticizing public interests creating a state of anarchy and violence worldwide. This exposes the weakness of state monopoly capitalism and those who hold great wealth and class privilege and their paid flunkies; they have no objective allies in any other sector of the population making them and their state extremely isolated and vulnerable in the face of a people determined to defend their rights and the general interests of society.
On the international front, who would have thought only a short time ago that U.S. imperialism would dare to smash all the arrangements that emerged from the Second World War? But that is what the U.S. Empire has done, challenging all countries large and small to a fight to the finish for world domination. It has maneuvered the ruling oligarchies of Canada, Mexico, Britain and others into an axis of constant aggression against all those who would challenge the reactionary authority of U.S. imperialism. The Canadian and Mexican states have become junior partners in U.S. Homeland Security and its striving to crush the rights of all and for world domination. U.S. imperialism has become the most aggressive big power since Hitler Germany, waging war after war while constantly planning and preparing for more and bigger wars.
But the communists and working class have not fallen into politics of desperation or liquidation. On the contrary, the revolutionary forces are organizing their resistance calmly, firmly and confidently. This is so because we have our Marxist-Leninist Party and we have confidence in the character and quality of our working class. The dialectics of nature reveals to us that a break with the old can be discovered through revolutionary work and can be brought into being. The break with the old comes with breaking new ground in the class struggle. That is the dialectic and the communists are in the forefront of breaking new ground.
The Call of History to Break New Ground
Today is a time for the working class and its communist leadership to rise to the call of history and finally set the modern proletariat in the countries of state monopoly capitalism on the path to lasting victory. It is now that the working class can show its expertise not only in modern production but also in modern communism and break new ground in the class struggle in the heartland of imperialism without falling into the pit of opportunism and betrayal of the aim of the class for its own emancipation and the elimination of classes and class society.
On this 42nd anniversary of our great Party, let us vow to continue to break new ground and through our actions and brains enhance our Marxist-Leninist theory and character. Canadian communists have shown in practice over the last forty-two years and more that they are capable of dealing with the ever-changing conditions, and developing and asserting their communist authority. Let us continue on the path opened up by Hardial Bains and pursued by the Party and Central Committee since his untimely passing.
Victory to the Workers' Opposition in its struggle to defend the rights of all and to organize for a new direction for the country to make it fit for human beings without war and exploitation!
Long Live the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)!