Oakland Teachers Back November 2 Protests

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at revcom.us

The Oakland Education Association (OEA), a local of the National Education Association, recently passed a resolution supporting the right of Oakland students, teachers and others to participate in the November 2 national day of resistance and calling for a policy of no reprisals against those who take off school or work.

In 1994 the OEA sponsored teach-ins to support political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, in the face of attacks from the mayor, the police, and others, and they have opposed the war in Iraq. The union is currently in the midst of sharp struggle against numerous attacks on public education in Oakland. When the war in Iraq began, thousands of Oakland students walked out in protest--and they are now organizing to take part in a major way on November 2. Part of the significance of the OEA resolution is that it lets students and teachers know that they have the backing of the teachers union when they take action on November 2.

The following is a statement from a teacher and OEA site rep at Oakland High who authored the resolution:


November 2nd, 2005 is shaping up to be a major day of protest against the Bush regime, a day which could usher in a whole new movement to change the course of history! There are demonstrations and actions called for in over thirty cities, thousands of endorsements are coming in, and WORLD CANT WAIT/DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME is picking up steam. As educators what we do can make a huge difference. On October 3rd, 2005 The Oakland Educational Association (OEA) representative assembly, in a spirit of righteous solidarity, unanimously passed a resolution I authored which "supports the right to participate in the November 2nd national day of protests and supports the policy of no reprisals against students, teachers and others in the school community who may take-off work or school to take part in protest activities that day."

If this was Germany in the early ’30s and you could see the outlines of the oncoming onslaught of Hitler and the Nazis, would you support a call to build a movement to drive them out? Would you join with or stand up for students and teachers and thousands of others who walk out of schools and jobs to take part in a day of resistance that could spark a whole new path forward against the rising fascism?

If this were Selma or Birmingham or Kent State or San Francisco in the late ’60s, where would you be, who would you stand with? What about Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers, the Rodney King uprisings, the struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Battle of Seattle, and the protests against the Iraq Wars I and II? These have all been momentous struggles in which students and teachers have played pivotal roles, and have not only walked out of schools and jobs but put their hearts and souls and bodies on the line. And we are facing just such a critical moment in history right now, with perhaps even more to lose and a whole world to win!

The continuing slaughter of the Iraqi people! The exposure of Bush and the government surrounding New Orleans and the horrendous treatment of Black people. The vicious attack on poor and immigrant youth and youth of color represented by "No Child Left Behind," as well as the attempt to turn our schools into recruiting centers for their wars of expansion and greed! These are outrageous crimes that must be stopped!

As the WORLD CAN’T WAIT call puts it:

"The Bush Regime is setting out to remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. A new movement is now forming to stop this disastrous course by taking action and on November 2nd it begins: a mass political resistance that will not stop until this regime is driven from office."

I urge educators across the country to take up WORLD CAN’T WAIT/DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME activities on November 2nd and to pass similar resolutions of support and no reprisals against those who participate. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!