Reject Austerity- No to VSB Cuts and School Closures!

Reject Austerity- No to VSB Cuts and School Closures!

The Revolutionary Student Movement, Vancouver chapter, (RSM-Vancouver) is a group of anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist student organizers, based on unceded Coast Salish Territories. We are aware that the Vancouver School Board (VSB) is currently finalizing its operating budget for the 2016/2017 school year. In this process, the VSB has proposed cuts to make up for a $24.6 million funding shortfall, the largest to date, on top of the $82 million in cuts already made to the Vancouver public school system in the past decade. The VSB has launched public consultations on the budget, and will vote to adopt or reject it by April 28. 

In the long term, the VSB is exploring the possibilities of closing up to 19-21 schools, mainly on Vancouver’s East Side: a place where the working-class, urban First Nations, and immigrants are concentrated. School closures were recommended by consulting firm Ernst and Young, acting on behalf of the Liberal provincial government, as part of an “asset rationalization approach” to manage the VSB’s finances. The provincial government has  continually reduced funding for public education, and has previously asked the VSB to close schools before the board goes ahead with seismic upgrades. The school closures would mean that by 2030, up to 5,167 fewer seats would be available in Vancouver’s schools. The “Long Range Facilities Plan” , which proposes school closures and came as a result of Ernst and Young’s report, has been tentatively adopted by the VSB and will become final, after some public consultation, by June.

The RSM-Vancouver unequivocally denounces the cuts proposed in this budget and all recommendations proposed by “consultants” to close schools in Vancouver’s East Side. We see them as egregious, co-ordinated attacks on the conditions on proletarian, or working class neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

We are firstly concerned about the elimination of up to 200 positions from the Vancouver School Board in the present budget, especially when some individuals employed in these positions are precarious workers and serve in positions which benefit proletarian students. For instance:

  • ESL instructors, multicultural liaison workers, and a district-wide anti-racism worker are set to be eliminated or have their hours reduced. This is concerning when immigrant families and immigrant children in proletarian neighbourhoods access these services provided by the VSB, especially when the primary caregiver in a household does not speak English fluently.
  • The district-wide anti-homophobia mentor position will be eliminated. This is concerning when queer families often settle into proletarian neighbourhoods, when students in proletarian neighbourhoods are often far away from LGBTQ2S support services, and when a policy adopted last year to protect trans*/gender-variant students is yet to be fully implemented by the VSB.
  • Elementary school enrichment programs, including music and arts programs, are set to be eliminated. This is concerning when proletarian children often rely on these programs as their only source of extra-curricular activities.
  • Braille, Deaf, and special education support positions are set to be eliminated. This is concerning when these are often the only sources of support for proletarian families whose children have disabilities, and when schoolteachers are often not trained to support students with disabilities.
  • Aboriginal education positions are set to be eliminated. This is concerning when Vancouver’s First Nations population lives in proletarian neighbourhoods and when decolonization and aboriginal education is needed more than ever, in light of recent events.

This is not to mention the elimination of 23 teaching positions and the class size cap in Vancouver’s secondary schools. These changes will only put more stress on overworked teachers when teachers have indicated that their class sizes are already too big during the previous BC Teachers’ Strike. The quality of education in proletarian secondary schools will only go down when teachers in those schools become overworked and are not able to give enough individualized attention to students who are struggling.

Moreover, we oppose the recommendation to close 19-21 “underutilized” schools in the East Side, especially at a time when BC Statistics Agency has predicted that enrolment in the VSB may go up by 8000 students by 2025! Closing these schools will only cause grief to working parents who may need to travel far away from their neighbourhoods to access education  for their children. Next, we reject the basis that these schools are “underutilized”, when they often provide special programs such as a First Nations-focused education and spaces where proletarian communities can gather and organize.  As such, enrolment should not be the sole measure of a school’s value when schools provide much more than literacy and life skills for children.

Based on all of these proposals, we can only see that austerity is just a synonym for class war. Class war occurs when “consultants” recommend closing “underutilized” schools in proletarian neighbourhoods, only so that the VSB can have the resources to make seismic upgrades for schools in bourgeois, upper-class neighbourhoods. Class war occurs when budget proposals make cuts to services proletarian families often access. Class war occurs when the quality of education in proletarian schools is declining as a result of overworked teachers and support staff. In these times of capitalist crisis and neoliberalism, austerity becomes a way to openly exploit proletarians so that the rich can only become richer.

teachers-1Austerity, however, can be stopped. In the short term, we would like to encourage the current school board to extend public consultations, especially when the masses are condemning austerity, to vote no to an austerity budget, and to stop any proposed school closures. We condemn the so-called “progressive” trustees on the school board when they claim to be fighting for proletarian students and better public education, but instead vote for cuts and school closures. We recall Vancouver’s recent history when in 1984, a school board comprised of “progressive” trustees refused to obey the provincial government’s directive to make cuts. The cuts in that year never happened as a result of the trustees’ determination during this struggle.

Furthermore, we encourage the masses, especially proletarian students, to voice their opposition to these proposed austerity measures from the VSB. We are glad to see visible opposition to the cuts but we are appalled when under austerity, groups representing diverse sectors in proletarian neighbourhoods fight each other for whatever crumbs they can get from the ruling class. We applaud the actions of students, when the students of Greenwood Secondary School walked out of their classes in protest of the Toronto District School Board’s’ proposal to close their school. Similarly, we encourage students in the VSB to display the same militancy in opposing this budget and proposed school closures, as they did in organizing in solidarity with BC teachers during the BC Teachers’ Strike.

At the same time, we deplore a system when the bourgeoisie (ruling, and capitalist class) are allowed total power over the education of proletarian children. We cannot wait for “progressives”, including the BC NDP, to improve the conditions in proletarian neighbourhoods when many of these “progressives” support austerity at the same time. It is only fair that proletarians, which comprise the majority of society, are able to end austerity for good and allocate society’s wealth to benefit of their communities. This is why the Revolutionary Student Movement fights for an end to the rotten capitalist system, the root of oppression for proletarian families, and dares to build the struggle for socialism.

ROCK BEATS SCISSORS! SOLIDARITY BEATS AUSTERITY!

Sources:

  1. https://www.vsb.bc.ca/20162017-budget
  2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vsb-busdget-cuts-1.3515629
  3. http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/resource-management/reports/moe_vsb_review_report_june_2015.pdf
  4. http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/shared/Item%201%20-%20Interim%20Long%20Range%20Facilities%20Plan.pdf
  5. https://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/shared/2016-2017%20Preliminary%20Budget%20Proposals%20Report%20March%2031%202016%20-%20Website%20Version.pdf
  6. http://bctf.ca/publications/NewsmagArticle.aspx?id=21540
  7. http://www.newstalk1010.com/news/2016/04/08/east-end-high-school-students-walk-out-of-class-in-protest
  8. http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/b-c-teachers-strike-imminent-as-negotiations-with-government-at-an-impasse
Next Communist School: The State and Revolution

Next Communist School: The State and Revolution

Image

The entire capitalist economy is based on the exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of the world’s people. How has it been able to continue? By what means has the power and wealth of the ruling class been preserved despite the fact that they are objectively murderers and parasites?

In short: the state.

In order to maintain their domination over the rest of society, ruling classes have always required special bodies of armed people to enforce their particular systems of exploitation and oppression. This has been true whether that ruling class is a parasitic minority or the working majority.

What is the nature of the state in contemporary capitalist society? What are its material and ideological elements? What will a worker’s state, one through which the masses enforce their leadership of society, look like? What is the relevance of any of this to revolutionaries in the here and now?

Join the RSM for a presentation and discussion of these pressing questions.

Communist School is a regular educational program of the Revolutionary Student Movement. We discuss topics that are relevant to revolutionary politics today. The aim is to propagate revolutionary thought, create space for critical learning and discussion, and support each others’ theoretical development that will inform correct revolutionary practice!

If you have any questions or are interested in getting involved, revolutionarystudentsto@gmail.com

 

April 7

4-6 pm

OISE Room 5170

252 Bloor St W

Winter Communist School #2: The Student Struggle

Hello everyone,

I am excited to announce that RSM-UofT is having its second communist school of winter 2014 this upcoming Monday, February 10th from 4-6PM, at the Centre for Women and Trans People (563 Spadina Ave, room 100). The topic is on the student movement. A more detailed description of some of the issues we will touch on is outlined below. We will also have a speaker from Guelph to talk about the upcoming national conference of Revolutionary Student and Youth happening in Montreal on March 1 & 2nd. This is a communist school not to be missed!
Image
Coming out of the Quebec student strike of 2012, radical and revolutionary students from across Canada have increasingly tried to emulate the militancy of the Quebec students in their own locales. And yet despite the increasing radicalisation of students, the traditional student associations (the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations) have proven unable to advance the student struggles outside of Quebec. In this context, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canadainitiated a series of conferences -the third of which is to be held in Montreal in March of 2014 (http://www.mer-rsm.com/2014/01/call-out-for-third-national-conference.html)- designed to bring revolutionary students together for the formation of a real Revolutionary Student Movement; a truly combative student movement capable of winning real victories and advancing the class struggle in Canada.
What is the role of students within the class struggle? Are students a revolutionary subject? Why aren’t the current student associations -the CFS and CASA- capable of advancing the class struggle in Canada and Quebec? What type of organisation is needed among students to advance the class struggle? What is, and why do we need a Revolutionary Student Movement?
Communist School Presents: Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

Communist School Presents: Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

Image

Communist School is back this fall!

Lesson 3 is a read-out-loud and discussion of the document, “Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!”

Where: 563 Spadina Ave, Room 100
* wheelchair accessible via Bancroft Ave.

When: December 8, Sunday, 4-6PM

Childcare available on site. Refreshments will be served.

Fall Communist School is a biweekly educational initiative hosted by the Revolutionary Student Movement – Toronto.

If you would like to help out in the organizing of communist school, let us know! Believe it or not, it’s just as fun, if not, even more fun, than attending the school itself!
email revolutionarystudentsto@gmail.com to get involved.

Communist School Presents: Revolutionary Attitude and Combat Liberalism

Communist School Presents: Revolutionary Attitude and Combat Liberalism

Image

Communist School is back this fall!

Lesson 2 is a read-out-loud and discussion of two documents on mass work: Revolutionary Attitude and Combat Liberalism.

Where: 563 Spadina Ave, Room 100
* wheelchair accessible via Bancroft Ave.

When: November 24, Sunday, 4-6PM

Childcare available on site. Refreshments will be served.

Fall Communist School is a biweekly educational initiative hosted by the Revolutionary Student Movement – Toronto. Lesson 3 is on Revolutionary International Movement’s document “Long Live Marxism-Leninism, Maoism!” on December 8th, 4-6PM.

If you would like to help out in the organizing of communist school, let us know! Believe it or not, it’s just as fun, if not, even more fun, than attending the school itself!

Join the RSM at Communism-Out-Loud School

Join the RSM at Communism-Out-Loud School

Are you interested in Marxism? Want to learn the basics but can’t get required readings done in advance? The Revolutionary Students Movement (RSM), together with its parent organization Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee (PRAC), are hosting a series of Communist Schools on the topic of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). These sessions are meant for beginners with no prior knowledge of MLM. In addition, we encourage group study. Therefore no reading of material in advance is necessary. We will take turns reading the material to be studied aloud.

On Sunday March 10th from 5PM-7PM, join the Revolutionary Students Movement at the Coffee Time opposite Lansdowne station for our bi-monthly communist school. The topic for this session is Lenin and Leninism. Copies of the material will be distributed to you when you arrive.

Hope to see you there!

Communist Night School on People’s War in India!

Communist Night School on People’s War in India!

Wednesday, Jan 11 @ 6:30 pm
Location: Room 223 at Innis College
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S1J5
Readings provided. Click here.
Snacks provided. Bring your friends!

india2012-2-en-me

The third installment of the Revolutionary Students Movement’s Communist Night School will be held in solidarity with the International Week of Support for the People’s War in India from January 14-22. Join us on Wednesday, January 11th at 6:30 for a screening the documentary Blazing Trail: A Journey of the Indian Revolution, followed by discussion of the film and a short reading. Together we will learn more about the Indian people’s struggle against capitalist exploitation, poverty, caste oppression and imperialism.

Come learn. No previous knowledge of communism or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism required.

“May the wind of the people’s war reach the proletarian masses all around the world.”

Communist Skool Launch!

Please read  Prakash’s  “Where Should Students and Youth Make a New Beginning?” We will also be taking a recent youth issue of the Partisan–a newspaper published  by the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party)–and discussing a segment of it. The newspaper article will be available at the meeting.

Our aim is to help students and youth gain a theoretical understanding of our political tasks, as well as brainstorm some practical ideas for realizing our revolutionary goals.

Directions: get off at St. George subway station at Bedford, then go West until you see a gray, ramped building. Enter via side entrance and take elevator to the 5th floor.

We look forward to seeing you at our launch!