||This article appears in the March 18, 2011 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
There Is No 'Defeat' in the Face
of the Global Mass Strike
by Nancy Spannaus
[PDF version of this article]
March 15"Don't they realize they've lost?" came the cry from the idiotic fascists who backed Wisconsin Gov. 'Muammar' Scott Walker's ramming through his union-busting bill against most public employee unions on March 11. Their comment simply shows that they don't understand the dynamic of the mass strike which is now sweeping the globe. Brutal clampdowns won't work, and as Lyndon LaRouche said in an interview March 13, "It's going to increase beyond belief."
Some 100,000 people poured into the Wisconsin capital, Madison, the day after Walker's alleged victory. The protest brought not only public employees, but other sections of the population, moved by the fact that they know that they, and their future, are being totally destroyed by present government policies. A highlight was a tractorcade of about 40 farmers, who, in addition to expressing their support for the public workers, were protesting the cuts which Walker is planning against Medicaid. According to the Wisconsin Farmers Union, roughly 11,000 farmers in Wisconsin are so poor that they depend upon Medicaid for their health coverage.
Perhaps even more indicative of the popular mood, was the reaction on March 9, the day when Walker convinced the Republicans in the Senate to bypass the Democratic opposition by stripping the bill of its budget features. Thousands of people immediately rushed from their homes to the capital.
One protestor interviewed on television said, "This is the beginning of the corporate takeover of the U.S. It's the end of freedom.... I'm willing to lay my life on the line for it." The instant she had learned what was happening, she had rushed from her house without hat, gloves, ID, or money, and raced to the Capitol.
It is this spirit which is inspiring students and workers all around the United States, and clearly the millions of young people and others who are immediately risking their lives in the nations of Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and other areas of North Africa and the Middle East. No longer do they fear the consequences of standing up for themselves. They are determined to fight for victory.
Students on the Move
As the leading theorist of the mass strike process, Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919), insisted, no institution, like a political party or a union, can call a mass strike. The mass action proceeds like a "ceaselessly moving, changing sea of phenomena," without predetermination. Such is the appropriate characterization of the actions by students throughout the United States, as the mass-strike mood increases.
March 11, for example, the day Walker rammed through his union-busting bill, saw high school students in at least 19 states respond to the call for a National Student Walkout coming from two high school students in Madison. The call identified Walker's attacks on teachers as threatening to have "an immediate and devastating effect on our educational experience," and directly attacked the idea of putting budget-balancing above the importance of state programs for the population.
Because of the spotty nature of media coverage, it is impossible to know how many students responded to the Madison students' call. The actions ranged from one student walking out, as in Hampton, New Hampshire, to 600 students at York High School in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Ill. According to Internet sources, students took action in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Idaho, Ohio, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey. Oregon, Texas, New York, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, Nevada, Washington State, and Alaska.
Idaho has been a particularly intense scene of action, in response to the state school superintendent's measures against teachers. Hundreds of students have walked out of classes in various schools, and demonstrated in the capital, sporting signs such as "My Teacher Is My Hero" and "Save My Teachers."
Much larger numbers of students from universities and colleges are hitting the streets and the campuses in protest of drastic budget cuts for education.
Teachers Take the Lead
As LaRouche has pointed out, teachers, not only the United States, but also Germany, are taking an initiating role in these expanding protests. They are committed to creating a future for their children, not just their own security.
For example, about 2,500 people, largely teachers and public workers, rallied in front of the state capitol in Columbia, S.C. on March 12. They were protesting against budget cuts in all categories, including Medicaiddespite the fact that the legislature has decided to spare the teachers from cuts with money from a reserve fund.
In Austin, Texas, more than 10,000 teachers and supporters demonstrated March 12 against proposed cuts to the state education budget. Among those addressing the rally was Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, who said, "We have a choice to make: We can choose to invest in the future, or choose to close our eyes and make bad decisions. I choose in invest in the future."
At the demonstrations attended by LaRouchePAC organizers, the organizers are finding that the teachers are increasingly willing to rethink their previous support for President Obama, in the midst of this existential crisis. Obama, as they well know, is acting on his Wall Street and London masters' orders to make deals with the Republicans for massive cuts in the budget, and to implement education "reforms" that will further devastate the condition of the nation's schools, schoolchildren, and teachers, while protecting the financial predators.
Exemplary of Obama's dedication was the trip he took to Boston, Mass. March 8, along with Melinda Gates, wife of anti-human billionaire Bill Gates. Obama chose the occasion of this trip to the Boston Tech Academy, a public-private partnership, set up by the Gateses in 2002, to announce a vision for expanding such partnerships and eliminating any obstacles to themsuch as teacher contracts, and even, eventually, teachers themselves.
You think we exaggerate? In fact, both Bill Gates and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been explicit. Gates has been giving a series of speeches on education, in which he has explicitly attacked the idea of limiting class size, and maintaining teacher tenure, allegedly in the name of "excellence." The bottom line? Save moneyand track students into being effective robots for the "industries" (like Microsoft, Intel, Apple,) that remain.
If you think that evaluation is harsh, consider the way that Duncan, whose staff is stuffed with Gates devotees, described the Administration's "vision" on a March 7 conference call with reporters. We have "a vision," he gushed. "Imagine a digital tutor!... It could accomplish in seven weeks what traditional methods [i.e., live teachers] could do in three years!"
Students in Idaho, where new legislation mandates at least one online class, have already caught on to the import of this plan, and have demonstrated with signs saying, "I want a Teacher, not a Laptop."
While Obama is pretending to be "pro-union," his open policy is Race to the Top, which teachers universally recognize as a cynical union-busting program that punishes impoverished students. Teachers, as well as other citizens protesting the horrendous budget cuts, had better wake up the character of this President, and soonas his removal is a crucial step in stopping the devastation of the nation.
The Issue of the Bailout
LaRouchePAC, and its six Congressional candidates, are aggressively intervening into this mass-strike process with the LaRouche Plan. Up front in their polemic is the demand to cancel the bailout and burn Wall Street and Londonby invoking Glass-Steagall. Budget cuts never created a recovery, they argue, no matter how many people they kill (by the stroke of a pen, of course).
What the candidates and organizers have found is that, while the leadership of many of the unions and other institutions mouth the line that they will accept "reasonable" budget cuts, the best activists are receptive to the call to burn Wall Street. Any sane person knows that the proposed cuts, on all levels, are murderous and insane. But the fight to prevent them will only be effective on a national level, with the re-institution of FDR's Glass-Steagall, and subsequent delivery of support for the states, and launching of great projects like NAWAPA (see LaRouche, on "Bad Banks," p. 63).
Not a U.S. Issue
The expansion of the mass-strike process in the United States is being replicated internationallyand, as here, will not take "no" for an answer. In Libya, the counter-assault by Muammar Qaddafi is brutal, but the opposition is more determined than ever. This is also evident in Bahrain and Yemen.
In both those countries, the autocrats in charge have brought in foreign troops, primarily from Saudi Arabia, in order to crush their rebellions. Attempts at providing mediation, or, in the case of Bahrain, of getting the King to agree to compromise on real issues, as was proposed by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his recent visit, have been soundly rejected; and Britain's number one stooge in the region, Saudi Arabia, has stepped forward to enforce the rejection by deploying thousands of troops with tanks into Bahrain, openly, and likely into Yemeni areas as well. Yet the demonstrators continue to demand the reforms they need.
As of this writing, the situation in Bahrain is becoming a humanitarian catastrophe through the hand of the Saudis and the rest of the Gulf countries. EIR's sources give the following report, based on eyewitnesses:
Shi'a villages have been attacked as if one by one, attacking house by house, by a mixed mob of security forces, using live rounds, and goons armed with swords, knives, and clubs. More than a thousand have been injured and five people have reportedly been killed, including a 17-year-old boy from a shot in the head. Helicopters using live ammunition have been witnessed in Sitra, the second-biggest island.
Street battles have become the norm, while sections of the suburbs of the capital Manama have armed themselves with barricades and checkpoints.
The Supreme Islamic Council in Bahrain, along with all the six Shi'a parties, have declared the Saudi troops coming into Bahrain to be invaders.
But Bahrain is no longer just a Bahrain issue; it has become a regional crisis, and is being manipulated into a religious conflict between Sunni and Shi'aan old British game. Already, Shi'a leaders in Iraq and Lebanon have threatened retaliation against massacres by the (Wahhabi-Sunni) Saudi repression.