Monday, May 09, 2011

State of emergency protests begin in Sacramento

Almost 800 teachers and their supporters rallied in Sacramento today and marched to the state capitol to demand that the legislature pass a budget that adequately funds the schools.
Scores of protests, rallies, teacher sit-ins and grade-ins, and town halls are part of a statewide “State of Emergency” campaign week of actions  launched Monday by the California Teachers Association (NEA) CTA and a coalition of all of organized labor and parent supporters calling on the Legislature to extend current taxes now to avoid the catastrophe of an all-cuts budget.

“We are living in a state of emergency,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Educators, parents and community leaders are fighting back against state budget cuts that are decimating our schools, public safety and health care services. To protect essential public services, the Legislature must finish the job of resolving the state budget crisis by extending current tax rates legislatively. Time is running out for our students and our communities.”

Educators are fed up with endless cuts and will be holding daily sit-ins at the Capitol building in Sacramento. In the past three years, K-12 and higher education have been cut by more than $20 billion. An all-cuts state budget would add another $4 billion in education cuts, the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst warns. CTA supported the governor’s call for a June special election to extend taxes, but Republican  lawmakers hijacked the process and blocked that vote. The time to protect the revenue we have is now.

Events this week will   show the impacts of budget cuts on students and our communities.  Rallies will be held in  5  California cities on Friday, culminating in a march on the capitol and a potential occupation of the California Capitol.
The campaign website is and features events planned statewide, along with blogs, videos and news coverage about cuts and the growing crisis in California.
What is similar to the occupations in Wisconsin and the demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana?

The emergencies in each case were caused by the economic crisis of 2008-2009, and the looting of the economy for profit by finance capital.  In each case the schools, cities, counties and public services are being gutted to respond to extreme demands of organized anti tax radicals in the Republican Party. These cuts are not necessary.  Tax fairness and tax extensions would resolve the crises without draconian cuts.
What is different than the occupations in Wisconsin and mobilizations in Ohio and Indiana?
It is not snowing .
There is not assault on collective bargaining rights.  In both cases there is a domination of policy making by cut backs of public services. In California there is a Democratic Governor and a Democratic majority in the legislature.  They have made substantial cuts.  They have also tried to pass tax extension but are blocked by a constitutional requirement of a 2/3 vote to raise taxes.
In California the ranks of CTA have demanded a more confrontatonal strategy for CTA.

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