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The Internationalist
  September 2020

Mobilize Union Power to Defeat Bipartisan Capitalist Attack on Public Education

The Fight Over Reopening Schools Is a Class Battle

The following article is from the forthcoming Marxism & Education No. 6.

On July 7, Donald Trump held a series of White House events to pressure governors, mayors and educational authorities to physically reopen schools this fall after they had shut down across the country in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The next day, backed up by his education secretary Betsy DeVos, Trump threatened to cut off federal funds to any district that defied his demand that all schools must resume in-person classes no matter what. He also slammed the “very tough & expensive guidelines” on school reopening planned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This came just as COVID-19 cases were shooting up in much of the U.S., passing the 3 million mark, with 128,000 dead. Two months later, double that number have tested positive for the virus and the number of dead has increased by 50%.

The presidential diktat to fully open schools everywhere was clearly part of his reelection drive, in order to get the economy rolling by November. Simultaneously, as daily protests against racist police brutality continued in the wake of the cop murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Trump dispatched Homeland Security agents to Portland, Oregon. His aim was to provoke bloodshed against anti-racist demonstrators so he could campaign as the law-and-order candidate cracking down on “anarchists and agitators.” But while Trump’s aim was transparently political, various medical and educational associations issued reports urging that schools be reopened where virus transmission rates are low, in view of the damage to the education, development and well-being of children resulting from keeping them out of school. This particularly affects oppressed racial and ethnic populations subjected to systemic racism in every sphere of U.S. capitalist society.

Donald Trump, enemy of public education, demands that all schools must reopen, even where coronavirus pandemic is raging. But capitalist war on public schools is bipartisan.
(Photo: Chris Somodevilla / Getty Images)

In response to Trump’s teacher-bashing offensive and fears generated by the pandemic, there has been growing resistance among educators to reopening schools across the U.S., both in regions with high community spread and in areas with much lower rates of infection. With the beginning of the traditional K-12 school year upon us, the issue of what conditions must be met to reopen schools has led to sharp political clashes. In solidly Democratic New York City, after being the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, virus transmission rates are now among the lowest in the U.S. But Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to open school-house doors on September 10 come what may, with no preparations for testing and buildings manifestly unsafe, stirred a hornet’s nest of opposition from teachers, administrators and parents.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), representing almost 80,000 teachers and 20,000 other NYC Department of Education (D.O.E.) employees, threatened to strike. Class Struggle Education Workers strongly supports the UFT undertaking strike action to ensure that the steps are taken to make the schools safe to reopen and to counter threats of mass layoffs. The UFT tops have long hid behind New York’s no-strike Taylor Law to avoid calls for militant union action. In the past, when a Class Struggle Education Workers delegate called to prepare to strike, Mulgrew even ordered her words stricken from the record. At present, educators are in the strongest position ever to push through demands for sharply cutting class sizes, improving ventilation systems, and hiring thousands of new teachers, paraprofessionals and custodians. But a real strike requires serious preparation.

In order to rip up the Taylor Law and win a strike, teachers need to mobilize powerful forces that can defeat recalcitrant city rulers by bringing NYC to a halt. That means bringing out the powerhouse of city labor, Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100. TWU members stayed on the job throughout the coronavirus crisis, in which 131 NYC transit workers died of COVID-19, in part because of the refusal of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to release personal protective equipment it had stockpiled for a pandemic. Now they are facing layoffs as MTA bosses threaten 7,000 layoffs and “doomsday” cuts of 40% of subway and bus service. The 2005 transit strike paralyzed NYC, until TWU tops caved after three days due to political pressure and Taylor Law penalties. Today we must stand firm and strike together.

De Blasio has announced a cut of $700 million in the DOE budget due to falling tax revenues as businesses shut down in the pandemic. His schools chancellor Richard Carranza has said that this would mean layoffs of 9,000 teachers, at a time when many thousands more educators are urgently needed. In addition, the mayor threatened as many as 22,000 layoffs of municipal employees. So the UFT should also join forces with other city workers, including the 150,000 members of AFSCME’s District Council 37. In particular, it is urgently necessary to forge strong bonds with students and parents, to wage a common struggle for safe schools. Class Struggle Education Workers has always opposed the mayoral dictatorship over NYC schools, calling for teacher-student-parent worker control of the schools, with educators in the lead.

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio with his schools chancellor, Richard Carranza (left) and UFT leader Michael Mulgrew announcing contract agreement in 2018. (Photo: Matthew McDermott / New York Post)

Mulgrew used the threat of a strike as a bargaining chip, to get a few concessions from de Blasio. The UFT tops haven’t a clue about how to wage a real strike. The CSEW calls for a mass elected strike committee of delegates from every unit, recallable at any time, to mobilize the membership for class struggle. This is serious business: we’re talking about an all-out joint strike of the UFT, TWU and other municipal workers to force city rulers to cough up the tens of billions of dollars it will take to make the schools and subways and buses safe for all. That requires a fighting leadership armed with a class-struggle program to oust the sellout bureaucrats and break with the Democrats who run New York for the Wall Street fat cats and real estate moguls they front for. As for the Taylor Law, just remember, the only “illegal” strike is one that loses.

The Need for Reopening Schools

At the time schools across the United States were closed in mid-March, this was a necessary step in order to implement general quarantining of the population to contain community spread of the deadly coronavirus. Shutting down many businesses, combined with “stay-at-home” and “shelter-in-place” orders, did eventually slow transmission rates. However, when the orders were prematurely lifted after a month or two, particularly in the South and West, the stage was set for the summer resurgence of COVID-19. Also, the criminal policy of “flattening the curve” by sending people with symptoms (except the most severe cases) home, in order to not overwhelm the severely cut-back capitalist medical system, spread infection to family members and others. The mostly black, Latino and immigrant “essential workers” were particularly hard-hit.

But the necessary school closures came with a huge cost. A July 10 joint statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA) and the school superintendents’ association declared:

“We recognize that children learn best when physically present in the classroom. But children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and other services that cannot be easily replicated online. Schools also play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity. Our nation’s response to COVID-19 has laid bare inequities and consequences for children that must be addressed. This pandemic is especially hard on families who rely on school lunches, have children with disabilities, or lack access to Internet or health care.”

At the same time, the joint statement stressed that “schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen.” An August 19 “Guidance for School Re-entry” by the AAP declared that it “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” but that the “uncontrolled spread” of the virus in much of the U.S. “will not permit in-person learning to be safely accomplished” in many places.

In innumerable ways, lengthy time away from school harms children, even beyond the huge regression in education it entails. This is compounded by the social isolation of being confined to the home, often combined with economic stress when parents have lost their jobs. Hospitals have reported sharp increases in severe sexual and physical abuse of children, as well as suicides. We have seen from our own experiences in online instruction for the New York City Department of Education (D.O.E.) how these pressures can produce severe depression and worse among our students. For undocumented immigrants, closure of schools has meant cutting off an essential lifeline, the only social service they could access while they are denied any form of pandemic assistance, unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, medical care, etc. Masses of working women in particular are forced “back to the home.”

“Remote learning” is an oxymoron, and “equitable remote learning” is impossible. Right: Allia Phillips, one of 114,000 homeless students in NYC public schools, with her mother after she picked up iPad from her school in March. But their shelter had no Internet. (Photo: Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times)

Educationally, online instruction has been a disaster despite the heroic efforts of educators suddenly thrust into entirely different conditions for which they received almost no training and little support. Even when the school system was able to loan iPads to students, many poor families do not have Internet access. For the 114,000 homeless students in New York City schools (out of a total enrollment of 1.1 million), it was worse. Service providers would not install cable connections in shelters, devices would be stolen. The 200,000 special ed students with disabilities were not able to receive crucial speech, occupational and physical therapy. In crowded homes, students were balancing young siblings on their lap, or more than one child had to share a computer. And many students didn’t even log on. In mid-April, 23% of NYC students were not connected, and that’s not counting another 19% who never reported attending at all.

The Wall Street Journal (5 June) summed it up: “The Results Are In for Remote Learning: It Didn't Work.” The article began: “This spring, America took an involuntary crash course in remote learning. With the school year now winding down, the grade from students, teachers, parents and administrators is already in: It was a failure.” Many schools had little “synchronous” instruction (a fancy way of saying that a teacher and students were online simultaneously), while the “asynchronous” consisted of distributing packets of homework. In New York, the Movement of Rank and File Educators” (M.O.R.E.) caucus in the UFT (a coalition of liberal and reformist currents) and others called for “equity in remote learning.” But even with all the measures proposed (slow down the academics, trauma-informed teaching, etc.) there is no way online education can be equitable.

As Internationalist Group and Class Struggle Education Workers signs at an August 3 protest (called by the M.O.R.E.) stated: “‘Remote Learning’ Widens Racist Gap in Education” and “Remote Learning: An Oxymoron. Vygotsky: ‘Education Is Social’.”1 With online instruction, the tremendous advantages of students from middle-class families who have known computers all their lives, and have (more or less) digital-savvy parents to help out, are greatly increased compared to poor students whose connection to the Internet is at best a smartphone, and usually not a very versatile one. English-language learners all too often find themselves at sea, falling further and further behind with little or no support. But more fundamentally, the idea that schooling consists of simply filling students’ heads with information and academics is deeply antithetical to public education.

Pouring information into students’ heads: Caricature of education from the teacher-bashing propaganda film, Waiting for Superman (2010), used by privatizing education “reformers” to promote union-busting charter schools.

That is, in fact, the “model” – a caricature of education – presented by the privatizing, test-crazed education “reformers” who want to turn educators into reciters of scripted lessons and turn the public school system into a cash cow for vendors, consultants and hedge-fund-backed charter school operators. But as the Soviet developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky wrote in his essay “The Interaction Between Learning and Development”:

“[H]uman learning presupposes a specific social nature and a process by which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them…. [A]n essential feature of learning is that it creates the zone of proximal development; that is, learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his environment and in cooperation with his peers.”

Vygotsky’s concepts are key to educational techniques such as “scaffolding” that are taught in teacher education programs and pedagogical institutes around the world, usually without reference to their underpinning in Marxism (historical materialism). This is doubtless another reason why the capitalist “edureformers” want to do away with teacher education altogether.

For that matter, the privatizers and charterizers consider public education itself a communist plot. After all, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were some of the first to call – in the 1848 Communist Manifesto – for “Free education for all children in public schools.”

The Conditions for Reopening Schools

As the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, is precisely that, a new strain of potentially deadly virus, much is still unknown about it. What can be said with certainty is that the claim by a Trump campaign video that children are “virtually immune” is false, but also that young children have been far less likely to become seriously ill or die as a result of COVID-19. While children can have high viral loads, there is little evidence of young children as a major source of spread. The situation with teenagers (ages 12-17) is less clear. However, overall, while children under the age of 18 constitute 22.4% of the U.S. population, even after a summer surge of infections, as of August 27 they account for only 9.5% of the total number testing positive for the coronavirus. Moreover, children 17 and under are only 1.7% of all hospitalizations for COVID-19 and 0.07% of all deaths, a total of 101 in the entire U.S. Nineteen states have had no COVID-related child deaths.2

Almost every professional medical body or authority that has studied and reported on the issue has stated that the key determining factor for whether schools can safely open is the rate of infection in the community. Across the U.S., the total number of COVID-19 cases is now over 6 million and the official death toll is up to 188,000. But levels differ greatly from state to state. Contrary to Trump’s demand to resume in-person instruction everywhere, the overwhelming verdict of scientists is that in much of the country, reopening schools is not possible at this time. However, in the Northeast, and New York in particular, the situation is far different, which is why Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, tweeted in early August, “Transmission levels so low NY can, with proper precaution, open schools safely.”3

From mid-March to mid-May, New York City was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. Almost 24,000 people have died of COVID-19 here, including confirmed and probable cases, and when you add the number of dead above the seasonal normal – “excess deaths” – which are quite likely COVID deaths, the death toll is close to 30,000. But the epidemiological curve has dropped sharply, so that today, the average daily number of new cases in NYC amounts to 3.4 per 100,000 people, compared to 11 in Los Angeles or 19 in Houston, Texas.4 And with over 75,000 tests a day in NYC, the number testing positive for coronavirus has been under 1% for two months, often falling to half that level. That is well below the 3% community positivity rates suggested by many health authorities as a threshold figure for reopening schools.

On the specific situation of New York City, as of August 30, children under the age of 18 make up 3.2% of all reported cases of COVID-19, 1.1% of all hospitalizations, and the number of confirmed and probable deaths of children in NYC since the start of the pandemic (15) amounts to 0.06% (that’s 6 one-hundredths of 1 percent) of the total.5 In short, the levels of infection today in NYC and most of New England are comparable to that in Germany, and less than half the rate in Italy, France, the Netherlands and other countries that have resumed in-person instruction without major incidents.

There is also the experience of child care centers that were kept open. In NYC, starting in late March, at the height of the pandemic in the heart of the epicenter, some 14,000 children of “essential workers” were cared for in 170 Regional Enrichment Centers. These were staffed by D.O.E. personnel, operated out of public schools and continued into the summer. With social distancing, separate “pods” of 12 or less students per room, mandatory face covering and daily temperature checks, no outbreaks and no clusters were reported (NPR/WNYC, 24 June). Overall, with tens of thousands of programs and over a million children, “between 95 to 99 percent of U.S. child care programs appear to be operating with no outbreaks” (Early Learning Nation, 28 August).

As the controversy over reopening schools heated up this summer, various liberal Democratic websites pointed to the case of Israel where a COVID outbreak of 130 cases at a single school occurred at the beginning of June, two weeks after schools were fully reopened, leading to it and other schools being shut down. This ignores the fact that all of Israel was opened up in mid-May, not just the schools; that in the school in question (the elite Gymnasia Rehavia in Jerusalem, alma mater of several leaders of the right-wing Likud party) students were crowded together, students and teachers removed masks despite prohibitions, and the school was kept open after the first cases were found instead of being quickly shut down. In all, 139 schools and kindergartens were closed, out of 5,200 schools and 200,000 kindergartens in Israel. The rest stayed open.6

Another piece of “evidence” cited by those who want to keep all schools closed was a study posted by the CDC on July 16 by South Korean researchers on contact tracing.7 That study showed that children under age 10 have a low rate of spreading the virus, but the media seized on its suggestion that youth ages 10-19 supposedly transmit the virus as much or even more than adults. This went viral on the Internet in scores of articles, setting off alarm bells about school opening. However, a second article, in the British Journal of Medicine (7 August), indicated that “additional data from the research team now calls that conclusion into question; it’s not clear who was infecting whom,” as medical correspondent Apoorva Mandavilli wrote in the New York Times (15 August). The fact that the initial study was faulty was reported almost nowhere.

In reality, a lot of the debate about opening the schools has been politically driven. Jesse Sharkey, head of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and leader of its Caucus of Rank and File Educators (C.O.R.E.), remarked that tweets from the White House about successful openings in Scandinavian countries did a lot to “undermine the credibility about a safe reopening,” as they were “based on political expediency. And it didn’t help that it was Trump” (New York Times, 13 August). In New York City, to a significant degree the fight over reopening the schools is shadow-boxing between keep-them-shut “progressive” Democrats (with pseudo-socialists in tow, as usual) and open-them-up “corporate” Democrats.

Revolutionary Marxists approach the issue from an entirely different, scientific and class-based standpoint. The fact that the racist-in-chief and his education czarina DeVos are calling for opening schools is directly counterposed to everything they have stood for over the past four years, as they have sought to privatize the hell out of the education system. What explains this? They posture as defenders of public education today because they see an opportunity to score electoral points with working-class parents who need the schools open so they can work. These are all squabbles within the framework of bourgeois politics. Rather than the standpoint of those who are using the issue to push “vote-blue-to-stop-Trump” class collaboration, or siding with “progressive” vs. “corporate” Democrats, we are guided by the actual class interests of the exploited and oppressed. Thus, we are for keeping schools closed where infections are high, and to use union power to make the schools safe where they can be opened.

M.O.R.E. protest, August 3, called to keep schools closed until 0 infections of COVID-19, playing into the hands of reactionary forces who want to replace public schools (and teachers) with remote instruction. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

On August 3, C.O.R.E. in Chicago along with its New York cognate M.O.R.E., the Democratic (Party) Socialists of America and a number of reformist pseudo-socialist groups, called a “National Day of Resistance Against Unsafe School Reopening.” M.O.R.E. called for “No return to in-person school” until there are “no new cases for 14 days.” This seemingly super-cautious demand is in fact deeply reactionary and plays into the hands of enemies of public education, both conservative and liberal. What it translates into is shutting down public schools indefinitely, as there is no prospect of reaching 0 cases of COVID-19 any time in the next months (and quite possibly longer), even where the transmission rate is low, as in New York City today. Moreover, as we have said, M.O.R.E.’s call for “equitable remote learning” is an unrealizable pipedream, a figment of the imagination of privileged petty-bourgeois liberals and antithetical to genuine education.

M.O.R.E.’s demand to keep schools closed until there are 0 cases in fact means indefinitely shutting down public education for the 114,000 homeless students, the 155,000 English-language learners, the 220,000 students with disabilities and many if not most of the 800,000 students living in poverty who constitute 70% of the entire student enrollment of the NYC public school system.

M.O.R.E.’s August 3 demonstration featured coffins, “grim reaper” skeletons, body bags and a mock guillotine labeled D.O.E. Speakers kept chanting “not one more child,” although there have been no reported indications linking COVID-19 child deaths in NYC to infection in school. But if schools should be closed until there are 0 cases of coronavirus infection, what about the flu? Nationwide, 144 school-age children ages 5 to 14 have died of influenza and pneumonia since February 1, five times the number (28) who have died of COVID-19. So should all schools be shut down during flu season every year? As for the danger of infection of teachers, close contact with children, who are notorious spreaders of flu viruses (unlike the coronavirus), is definitely an occupational risk. But the mortality rate among D.O.E. employees due to COVID-19 (79 out of 135,000) is less than a quarter of that of the New York City population as a whole.

To be sure, there will be infections, perhaps clusters or an outbreak. Students may have to be sent home and classes, even schools, shut down temporarily. But not to open schools where low infection rates permit will be infinitely more damaging. Willful blindness to that reality also has a class character.

“Remote Learning” and the Capitalist Offensive Against Public Education

It is no accident that the anti-union charlatans of the World Socialist Web Site (a/k/a, the Socialist Equality Party), which has now cooked up a phantom “Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee,” also call to shut down the schools until COVID-19 is no more. It dismisses any UFT strike to ensure that safety standards are met, while blowing smoke about a mythical “nationwide general strike to stop the deadly reopening of schools.” Dressed up in fake-leftist verbiage, this call to keep the schools closed everywhere, not only where infection levels are high but also specifically in New York City, fits right in with the plans of bourgeois politicians to slash spending on public education by making it all remote. Once they have established that it’s not necessary to have a teacher in the room, they can follow up with scripted tele-lessons.

NY governor Andrew Cuomo (left) appointed commissions to “reimagine New York,” headed by Eric Schmidt (center), head of Google parent company Alphabet, and to “reimagine” education, headed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates (right). They all want to promote “remote learning,” cutting costs for teachers and school buildings and preparing for high-tech war with China.. (Photos: Andrew Kelly / Reuters; Alex Wong / Getty Images; Kuhlmann / Munich Security Conference)

Last May, NY governor Andrew Cuomo asked, in one of his daily corona-briefings, “all these buildings, all these physical classrooms – why, with all the technology that you have?” This was his lead-in to calling to use the pandemic to “reinvent” New York education, saying “it’s not just about reopening schools.” To “reimagine education,” Cuomo announced a committee to be led by Microsoft mogul Bill Gates. A parallel “blue-ribbon” commission to “reimagine New York” is to be headed by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Schmidt said he would be “focused on telehealth, remote learning, and broadband.” Conveniently, such high-tech initiatives would spell billions for Microsoft and Google, while cutting the cost for teachers and school buildings, for doctors and nurses and hospitals. For the bourgeoisie, this is a time to jump on opportunities to “not let a good crisis go to waste.”

Naomi Klein, the left-liberal author of books about how capitalist politicians use disasters to ram through “reforms” which they would otherwise not be able to get away with, termed Cuomo’s vision a “Pandemic Shock Doctrine.” Writing in The Intercept (8 May), she noted how Schmidt has been pitching this scheme for some time from his positions as chair of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board and chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. His aim: to gear up U.S. imperialism for a high-tech war on China.8 Klein cited an op-ed by Schmidt in the Wall Street Journal (27 March) where he wrote:

“We should also accelerate the trend toward remote learning, which is being tested today as never before. Online, there is no requirement of proximity, which allows students to get instruction from the best teachers, no matter what school district they reside in….
“If we are to build a future economy and education system based on tele-everything, we need a fully connected population and ultrafast infrastructure. The government must make a massive investment – perhaps as part of a stimulus package – to convert the nation’s digital infrastructure to cloud-based platforms and link them with a 5G network.”

Klein concluded that in the “manufactured austerity crisis” that is now upon us, “The price tag for all the shiny gadgets will be mass teacher layoffs and hospital closures.”

(Internationalist photo)

But while she analyzes the threat accurately enough, Klein’s alternative to what she calls the “Screen New Deal” is the “Green New Deal” of Democratic “progressives” Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They all act as if it’s a question of budget priorities, of where trillions of “stimulus” dollars are to be spent. This is also the line of the pro-capitalist union bureaucracy, whose answer to threatened draconian budget cuts is to pressure Congress to pass the Democrats’ “HEROES Act” for more federal money for the states. They accept the limits of a “manufactured austerity crisis.” In reality, it’s about class interests, and all wings of the capitalist rulers – Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals – have for years been trying to “reform” public education by gutting it and privatizing it, as Cuomo, Gates and Schmidt want to do today.

From the standpoint of the burning needs of the working class, what’s needed is to bring out the power of labor together with all the oppressed, in this time of coronavirus when teachers have an unprecedented opening to push through longstanding demands for quality education which are now key to safely reopening the schools. It is vital that this be done where it can be now, in New York City, setting an example to be followed elsewhere. But that requires a revolutionary leadership that breaks with all parties and politicians of the ruling class to wage a class offensive. Capital is using this crisis to impose its reactionary agenda, getting ready to axe tens of thousands of jobs and ratchet up the rate of exploitation. Class-conscious workers must organize to defeat this capitalist assault and undertake a proletarian counteroffensive leading to a workers government. ■

  1. 1. The work of Soviet developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky on childhood learning is fundamental to modern pedagogy. For more on this foundational theorist see “Interview with Vera John-Steiner on Vygotsky and Language, Marxism and Education, Malcolm X, and Other Topics” in Marxism & Education No. 5, Summer 2018.
  2. 2. Data from American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association, Children and COVID-19: State Data Report (reporting data as of 27 August 2020).
  3. 3. Gothamist, 7 August.
  4. 4. New York Times, 6 September.
  5. 5. Data from NYC Department of Health. A small number of children (about 150) developed a severe condition, “multi-system inflammatory syndrome,” which causes toxic shock, accounting for 5 of the 15 probable and confirmed COVID-19 deaths among children in NYC.    
  6. 6. “Anger, frustration as coronavirus rules neglected at Jerusalem school,” Jerusalem Post, 31 May; University of Washington Metacenter for Pandemic Preparedness, et al., “Summary of School Re-Opening Models and Implementation Approaches During the COVID 19 Pandemic” (6 July).
  7. 7.
  8. 8. China was uniquely able to contain the coronavirus and limit the terrible toll in human lives precisely because its collectivized economy enabled it to massively mobilize the country’s resources to combat this modern plague (see “A Tale of Two Cities: Wuhan – New York,” The Internationalist No. 59, May-June 2020). Yet most of the left joins the imperialist war drive by falsely labeling China “capitalist” (see “Defend China Against Imperialist Threats and Trade War! U.S. Response to Coronavirus: China-Bashing and War Moves,” The Internationalist No. 59).

See also: “NYC Teachers: Use Your Union Power to Make Schools Safe to Reopen” (6 September 2020)

A Class Struggle Program to Reopen New York City Schools Safety” (6 September 2020)