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The Internationalist
November 2021

UCLA Internationalist Club Statement of Class-Struggle Solidarity

Victory to the UC-AFT Strike –
All Out to Win!

Spread the word! Supporters of the UCLA Internationalist Club helping to mobilize in lead-up to a University of California lecturers’ walkout. (Internationalist photo)

The following leaflet was issued by the Internationalist Club at the University of California at Los Angeles..

“No Work, No Class, Shut It Down!” – The UCLA Internationalist Club is helping mobilize students and workers in support of the November 17-18 UC-wide strike called by the UC-AFT union, after a 91% “yes” vote. In addition to the seven unfair labor practices cited as the legal grounds for the strike, rank-and-file motivation to fight back flows from the desperate situation of lecturers and other campus workers who are essential to making the university run, but receive only poverty pay and lack job security.

Lecturers organized in UC-AFT teach about a third of the courses across the UC system, but on average they are paid less than 4% of the salary of the UC president ($32,000 vs. $890,000). To put this into perspective, the HUD considers low income in Los Angeles to be $66,000, while on average UC-AFT lecturers make less than half that amount and 50% make under $20,000. The UC administration has the nerve to claim poverty while it sits on a $19 billion endowment and grew its assets by $38 billion in just the first half of 2021. After two years of bargaining, the modest demands put forward by the UC-AFT have been rejected by the UC bosses, who are offering an insulting 0% raise for 2020-2021 and only 3% for the remainder of the contract. Given that inflation is over 5%, this actually amounts to a pay cut in real terms! Meanwhile, less than 8% of UC-AFT lecturers have been allowed to get “continuing status,” while the vast majority must continually reapply to try to keep their jobs. More than half of all lecturers are not rehired after their first year and the average term of service is just two years.

To defeat the anti-union administration and its ruling-class godfathers, it is not enough to be right and have justice on your side – it’s a question of power. On strike means shut it down. All classes should be stopped, and students brought out en masse to the pickets and rallies. Moreover, as shown in one strike after another by grad students, TAs, adjuncts and others across the country, for university strikes to win, all sectors of the campus workforce need to unite in genuine solidarity – one out, all out. Picket lines mean don’t cross!

The university’s employees are divided into various separate unions whose leaders negotiate separate expiration dates. The concept of dividing the workforce into separate unions (craft unionism) was overcome in auto, steel, transport and other strategic industries in the 1930s’ battles to build ‘industrial unions.’ On college campuses seven decades later, splitting workers up this way just plays into the administration’s divide-and-conquer strategy.

Fighting to win the current strike at UCLA would help open the way to unite everyone who works on campus into a single union of all university employees. This would clearly not include administrators, campus cops and other enforcers for the employer. Strikers must demand all cops and security guards off campus! They are the fist of capitalist “law and order” used to try to break strikes. And we call to abolish the Board of Regents and institute student/teacher/worker control of the university.

Since the ruling class can go quite a while without college papers being graded (whereas a transport strike, for example, can shut down capitalist profits very quickly), bringing in active support from other sectors – and large numbers of students – is doubly important. If the city’s major unions built mass pickets to shut UCLA down, the strike could be won in short order. We need to fight for this to happen. But why doesn’t the labor leadership put real muscle behind the words of solidarity, even in struggles much bigger than this? First and foremost because it subordinates the unions to the Democratic Party of racist U.S. imperialism, which together with the Republicans has administered the capitalist system for more than a century and a half. Reliance on capitalist politicians – instead of the militant mass mobilization of workers power – has brought defeat to all too many strikes and labor struggles.

Of course, capitalist politicians don’t like it when workers go against the bosses’ rules. That’s why they have their no-strike laws, their NLRB regulations, their racist cops, courts, prisons and all the rest of it. The Democrats voted for the Taft-Hartley slave labor law in 1948 that outlawed the kind of militant tactics that it will take to win this strike, Democrats purged the reds from the unions and across the country, Democrats enacted the many state no-strike laws. The Democratic Party is the boss that the UC-AFT are striking against. From Governor Newsom, the state legislature and UC president on down, the whole UC system is run by and its budget decided by Democrats.

As revolutionary Marxists, we call to break from the Democrats and all capitalist parties and politicians, and to build a class-struggle workers party to fight for a workers government. Then, like the rest of the wealth coined from the labor of the workers and oppressed, UCLA will be put at the service of the needs of all, as part of a socialist revolution here and around the world.

All out to win – Victory to the strike!

UCLA Internationalist Club
15 November 2021

For more info, or to get involved, contact the UCLA Internationalist Club: uclainternationalists@gmail.com