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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

Let’s get smart

Raise Your Voice

By Peter Molenaar

As it happened, I was assigned to do strike support work for the Anne Sullivan unit of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers strike. ON STRIKE FOR LIVING WAGES, ON STRIKE FOR MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS, ON STRIKE FOR SAFE STABLE SCHOOLS… I would hold up these picket signs on behalf of those needing a break. 33rd and Lake Street was the site. The Sonora Grill was our sanctuary. Passing motorists registered their honks in support.

From the standpoint of justice, our teachers are defending our schools from the threat of corporatization. Moreover, they demand adequate funding and respectful remuneration for mental health staffers. Why? Hey, our kids have been traumatized by a pandemic in combination with stark images of police brutality.

Looking beyond…

Harmoniously, it is the unionized sector of the nursing trades which advances MEDICARE FOR ALL. This program would eliminate the labor redundancies inherent in the regime of private insurance. What then? Labor power would be rationally redeployed to the arena of early childhood education. The resulting uplift of historically oppressed peoples would actually uplift the whole of our nation.

And deeper…

Commendable social democratic activists among us regularly advocate for the cancelation of student debt. Indeed, the burden of student debt is a major source of inequality. However, with reference to higher education, I propose that every student receive free room and board plus a stipend as long as passing grades are maintained, on top of which: there should be vocational training in the summer months to establish a fallback position. University students should be paid to go to school. Such was the program initiated long ago in the Soviet Union. I kid you not.

Towards life-long learning…

While conversing with our striking educators here, I admitted to having been somewhat “slow” in school, but nonetheless had committed myself to life-long learning. In response, the good teachers conveyed their heartfelt gratitude for my many years at Smith Foundry. Naturally, a little love was in the air.

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