The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

“Don’t Tell Us You Understand What We Feel!”

May 9, 2016

As Michigan legislators continued to debate how little they could conceivably give to pay off some of the debt they had run up for the Detroit schools, Steven Rhodes, the latest emergency manager, declared that without the money teachers would not be paid for the last months they worked.

Teachers answered by staying away from school for two days – sick and tired of the disastrous situation created by state government raids on school funds.

Suddenly the money appeared – at least enough to pay them what they are owed. In any case, that was the deal cut. Even while legislators denounced the teachers for being “selfish” and “egotistical,” they came up with the money.

Selfish, egotistical – is this what legislators call it when someone works and expects to be paid?

The latest emergency manager said that while he could “understand the frustration and anger that our teachers feel,” he called the teachers’ actions “counterproductive, detrimental to everyone’s efforts working to help the district.”

“Counterproductive?” Actually, it seems like what the teachers did, staying off work, was very productive. The state managed to come up with the money to pay the teachers just as soon as the teachers stayed home.

Of course, no teacher, being put through this wringer would be so foolish as to believe that things are now settled. They know full well that the state has no intention to provide a decent education for Detroit’s children – and that means, no intention to give the teachers what they need in order to be able to teach and to have a decent life for themselves.