Third World Teachers Strike
In March, teachers in Argentina began striking to demand a 20% pay increase from the average $309 (USD) a month. The strike took place nationwide, delaying the first day of school by several days in opposition to the right-wing President Marci’s budget cutbacks and elimination of collective bargaining. Participation in the strike was over 85% according to Alejandro Demichelis, press secretary of the Education Workers Confederation (CTERA), the country’s largest teachers’ union. Countering the 20% increase demand, the government proposed a raise of 12%.
Last week, thousands marched in Buenos Aires in a national strike that effectively shut down several key parts of the economy including the airports and work at grain ports in Rosario, one of the most important agro-industrial regions in the world. The strike was called by the General Confederation of Labor, which includes CTERA, the teacher’s union. CGT is one of the largest labor unions in the world.
Teachers first launched a strike on January 22 demanding better salaries, the payment of bonuses and housing fees, and class-free days on Wednesdays. Both major teachers’ unions called an indefinite strike on May 20th.
Teachers are striking, not just in the Ivory Coast and Argentina but since the start of the year / past six months in Tunisia, Zimbabwe, India, Kenya, Algeria, and Brazil. It seems throughout the world teachers, once again, have had enough.
The great majority of teachers in the Global South are not demanding a turn to revolutionary socialism, let us not romanticize of overemphasize this reality. However, calls for a national strike are certainly progressive, as a national strike would disrupt the theft of wealth from the Third World to the first world. The series of teacher strikes in West Virginia and Oklahoma did not even make a mention of international solidarity of labor. This is the source of revolutionary potential because in the Global South, teachers are forcing the compromised liberal democracies of the Global South to allocate more of the Global South’s wealth to workers in the Global South and not in the exploits made by first world corporations.
This provides great hope to communists, throughout the world workers are resisting exploitation. While communists in the Third World are busy radicalizing fellow workers to make demands beyond just wage increases and to demand worker control of the means of production, communists in the first world should be engaged in anti-imperialist struggle and providing financial solidarity with communists in the Third World to build a movement of workers and oppressed people against capitalist exploitation.