We need your help to protect the freedom of education workers' to speak out against the genocide being carried out in Gaza by the state of Israel.
This is a call to action from an ad hoc coalition of educators from revolutionary unions and other activist groups in the Washington DC area (commonly known as the DMV). We are engaged in a free speech fight to have educators suspended for pro-Palestine advocacy reinstated. More broadly, our struggle is to force the mainstream teachers’ unions to bargain directly over employers’ social media and speech policies.
A politicized core of militants is emerging among the rank-and-file of mainstream teachers’ unions—the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA)—that are demanding their unions definitively call for a permanent ceasefire and take action to make it happen. We hope to push this as far as we can. AFT and NEA members are strongly encouraged to withhold their PAC donations and to call for their unions to un-endorse President Biden until a permanent ceasefire is secured.
If you are in the region, please consider attending our upcoming rally at the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education meeting. Otherwise, please sign and share our petition and flyer with your networks.
Also included are some of the agitprop pieces from our participation in this movement so far.
Rally at the Board of Education
Educators for Solidarity, Not Silence!
Rally at the BOETuesday, March 19th, 2023, 5:15 pm
850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland
Facts about Palestine Solidarity in Montgomery County
- At least 4 Teachers from Montgomery County have been put on suspension for posting on social media in favor of Palestine.
Since October at least 4 teachers in MoCo have been suspended from their teaching jobs for posting in solidarity with Palestine. The MCEA will not take a firm stance. Radical teachers have nothing to lose but their chains if they are already losing their jobs for their radical views.
- Mainstream unions like NFT and NEA want to accept the total denial of freedom of speech to teachers. The more censorship and silence we accept, the more our rights slip away and the guarantee of freedom of speech becomes increasingly null and void.
At the current rate, most teachers’ unions are not standing up to the accusations of anti-semitism being lobbed at any teachers speaking up for Palestine. If this precedent is allowed to hold, unions will lose their ability to legally defend the political speech of teachers. If current unions will not stand up for teachers, educator rights and union power in general will erode to the point of becoming non-existent. We must organize.
- Teachers do not have to accept mainstream unionism. Thinkers like Staughton Lynd offer the alternative of worker-run unionism and even if you have to remain in corrupt liberal unions, you can form caucuses or councils within those unions to forge an alternate path.
Workers have the right under the NLRB act to organize their own unions and they do not need outside representation to conduct such affairs. Even if you need the help of official mainstream unions, you always have the right to form rank and file caucuses or councils. Challenge the mainstream union ideas and push for a more leftwing teacher unionism.
- We can unite together! Anticapitalist unions like the IWW exist which you can be part of at the same time as the AFT or NEA and you can be part of many anticapitalist organizations while being part of your unions or you can form your own affinity group.
- Reinstate all MCPS teachers put on administrative leave for showing support of Palestinians, and/or for opposing the ongoing violence committed by the Israeli government.
- Implement Restorative Justice where necessary, and for any new scenarios (rather than placing teachers on administrative leave immediately upon receiving a complaint).
- End the conflation of anti-zionism and antisemitism.
- Use Labor Notes or other neutral, widely known organizations to teach people about anti-Arab hate, Islamophobia, and antisemitism.
- Reaffirm teachers’ 1st amendment rights.
- Reaffirm the right of teachers to internal due process prior to suspension.
- Reaffirm collective bargaining rights to craft the social media policy owed to MCEA and the right of union teachers to call for a ceasefire.
- Take a firm stand against the silencing and suppression of teachers' voices.
- Take a firm stand against teachers being put on administrative leave, especially while other real/serious accusations don’t end up putting teachers on administrative leave.
- Be in solidarity with workers affected by colonialism and empire and call for a ceasefire at least if not Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank.
Sign the Petition
Let’s be clear: Attacks on the Zionist Israeli government is not the same as hating and hurting Jewish people. Anti Zionism does not equal antisemitism. Many Jewish people, including Israelis, oppose Israeli policies and principles. Antisemitism is alive and growing. We need to squelch all forms but must not use false antisemitic accusations to suppress anti-racist, anti-war, anti-imperialist movements.
At least four Maryland Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) teachers have been put on administrative leave for alleged antisemitic language. Another teacher was told to take a ‘Free Palestine’ sticker off her car. An additional teacher’s car was vandalized. The facts are clear. None of these teachers is anti-semitic. These responsible, respected educators are just a few of many across the U.S. and beyond under attack for demonstrating solidarity with Palestinian people. Once acceptable events have now been shut down, funds and scholarships withdrawn. Good people and organizations have been censured or fired, smeared, and banned on these false charges.
MCPS prides itself on ‘Restorative Justice’; if any of these accusations had actually been about harm, MCPS would have used their Restorative Justice initiative staff to address these situations. Instead, they use McCarthyism to force people to stop speaking on matters of injustice. Intimidation of public school educators sends the message to students, parents, and the community that they cannot question and challenge their rulers to build a more egalitarian world.