A publication for faculty, campus staff, and students by the independent
Rank-and-File Temple (RAFT) Caucus
I. Temple, Cut All Ties with the Philadelphia Police!
Can we empower ourselves without attacking the powers that be? Can we fight for autonomy at work without dismantling the hierarchies that keep all workers pliable and profitable? No! We succeed only by destroying—in concert with others—white supremacy, patriarchy, the wage system, imperialism, whatever they use to preserve the existing order. RAFT will never restrict its struggle to the workplace proper. RAFT will conjugate the fight for our jobs and better working conditions with Black Liberation struggles, decolonization movements, Indigenous struggles, and the struggles of any oppressed community seeking self-determination.
Of course, it’s far from clear what it would mean to conjugate our struggle with the struggles of others. Come experiment with us! If anything, RAFT is a space for working out in practice, always provisionally, what it might mean to bind our liberation to the liberation of all. This much is clear: we fight to make Temple a tuition-free, truly public university. We also fight to divest totally from the PPD and abolish it outright.
There’s no grasping the dynamics of worker exploitation without grasping how capitalism relies upon the production and preservation of racial hierarchies. RAFT sees the connections between police brutality, racism, inadequate healthcare, worker exploitation, and imperialist violence. Part of our work as a radical caucus is to re-center the labor struggle: no more can it neglect the struggles against all forms of oppression.
We can’t fight for ourselves and the working class as a whole without fighting the State’s perpetuation of racism and racist violence. That means abolishing the police.
II. Temple’s Response and TAUP’s Response
Temple’s Administration is not listening to the uprising. Nor is it listening to its students, alumni, workers, or the community. All are clear: divest from the PPD. Students are tired of navigating (in their words) a “militarized” campus—to say nothing of navigating a city besieged by a militarized PPD.
TAUP is not listening to the uprising. We need to abolish the police and expel police unions from the labor movement; we demand that TAUP and AFT adopt these demands. To call for “reform” is to capitulate in advance. Should we let the State define the horizon of possibility? Do we ask the ruling class to reform that which secures their advantage? Why would they ever listen to us?
We stand with our students’ demand: sever all ties; defund the police. If Temple’s Administration is serious about advocating “for antiracist policies at the local, state and federal levels,” it can start by divesting from the PPD. Or did the Administration mean to “advocate” in speech only, never in deed?
III. Plan for Fall
Were any of you consulted about the “plan for fall”? Neither were we! This is exactly what needs to change. It’s our health that’s at risk. Is it right that we have no say? Why can’t we decide democratically what to do? If we want to have control in our workplace, we must confront the forces bent on controlling us.
Please join our next General Meeting on Friday, 06/26 at 3:00 on Zoom to discuss the fight for racial justice in our union.
Sign our RAFT list of demands here!
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