Labor College: 10 years and going strong

TUCSON, Ariz. – Salt of the Earth Labor College will kick off its eleventh year with a fall semester that tackles some of the most important questions facing working people today. The school will open the semester on Sept. 6 with a special workshop titled “Learning to Live Without War.” The workshop will feature a panel of local peace activists including Veterans for Peace leader Jon Miles, Pat Birnie from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Rev. Kenneth Kennon, a leader in the movement to close down the notorious School of the Americas. It is hoped this discussion will help clarify the need to reorganize last winter’s peace movement for another peace offensive.

The Labor College was founded in 1993 to serve as a place for working people to come together to learn about the political, economic, social, and cultural forces shaping our lives. It uses lectures, workshops, and cultural programs that teach about the struggles of Arizona’s multinational working class for a better life.

On Sept. 20, the school will host Young Communist League National Co-coordinator Adanjesus Marin who will teach a class on “Organizing the Unorganized.” The last time the school had a class on workplace organizing, it helped ignite organizing drives in Tucson. Organizers are hoping for a repeat performance.

The October schedule will include a presentation on the evils of privatization by AFSCME leader Linda Bohlke, who has been leading struggles against privatization of city and county services. Also in October, Dr. Eve Shapiro, co-coordinator of the 1,000-member strong Arizona Physicians for a National Health Program, will lead a discussion about the struggle for National Health Care and how to make it part of the 2004 campaign.

In November, local Jobs with Justice leader Steve Valencia will lead a workshop on “Independent Politics and the Labor Connection” that will discuss this fall’s Tucson city elections and the upcoming 2004 election year. Arizona will have a first time Democratic primary in 2004 and it will be early in the election season, only one week after the New Hampshire primary. The state could play a pivotal role in selecting the Democratic nominee. The need to defeat Bush in 2004 will be a focus of this, and probably all, of this year’s classes at Salt of the Earth Labor College.

The semester will end with a showing and discussion of the working class classic Salt of the Earth, the movie that gave the school its name. Discussion will be led by veterans of the film and of the Empire Zinc strike. For a fall semester schedule, write to Salt of the Earth Labor College at 1902 E. Irene Vista, Tucson AZ 85713.

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