A 24-year-old Marxist schoolteacher in Arizona has become the public face of a new political movement launched last year that is organizing to defeat President Trump in 2020 and reclaim the U.S. Senate for Democrats.
The teacher’s name is Noah Karvelis and the movement is called #RedForEd, Michael Patrick Leahy reports at Breitbart News.
Karvelis, a Bernie Sanders donor and campaign volunteer, is one leader in a new wave of radical teacher activists.
How radical is he?
Karvelis gave a speech to the Socialism 2018 conference held in Chicago in July 2018. The confab was put on by a Trotskyist group called the International Socialist Organization.
“We’ve created an organization now. We have a network of 2,000 leaders who are experienced. They’ve been out on a job action. They’ve organized their campuses. They’ve collected signatures for a ballot initiative,” Karvelis told 1,800 socialists from across the fruited plain.
“We’ve built a new political power in Arizona and it’s taking control right now of the future of the state,” Karvelis said.
“We have to build our own political power. We have to build our own organization. We have to stay true to our values. They have to be Democratic,” he said.
Karvelis wrote an article for Progressive Times that was published in February, titled “From Marx to Trump: Labor’s Role in Revolution.”
“Without the empowerment of the working class and of organized labor, any revolution is destined from the outset for failure. In these early days of the Trump Era, we must continue our fight and bolster the working class as we strive towards a progressive political revolution. By doing so, we will move our revolution ever closer to imminent success,” Karvelis wrote.
Karvelis glorifies the violent, cop-hating Black Lives Matter movement. He’s a music teacher in Littleton, Arizona, who focuses on hip-hop.
At his Twitter account, @Noah_Karvelis, he shared his teaching philosophy on Feb. 27, 2018.
In our class, we view hip-hop as an ethos and part of this is social activism. From its history to the words of modern-day MCs, hip-hop is rooted in activism. We study those like K Dot and KRS in this context and let the students take it from there #HipHopEd
Last year, we studied the intersectionality of Lauryn Hill’s life/work. Then, wrote raps centered upon feminist issues. Several of the 8th-grade women then extended the work/consciousness into a petition against the sexism of the school dress code. #HipHopEd
Extremists like Karvelis are on the rise as leftist anti-Trump hysteria continues to build.
“The political environment changed after the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, and teachers union activism became dominated by young, hardcore left-wing political activists, all operating under the general wing of the various teachers unions and, in particular, the National Education Association,” according to Leahy.
#RedForEd, Leahy writes, “has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally.”
“Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.”
The movement “takes its name from a political organizing tool first seen in Florida in 2010, when teachers union members wore red to express political opposition to public school reform proposals under consideration at that time in the state and encouraged parents and political activists from other unions to join them.”
#RedforEd, which opposes education budget cuts, played a role in the victory in May 2018 of Arizona public school teachers over management. Teachers went on strike the month before, seeking a 20 percent increase in pay. In the end, most of the teachers’ demands were met.
#RedForEd needs to be taken seriously because it has proven it can mobilize its supporters. For example, more than 50,000 people rallied April 26, 2018, at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix at a demonstration to support teachers.
This massive protest happened in a traditionally Republican state that has become markedly less Republican in recent times. President Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a mere 3.6 percent, or 91,234 votes out of 2,573,165 cast statewide. The erratic radical Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who once mocked her own state as “the meth lab of democracy,” beat Republican Martha McSally by 2.4 percent this past November. Just two years before, the late Sen. John McCain (R) crushed his Democrat opponent by a 13-point margin.
Effective organizing and focused get-out-the-vote efforts could flip the state, which President Trump cannot afford to lose in 2020, to Democrat.
Spurred on by #RedForEd social media-based campaigns, teachers’ unions have taken an increasingly aggressive stance since early 2018, conducting strikes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
#RedForEd, which calls for teacher pay hikes and cutting off taxpayer support for alternatives to failing public schools, was embraced recently by striking teachers in Los Angeles and Denver, Colorado.
Teachers on strike in West Virginia for the second time in two years support #RedForEd. They are fighting charter schools and private school vouchers.
In academically underperforming Oakland, California, teachers who embrace #RedForEd are now striking after a year and a half of high-pressure negotiations over classroom sizes and pay rates.
Some of Oakland’s 50,000 elementary and secondary school students support the 3,000 teachers who began their labor action Feb. 21. A recent pro-teacher union protest was held at DeFremery Park in West Oakland, the same place where the Black Panther Party demonstrated five decades ago.
That’s a lot of activism and accomplishments for a movement that is barely a year old.
If the enthusiasm of motivated #RedForEd activists continues to grow and the movement continues to expand, the 2020 election may make 2016 look gentle by comparison.