Born in 1994, Noah Karvelis is a political activist who openly embraces socialism and describes himself as “a progressive Democrat.” After graduating from the University of Illinois in 2016 with a degree in music education, he became a music teacher in a public school just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, where he incorporated a heavy focus on hip-hop music into his classroom instruction.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Karvelis donated money in 2015 and 2016 to the “Bernie Sanders For President” campaign, for which he also volunteered.
In February 2017, Karvelis published an article for the Progressive Times, titled “From Marx to Trump: Labor’s Role in Revolution.” “Without the empowerment of the working class and of organized labor,” wrote Karvelis in this piece, “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.” Additional key excerpts from Karvelis’ article included the following:
- “From the Marxist notion of the ‘proletarian revolution’ to anarcho-syndicalist support for a free and powerful proletariat managing itself, the concept of a strong working class has long been viewed as central to a revolutionary society.”
- “[T]he realization that the working class is essential to a political revolution is not unique to the Left. It is also well-understood by those who oppose the revolution. Realizing the power of the proletariat, the ruling class (to borrow Marxist terms) has constantly attempted to extinguish the potential for a working-class revolution.”
Accusing most U.S. corporations of paying “staggeringly low wages,” “offer[ing] almost no job security,” and “exploit[ing] workers routinely,” Karvelis asserts that American employers treat their workers terribly in comparison to their counterparts in Europe. Moreover, he laments that the comparatively long hours worked by Americans render them less able, and less inclined, to participate in radical/revolutionary political activism:
“Take, for example, the average full-time worker in America, who, according to a recent Gallup poll, works nearly 46.7 hours weekly — nearly six full days. Compare this with Finnish workers who generally work between 30 and 34 hours a week. Or take the case of Italy, where employers can face fines for making employees work more than 40 hours a week. In the United States, home to some of the longest working days in the world, it is hard to imagine a typical worker having the time to critically analyze one’s position in society, let alone the time required to engage in meaningful, sustainable political action.”
To combat these alleged injustices, says Karvelis, “we must become more resolute than ever in our dedication to the fight for a living wage, affordable education, and a restructured tax system which benefits the working and middle classes.”
In March 2018, Karvelis used his Facebook page to launch #RedforEd, a movement advocating better pay for public school teachers and increased spending on public education generally.
In July 2018 in Chicago, Karvelis spoke at the Socialism 2018 conference sponsored by the International Socialist Organization. There, he told an audience of an estimated 1,800 fellow socialists from across the United States: “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.”
In May 2019, Karvelis announced that he was quitting his teaching job in order to pursue a Ph.D. in “Curriculum & Instruction” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a degree geared toward maximizing “the capacity of teachers as political actors in democracy.”
Further Reading: “#RedforEd: Socialists Organizing Teachers to Turn Purple States Blue by 2020” (by Michael Patrick Leahy, 2-19-2019); “From Marx to Trump: Labor’s Role in Revolution” (by Noah Karvelis, 2-22-2017).