When New Action candidate and blogger jd2718 posted a report on the debate on the war at the February 2007 Delegate Assembly, there were signs of the coming red-baiting buried in the report. Here are the details:
An openly Communist political party called the Progressive Labor Party has been active in the UFT since I can remember. They have a contingent of teachers in many schools all over the city. Though most PL people in the UFT do not join caucuses, they have been long-time supporters of Ed Notes and when ICE came together in the fall of '03, a few members of PL became part of the process and have been somewhat active in ICE since, with 3 PL members running on our slate. Though ICE'ers have been critical of both their politics and their tactics at times, we also find a lot of common ground.
As an open and democratic organization, ICE welcomes the discussions engendered by the views PL supporters bring to the table and we have grown to respect their views and the passion with which they express these views.
At DA's they mostly give out PL, not ICE literature and when they have tried to do both, we have spoken to them that it is not correct to confuse people as to which group they are representing. Mostly, they have complied with our wishes.
I was downstairs giving out ICE literature at the Feb. DA when a contingent of students came in with signs, led by someone I was not familiar with. Later I heard they were allowed into the DA. When I read jd2718's report, these people were labeled as ICE supporters instead of members of PL. No names, no mention of PL, just "ICE supporter." And mentioned 3 times — as "calling for the UFT to oppose imperialist war."
Gee, I've searched our archives and can find no expression that ICE has taken such a position, though there are certainly people who work with ICE that might agree. And others that might not.
The word "imperialist" is something I have discussed with out friends in PL as being a buzz word that is meaningless out of context to teh average person not steeped in left politics who hears it and in fact hurts whatever ideas PL is trying to get across. I also have pointed out that when a member of PL expresses their view as being in favor of Communism to an audience at a DA or at an ICE meeting, the meaning as understood by that audience is completely off base to what I assume the PL'ers really mean. Or maybe not. But I think it is a mistake on their part, despite the fact that we all absolutely love PL'er Derek Pearl, the charming 70-year old Brit who often made such proclamations. (I used to sit in front of him at DA's to block Randi's view, as she always tried to call on him as a way to avoid opposition resolutions.)
The Feb. DA
The entire action PL engaged in at the Feb. DA obviously had nothing to do with ICE and in fact I do not know how jd2718 knew which speakers were ICE supporters (as there were a lot more PL people who I did not know present) unless there was some help from his friends in Unity or New Action. The affiliation of members of PL have been well-known to anyone who has attended DA's for a while.
I wonder what jd2718 would say if someone representing the Communist Party speaking about how the old Soviet system was better for the people of eastern Europe, were mis-labeled as New Action supporters. I bet if he took a poll of his caucus, he might get some interesting answers on this question. Not that there's anything wrong with it.
Here is the relevant section of jd2718's post (my emphasis added).
In February, at the DA, ICE supporters brought students with signs against military recruiters on campus. The students were allowed to address the body, and offered fiery remarks. An ICE supporter moved a resolution - the exact language is not in front of me, but the sense follows: 1. The UFT opposes imperialist war. 2. The UFT has a resolution against the War in Iraq. 3. The UFT should oppose military recruiters in public schools for the duration of the current war. Jeff Zahler, a Unity leader, moved a motion eliminating point 1. He also spoke of extending the last point (3, the ‘whereas’ ) so that it referred to military recruiters at any time, and not just during the Iraq War. (either Jeff or a later speaker made that into a second amendment).
There was debate. An ICE speaker was so upset about the loss of inflammatory language, that he forgot to speak in favor of widening the scope of the opposition to recruiters in schools. Veterans who are delegates and chapter leaders spoke. One was upset by the tone of the discussion, didn’t want us to be against the troops, but agreed that students who want to sign up should go to a recruitment station rather than have the recruiters come to the schools.
The next time jd2718 gives a report, I suggest he name names and true affiliations instead of joining the Unity red-baiting bandwagon. I won't hold my breath, as jd2718 never misses an opportunity to take a pot shot at ICE.