Monday, November 30, 2009

Gotham Schools seems to think New Action is an internal opposition group


Have I got a bridge to sell them.

I left a comment at Gotham after they posted a link to the New Action positioning statement. Yes, NA is all about political positioning for the upcoming UFT elections so they can hold onto the 8 exec bd seats handed to them by Unity Caucus. The "house" opposition.

Calling New Action an internal opposition group is like saying Christine Quinn stood up to Bloomberg. New Action has been the UFT's house opposition for over 5 years. Weingarten ran at the top of their ticket in the 2007 election and all 8 of their exec board members were endorsed by the UFT leadership Unity Caucus. In the 2007 election they got the lowest vote total of all groups running but only won their seats due to Unity Caucus votes.

So how are they an internal opposition when the party in power controls their fate?

Their original sellout in 2003 was based on the same premise they are advocating in this post: it is time to fight Bloomberg. That was their excuse for not running a candidate against Weingarten in the last 2 UFT elections and they will not run a candidate against Mulgrew in the upcoming elections. Since they owe their continued existence to the beneficence of the UFT leadership, they cannot be critical or they will lose their support. Thus they have to come up with the "mistakes were made by the leadership but let's not dwell on them" argument to justify their sellout.

New Action mentions charters but in fact backed the UFT all the way when it set up its own charter schools in public school buildings while ICE and TJC took positions opposed, knowing full well the charter dagger was squarely aimed at the heart of the union.

The New Action statement says:

Today we need a united stand. We will need to talk about the mistakes that we as a union have made: Mayoral endorsement, governance, term limits, but another day. This is not the time for recriminations. This is the time for a united fight against this corporate mayor.

When is the time to talk about the mistakes of a misguided UFT leadership that New Action has been uncritical of since the sellout? Note there is no mention of the other mistakes: the 2005 contract – which both members of New Action who served on the negotiating committee at the time voted for despite their attempts to rewrite history. Or the mistake of the end of seniority. Or the ATR problem that was created by the UFT and BloomKlein. New Action supported the leadership throughout these "mistakes."

New Action has supported the UFT leadership without dwelling on the mistakes for all these years. They act like there will be a change despite the fact that New Action has been around for decades and seen little change in the way Unity Caucus operates.

There was a time when New Action put up a fight to create a more democratic union. Now they are part of the problem. Progressive teachers looking to reform the UFT in no way consider them an internal opposition, but a former opposition that has sold out to the leadership for a few Executive Board seats and some minor positions on the payroll of the UFT.

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