Monday, August 25, 2014

The Left and Right Attacks MORE on Garner March Position: I'm Shocked, There Are Social Democrats in MORE

This is -- or should be -- absolutely the end for MORE and its sponsors in the ISO and other opportunist organizations. This is what social democracy looks like... Comment on MORE position (The March for Justice and Unity) on Garner march.
SHAME ON MORE!!! SHAME ON THE ISO AND SOLIDARITY WHICH ARE INVOLVED IN MORE AND SHAME ON TEACHERS WHO DARE NOT STAND FOR PROSECUTION OF COPS WHEN THEY CARRY OUT SUCH BRUTALITY AGAINST BLACK MEN. SHAME! ON YOU!!!  RATHER THAN STAND BACK WITH SELF-RIGHTEOUS CLAP-TRAP ABOUT PROCESS, MORE SHOULD BE LEADING AN EFFORT TO MOBILIZE ALL LABOR UNIONS TO JOIN THE SATURDAY PROTEST!!!! ... Comment on listserve
i wondered if they would take a position on whether to come to Saturday´s march. The answer is no. It is a referendum on racism in NYC, and they have capitulated to staten Island white racist sentiment. After a lot of blather, they say "some members will attend as individuals...." comment on listserve
MORE caucus is comprised of UFT members and community members with differing and passionate views on many issues, including the sponsorship of this march.   ... MORE statement on the march
There are maybe fifty teachers here, twenty from MORE Caucus.... Arthur Goldstein on Staten Island at the march.
Now that the march led by Al Sharpton and his UFT ally, Michael Mulgrew, is over, it is an opportunity to put some things in perspective with respect to the often difficult internal discussions that went on in MORE, which has come under attack from the ultra left and the right. We must be doing something right. So, as the ultra left assaulted MORE, it turns out MORE had one of the largest contingents at the

march, including people who were opposed to the UFT and MORE taking positions as an organization, but were in favor of participating as individuals.


This is what democracy really looks like, a condition that seems to make both the left and right unhappy.

You mean MORE caucus is comprised of UFT members and community members with differing and passionate views on many issues, including the sponsorship of this march?

Oh heavens, why do you allow such people in your organization? You must be racists. Or worse, social democrats.

The ultra left wants a group like MORE to run roughshod over the views of people in the group that may not agree with them - and of course, those people must be racists. They should be purged from MORE in the view of the ultraleft.

They want only a JALO - Just Another Left Organization -- not a caucus that can actually build to the center of the UFT to challenge Unity - but a small ideologically centered group to push their ideology.

I've seen that act for over 40 years - I'll give some examples in follow-up posts ---

That is what democracy looks like on the far left - my way or the highway, always leading to splits. There is the old joke - put 2 trotskyists in a room and you get 3 groups.

But the interesting thing is that even if MORE were a JALO, they would be attacked for not being the particular flavor of JALO of the sectarian leftist group that is doing the criticizing. Ask any of them to explain why there are so many tiny fragmented left groups - and how theirs differs - and turn on the snooze alarm.

I laughed when one of MORE's biggest critics called on people to march with her group, which as far as I can tell has managed to coral only one UFT teacher in over a decade - her. Someone please send me a photo of that line of march.

Randi joins MORE - go to it ultraleft- attack an ISOer for taking a pic with Randi




OMG - Do I spy my mentor Angel Gonzalez on the left - where else? And there is the Cavanagh clan front and center. And the tallest guy in the room - Arthur Goldstein in the rear


Luckily, and probably to the chagrin of the Unity machine, this is an example of the shocking conclusion on the far left --- MORE is not a JALO -

---- despite the charges from the right in the UFT that MORE's social justice position somehow means we don't care about teacher issues. You know - let's only talk about teachers, never the children, and when we do talk about the children let's make sure to bash them as violent and misbehaving miscreants - and their parents too. 

Some of the comments bordering on open racism on some of the blogs make me shudder in embarrassment.

Oh how nice teaching would be if there were no children around to interfere with it.

And oh, the hand-wringing over the abandonment of our brothers the police and their union the PBA, which has never lifted a finger to defend teachers on any issue and will arrest a teacher on a dime of complaint.

On the UFT facebook page announcing support of the march there was a flurry of anti-Mulgrew comments, with Sharpton being a major point of contention. (Personally, I ain't a-marching anymore with Al Sharpton under any circumstances -- see today's NY Times on how his stature has risen due to the march.) Some MOREistas were cheered by the anti-Mulgrew comments. Others were dismayed.

I just love being part of a group with such diversity of opinion, a mortal sin in the world of the ultra-left.

Inside MORE we had a right leaning crew who were critical based on the idea we should stick to teachers issues and also support the police as union brothers. This crew often views things as social justice vs. trade union issues. I and others don't view them as contradictory. And it must be pointed out that narrow trade unionism usually gets you nowhere -- while in Chicago, the intertwining of social justice with trade union issues has resonated internally and externally.

Our pal Assailed Teacher emailed a response to those in MORE who called for unqualified support for the police.
One thing to consider is the role of former NYPD detectives in investigating teachers. So many teachers have had their careers destroyed due to SCI investigators stalking them, overstepping their bounds and lying at 3020a hearings. The above-the-law ethos that has overtaken the NYPD has also overtaken DOE investigations. This is part of the reason why principals feel so empowered going after expensive and/or outspoken teachers.

There is a correlation between the authoritarian manner in which the communities we serve are policed and the authoritarian manner that teachers in the schools of those communities are policed. I understand the arguments for union solidarity. However, the police are a different animal altogether. When was the last time a police officer felt conflicted about arresting striking workers or protesters who advocate for workers' rights? When was the last time a police officer refused to make a frivolous arrest of a teacher at the behest of the DOE? Where have the police been when teachers and public schooling in general were being attacked? 

The biggest argument against joining the protest is the presence of Al Sharpton, who has been an advocate for charters. That is the one sticking point with me. 

However, as the issue of police brutality continues to flare, I think MORE can be well-served by showing how authoritarian policing practices have seeped into SCI/OSI. Maybe it is something that can be explored.
Let me say this - PBA head Patrick Lynch would let any teacher hang - like has anyone seen one word from him or the PBA on the actions of rogue detective Louis Scarcella whose actions led to people serving enormous amounts of time? Our pal Peter at SB, supporting tantrums by Patrick Lynch, is living in a dream world when he says:
At a time when we as teachers and a union need all the support and backing we can get to show a lack of support to our union brethren is not right. Yes, it's been said that the NYCPBA has done squat for us, well someone has to step up and do squat first, why not the UFT?
Criticism came from all sides, even internally, including a MORE stalwart:
What is missing from the statement is MORE’s endorsement of the march and support for the call issued by the UFT to participate. This undercuts the claim that MORE is the social justice caucus of the UFT. I am out of town but would have joined the UFT contingent. I fear that MORE has shot itself in the foot if not the head....Sean Ahern 
Also internally there were calls from the non-left MOREistas to stay out of this as an organization. Some were opportunistic I felt - Mulgrew is in trouble over this, let's take advantage by appealing to the right wing of the UFT.

Others felt the UFT had no business getting involved and neither should MORE, even though they personally supported the march and would attend. Some have cops as family and friends - "How can I face my friends if MORE takes a stand for the march," said one?

Over on the left inside MORE, support for the march was a no-brainer. While everyone agreed that Sharpton was a problem, there was support for Mulgrew's decision.

In the MORE center there was an anxiety-ridden attempt to stay true to democratic procedures - as opposed to a Unity like loyalty oath where we see the lemmings march to whatever tune the leadership will call --- to take all views into account in forging the MORE position that has come off to some as wishy washy.

Something that can be supported by the group consensus if there are all sorts of views inside a democratic functioning caucus, the center view - sorry folks - this is what democracy looks like in organizations that do actual organizing and outreach rather then proselytzing a narrow point of view.

------which I guess brands some of us as a dirty word on the left -- social democrats.

I and many others in MORE are proud instead of being ashamed of that label.

The attacks from the "ultra-left" - push button leftist sectarians who have the only true beliefs and are at their most vicious attacking other leftist groups like ISO which has people in MORE, as do other leftist groups like Socialist Alternative, Solidarity and Progressive Labor. While there is no  right wing in MORE, there is the social democratic wing which creates a vibrant yin-yang that echos the history of left of center groups going back to before the Russian Revolution.

Naturally, it was the always awesome Julie Cavanagh, who is not easy to categorize politically - other than as a Budhist, who came to the rescue with both an amazing personal statement (For Deion)
and writing the bulk of the MORE official position (The March for Justice and Unity) in an attempt to capture the consensus of the internal debate -- with support from our only registered Republican, Mike Schirtzer who made a strong argument for some statement of support for the police. I and others were opposed to including that statement in support of the police and I had hours of argument with Mike over this. Julie, who I always listen to implicitly, worked with Mike on phrasing that point and made the case for inclusion.

Julie is solution oriented. What point, she reasoned, do we gain from merely bashing the police, when in fact teachers and police come into so much contact in schools? Don't we want our kids treated better as kids and as adults? Isn't it better to keep open the lines of dialogue with police to see if we can work together to make things better for kids of color who grow up to be adults of color?

That girl just makes so much sense. But the ultraleft would rather rant and flail away at "killer" cops than actually work towards solutions. [Some cynics claim there is utter joy in some left circles when a cause like someone getting murdered drops into their laps so they can vent their moral outrage].
i wondered if they would take a position on whether to come to Saturday´s march. The answer is no. It is a referendum on racism in NYC, and they have capitulated to staten Island white racist sentiment. After a lot of blather, they say "some members will attend as individuals...."
Talk about blather. The person who made this comment shows up at events with a small group of people, mostly college students - I'm sure there were more MORE teachers who attended the march --  If you organize - or think you are organizing in a forest and nobody hears you organizing, did you really organize?

Then this comment on the MORE statement about police - the very point that has set off the ultra left into a frenzy, claiming that by this statement MORE was giving into the pro-police Staten Island wing of MORE:
This statement by MORE is an unspeakably vile declaration of support to the police. The call for "due process" for "all workers" is a reference to the killer cops. It bends over backwards to say MORE is not "anti-police' (sic). It goes beyond this usual ritual reformist statement to explicitly refer to "our brother and sister officers" and states: "we encourage the leaderships of the UFT and PBA, to find ways to work together and unite us".
Yes, let's call for due process for all teachers, even those who have committed crimes, but not for police. I know, let's turn the cop over to ISIS and have a public beheading.

Below the break, for your pleasure, are some highlights of the outrage.



Comment on weasily statement from MORE


The MORE statement is pathetic!! We have the video showing how the cops threw Eric Garner to the ground using a chokehold. We can hear him saying "I can't breath" numerous times (11??) This was murder. You don't need to be Albert Einstein or Mahatma Gandhi to figure that out!! 

Marjorie, your condemnation of the MORE statement is mild!  The MORE statement is disgraceful and shows a total lack of the slightest hint of social concern or even public awareness!! Did all the MORE members refuse to even look at the video of what the police DID to Eric Garner?? Do they ALL have their heads in the sand?? Are they all so engrossed in vacations that they will not look??

SHAME ON MORE!!! SHAME ON THE ISO AND SOLIDARITY WHICH ARE INVOLVED IN MORE AND SHAME ON TEACHERS WHO DARE NOT STAND FOR PROSECUTION OF COPS WHEN THEY CARRY OUT SUCH BRUTALITY AGAINST BLACK MEN. SHAME! ON YOU!!! 

RATHER THAN STAND BACK WITH SELF-RIGHTEOUS CLAP-TRAP ABOUT PROCESS, MORE SHOULD BE LEADING AN EFFORT TO MOBILIZE ALL LABOR UNIONS TO JOIN THE SATURDAY PROTEST!!!! 

Sincerely,
xxxxxxxx


Saturday´s march is a referendum on racism.  For all its talk about being for justice and unity, when there is a moment in history to show it, they are tied up in knots and cannot take a position on the most basic defense of black people in this city against racist police murder.
Remember MORE also did not march in last year´s demos against stop and frisk, or for Trayvon Martin.
I have many criticisms of Al Sharpton who once wore a wire for the FBI, and De Blasio and other Democrats trying desperately to keep the lid on mass struggle against this racist capitalist system.
That is not the point here.  The point is a massive turnout of labor, blacks, immigrants and all defenders of workers and the oppressed against police terror.  And MORE will not be there.
This puts them to the right of the UFT leadership, actually.
So why so - called leftists are still in this organization is beyond me. MORE has capitulated to the right wing racist sentimet expressed in the Statin Island advance.
Below is a rather intemperate first reaction by members of Class Struggle Education Workers reacting to the MORE statement. It is entirely appropriate. 
===
This statement by MORE is an unspeakably vile declaration of support to the police. 

The call for  "due process" for "all workers" is a reference to the killer cops

It bends over backwards to say MORE is not "anti-police' (sic). It goes beyond this usual ritual reformist statement to explicitly refer to "our brother and sister officers" and states: "we encourage the leaderships of the UFT and PBA, to find ways to work together and unite us". 

This is -- or should be -- absolutely the end for MORE and its sponsors in the ISO and other opportunist organizations.

This is what social democracy looks like.
 Hell Yes!

5 comments:

  1. This is a very good piece Norm. I do not understand the love affair some teachers have with the police. All they need to do is be on the receiving end of an ugly investigation or an unconstitutional search of their personal effects to change their tunes. While the police have seen their protections increased (to the point of impunity it seems), teachers have had their protections destroyed. Where have the police been all along? Arresting strikers and viciously "investigating" and arresting innocent teachers.

    The police are not our friends. They are the friends of the elite and the 1%.

    I agree with some MOREistas that there is a certain amount of dog whistle and overt racism within the UFT that is disquieting to say the least. What do you do with those types of people? You can denounce them, yell at them, accuse them of being racists, the whole nine yards and make absolutely no headway. Any caucus who wants to win must engage those people. That does not mean bowing to racism. That means TEACHING them why certain things are racist and why certain things are hurtful. Sometimes I feel like the only TEACHER around who sees that TEACHING is not just something you do in a classroom with kids but in life with everyone you meet. If you had a racist student in your class, would you point and yell "racist"? No, you would engage them and try to show them a better way.

    This requires patience. Building a viable caucus requires patience. Some people are not patient. Some people are downright petulant and immature. Sometimes I wonder if these more doctrinaire leftists (and I say this as a self-identified Democratic Socialist) are not DOE or UFT plants to make sure that viable opposition groups are gassed in their cradles.

    Just because you have happened to pick up an idea at a certain period in your life does not make it unconditionally true. A mature mind can tolerate hearing alternative, even abhorrent, points of view without blowing their stack. These authoritarian-loving cop worshipers and these mad-at-mommy leftists who compete with each other over who has more social justice cred will be the death of us.

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  2. Oh, this is AWESOME!!! Now that it's over, I just wanted to lay out one assertion. I was part of the group that felt MORE shouldn't make any statement on this at all (although I also feel MORE has to work on its processes but that's much more of a long term thing). I felt so, not so much because of internal union opportunism, but because I didn't feel the caucus would benefit very much from the statement at all.


    Let's face it, MORE's real aims are for a more just society. Those aims include a city without the terrible effects of the American version (the worst type there is, IMO) of racism in our school and beyond. But a moment isn't made important just because everyone is watching and I felt that MORE's other work -in supporting the TDC's petition for a more diverse teaching corps in NYC (here http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/increase-teacher-diversity?source=c.tw&r_by=1921406 ) or for supporting a system without an overabundance of testing (which fosters real learning and would produce a whole generation of real learners) for instance- was far FAR more important than just making this one statement about the march. Sure, these other things aren't always a sexy as supporting a march at a crucial moment, certainly they won't grab as much attention, but they are at the very core of what it means to bring change -real change- to our schools.

    Whats more is that MANY of these same people who were offended by MORE's (IMO) tepid written support during this tense, even charged period of time, are the very same people who would support us in things like an end to segregated schools, or a more diverse teacher core or an end to the testing regime (just saying they're MORE's allies during other efforts that aim for the same goals).

    I always felt that MORE lead the way on the discussion of bringing change. Making a statement after MM acted didn't exactly show MORE as the leaders they are on these issues (that's not a knock or a criticism or an accusation of being followers..not at all .. .I'm just saying it didn't show the caucus to be the leaders that they've been). I know that if any group of teachers decided to hold a forum on what 'White Privilege" is (here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_privilege or this right here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-broadbent/a-mothers-white-privilege_b_5698263.html ) and how it effected our city's school children and their families, it would be MORE. I know that if any group of teachers were to call-out school segregation and bring attention to it and how it could (surprisingly easy) end here NYC, it would be MORE. And what the group (IMHO) does best -call attention to genuinely crucial issues that not many people are not paying enough attention to and offer solutions for them- weren't really able to be called to the forefront with regard to this march. I'm just saying we're at our best when we're all thinking, in detail, about solutions, and the very moment these long held tensions are erupting may not have been the best time. I hope this makes sense and explains things in a thoughtful, non offensive way.

    One more thing (about democracy AND supporting Saturday's effort): actions, of course, speak louder than words. Julie Cavanaugh's piece about her student, was an act that I feel demonstrated something very important: That a member of our caucus is able to share a profoundly touching experience that fit the moment. That MORE would published her piece on their blog was a profound demonstration of support of all of our united points AND of democracy within the caucus. I'm (still) not so sure what MORE had to do beyond that in order to demonstrate their support but I am glad that the historic moment is over and we can all get back to the work of thinking about bringing real change.

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  3. If UNITY caucus oath is so powerful, Norm, why were there so few of them at the march?

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    1. Your question exposes the entire sham of UFT support "at the top". They never asked their members to go so they didn't. They knew the leadership didn't care if they went. That is the loyalty oath in spades. If they ordered them to go to the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight they would be there.

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  4. UNITY is about patronage jobs and second pensions (that delicate issue that they take umbrage at people raising).

    That's why people crawl on their belly for UNITY. They have that jackpot dream of getting that second -pensionable- job at UFT offices. That's why it's hard to compete with UNITY. Just imagine if that court decision on pensions went badly. Then, you'd see Mulgrew, screaming, a la "punch them in the face" about protecting pensions. For that, UNITY would organize a mass mobilization.

    Double pensions now, double pensions tomorrow, double pensions forever.

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