Arthur is often focused on the Unity Caucus loyalty oath. I believe this is the wrong terminology. Unity Caucus follows democratic centralism, a staple of the left since Lenin but also adopted by right wingers as a way to control the message and the membership. Lenin said "freedom of discussion, unity of action." The problem in Unity is that they never had freedom of discussion - it was one man or one woman rule. If Unity had a democratic structure where we could actually argue and discuss issues I could live with a loyalty oath.
Unity Caucus was founded by a right wing branch of the Socialist Party, Social Democrats USA, which operated under democratic centralism and they brought that to Unity Caucus, the mass organization they were embedded in. Then they used Unity Caucus to control the entire UFT. Al Shanker, Sandy Feldman and the entire leadership of the UFT were members of SDUSA. Randi seemed to abandon some of their principles - or any principles in fact - so it was never clear of her connection. I always found it hard to believe that Shanker and Feldman would chose Randi if she didn't adhere to their politics. And knowing her, she may have convinced them and then once in power abandon them. Thus, Unity Caucus since Randi and Mulgrew no longer has a climate of SDUSA politics, which had a strong trade union bent. Some think Mulgrew had family union connections to SDUSA which was why he became UFT President.
Thus a relatively small group of people can control an entire union and even an entire nation. Thus the genius of Lenin and why he is so revered on the left. The Bolsheviks may have been the most successful party in history in their capture of Russia.
democratic centralism, decision-making practice and disciplinary policy adopted by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and subsequently followed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and by communist parties in other countries.Which brings me to the role current Leninist party (ISO, PL, Socialist Alternative, Class Struggle) members play on even opposition caucuses like MORE and to some extent used to play in ICE. If the members of these organizations operate under loyalty oaths - ie - democratic centralism - and their parties internally take a stand on education and other related issues, then their members are bound by loyalty oath/democratic centralism to follow the party line in the mass organizations (Unity/UFT, ICE, New Action, MORE.)
Democratic centralism purported to combine two opposing forms of party leadership: democracy, which allows for free and open discussion, and central control, which ensures party unity and discipline. At the 10th Congress of the All-Russian Communist Party (1921), the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Ilich Lenin declared that the party was not a debating society in which all opinions were tolerated and freely expressed; it was a “vanguard” party whose role as leader of the revolution demanded extreme discipline and a high level of organization. Unrestrained discussion, he insisted, would produce intraparty disagreements and factions and prevent the party from acting effectively. On the other hand, absolute control by a centralized leadership would discourage new ideas from lower-level party members. Therefore, Lenin argued, free discussion within the party should be tolerated and even encouraged up to a point, but, once a vote was taken, all discussion had to end. The decision of the majority should constitute the current party “line” and be binding upon all members.
I'll be writing more on this subject in follow-up posts.
I'll leave you with this from Arthur:
I have a novel idea. What if democracy in the U.S. applied to our UFT? What if the puppets and their allies press for a real voice, the freedom to vote their views or those of their constituency? What if the puppets rise up en masse in rebellion and demand the dignity of exercising their rational power of thought? Educators teach people to think, not blindly obey. History teaches us the same. Do I dream big? Free the puppets! Form a Cut-the-Strings Caucus. Let the world know. Liberate minds! Liberate our union! Let teachers think for themselves!