Thursday, August 13, 2015

TODAY: MORE Tackles UFT Elections at Summer Series - Presidential Candidate Will Not Be Emphasis of Campaign

It's not Mulgew, Stupid - It's the 60-old Unity Machine. They can replace Mulgrew with a chimp and it will win. That is why some of the "animal for UFT president campaigns" resonated last month. Those who make a big deal about the UFT presidency are, you'll excuse the expression, barking up the wrong tree. But after living with one woman for 45 years, I am used to not being listened too.
If I can make one point in this election that will be it. When Randi left it to Mulgrew in 2010 I heard how much better he would be than Randi. etc as people jumped from the opposition to Unity. And when Mulgrew's popularity wanes he too will go to the AFT and a replacement part will take his place. Those who make a big deal about

Well it looks like no one is listening to me and MORE-UFT will run in the 2016 UFT election campaign and I am getting sucked in despite my intentions to sit back in my hammock, relax and watch the show. Why am I so crazy to get involved in the 5th election campaign since 2004? I guess it's loyalty to the many younger generation MOREes who have gotten involved in UFT politics.

I am joining Megan Moskop and Peter Lamphere in presenting today. We make an interesting trio. Peter who comes from the old TJC Caucus has been active for over 15 years. I come from ICE and before that involvement in other groups over my years in the UFT. ICE and TJC were separate caucuses that came together for the 2004 (only for the HS candidates which we won) and joint slates in 2007 and 2010. We finally realized that we needed one caucus.

Megan represents the new face of the opposition - active for the past 2 years in MORE. I remember her saying at the first event she came to (Summer Series 2013) that she was considering leaving the city to teach back in her home town until she met MOREs and found a welcome home. She is enormously excited to be involved in her first election campaign and I am so happy to be working with her - yes, it's people like her who keep me out of the hammock.

Why should the rank and file put their faith in a coalition of groups that can't work together between elections?

This is a key question and the creation of MORE has been the response after running joint coalitions for so many election cycles. Other groups active in NYC teacher issues joined in and MORE was born 3 years ago - blending old and new activists/organizers. My goal, despite all the angst it can involve, is to maintain a big enough tent to bring many points of view to create more than a caucus - but a movement to defend our union and public education.

We are far from getting there yet - and over time we hope there will be 2 caucuses - Unity and MORE  - so people have a clear choice. But MORE still has many issues to work out - and doing things in the non-Unity way - by establishing a democratic process - is not easy. As a band new merged group in the 2013 elections, things were far from perfect - but we set up a baseline for that election as MORE received almost 5000 votes.

This election is part of the process of growing the opposition and getting more people involved over the long-term. (I have already talked about how the election as a whole is not winnable, but only certain positions on the UFT Exec Bd can be won - those where retirees don't vote.)
MORE's Presidential Candidate - So many choices
Some people ask me who will MORE run for president? There are so many MOREs I would support - I won't mention names because there is no process internally set in place yet - we will tackle a few of these issues today. We have 3 people who have already run for UFT President - Kit Wainer, James Eterno and Julie Cavanagh - and I expect this time we will have a different candidate. And if we run again in 2019 yet another.

Why?

Because the UFT has suffered from the cult of personality and dominance by one voice - only 4 presidents since 1964. MORE has diffused leadership - a conscious effort to change the culture of the UFT and most of its past opposition caucuses where a caucus is identified by a clear leader.

It is too bad the presidential candidate is so often the focus, since that  position is not winnable. In this election campaign I believe MORE will push a gaggle of people into prominence as the voices of the opposition, not focus on one person.

This election is about building out an infrastructure to challenge the Unity machine which has so much control of so many schools.

So if you are in town this afternoon, come on down and sign up to run with MORE for one of the 750 AFT/NYSUT positions - I will have forms for you to fill out. We can't win these but we can make a statement by matching the 750 Unity convention slugs and use this campaign to tell people who they go to conventions to support Randi 100% in setting national policy that ends up screwing us.

4pm‐7pm
The 2016 UFT election is around the corner, and we're gearing up for this opportunity to build a better union, a union that truly is a Movement of Rank and File Educators!
We will work together to plan MORE's campaign. A run-down of election rules, procedures, and past strategies. Then together we'll set up a timeline for the year ahead. You'll have the opportunity to brainstorm and plan outreach, fundraising, and activities with other teacher-activists in your neighborhood. 
Dark Horse Pub
17 Murray Street NYC
Downtown/City Hall area
 
And next week, we are doing part 2 of our CL training - with a focus on back to school issues CLs may face.


4pm‐7pmThe nuts and bolts of leading your chapter, running chapter meetings, working with parents on PTA/SLTs, and holding consultation meetings.Newly elected or just looking to develop new skills, this is your opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced and best chapter leaders in NYC. We will help you develop tools for building an active chapter that will work together to strengthen the UFT in your school.


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