Any serious effort at building a powerful socialist movement in the U.S. will have to involve transforming existing unions and dramatically expanding their ranks.... Barry EidlinThere's a lot that bothers me in this article when applied to the UFT but my brain can't organize my thoughts well enough to address them here. The idea of going into teaching with the higher purpose of pushing socialist ideas is somehow bothersome. Some of the best organizers I've seen came out of the UFT not based on political aims but out of the experience of teaching and the conditions in the schools and the UFT and that is what turned them towards more general progressive politics.
There are people in the UFT confused about the strategy within MORE Caucus around the idea of not running in elections to win.
I'm putting this up as a way to go deeper on the issue raised in Politico which bloggers in the UFT commented on (links included in my post: Politico's Big Joke: MORE Wants to take over UFT - by not wanting to win Elections.)
The local DSA labor group, which includes the faction in control of MORE, is part of the group and the Rank and file strategy (RFS) which comes out of the Labor Notes/ISO/Solidarity faction on the left is making this the heart of their organizing efforts. This is a 20 year old idea and author Barry Eidlin is part of the Labor Notes wing. RFS on the surface makes sense for lots of unions but when it comes to the UFT the MOREs live in a reality distortion field, choosing to follow a formula rather than their own experiences - or those of other activists in the UFT like the more experienced people in ICEUFT that MORE purged.
One of the keys to the RFS is to avoid taking union jobs - and in MORE, taking positions on the Ex bd seems to fall into that category. Though actually winning elections like in Chicago and LA and Baltimore is something I have not teased out of the RFS.
Eidlin is providing a framework for DSA people who go into unions. In all the Labor Notes training I took - which by the way many of what's left in MORE also took but given the results the training didn't take in terms of organizing the rank and file -- MORE is pretty much filled with their version of "activists" - people who have longer term goals than taking over the UFT.
My version of an activists is someone like Unity Must Go who took in the job of chapter leader and supported push backs to Unity. MORE is not interested in this class of activist.
I'll try to get deeper into issues raised her and also post some critical views of the RFS -- from within DSA from the Build Caucus which seems to push back against Bread and Roses Caucus of which Eidlin is a supporter.