Thursday, March 20, 2008

Let's Rally - In France

I just dried off from the rally. I had 2 more events to attend afterwards and I was squishing all over Manhattan. What else is there to say? If it made the participants feel good, the more power to them. Will it get any funding back? I am sticking to the point that if the rally were held back in May when momentum was strong (and the weather better) it would have had a bigger impact. But then again, the UFT would have led that one too and we know where that ultimately takes us - nowhere.

I still say the rally should have been at the Federal reserve and the NY Stock Exchange. Or Bear Stearns. Now that the guy who ran it is available, why not make him a CEO of something in the DOE?

Below, NYC Parent Steve Koss (and former teacher) posting to the NYCEducation News Listserve. He raises the issue of what they would do in France, where unions have a bit of heft. As UFT'ers, we can only go home after the rally and dry out. Steve closes with, "
The only other choice is to wait for the next Mayoral election after suffering eight years of abuse and hoping for something better. Good luck with that."

To that, I say, "Bon chance!"

Steve Koss writes:

Today's NY Daily News reports:

Before the protest, city leaders held a press briefing to stress that city spending on schools has grown by $4 billion since 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg took office. They also noted that if education was saved from budget cuts, other city agencies, including the NYPD, would take a 12% hit.

So even before yesterday's Keep the Promises rally had begun, the DOE's official response was another thumbed nose at the parents, teachers, and students who showed up to protest. Worse, their response was the now-classic Bush/Rove strategy of false dichotomy, the "You're either with us or you're against us," "If you don't support the war, you don't support our troops," "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" approach of scare tactics and implied ad hominem attacks. In this case, it's either, "You accept the cuts in the DOE budget or we cut the NYPD's budget by 12%, so good luck protecting your family from the rampaging criminals and rapists who will be then be running wild through your communities."

One thing has become abundantly clear: this Mayor and Chancellor couldn't give a fig about public school parents or their silly little protests. "Go ahead, have your little march, and we'll ignore it, the media will barely notice, everyone will go home after a little harmless catharsis, and we'll go right ahead doing what we planned to do anyway." Doesn't matter if it's 8th grade promotion policies, budget cuts, or anything else.

There's only one thing this Mayor will ever respond to (other than the power of money), and that's threats to his national political image. Short of parents actually boycotting the public schools and holding their kids out indefinitely in a mass strike, nothing is going to change with this Mayor. Nothing else parents can do -- no number of protests or rallies or City Council testimonies or petitions or blog postings -- is going to make even the slightest dent. Five or six years of this should at least have made that clear by now.

Say what you will about the French, but they understand the power of mass strikes as the last (and, too often, only) weapon left by which regular people can still exercise their democratic power. Government still requires the consent of the governed, even in Mayor Bloomberg's New York City.

The only other choice is to wait for the next Mayoral election after suffering eight years of abuse and hoping for something better. Good luck with that.

No comments: