Friday, June 5, 2009

Before Talking to a Politician...

...Show You Can Organize a Crowd

I posted an article about the Los Angeles teacher union on Norms Notes but never got to comment on it here.
Remi left a comment on "The Day My Union Died":

Danzinger is right to criticize the current UTLA Leadership for its failure to make an effective attack on the anti-public education policies that dominate our state. But he is wrong about the effectiveness of a one-day strike. Even if the proposed one-day strike had been legal it would not have "convinced" Cortines and the Board that UTLA opposes their lay-offs and negative budget; Ray already knew that. All a one-day strike would have done was cost every participating teacher 1/2 of one percent of their salary. The real problem is not in Los Angeles, it is with the ultimate school board in Sacramento. The current UTLA Leadership should have been pushing, for the past two years as economic strom clouds gathered, for a statewide strike led by the CTA and CFT, UTLA's two statewide affiliates. Current state policies are destroying not only the LAUSD, but K-12 education, and California's once great system of a low cost university education for all those who want one. California needs to modify Prop. 13, and re-establish a tax policy that will make it posssible for the state to pay for the public services our citizens demand.

Remi is responding to a post critical of the ULTA for backing down on the one day strike after the injunction. This commenter seems to be looking through the narrow lens of political action as lobbying and misses the importance of the impact of a militant union willing to take a 1/2 of one percent hit. I have these discussions all the time with people who put their eggs into addressing politicians with pleading and lobbying and private meetings. Or letters and petitions. As the Marine Park rally showed, first demonstrate the ability to bring people out in force on a consistent basis and then talk to the politicians. All too often people get bogged down in lobbying and never get to the organizing necessary to back it up.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You are right. It is not important how much you talk to politicians or who you help get into office. The ability to hold these politicos accountable is where the real power is at. This means organizing and mobilizing the base