ICE/TJC presidential candidate James Eterno throws it down in his post at the ICE Blog.
An excerpt from Eterno's post:
We are posting this so we can start to emphasize to the readers of this blog how difficult it will be to unseat Mulgrew and Unity Caucus.
The NY Teacher is a house organ and as such it is a very efficient propaganda newspaper, spinning a positive message about the state of our union and its leaders. In addition, Unity has money as people who accept their invitation to join have to pay a fee.
Since being in Unity has guaranteed victory in UFT elections, Unity has a very deep treasury; they will use it to smear us in the general election in 2010. They are extremely adept in one area: keeping themselves in power. They count on member apathy. Sadly, the vast majority of teachers do not vote.
Unity even has a loyal subsidiary group called New Action. The traditional opposition party has not run a candidate for UFT President since 2001 and yet they remain on the ballot in UFT elections. Their purpose appears to be to confuse people who want to vote for something different. Their reward has been union jobs.
If we want to see real change in the UFT, ICE-TJC can lead the movement. We have union passion. Many in our group are experienced chapter leaders, delegates and activists. Some of us have even sat on theUFT Executive Board. We have served on the inside so we can clearly see how to repair the Union.
If elected, we will protect every member and Chapter as fully as possible. No UFT member should ever feel that the UFT doesn’t completely have their back.
More from James Eterno at 2010 Campaign Kickoff: We need YOU to Help Us Form a Real Union
Ed Notes Commentary
I learned a term in Los Angeles a few weeks ago: an organizing union vs. a service (or lack thereof) - the UFT/Unity top down model. In practical terms, this means that instead of sitting back and telling people to call the union when you have a grievance (and most of the time they tell you it is a waste of time) - the quasi service model – an organizing union is proactive and out there organizing the members into an active force that functions effectively at the school level.
The UFT/Unity model can't and won't implement an organizing model because that requires an open democratic, bottom up system. They fear their own members' activism because an active membership would be aware of the kinds of scams the leadership is pulling and threaten their control.
The Independent Community of Educators, ICE, in its almost 6 years of existence, has struggled to build itself in a way that doesn't emulate Unity.
ICE bends over backwards to implement democracy internally and must do so if it expects to implement an organizing union. But as you can imagine, democracy can get messy and we always don't get done what we feel we should get done. But it's worth the mess.
ICE believes that the key to a well functioning union that can serve and protect the members is through the most democracy, not the least. If ICE were to function in a top down, undemocratic manner, I would be the first to criticize.
I'll be writing a lot about Ed Notes views concerning organizing and elections in the UFT. What I say should not be construed as ICE/UFT positions as I don't always agree 100% with where ICE stands but I support the organization 100%.