Sunday, July 22, 2012

More on MORE

Our only hope is to build a base of members who are fired up to BE the union. To re-imagine the potential of a union run by and for its members. -----comment by MORE member at Gotham

I have no idea who wrote this comment at Gotham but it is one of the best descriptions of where MORE stands and is coming from I've seen. I wish I could articulate it this well. It is a comment on the Gotham Schools story (Teachers union faction wants to shake up electoral status quo) from a week ago on the July 12 history of the UFT session Michael and I did. Actually the title is somewhat misleading mentioning the electoral status as if it were a sole goal. The goal is to shake up the complacency, lack of involvement, etc of the UFT membership as much as the leadership, which will move if it sees a movement from below threatening it. My belief is that they can only fool some of the people some of the time and they do not have it in their dna to do anything other than talk about change. If and when they actually are forced to domocratize the union where you will see representation of all factions in the union on the Ex Bd and the AdCom then we will be talking. But as long as it's winner take all and 100% control nothing will change and they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into change. It is the goal of MORE to create a movement strong enough to accomplish that.

guest (unregistered) wrote:
A couple of thoughts. I was active in the formation of MORE, which began with the bringing together of members of the most active teacher led social justice groups in the city. I hear the concerns of the folks who have commented that they hope MORE will work to protect workers and not just deal with larger political issues in education. I also hear the concern that MORE has left leaning union members in it and that can be a turn off for some members.(as an aside: I think the idea of being a union that protects workers IS radical at this point, and that, in fact, the very concept of organized workers is a radical left position, but thats besides the point. .

MORE, from the start has been democratic. Decisions are being made by an open steering committee. If you want a different UFT, come build it with MORE. There are people in MORE who are more focussed on bread and butter issues, and others that are more focussed on larger questions of inequity, racism etc (which personally I dont think there is much point in doing either one without the other).
Our only hope is to build a base of members who are fired up to BE the union. To re-imagine the potential of a union run by and for its members. Anyone in a school knows this is a long and difficult battle; the fear, ignorance and apathy among members is powerful. AGAIN, if you want change, get involved! Don't bash from the sidelines and then complain that nothing is happening. The only way MORE will fail is by people not getting involved. Come do the on the ground organizing that many of us have been doing for years. One person at a time. One conversation at a time. One workshop at a time.

I am not in this because I think we will stop school closings next year, or co-locations, or take over from UNITY next spring. I am doing this because I KNOW that WHEN we take over from UNITY, it will be because we will have built a mobilized active, democratic base that supports more militant actions. School closings will not stop because we have a rally, or win a law suit. They will only stop when we have teachers, parents and students together who sit-in and yes, occupy, their schools. That won't happen until our union has changed its attitude towards the communities we work in, and has built (slowly, patiently) on the ground alliances. Not overpaid union boss to overpaid astroturf CBO boss. But member to parent. In hundreds of schools. 

As I warn below. the views I express above are not those of MORE but of myself. Many people do not agree with my analysis and in fact I may be a minority. People think the union leadership can change. I'll smile if they do and retreat into the sunset.

The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.


  1. In 5 years 20% of the schools will be Charters. in 10 years it will be 40%. The teachers union is dying.

  2. The teachers union may be dying and you may be right but I can guarantee that Unity will survive and live off the dues of the 60% of the schools that are left. Chicago lost 6000 teachers out of 35,000. They are not dead yet.


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