Friday, July 13, 2012

Video: MORE UFT History Event Attracts SRO Crowd

It's great to see so many activists from TJC, ICE., GEM, NYCORE, Occupy and others come together under MORE and all the new comers who felt empowered yesterday to finally have a forum for their voice.  ------Attendee at MORE Event
Last night's opening of the Movement of Rank and File Educators' Summer 2012 series of events focusing on a history of teacher unionism in NYC and the history of the UFT from the perspective of the opposition caucuses drew a much larger crowd than expected. I made about 20 copies of handouts expecting to take some home. I could have almost tripled the number. I made a very rough count of 50 from where I was sitting but it was so crowded some people just hung out at the bar, for sure a better experience than listening to me yap, though I won't say the same for Michael Fiorillo, who always manages to captivate an audience.

I won't make any judgements on what it means for 50+ people to come to a talk on the history of teacher unions on a hot summer night. How many are ready to become active in a group like MORE? Given the amount of work that needs to be done to build an alternative to Unity Caucus, they sure are needed.

What was interesting was that it wasn't just the usual suspects but lots of people we did not know. I was pleased when one of them stopped by on the way out to introduce himself as a regular reader of Ed Notes. Here are the 2 videos of Michael and I. I'm going to work on the Q and A section which lasted about an hour and was very interesting and stimulating. People clearly want to talk about this stuff, which for a wonk like me is heaven. Really, I spoke for about 17 minutes and could have gone on for an hour. Michael too.

By the way, MORE doesn't have video accounts yet so I'm using the GEM vimeo sites to post.

MORE Summer 2012 Series: UFT History Through 1968 With Michael Fiorillo from Grassroots Education Movement on Vimeo.


MORE Summer 2012 UFT Caucus History Since 1968 - Norm Scott from Grassroots Education Movement on Vimeo.

Comment from an attendee:
the presentations were wonderful, they were engaging, and really relevant to our movement. I can say i learned a lot and will buy the book Mike suggested. To some of us new to inner union politics it was really an education. Norm and Mike were so spirited an knowledgeable it was really fun to listen to and I took notes. Best line of the night by Mike" Unity is anti-communist and how ironic that they now act like a one party communist state" really funny stuff...


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 comment:

I wuz there! said...

It was a good event. I was happy to participate. The teachers (on the couch) were very good! Perhaps we need to meet in a quieter space - a park? - so we can hear each other better, although the atmosphere of Lolita's is quite nice.

We need more people to embrace collective action. That is what a union is - strength in numbers. We need a union because we are not Bloomberg (we are actually nice to teachers!) who has a lot of power because he has a lot of money and a lofty position.

People in our position need to get that collective numbers thing first. It's fundamental. Too many people are too distanced, rarely even showing up to monthly meetings. What message does that send to Unity? Do as you wish, we are not involved. We are losing what it means to be a union by being so fractionalized and distanced from each other. And our protections and input are vanishing in kind.

We dont like what the UFT is doing, but we are IT, so we especially need to make our voice and presence felt when things are done that are disagreeable to us. And we need to help other people tie their job dissatisfaction to getting connected with others, as the first step to making changes become policy. As it is now, policy is just something that is done to us, and what is being done is getting worse all the time. As more new teachers come on board, this is what they are seeing and coming to accept as a "union." Mother Jones, roll over!

So come one, come all! Think and be merry!