|The panel. Darn, wish I had cropped out that balding guy on the right.|
Just racing off to NYCORE but I wanted to share some quick views of last night's LEFT Labor Project event at the UFT. Given the background and connections of some of the people in the LLP and the willingness of Mulgrew to host and support this event, I found the evening somewhat remarkable, especially given that this was right outside the Shanker hall. Did they turn that noted anti-Communist fighter's pictures to the wall?
Anyway, bringing Mulgrew together with Karen Lewis was a positive thing. The head of the LLP Larry Moskowitz (no, not a relation to evil), Lorraine Chavez, an organizer in Chicago who works with the CTU and CORE and the UFT's community Liason, Anthony Harmon made for an interesting mix.
[I had to leave before finishing this].
Sunday, March 17, 10 AM.
I return with some better perspectives after spending a full day at NYCORE and taping Karen's full 30 minute presentation (posted later). We had a MORE crew there - John A, Joan, Gloria, Pat, David, Seku, Brian and Megan. I want to do some more analysis of how this played out with them given the obvious differences between the CTU and UFT, though Karen didn't openly lay them out as I will below. On Friday night I had a crappy flip camera and taped both Karen and Mulgrew before running out of room on the camera before Mulgrew finished speaking. I'm sorry it did as the entire event was worth taping, especially the questions (people filled out cards). View what I managed to tape below.
So, here are the positives.
Now some have pointed to the much-advertized appearance of Karen at NYCORE which has openly been supporting MORE and the reason for her trip to NYC as an operating factor to create some balance and not make it look like Karen was endorsing MORE. And I agree that this was a good thing -- Karen should not be placed in a position of getting involved in an internal election here in NYC. (I still haven't posted the brief twitter flame war between Julie and Randi over this issue -- Randi sort of endorsing Mulgrew and Julie hammering her for it.)
I have had very little personal contact with Mulgrew so I have no personal issues and few opinions, but I came off this event liking him better and shook his hand. He didn't try to compete with or outshine Karen (as Randi would have) and he gave a lot of space and credit to UFT community liaison Anthony Harmon. Before Friday I only knew Anthony as a nice guy but came away very impressed with him and to Mulgrew's credit the room and UFT resources he has given Anthony to work with. Also, there is a very good relationship between Karen and Mulgrew. That was obvious. I hear from my pals in Chicago this is not a surface thing but that they talk often.
But there are certainly some flash points that at times made me cringe in "sympathy" for all the Unity people in the room. The most obvious was when she said that CORE people upon winning gave up there perks. This with a room full of people with perks (sorry, that is not on the video). Karen spoke about how they fought and are fighting school closings with a major citywide fightback against closing schools --- remember, Karen called on all Chi teachers to come out and support their colleagues in closing schools ---- it was double cringe time to see all the Unity people sitting there knowing full well they have only dealt with one school at at time and often just let schools go without a fight. This prompted Mulgrew to say that he reversed the UFT policy of not fighting at all and even supporting closing schools for many years. (Again not on the tape).
And then Karen went after charters -- she admonished us to not repeat exactly what she said -- she got enough hate mail -- and there she was sitting in a room with people who support the UFT charter and its co-location and undermining of the public schools they occupy.
Triple cringe time.
There is probably more to say but I need to debrief with the rest of the MOREs who were present. Note below the pics Valerie Strauss' piece on how the CTU is training people in the use of civil disobedience, something out of the realm of the UFT.
|Robert Jackson and Karen|
|Gloria Brandman and Karen|
Chicago Public Schools officials are considering closing as many as 129 public schools said to be under-enrolled — and activists are gearing up for a fight.
The Chicago Teachers Union is co-sponsoring “Citywide Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Trainings” to teach parents, teachers and others protest techniques, including disruptions, occupations and arrests, according to a union press release. The trainings, the release said, are going to be led by political activist and scholar Lisa Fithian, who for decades has been a student, labor and community organizer on a range of issues. Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey will participate in one of the training sessions, which is also being sponsored by the Grassroots Education Movement, a group of community-based organizations from across the city. [NOT THE GEM HERE IN NYC AND NOT AFFILIATED].
Read full article here.