Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Video: Julie at Murry Bergtraum HS - Roots of Her Activism

Julie describes the process that led her to become an activist beginning in 2009. From the invasion of the charter school, helping lead the fight against it, seeing the bigger picture and helping organize and lead the demo at Bloomberg's home, to her understanding of the role the UFT was playing and not playing in the ed deform movement to becoming the unanimous choice to run for President on the MORE ticket.

What she doesn't say is that in just a few short months of activism she took this city by storm, winning parents, teachers and community activists over to the cause of defending public education. One prominent perceptive non-educator/leader said to me early on before Julie became interested in the internal union stuff that she should run for UFT president, which was the first inkling I had of Julie's potential to reach way beyond the parochial union internal crap.

Then we did the movie and that made her a national figure. Not only did she make the movie as a narrator but she drove so much of the engine, even doing massive work in organizing our premiere and recruiting Diane Ravitch to be our keynote speaker. Everyone who has contact with Julie on a day to day basis just loves the experience, even when she is a pain in the ass.

Watch both the short version (5 minutes) and the full version (52 minutes) and you will see she wasn't chosen just because she is a pretty face or has a cute baby (though both did enter my devious mind). I became a fan from the first 10 minutes I met her in July 2009 despite the fact that we immediately clashed over my outsized criticism of the Unity leadership, which she contended was and is at times off the wall. Guilty! While she has become my teacher in many ways with her enormous wisdom, I still rebel against someone half my age and young enough to be my daughter. Some say that other than my wife, she is the only one who has found a way to bring me under control. For that alone she deserves your vote.

The full 52 minute version is on vimeo as Julie takes on some tough questions and answers them with intelligence and style, all of which is missing from the Gotham piece. Watch it at the link below as I don't want to slow up this site any more than it is already.

Julie's activism story is a companion piece to Assailed Teachers powerful blog on the roots of his activism even more recently than Julie's.


This is so strong I have reread it a few times to absorb all the complex points he is making. What a fascinating guy Assailed is. We are both historians of a sort and I could talk history with him hours.

And see Why I joined MORE pieces at the MORE blog.

I consider these people game changers in terms of the growth of resistance to Unity and the growth of a movement. They went from awareness to a high degree of activism so quickly. And they bring such a high skill set to the table.

The fact that MORE is being built by people like this is a sign of optimism. We just need more of them.

There are two types of activists inside the opposition.

The on the job converted -- I call the rank and file. My root of activism.


The politically active people on the left who would be active in any union and in fact purposely go to work in a setting that allows for their activism to operate. They are often key organizers. But their numbers are so low that if we relied on them alone we would be marking time.

And in fact that is where the opposition has been for much of the last 40 years. A combo of left along with some on the job converted. (Though I often wonder that with probably hundred or even thousands of teachers out there who might describe themselves as leftists and are active in some causes outside the union, why aren't they working with MORE?)

MORE will not go far unless the rank and file emerges and merges into MORE -- and the election campaign has certainly activated a portion of the membership that has not been active before and the real victory in this election would be keeping these people active and grow their connection to a post-election MORE. If MORE fails to do that it may find itself back in the same position as other caucuses that began life with a fire and ended up as a flicker.

Just sayin' to my MORE pals.

Look for my follow-up of pics of the new faces of the opposition coming up soon.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).