Of course, the signatories know full well that Mulgrew and company have no such analysis and no such “willingness to organize the real power of the rank-and-file.” So a potentially good statement ends up cynically supporting the very people who would never have written such a statement!....PSC member in private emailWhile not surprised that the leadership of the supposedly progressive Professional Staff Congress (CUNY Profs) was taking this stand, it is still shocking to read it. To me it drips with behind the scenes cynicism as they play the power politic political game.
We believe that a new NYSUT leadership—one explicitly committed to building a fighting union—has the best chance of recovering the union’s power and charting a new course. We believe that the Revive NYSUT candidates recognize the scope and urgency of the austerity crisis, and that they will be unafraid to pursue a solution commensurate to the problem.... PSC Statement in support oft he Revive NYSUT slate (Pallotta, Mulgrew etc.)WTF. The "new" NYSUT leadership they are supporting is in no way new. A presidential puppet controlled by the UFT as was established by Al Shanker 42 years ago. The minute the UFT's former puppet Iannuzzi started to stray off the reservation they suddenly needed a "new" leadership. Thus the PSC leaders fall into the category of political hacks, supporting the system that had not had an election in all its history and when given the chance to make a mark they choose to go with the old guard while branding it the new guard.
They are talking about an even more dominant UFT/Unity Caucus control of NYSUT than exists today -- that is the group that will build a "fighting union?"
How shabby of Barbara Bowen, Steve London, Mike Fabricant, and Arthurine DeSola. These are politically sophisticated people and know full well how the MulGarten theocracy operates and how the machine has operated for 50 years. Shame on them.
Their statement makes important political points and then falls flat when they get around to endorsing Revive NYSUT. Like blowing air into a balloon and having it blow up in your face.
A PSC member commented:
The PSC statement in support of the Revive NYSUT slate makes for sad reading. Given that the PSC leadership decided it couldn’t sit on the sidelines, and that the Mulgrew rat pack was going to win, the statement is probably the best it could produce. If one forgets the endorsement for a second, much of the statement rings true....
A union that has lost 35,000 members since the 2008 recession and whose current members are being pummeled by a testing regime designed to deepen economic inequality is a union in crisis. NYSUT should be in fighting mode, not conducting business as usual. Without either an analysis of why we are under attack or a willingness to organize the real power of the rank-and-file, the current leadership has been unable to offer the kind of response of which a union representing half a million teachers is capable.The current leadership? You mean the current leadership that has actually taken a stand against Cuomo? The current leadership that has made the strongest statements yet heard on the common core and John King?
Read their statement below the break.
The Professional Staff Congress (PSC)
The Professional Staff Congress (PSC) Officers share their letter of support for The REVIVE NYSUT Team.
Dear NYSUT Colleagues,
We believe that NYSUT must be a major force for educational justice, and we write because we want to work within the union to build its full power. The current officers are dedicated to the union and they have worked hard for NYSUT. We appreciate the gains NYSUT has made over several years and that in recent months, frequently at the urging of the PSC, the officers have adopted a more aggressive strategy on funding and educational policy. But commitment and loyalty are not enough; NYSUT needs new leadership.
The response of the current leadership to the attack on teachers and the teaching profession has been inadequate. The leadership’s response to the slower but equally deadly attack on public higher education has, until the last few months, also fallen far short of what is needed. A union that has lost 35,000 members since the 2008 recession and whose current members are being pummeled by a testing regime designed to deepen economic inequality is a union in crisis. NYSUT should be in fighting mode, not conducting business as usual. Without either an analysis of why we are under attack or a willingness to organize the real power of the rank-and-file, the current leadership has been unable to offer the kind of response of which a union representing half a million teachers is capable. We call for a new direction, and we plan to support the Revive NYSUT candidates.
New NYSUT leadership must start by recognizing that the attack on teachers is not a local phenomenon or a creation of a single governor or Board of Regents. It dates at least to the 1980s and the agenda of corporate interests: to concentrate their share of the country’s wealth, break the power of unions, increase inequality, turn public dollars into private profit, and ensure that access to public goods—above all, education—is limited. The “reform industrial complex” has taken aim at public education, demonizing teachers, privatizing schools, and cutting resources for students in order to redirect billions of public dollars to private profit. The result, as we all have seen, is policies that substitute testing and regulation for public investment. Policies such as Race to the Top ration education and deepen class and race divisions—all while pretending to be about improving quality. It is not an accident that many of the students whose chances are being limited are poor children of color, and that most of the teachers who are being undermined are women.
The same agenda has also come to public higher education, where it follows the largest withdrawal of public funding American colleges and universities in history. Just since 1980, state funding for U.S. public colleges and universities has dropped by 40 percent. The predictable result has been pressure to reduce academic quality, the development of an underpaid adjunct faculty, and a huge burden of student debt.
What we are experiencing is the politics and economics of austerity—where wealth is concentrated in the top 1 percent of earners and resources are stripped from the bottom 99 percent. Faced with an especially intense version of austerity politics in New York State, NYSUT needs a willingness to oppose austerity’s fundamental premise. NYSUT needs to work outside as well as inside the established circuits of power. A challenge as profound and well-financed as NYSUT currently faces calls for strategic resistance and the power to take on a major political agenda. NYSUT needs to build that power by unleashing the potential for resistance in its members; by undertaking the slow, systematic work required to create statewide alliances with parents and students; and by using its huge numbers to foster the political movement it will take to reverse austerity politics. There is something wrong when NYSUT holds a rally with thousands of teachers in Albany, and the message from rank-and-file teachers is far more militant than the message of the leadership.
We believe that a new NYSUT leadership—one explicitly committed to building a fighting union—has the best chance of recovering the union’s power and charting a new course. We believe that the Revive NYSUT candidates recognize the scope and urgency of the austerity crisis, and that they will be unafraid to pursue a solution commensurate to the problem. We stand ready to support them and to support the union as a whole. We will work to make sure that all parts of our union are represented, and will continue to press for the honest, fighting union we need.