I came out of that DA meeting with an overwhelming feeling of self-satisfied and corrupted power that is prepared to roll over anything that gets in its way.... this is a vicious crew that will not stand for the slightest difference of opinion and we better recognize that....as still a relative "newbie" to the process it was, shall we say, a sort of "road to Damascus" awakening for me.... Harris LirtzmanHarry in his short time working with MORE (he was once NYC Deputy Comptroller plus loads of other things before a brief career as a teacher) has garnered enormous respect for his astute observations. Yesterday, Harry saw the monster that was Unity and sends a message to all those who say MORE should find ways to work with Unity and their vassals New Action (which sort of/maybe opposes the contract -- so they can claim both sides in the next UFT election).
What totalitarian regimes like Unity Caucus don't get is that their tactics get a retired guy like Harry ready to roll against them. I mean what makes a guy like me keep doing this stuff if I didn't think Unity Caucus domination of the local, state and national unions was so dangerous? I know people think I go overboard at times -- and many true believers in Unity are incredibly hostile towards me.
There were 2 guys from a school there yesterday on their own handing out a NO leaflet. One of them held up a sign saying he is in Unity but demands his right to express his views. Hilton security confronted him about the sign -- I imagine UFT people made a call -- how embarrassing when one of their own deserts. And how scary if others get ideas too.
Look at Syria and how people started coming out of the woodwork to oppose the regime. There is a mindset of dictatorships that ultimately create a revolution. Will this push for the contract in this manner create the beginning of a critical mass of opposition?
And this comment from a MOREista to James:
From my vantage in the back of the room, you beat the living crap out of him. What you may not know is that the monitors were actually turned on at the time and they showed an ultra close up of his face ... getting the living crap beat out of him. It was a beautiful moment.Boy I wish someone had taped James.
I have to admit I was surprised after Monday night's Ex bd meeting where MORE had 15 people and Mulgrew allowed us all to ask questions -- unprecedented in Ex Bd history. We actually had a nice dialogue of sorts. I mean the EB is basically dead wood and Monday Mulgrew seemed to come to life. So the repression yesterday at the DA gives us a clue -- they are very nervous about the reactions in the schools. I have reports coming in from schools with people saying no overwhelmingly -- we haven't developed a deep enough network into the 1700 schools to really take the pulse overall.
And it really would have been so easy for them to allow our people to talk -- I mean Mulgrew has some arguments in his favor -- and Harry admits he had some ambivalence. But it was the tactics used that had the impact - and I bet on some other delegates. Here's Harry:
James,Thank you for your report, as always.I was never so proud to be a member of MORE as I was watching you from the visitor's gallery yesterday afternoon.I admit that I may not be quite so fully "anti" certain parts of the contract as many others in MORE are but I was stunned by what I saw happen at the DA. It was only the second DA I've attended so perhaps I shouldn't have been so amazed. I told Megan Moskop in a message last night.
I came out of that DA meeting with an overwhelming feeling of self-satisfied and corrupted power that is prepared to roll over anything that gets in its way. I was deflated but also more than a bit scared, not personally in an "I'm afraid" sort of way, but more of a "wow, this is a vicious crew that will not stand for the slightest difference of opinion and we better recognize that if we're going to keep playing the game." Don't know if that makes sense. Of course, this has been apparent to all of you for a very long time but as still a relative "newbie" to the process it was, shall we say, a sort of "road to Damascus" awakening for me.Not saying we should throw up our hands but there was something menacing about the process. The United Federation of Teachers was "debating" a contract that it has waited for for five years, which extends for nine years, which is filled with complex provisions, which involves billions of dollars and which is predicated entirely on one assumption, a false one, that "the City cannot afford anything other than this settlement" and our union allowed less than 20 minutes of farcical "debate" on the entire thing. Mulgrew's slicing and insulting sarcasm as he presided over the sham "ceremony" with the pretense that any difference of opinion was nothing more than another in a long line of "mytttthhhsss" that he was obligated to destroy in the name of integrity and Abraham Lincoln-like "honesty" was repulsive. I actually think he was more than a little afraid to engage in any form of active "debate" with some of the bravest and most-informed members of his union.The applause you heard as you walked away from the microphone was the bleating of sheep responding to their shepherd and to the herd dogs that corral them in their pen.If we plan to engage a full "vote No" campaign and prepare for an election battle in 2016 we need to get very real very fast about how we're going to do any of that in the face of a well-oiled noise machine that is prepared to eviscerate its adversaries.Thank you for what you have done and continue to do, James. You are a brave man and I'm proud to stand with you.Harry