Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MORE Moves Forward on UFT Election Choices

MORE Caucus is moving toward choosing its candidates and building its platform for the upcoming 2016 UFT elections and I expect a presidential candidate will be announced in the next 2 weeks. People involved pretty much know who it will be - a rather obvious choice. But the process of voting and process in an organization like MORE has to be played out. You know - that messy democracy thing.

One of the reasons I was against running last spring was some questions as to whether MORE would be distracted by an election that is often inconsequential from doing the kind of long-term building in the schools needed to ultimately challenge Unity Caucus at its core - in the schools where it has so much control - often through its use of the roughly 45-50 district reps to control the chapter leaders.

As I've often said, chapter leader elections, always held the year before the general UFT elections, are more important than the general election. Unity moves fast to co-opt the new CLs elected into the caucus to keep them from working with the opposition. That process is going on now through their weekend training sessions where they vet people.

I pushed for MORE to hold its own chapter leader training in early July and we had about 60 people, many new CLs, come out. That doesn't mean some don't end up joining Unity anyway because Unity has just a little bit more to offer in perks.

It was clear after my debate with Mike Schirtzer last May - The Great Scott-Schirtzer Debate: Boycott UFT Elections  that people in ICE and MORE wanted to run. Mike claimed a slam-dunk victory: Mike Schirtzer: Why MORE Will Run In The 2016 UFT ...

I said, like NFL drafts, it takes years to judge - and after the outcome next spring we will decide who won that debate based on whether MORE falls into the same election trap that all the other caucuses in the past have fallen into - including ICE.

If MORE runs the same kind of campaigns that ICE, TJC and New Action have run, it will find itself in the same place it started this year - with no growth and possibly shrinkage as people get disappointed in the process and the outcomes. But if MORE uses this opportunity to expand its local networks, there is hope for the future.

I posted the announcement send out by Karen Arneson regarding the MORE downtown Happy Hour, a continuing event that went on all last year as an example of the continuation of the kind of fundamental organizing work that must be done before, during and post-election cycles. That's how we met Karen in the first place about a year and a half ago. She came to a MORE happy hour and then jumped in with some of her colleagues. Karen and others like her are the key to building up a school-level force to challenge Unity. Her own school voted to replace a Unity chapter leader who shilled for the contract with a MORE supporter.

And this happened at a bunch of other schools.

I know, I know, these are relatively small drops in the bucket. But if MORE sticks to an organizing plan and doesn't fall into the UFT election trap cycle as so many others do, over time there will be changes. You will know when schools start showing up at the Delegate Assembly to challenge Unity.

MORE is holding a conference on October 24 with lots of amazing people. We decided on holding this conference back in the summer. And also decided to hold off on major election stuff until that takes place. So look for announcements after that date.

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