I was going to post this a few days ago. So I'm glad to see some thinking along the same lines from The Doenuts Blog,MORE has a new steering committee! The current steering committee gathered nominations of eligible members after the announcement went to our listerve between January 22January 20th. Because exactly nine nominees accepted it is not necessary for there to be an election. The new committee will take over from current steering on March 1 for a six month term that will run through August 2016.... John Antush for MORE steering to MORE membership.
MORE's New Steering Committee:
Strike a chord for a democratic way of doing things. As of March 1, The MORE candidate for UFT president, Jia Lee (whom I wholeheartedly support), is not part of the leadership Steering Committee of the caucus. This means the caucus' decision making processes aren't directly connected with the candidate who we would all like to preside over the UFT. 'How can that be?' you may ask. 'Doesn't a presidential candidate call all of the shots?'Not exactly. Democracy doesn't always require a cult of personality type in order to function. Hearing all voices means that it doesn't really matter who steers the caucus: The caucus members steer it. We all know what the caucus stands for because, well, we're the ones who are standing. That's a pretty cool way to do things and it's the kind of rank-and-file driven leadership that Jia will bring to the whole UFT.DOENUTs is right. If you want to run the union one day damn well make sure you don't run your own caucus the way Unity does.
Call MORE one big experiment. For all my years I've been involved in unstructured organizations and caucuses in the UFT with not many rules or responsibilities. As a leftarian/semi-anarchist I view rules with suspicion. And in the early days of MORE I argued for a least restrictive environment. But as the group began to grow it was clear that some guidelines were needed. Certainly a steering committee of some sorts. But we know full well that a steering committee can become a permanent group of insiders who control the organization even if nominally democratic. Thus our 6-month terms and one year term limit.
In Chicago, CORE, the caucus in power, holds steering elections every 2 years and Karen Lewis, the president - or any successor, gets an automatic position on steering. I love Karen Lewis but if I were in CORE I would object to that automatic position. I think the people running the union at the top should not also be running the caucus. That is what happens in Unity.
MORE evolved a least restrictive ability of a standing steering committee by holding elections every 6 months and having a one-year term limits rule (one can run again after 6 months off). If you get a bad apple, as we've had in the past, the damage can be limited.
I also believe that how the caucus operates internally is a blueprint for how it would run the union if it should one day win. I love the revolving steering committee and this new one is a fascinating in the number of people not only new to MORE but new to the DOE. There is a good blend of people to address bread and butter and social justice issues as MORE moves forward toward melding what is viewed by some as contradictory concepts into a unified field force.
With this steering committee after 3 years and 6 terms I estimate over 30 people have spent time on steering. Some come back, some didn't find it their cup of tea at this time (like me).
As you meet the new MORE steering committee taking over March 1 - in the midst of a UFT election campaign, which is quite daring, I want to make a special mention of Cayden Betzig, a first year teacher who is running on the MORE slate. I know Cayden since his freshman year at NYU when he got involved in some of our activities and was quite impressive. Cayden is an experienced facilitator and organizer and brings a lot to the table for MORE, especially in terms of helping plan and facilitate meetings.
Mike and Peter are the only returnees from the current steering. Janice, Kevin and Mindy are returning from a hiatus. I don't see much of Janice but every conversation we've had has been enlightening. Her background and knowledge are fascinating.
Kevin is one of the great chapter leaders in this city and managed to put himself out there as CL at a time when his principal was a known menace. His political skills and popularity were too much for her and she retired.
Mindy of course is very busy working in the Bernie Sanders campaign. The rest are new. I'm glad Roberta Reid has signed on since she is a long-time teacher who has retired and brings her wisdom and experience to the committee.
Ashraya, who is fairly newly active in MORE and has impressed people, has volunteered to be one of MORE's candidates for high school executive board, a possible winnable position, which means she would have to attend meetings every 2 weeks at the UFT and listen to more Mulgrew spoutings. She and the other candidates for those positions -- Schirtzer and Arthur Goldstein are others - deserve medals.