Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lessons from ISIS for UFT/Unity in the Age of Janus

In a terrorist version of the “broken window” school of policing, the Islamic State aggressively prosecuted minor crimes in the communities it took over, winning points with residents who were used to having to pay bribes to secure police help.... the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, was willing — even eager — to get involved in the messy details of people’s day-to-day lives, and conversely that hundreds of people trusted them to fairly resolve their issues, no matter how trivial.... NY Times,The Case of the Purloined Poultry: How ISIS Prosecuted Petty Crime

I'll admit that I'm making a weird comparison here, but read on. The UFT leadership must win points with the members which is one reason some members view the Janus decision as a good thing --- putting pressure on the union leaders to address the major concerns of the members.

In some ways they may be trying. Parental leave was a direct response to the Emily James' 80,000 sigs petition, which after Mike Schirtzer brought her to a UFT Ex Bd meeting, Mulgrew seemed to get on the stick. There is also the seeming move to two evaluations a year despite the union's constant defense of the 4 evals -- this may have been one of the major push-button unhappiness issues in the rank and file.

But, look at the comments on various blogs about the lack of service and response from the UFT/Unity leadership on many issues - note especially the issues with the massively flawed grievance process that the leadership has not attempted to redress - even having weakened it in the 2005 contract.

Now, there are some effective people who work for the union. I was wondering that when they have to cut staff, will these be the people retained or will those who suck up effectively survive? Or will the loyalty oath prevail?

A dew weeks ago we ran into an old UFT/Unity party member who held a position who castigated Mulgrew and the few leaders who hold sway on their refusing to listen to even other Unity people who want to see some change as necessary -- it is just not in their DNA.

There are some interesting lessons in this NY Times piece on how ISIS won some level of support from the populace - by taking care of fundamental disputes. Think of this on the level of issues that arise in schools and the UFT is looked to for some assistance. Now of course ISIS had a few arrows in their quiver to enforce their decisions. But I am focusing on the fact that they were aware that gaining support is not only about top down rule but in providing some service.
Justice was swift and efficient, mostly because no one wanted to risk punishment at the hands of the militants. Yet the fact that hundreds of civilians filed complaints, including against ISIS fighters who had wronged them, suggests that at least some Iraqis believed the terrorist group would do right by them.
Even residents who suffered abuses at the hands of the militants gave them points for their policing, saying that for nonreligious disputes, they were not only fair but also willing to wade into problems that might have been brushed off by most authorities.
Would the Iraqi government have pursued the case of a stolen chicken?
“They wouldn’t have even heard this complaint because it was only for 4,000,” or $3.50, said Mr. Imad’s younger brother, Alosh Imad. “You have to have wasta — a connection to someone,” for the police to take your case under consideration, he explained. “As far as justice was concerned,” he said, “ISIS was better than the government.”
Solution to abusive principals
OK, so we don't have the power to behead abusive principals. Can we get that in the next contract? 

Or will we one day see certain people in a shrinking UFT/Unity Caucus being led to the guillotine along with their pal superintendents and principal and the leaders of the abuse supporting CSA?

1 comment:

  1. In response to some critics for making this comparison:
    I’m sure there are a bunch of better comparisons. This obviously was not deeply thought out but a quick reaction to an interesting article in The NY Times. And I’ve never shied away from trying to use shock to try to make a point. I would love to see better comparisons and analysis done.
    The more serious issue is whether the unity party can change. Conversations with some reform minded unity people over the years indicate reform is not in the dna of a top down rigidly run caucus where any hint of dissent is stifled. My view has always been that holding power is the prime directive even in a shrinking union. Activation of the membership is a danger to them. The red state rebellions coming out of the classrooms is as scary to them as it is to politicians because they are not easy to control.
    Even critics of business unionism on the left don’t quite have a handle on the dynamics while hoping they can help spark similar actions elsewhere.


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