Tuesday, November 27, 2018

UFT Election Update: It's Beat Up MORE Time as it Pulls a Garbo

I had advocated for MORE to either run with everyone or not to run. I made the case for not running but for using the election to run an educational campaign on some crucial issues, including why the election is bogus since Unity will always win. It is no accident that 70% of UFT members don't vote - because the election is meaningless to most people. I can predict the outcome right now -- 25% anti-Unity votes split 3 ways. What surprised me at the meeting last week was how many people in MORE were reluctant to run and wanted to spend the time building up the organization and their own chapters. These were mostly the new people who have not been involved in elections before and seemed to want to do more interesting things. A few more votes and MORE would not be running. So I am hopeful for the future. ..... Norm on the UFT elections

Well, the bloggers are out (see links below) with some brutal attacks on the MORE Caucus for "vanting to be alone" in the UFT elections.
For the record, my position in MORE was to run with everyone in a full-fledged, full slate election to challenge Unity everywhere or to not run at all. (More on this below).

We all know we can't win a bogus election so why try? 7 seats out of 102 on the UFT Ex Bd is a toehold but that is all it is.

Opposition Caucii have run in tandem over the past 40 years and the results are pretty much the same - at most win the high school seats.

What's wrong with 3 running on their own programs and seeing it they have support? I assume about 10-12000 people will vote anti-Unity.

MORE doesn't want to waste its time in an unwinnable election and doesn't want to waste time negotiating with other caucuses on platform and other election issues when it can run its own campaign with its own line. No one is winning, so why not get your own 2 pages in the NY Teacher?

I have my own reasons to beat up some people in MORE - like the 17 who signed an email asking me and others from ICE to leave -- but I won't go there at this point. We refused to leave because we had helped found and build the caucus and weren't going to walk away even when we witnessed some ugly stuff.

There are some really good young teachers in MORE and people are attacking them for being too left. I am somewhat left politically myself, though I have to say that some of my experiences with sectarian leftists have somewhat soured me on the left.

There are a bunch of newbies --  Democratic Socialists -- maybe some Bernie people -- so I'm fine with MORE being a left caucus. As long as they pay attention to what's going on in the schools and not go off on tangent after tangent. I liked that they took a stand against the contract. I feel every contract should be opposed until we have 20 in a class.

ICE was/is a fairly left group but independent and open left -- a big tent. The difference is the level of sectarianism in MORE where one line is the accepted one and there was a dangerous and undemocratic move to purge people who voted against that line.

That the line is fundamentally the same one we saw coming out of Teachers for a Just Contract for 20 years before they went defunct upon the founding of MORE is sort of amusing. I mean, one reason we founded ICE was to counter the TJC line. The ICE/TJC tensions never went away and I would pin the recent splits in MORE went along those lines. Maybe it wasn't possible to put these two caucuses into one group. We were warned by some ICE people who would not join MORE, claiming it would be taken over by ISO sectarians. And so it has come to pass. (Many on the left avoided TJC because it was known to be controlled by ISO and an organization called Solidarity (not the caucus) which is behind Labor Notes. The Labor Notes line has come to dominate MORE.

What is that old TJC line? That the contract is the focal point -- remember we joked that it was Teachers for Just a Contract (and nothing much else). The other angle used to be to talk strike prep - this time with a new twist -- look at the red state teacher revolts as a model. I don't believe it will work here but if it works on people the more power to them. What makes the current version of MORE different from TJC is the heavy social justice rhetoric.

Depending on outcomes, these positions don't last forever so we never know what will happen.

ICE is a free for all. And as long as ICE keeps meeting over the rice pudding I am fine. And Gloria, Lisa and I am working with New Action people in the Retiree Advocate. And though I get hot in the collar at times I'm trying to find common ground with Solidarity Caucus.

In fact I'm having fun trying to be the Jolly Old Fellow.
A little election background: I had advocated for MORE to either run with everyone or not to run. I made the case for not running but for using the election to run an educational campaign on some crucial issues, including why the election is bogus since Unity will always win. It is no accident that 70% of UFT members don't vote - because the election is meaningless to most people. I can predict the outcome right now -- 25% anti-Unity votes split 3 ways. What surprised me at the meeting last week was how many people in MORE were reluctant to run and wanted to spend the time building up the organization and their own chapters. These were mostly the new people who have not been involved in elections before and seemed to want to do more interesting things.

A few more votes and MORE would not be running. So I am hopeful for the future. Not running in the election but engaging in a campaign for a better union was the very position I took when MORE first formed for the 2013 election and I was one of the few people to support this.

Since MORE didn't grow - and even shrank by the 2016 election, I began a year earlier in 2015 by again urging MORE not to run. But then Arthur, Mike S and James Eterno convinced me how bad they wanted to beat Unity for the high school seats and I changed my mind and put my energy into that election.

It was we who suggested in the summer of 2015 that MORE reach out to New Action to run a joint campaign. They were sort of slow moving and we actually didn't get their candidates until pretty late - and even had to draft someone at the last minute when one of theirs dropped out.

There were some people even then who were not happy with running with New Action, but the enthusiastic response to the news dampened them. Now the anti- New Action people seem to have prevailed. In the meantime, in June 2015 Portelos declared he was running for president with Solidarity and they insisted we all should run together with him as the presidential candidate.

I won't go into the ugly details of why none of the other groups wanted to run with him. I'm trying to be in a peaceful mode and when I see him I have a nice time talking about union stuff. When it was announced that MORE and New Action had gotten together for the 2016 elections, there was joy in Mudville over the alliance of the old and the new -- really the 3 active caucuses of the early 2000s -- NAC, ICE and TJC. We knew we could win the high school seats.

I disagree with MORE's decision to run alone but understand MORE has very limited resources to put into an election. Thus the better option was to not run. I will continue to call for people to boycott Yet Another Bogus Election - YABE. Here are the links to the blogs:

4 comments:

  1. Wouldn't it be awesome to co-ordinate the Ads in the paper to really present a message about the state of our union, instead of multiple duplicating adds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gulp! Why am I here? I dind't attack them, did I? My post was about the election landscape.

    ReplyDelete

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