There is so much talk about "the left" and "socialists" -- like is AOC the same type of socialist as a Marxist-Leninist? - See AOC and the Left - She's Not Everyone's Darling.
There has been explosive growth in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and I'm looking to join myself to learn more. In fact the largest influx of new members of MORE has come from DSA. And that explains a lot about actions MORE has taken over the past year.
I was not a leftist when I entered teaching in Sept. 1967 - probably a liberal Democrat and totally unconscious about the left and definitely anti-Communist who bought whatever I had been taught.
I met my first socialists when I became involved in internal UFT politics in the fall of 1970, my fourth year of teaching. Most of the people in the opposition to Unity were different brands of socialists. In our own small group in District 14, there was a mix - red diaper babies (people who had grown up in committed socialist families - some parents had been in the Communist Party- CP - (which was controlled from Russia by Stalin). They often went to the same summer camp. With Stalin discredited as was the CP, they became the New Left, which became a broad term to include the very anti-Stalin Trotskyists who came to dominate the New Left.
So in addition to one guy who was still a Stalinist - his dad had been on the run in the early 50s, persecuted under the Smith Act, we began to attract Trotskyists of different brand - the joke was that if you put 2 Trots in a room, you end up with 3 groups. (Note there are 9 Trotskyist groups listed below - and I know of some not included.)
And also other brands of socialists showed up too. I mean, who else would shlep to weekly meetings one night a week other than people committed to some ideology? Well, I did because I was focused not on changing society but changing teaching and learning. I was told that was not possible without getting rid of capitalism. I never have quite agreed with that but in today's world there seems some truth to at least controlling the capitalist system, though socialist theorists point out they will never give up the power of the profit motive without an armed struggle.
At one point I counted 4 or 5 brands of socialists in our own caucus. And when MORE formed I counted at least 4 brands plus at least two other brands of socialists in the UFT would refused to join MORE because to them the socialists in MORE were too reformists and would not call for the fall of capitalism. Oy!
I got some education from my close colleagues in the caucus, all of whom were socialists and I certainly moved in that direction - in fact it was this group that were the initial backbone of the ICEUFT Caucus when it formed in 2003.
As I said - you cannot understand UFT opposition politics without getting this basic fact - socialists will be the most committed over time because they operate from a broader ideology but they often come into conflict with UFT reformers without an ideology other than getting rid of Unity. I have always straddled both worlds, which has also brought me into conflict with both but also I've been a bridge. The original Ed Notes was designed to be that bridge - and it worked - which is why I am thinking of going back to that model.
As Ed Notes morphs into drilling down into issues, let me come back to my original premise -- you will never understand what is going in the opposition -- ie, why are there 3 groups running against Unity - without a map of the various brands of socialists.
In follow-ups I will get into the brands we see active in the UFT.
Being too lazy to do any real research on my own, here is a sort of map from wikipedia - not totally accurate - but since you will have a hard time finding a Stalinist today, the map focuses on the anti-Stalinist left.
Actually, I am doing some research and am reading a book on Lenin written by a Trotsyist -- Trots or anti-Stalin Leninists. Naturally Lenin comes off looking great and I do try to read between the lines, but I find him fascinating - one of the great figures in history, not the monster we were taught he was.
This is not a complete list.
|Part of a series on|
the United States
- 1 History
- 2 Explanations for weakness
- 3 Marxist
- 4 Marxist–Leninist
- 5 Trotskyist
- 6 Social democratic and democratic socialist
- 7 Anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist
- 8 Communes and other intentional communities