Sunday, January 13, 2019

Unity Caucus to Independents: We'll Waive Loyalty Oath and Joining Unity

With UFT elections upon us, Unity Caucus leaders, well aware of UFT activists alienated by the ideologically restricted environment of the MORE Caucus, have been actively recruiting people who have a history of being critics of UFT policy.

One of the carrots they are offering is not having to sign the Unity loyalty oath which forces members of the caucus to support all policies, even if they disagree.

They are even offering deals where there is no requirement to even join the caucus. This is unprecedented and shows the influence of the Janus decision.

Why would Unity, faced with the weakest opposition in decades - meaning they will have no voice of opposition on the Ex Bd and barely one in the delegate assembly - take this step?

Unity attempts to create its own opposition
Word filtered back at the concerns within the top levels of union leadership over what happened in MORE, which was seen at the main opposition.

My analysis is that Unity has taken this step because they are nervous about the repercussions in the age of Janus in having an entire union Ex Bd with no political diversity would open them up to attacks from the anti-union forces as a sign of a one party non-democratic system.

Populism in the UFT?
I also feel that with MORE moving to the fringe, they fear the growth of a populist movement inside the UFT that may not operate under the usual opposition "rules of engagement" -sort of an old-boys and girls network of well behaved oppositionists.

Think of wild cat strike in red states and in Oakland (The Wildcat Underground: Oakland Teachers Pull Wildcat). Imagine a rogue school going off the rails! Just as Unity controls the membership, the opposition caucuses control the spigot of activism, channeling it into traditional lanes. Or even worse, an opposition movement urging people to leave the UFT and find another bargaining agent. They know MORE would never go in that direction.

You are free to speak openly
The story I am told is that Unity/UFT officials have offered a guarantee of freedom to speak openly. Maybe. I would bet that no matter what they say, not being opposed to the recent contract is a requirement.

There is no little irony that Unity on the surface is appearing to be more open than MORE. As one former MORE said to me, "If MORE is less democratic than Unity and throws people out who disagree, why not go with Unity, which at least has the toys?"

I don't necessarily agree but I can understand the thinking which was expressed to me this way:
"MORE blew up the opposition"
I see MORE having no future and none of the other caucuses either, especially in this divided election. If everyone ran together, we would have had a chance to win some positions. But now running with any of them is a losing proposition and faced with having no chance to impact union policy, why not let Unity endorse me? As long as I don't have to sign a loyalty oath and can maintain my freedom to be critical of union policy with the aim of pushing it in a progressive direction- why not?
I pushed back, feeling Unity was just using opposition people to give themselves cover as being "democratic."
"So what? MORE's blowing up the idea of a serious opposition in this election is a game changer. Point, set, match to Unity."
Probably right but I can still believe that out of the ashes of the opposition in this election, something may rise post-election, though not very likely.

I have urged people considering taking this step to run on an independent line in the UFT elections or form a mini-caucus so people who can't bear voting for Unity but who want to vote for them would have that option.

I myself am ambivalent. I have urged a boycott of what is even in the best of times for the opposition, a rigged election. I actually wanted to see Unity have all the seats and no opposition as a way to make a point.

I may write in some names or vote for all 3 caucuses, even if that invalidates the ballot, as a "vote" for a united front.

But maybe I will vote for my friends on an independent line anyway because as good old Ricky once said to Lisa, "the problems associated with a UFT election doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

1 comment:

  1. Carrying water for Unity as the incredibly loyal opposition is stupider than selling out. At least when you sell out, you get a monetary reward. Are these giveouts at least going to get the freebies to AFT and NYSUT?

    ReplyDelete

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