Sunday, July 5, 2020

Beyond AOC - Bowman vs Charter Fave Hakim, Bowman Stood Up to NYCDOE Goons, Farina on Opt Out Etc. - Pelosi Should be easy.

I had a front row seat to the attacks on public education and teacher unions --- Jamaal Bowman.
Bowman called for a national moratorium on charter schools and pushing back against the overuse of standardized testing which has been used as a weapon to close schools and call teachers and schools failing in order to open up charters.
Bowman makes the connections between the attack on education and the general neo-liberal assault on society that you won't hear in congress very often. This makes him a very dangerous man to the corporate dems now in control.

Things went even better than expected in the battle for the soul of the Dem Party. I began writing this after the primary but have been too busy binge watching, doing yoga, taking walks and snacking to get back to it. Of course things move along so fast my observances keep morphing as info comes in.

I feel the Bowman victory is in some ways will have more impact than AOC. In fact I feel if he stays the course and avoids too much ego from all the attention - you may well see his name floated for the presidency in 2024 at a successor to Bernie for leadership of the progressive wing. He has all the creds.

He is the one person elected ever - even more than Bernie or AOC - who I trust on education. Remember - AOC came from baristarville. Bowman ran middle school classrooms - which are like mini corporations and then took a leap and started a public school - running a middle school in the Bronx may be more difficult than running the country. So he has executive skills.

One of the things the press doesn't ever mention about Bowman is how he stood up for true ed reform against the DOE goons. He worked under the Bloomberg and DiB admins and very few principals stood against high stakes testing, favored opt out, stood with teachers -- his first supporters came from the NYC ed activists who had been battling the DOE since Bloomberg came into control. With so many issues on the table I still have hope Jamaal will find time to keep some of the core ed issues front and center (word is he is asking to be on the ed committee). And for those who think he will succumb to Pelosi "charms" like AOC has sort of done, Carmen Farina is much more scary that Pelosi and Jamaal didn't flinch.

In other words, Bowman has a longer history of opposition than AOC -- I mean he stood up to his bosses which is a very heavy lift. There are some thoughts that the Black Caucus which went in for Engel was nervous about having a voice like Bowman win and push his way into the caucus where he might challenge the hot young thing in the Dem Party, major charter school supporter Hakim Jeffries who has taken ed deform positions. I'm looking forward to that.

Photo I took at house party in JanuaryHeadlines have been comparing Jamaal Bowman as the next AOC - Arthur said he's actually the first JB and he's right. Jamaal is from a very different cloth. AOC was activated by the Bernie campaign and until she won was a bartender. Jamaal is not from the same type of politics - he even had an opponent who was viewed as more left but he dropped out which is what gave Jamaal his big bump. (There were still two others in the race - one white and one a black ex-cop who polled less than 2%.)

AOC is a democratic socialist - I never got the sense Bowman is in that lane though he might be. What they have in common is the Justice Democrats who are despised by the Dem Central Committee who want no primaries - they are pseudo dems. Watch the battle to come in 2022 and 2024. If Biden is president he will find the party under him shifting in a Bernie direction.

Having a progressive black man in Congress is enormous.

I posted on the progressives vs the Dem machine on Primary Day - Bowman/Engel/Etc - Epic Battle for Soul of Dem Party, UFT Leaders Back Engel Against Progressive Educator, Warren/Bernie Vs Hillary/Cuomo/Randi and even though my local guy - DSA - Shaniyat Choudhury vs. Gregory Meeks (who as a black man may have benefited even though a machine guy) lost badly - but I hope he helps build up a local alt machine to the Dems.

The Israeli lobby got heavy into the race for Engel - I don't remember Bowman taking positions on Israel --

Bowman vs Engel: 'Proxy war' between progressives and pro-Israel centrists
Pro-Israel groups have spent heavily to shield veteran Democrat Eliot Engel in primary against progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman

And while US-Israeli relations have not been the main topic of debate in the race, Engel's status as the top House Democrat on foreign policy has attracted pro-Israel special-interest groups to his side.

Political action committees (PACs) associated with the pro-Israel lobby have been among the top donors to Engel's campaign. That includes the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) PAC, NORPAC and Pro-Israel America Pac. 

DMFI PAC in particular has stepped up its efforts in the last stretch of the campaign. Since the beginning of June, the group has spent more than $1.1m on campaign material attacking Bowman and promoting Engel.

Omar Baddar, a Palestinian-American analyst, said the massive spending of pro-Israel groups on the primary is not only about Engel, but about the direction of the Democratic Party.

"There is a concerted effort to punish anybody who seems to be somewhat sympathetic to Palestinian human rights, as a way to prove that this is a losing strategy for running for office," Baddar told MEE.

In the Maloney/Patel race my candidate, Lauren Ashcraft didn't even seem to register much in this tight race. Even though I have an apartment in that district I am registered her in Rockaway so I didn't vote there. I was hoping to be involved in her race along with Shaniyat. Here positions were much more in alignment with mine. Maybe she can come back and take down Maloney next time. Fact is if she didn't run Patel might have won but I'm not sure how much better he would have been.

Lauren sent out his missive before the final count:
Even though we did not win this time almost 14% of NY-12 voters rejected the two big money candidates from 2018 and decided that our campaign was the one they wanted to represent them. In 2018 NY-12 didn’t have a choice, but this time they did. And they listened to what we had to say. They didn’t want to keep a representative who takes corporate PAC money. They also didn’t trust the other’s values and priorities even after a second run. They chose me because I was unwilling to compromise on the values and needs of people who have been left out of the conversation until I announced my run in March of 2019.
There is a lot more to write on this issue and since I began doing this two weeks ago it is stale.

One more link to an earlier interview with Bowman:

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