Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Mayday, Mayday

In order to Make America Great Again, our good pal Donald Trump wants to cut hundreds of millions of dollars used to hire teachers and keep class sizes down. You can write Congress today to ask them to fight that, and please do. Still, that's just one fight of many. Because the President is so virulently anti-union and anit-public education, he made it a point to nominate a Supreme Court justice who would vote to, among other things, leave us with less money and less power. So now we're facing an almost certain "Right to Work" nation.

This essentially means everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of union, like representation in and out of building, like collective bargaining (unless SCOTUS makes that illegal as well), and everything else we do, but only some of us will pay. That's what Trump calls freedom. Ironically, though I don't support most of what Donald Trump does, I'll still have to pay income tax.

On Monday, I went to a May Day demonstration in favor of immigrants. It was a little odd for me, because I think of May Day as a day to celebrate labor and our achievements. In some European countries it's a national holiday. The UFT sent something out in the chapter leader weekly. I had a really hard time finding UFT, but after a while I saw George Altomare, Mel Aaronson, and a handful of others standing on a corner. Later, there may have been 15 or 20 people from UFT Central. There were also 15 or 20 people from MORE and New Action. That's odd because in general we are outnumbered. It says something about our collective values.

Other unions took it more seriously. I saw DC37 all over the place, issuing green hats and posters. Other unions had a lot of posters and things to identify themselves. It was nice that UFT had a banner, but it would have been a whole lot nicer if they'd tried harder to mobilize people.

Bill de Blasio spoke strongly in favor of immigrants. At one time I thought he was going to be a one-termer, but now that he's running against Donald Trump it looks like he's a sure thing. He hasn't got a really serious opponent, and some, like Tony Avella and Bo Dietl, look like circus clowns. In Nassau County, where I live, it looks like Laura Curran will be the next county executive. Even though she's running against an opponent who appears hopelessly smeared by corruption charges, she's chosen to run against Trump as well.

Trump, of course, took a moment from his weekly taxpayer-funded golf vacations to declare May Day "Loyalty Day." I suppose he wants us to support his concerted effort to, and let's say it correctly this time, Make America White Again. It's remarkable that, on a day we're supposed to celebrate labor's victories, he'd have us celebrating loyalty to his bigoted and repulsive policies.

This is a fight that needs to go on. If the thugs from ICE show up at my classroom door, they'll have to drag me away before they get their paws on my kids. Because of UFT and others making the egregious error of endorsing awful candidate Hillary Clinton, perhaps the only Democrat who could manage to lose to a dog like Donald Trump, we're stuck with an anti-labor SCOTUS for years to come. We're stuck with further erosion of rights for voters and working people.

May Day is a time to take a stand for democracy. Every day is May Day now.
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