Saturday, July 29, 2017

Boots on the Ground

I don't know whether anyone has noticed, but we are in crisis. The President of the United States came to our area yesterday afternoon and endorsed police brutality, while a bunch of police officers stood behind him and applauded. Then the Suffolk police force made a public declaration that they do not, in fact, support the policies they applauded, probably because some lawyer told them they'd be liable when the inevitable lawsuits appeared.

This was one day after Trump's people tried to take health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans so they could give a tax break to people who least need it. Here in NY, we have a bill that could enact single payer floating around in the ether, but going nowhere so far. I'm not sure where the IDC, the Republicans who pretend to be Democrats, who keep Democrats from controlling the Senate, stand on that. I'm not sure where Andrew Cuomo, key enabler of the IDC who now poses as Bernie Sanders, stands on that.

One thing I do know is that union in America is living on borrowed time. Scott Walker essentially killed it in Wisconsin, and that's the model Trump's stolen SCOTUS likely wants to emulate. Maybe the cops don't need to worry, because in Wisconsin they managed to keep their right to collectively bargain. After all, someone has to protect the state house when the bootless and unhorsed come out with torches and pitchforks.

It's great we participated in the Women's March. I've never seen anything like it. I marched with UFT in the Puerto Rican Day parade. It was great, but not broadly political, I showed for the Mayday event. It was pathetic, with maybe a few dozen of us out there, at least half from MORE/ New Action. I will be there for the Labor Day parade, and I invite you to join me. But it's far from enough.

As far as I can see, our response to the outrage that's occurring all over the nation is "Public School Proud." Now I'm Public School Proud. I don't need a campaign to know that. But I'd like to hear about this somewhere other than the UFT Delegate Assembly. Every day I read the papers, and learn of the perfidy of ATR teachers. They are terrible because they don't have regular positions. They are also terrible because they're going to be placed in regular positions.

The WSJ, the NY Post, and Campbell Brown are horrified by the ATR. Why can't they just crawl away and die? After all, Brown is not only a failed journalist and a self-appointed education expert, but she's also named after a soup can. Shouldn't that be credibility enough for anyone? Students First NY, funded by Gates, manages to get a group of a dozen parents to stand around and hold signs, and it's covered by every local paper.

We have tens of thousands of members. Why can't we get a few hundred people to stand somewhere for ATRs, for medical insurance for all, for union, for almost anything, and call a few reporters? Why can't we call them, let the press know of an angle, and get stories out there? It's been years since a large scale UFT action.

I am nobody, but when I became chapter leader, I got my school in every city paper and many local papers. I may do that again, because despite the city's agreement to give us space for our existing students, they've already started to overload us, thus welching on the agreement. It is beyond my comprehension why UFT leadership, with a paid staff and resources that dwarf mine, cannot manage to do what I did alone.

We need to activate membership now, or at least try. It will be a different game in a post-Janus world, and every moment we wait is a moment wasted.
blog comments powered by Disqus