Tuesday, April 02, 2013

UFT's Fake Opposition Hates Being Called Fake Opposition

Someone just sent me an email received from the New Action Caucus. Most of it is not of much interest, but I was struck by this:

MORE has shifted its campaign - from attacking Unity to attacking Unity/New Action. We weren't really expecting this, but it's not a great surprise either. (Even though they assured us a few months ago that they would not do this).  Looks like they panicked when they saw how widely our literature had gotten out.

We haven't responded, at least not yet. We don't think too many people will be fooled.  It's pretty obvious that New Action is independent of Unity, supports them when they are right, opposes them when they are wrong, and tries to point them in the right direction when they are in between. 

There are several issues here. One is the plain, unvarnished fact that Unity-New Action is a partnership. Unity cross-endorses ten New Action members, and in return, New Action endorses Michael Mulgrew and pretends to be an opposition. The notion that Unity grants them the seats so they can grapple with serious opposition is laughable. Obviously, New Action endorsing Mulgrew, were they a real opposition, would be akin to the Democrats endorsing GW Bush, or the GOP endorsing Barack Obama. (And that's coming from someone who doesn't see Obama as much of a Democrat.) That's absurd enough.

What is more absurd, and in fact offensive, is the apparent assumption that an opposition party does not support things New Action claims to support. I've no doubt the opposition supports union efforts to stop school closures, whether or not they think UFT leadership goes far enough. I'm pretty sure the opposition supports teachers being paid for work they do on SESIS. And of course the opposition supports Mom, Apple Pie, and whatever else UFT leadership supports along those lines. I don't speak for MORE, but anyone who is part of it can correct me if I'm mistaken.

The underlying assumption, of course, is that any true opposition reflexively opposes absolutely everything the union does, for no reason other than to be contrary. This would mean they are small-minded idiots. I know Julie Cavanagh, Michael Fiorillo, and James Eterno fairly well. They are far from small-minded, and I doubt they went out and chose small-minded running mates to compensate for their own lack of small-mindedness. But if any of them wish to correct me, the comment section is open.

I also find it unbelievable that MORE made an agreement not to mention their opponents in a campaign. If they did, that was indeed ridiculous, and moreso because New Action is, in fact, a fake opposition. The only reason Unity allows them the seats, allows them to exist, is to divert attention from any real opposition. It's a great strategy, a brilliant strategy, few members know about it, and it's thus far prevented any true opposition from getting any voice in the union. And New Action, whether or not its members admit the truth even to themselves, enables it.

A real opposition does not boast that it supports the presidential candidate of the opposition, nor does it boast of all the times it agrees with the opposition. Unless, of course, it's a diversion intended to bury the real opposition. And that's precisely what New Action is.

On April 3rd, UFT members have two choices--Mike Mulgrew or Julie Cavanagh. If you think the union is doing a good job, vote for Unity. If you think it's time for change, vote for MORE. New Action would be the choice of members who think it's appropriate to insult their intelligence with a fake opposition that is bought and paid for by the party that's controlled the union for fifty years, or those who don't know any better. If that's you, all the best.
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