Our main goal is to organize working class people around a broadly economic platform that ties in social issues into core economic issues.. we want candidates that focus on class... willing to take on the establishment power structure ---- roughly 17 ...
Our main goal is to organize working class people around a broadly economic platform that ties in social issues into core economic issues... we want candidates that focus on class.... willing to take on the establishment power structure ---- roughly 17 minute mark of video - Bhaskar Sunkara, Jacobin, interviewed by Jen Pan
I ran across this enlightening interview on Jacobin you tube where Jen Pan talked to Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara who talks about class and race on the left and then on dysfunction on the left. He talks about the cultural divides where some want to focus on bread and butter issues and others want to talk about race as race as a free standing system. He also points to a cleavage on how some liberal-left people want to talk about economic policy in a certain way - say Elizabeth Warren - vs a Bernie type analysis.
I've actually lived though some of the divisions in groups where there's a race vs class divide in terms of analysis -- every socialist doesn't avoid class and economics - but the roots of continuing racism is often at issue.
The mostly united pro-Bernie front on the left seems to have come apart.
So I've been following discussions on divisions on the left -- I'm a fan of Krystal Ball and Sam Seder and they often seem to be coming at things from different places. The Young Turks and Jimmy Dore wars. Many of my colleagues in UFT oppo politics are Jimmy Dore, Glen Greenwald, Useful Idiots - Aaron Mate fans - skeptical of the support fot Ukraine and often taking a Putin point of view. Sam Seder calls these people essentially right wing.
One of the most intersting parts of the interview come at the 21 minute mark where Jen Pan raises the issue of the class composition of the left, which is far from the working class - and I mean the black and white working class. The old left of the 30s was very working class. Now not at all. (Even Starbucks union movement is pushed by college educated). She says since the 60s the left has become more professional nanagerial class and lost its working class base. She asks what is the biggest obstacle to the left getting back to its working class roots - is it the cultural, rhetorical, linguistic ticks?
And I have to say, I get very turned off when I hear rhetoric with no analysis. Like if you are a a socialist who believes capitalism must end where is the analysis of what exactly takes its place? Or the process of destruction and mayhem in dismantling capitalism. I asked this wuestion of two hard core socialists -- can you have democracy and your vision of socialism where you cannot have a two party system that can reverse say nationalization of certain industries every 4 years. One said maybe a multiparty system of only socialist parties. Have you seen socialists of differing opinions in action?
Baskar's answer seems to agree about rhetoric on the left being wrong but he attributes that to the many defeats the left has faced. He calls it the ghetto of the left -- like when do leftists get to talk to non-leftists, especially working class? I remember one early leader of a caucus I was in tell me he has no non-leftist people he talks to. Baskar talks about being in small socialist groups or caucuses where you hear only one real voice --- where if you disagree with anything you get slammed as being discordant - I've actually seen people claim to feel unsafe when a loud disagreement over a political issue breaks out. A few of us looked at each other and wondered how snow flakes intend to take on the power structure of the UFT.
Baskar mocks some of the disagreements on the left as to what year the Soviet state changed into Stalinism. Working class voters prefer candidates who focus primarily on economic issues. Their not against talking about racism but want these issues framed in univeral terms. Bernie tried to do that and got slammed by the left cultural warriors.
Health care is good because it helps everyone - not just framed as a racial justice issue for one segment of the population. Right now John Fetterman seems to me the only candidate I've seen who has the ability to do this.
I love this:
"even if we are reliant on an activist base to begin with, we are not just stuck with this space forever."
Apply this point to organizing in the UFT -- the hopeful realization by the activist left base that they will never win even a segment of power in the UFT without broadening that base -- maybe the emergence of United for Change was a sign but those who know the left from experience are always prepared to see things slip back for the interests of sectarian politics.
Stop talking to each other but reach out to people not only on the fence but on the other side of the fence.
He asks people to look around whatever groups people are in and ask if that group is equipped to have an influx of 5 thousand working class people. We should be building the shells of organizations that can be truly mass.
I remember once at a joint rally over the 2005 conract talking to someone from another caucus and saying wouldn't it be wonderful if we had even 50 hard core activists in the UFT and the response was: If they are the right kind -- that was a warning sign to me of the kind of exclusivity some gtoups try to enforce internally.
Here's where he nails it:
We shouldn't be building groups that are so sensitive that a few interpersonal things or a few controversies gets it destroyed or they spend so long inwardly debating with each other and then deciding when the next meeting is - a kind of inaction group --
Boy have I seen this - groups that talk to and at themselves and often morph into a small oligarchy of control by a few and even their own mass begins to lose interest and becomes perfectly content to let them run things. talk talk talk - make up some action event to simulate organizing - but keep the rhetorical and procedural gates up to keep the "wrong" kind of people out...
Trust me -- I've been guilty of this idea of we want to be in a "comfortable" space with like-minded people. ICE was a more open group but talk talk talk was certainly frustratign to people who wanted action. I was very comfortable talking and debating. ICE could never be an major organizing force alone in the UFT - though some people seemed to think so. In fact the founding of GEM in 2009 was a reaction to ICE inaction -- but I also think ICE is the only group that offered a relaxed space over rice pudding to just talk, dispute, argue over issues etc and work for consensus and no matter how hard you fought you walk out colleagues. I think that is also really needed.
Bhaskar points to DSA which is more action oriented and seems to be a clearing house of sorts for various points of view but there is also an avoidance of taking on such divisive issues. -- ie - witness the cancellation of Black scholar with a heavy class analysis Adolph Reed, Jr.
I'll leave you with these links so you can see the dysfunction of the left in action.
EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE -- IN THAT ORDER --- EdNotes Mantra
Sunday, July 3 -- Only 59 days till September
The first step - EDUCATE. I don't mean that in an arrogant manner like I have info to shove down your throat but I am learning stuff I want to share. You can't organize people based on misinformation of weak analysis. Logical dialogue can move people in your direction.
I heard him on Sam Seder Majority Report - links below.
People confuse today's poltiical liberals with classic economic liberals (Adam Smith) and current market works/govt doesn't neo-libs.
It's worth studying the evolution of the terms which started out meaning freedom from kings who controlled govt then - economic and political freedom -- this was pre-capitalist - and capitalism was a freeing from those mercantile controls- a good thing initially.
But then capitalism ran amuck and the New Deal brought it under modified control which the post 60s Republican Party and the late 70s Dem Party have decimated. Neo-liberalism has been a process of releasing those controls - which also included tariffs and controls on trade - and sold globalism as the ultimate freedom -- for a few. Carter (de-regulate everything to fight inflation), Clinton and Obama escalated. Biden actually gets some credit for moving away because it no longer plays politically.
The actual good thing about the Trump election and the Bernie campaigns was dagger to the heart of neoliberalism which so decimated workers in so many economies. The party is actually split between Neo-libs and anti-globalist proto-fascist element.
The anti- neo liberals on both sides of the right and left line up very differently but when I argue with Trumpise we actually do find areas of agreement.
My crowd is supposedly trying to organize NYC teachers -- and our union leadership is neo-liberal - you'd best have a good explanation on how and why that is.
Just as important is this analysis by Robert Kuttner -- a progressive Dem for 50 years but not hard left. He does this deep dive on The Intercept podcast: Deconstructed.
Both MR and Intercept are not hard left -- let's say Social Democracy leaning. In other words they may be highly critical of capitalism but don't necessarily call for it's downfall -- even if they think it may be in such danger as to fall on its own. But fall where and what takes its place? I'd say a form of fascism before socialism.
Both podcasts go hand in hand with an analysis of FDR years and how the New Deal began to be undermined almost immediately in the late 40s with the Taft-Hartley anti labor act - and the beginning of the Dem Party separation from Labor. Kuttner emphasizes that the Dem party was closest to a Labor Party -- even with the racist southerners.
I was brought up a Democrat by my mom's immigrant family. My aunt told me when I was very young that only the Dems were on our side. By the early 70s's, after she moved to South Miami, she had become a right wing racist -- if she lived she would have marched in Jan. 6.
So that coalition did not have as tight a bonds as Kuttner makes it out to seem. I loved that he agrees with me that John Fetterman if healthy should be the Dem Pres candidate in 2024.
How the Democrats Forgot the New Deal and Paved the Way for Trumpism
Author Robert Kuttner on how Biden can keep American fascism at bay.
In Robert Kuttner’s new book, “Going Big: FDR’s Legacy, Biden’s New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy,” he explains how we got to our present political inflection point, how high the stakes are, and what comes next. Kuttner — who co-founded the Economic Policy Institute as well as The American Prospect — joins Jon Schwarz to discuss.
Sam and Emma host Gary Gerstle, Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, to discuss his recent book The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era. First, Emma and Sam dive into the continued rise of mass shootings over this weekend, the Uvalde Police’s continually changing story, Dr. Oz’s victory in the PA GOP Senate Primary, and Elon suddenly scrapping his Twitter deal after finding out about Twitter BOTS, but definitely not his crashing Tesla stock. They’re then joined by Professor Gerstle as they work through the concept of political orders as these prolonged eras of dominant ideologies, with the two that he largely covers being the New Deal political order, lasting from FDR’s reign up until the ‘60s or so, and the Neoliberal Order, burgeoning in the ‘70s and lasting up until the end of Obama’s presidency, looking at these two orders in contrast, with the former compelling the right to assimilate into a democratic socialist ideology, and the latter seeing a Clinton-lead democratic party assimilating into corporate liberalism and deregulation. Next, they get into the factors that drive the emergence of new orders, starting as a modest movement of political organizations and actors, before networks of donors, constituents, think tanks, and policy networks and political actors arise around it as it proves itself as a viable political system. They then look to the crises that left the vacuum for these orders to step in, with the 1930s Great Depression marking the largest capitalist crisis in US History, and the ‘70s recession occurring alongside rising racial tensions, US imperialism, and a reemergence of international industrial competitors seeing US Capital suddenly threatened from all sides. Sam, Emma, and Professor Gerstle then walk through the evolution of political orders and how one took issue and influence from its priors, first looking to FDR’s desire to create a new form of liberalism, one that puts everyday Americans in a position to actually enjoy their freedom, before Freidman and Hayek come around and reject his appropriation of liberalism, but still looking to government as a corporate facilitator, particularly with the role of the military in ensuring the safety and freedom of markets worldwide. After covering the role of the fall of the USSR and Clinton’s assimilation to neoliberalism, Sam, Emma, and Professor Gerstle walk through our contemporary moment as the neoliberal order stalls, and the difference between a fight between a far-right and a progressive left and the single-camp transitions of previous orders.
And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma discuss Dr. Jill Biden’s unveiling of a new Nancy Pelosi stamp, just as pride month starts, in an unfortunate moment of institutional fetishization, Dave Rubin obsesses over Elon Musk fighting to get his workers back to work, before inquiring about who died and left COVID in charge. Sam and Emma discuss the original rise of TERFism in England, cover the Ohio GOP’s new bill requiring genital inspections of young girl athletes, a Wisconsin high school gets bomb threats for trying to teach their students to respect queer people, Miles from LI talks the evolution of “based,” and Louie Gohmert comes to the defense of the Right’s right to lie right to the Government. Plus, your calls and IMs!
“It is inexcusable and unfathomable that the Governor would refuse to sign the class size bill when she signed the Mayoral control bill. The legislature passed this bill almost unanimously.... Press release
Saturday, July 2, 2022 - For working UFTers - Only 60 days to go till September (we retirees never notice dates or time of the day -- I haven't worn a watch in 20 years).
I never believed for a minute Hochul would sign the class size bill or let mayoral control lapse. She and Adams are allies. The UFT of course endorsed her and will continue to endorse her because the Republican alternative is so awful. But no matter what they say, I don't think the UFT leadership really cares very much about class size becausethey are not affected.
Remember it was district rep Bill Woodruff who called the question at a DA on a class size discussion and was challenged by Daniel Alicea over a UFT employee killing debate on an issue that doesn't affect him. He told Daniel he never wants his name to come out of Daniel's mouth again. Woodruff is fast moving from Unity hack status to Unity POS.
Anger and distress at Gov. Hochul refusing to sign class size bill last night
Parents, education advocates and elected officials reacted with dismay and alarm at the fact that Gov. Hochul signed the mayoral control bill last night without also signing the class size bill, A10498/S09460 at the same time.
“It is inexcusable and unfathomable that the Governor would refuse to sign the class size bill when she signed the Mayoral control bill. The legislature passed this bill almost unanimously. The only thing standing between smaller class sizes and a better learning environment that students desperately need is the Governor’s signature. Parents fought for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and won. The Governor recognized the need to act on that and delivered two years of funding for Foundation Aid, so that, among other things, class sizes can be reduced. Thirty years after the CFE lawsuit was filed , class sizes are worse, not better. We urge the governor to sign the bill and signal that she continues to recognize what needs to happen for our students’ sake,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley, Policy and Operations Director for the Alliance for Quality Education.
Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters said, “The fact that the Governor signed the Mayoral control bill without signing the bill that would require him to reduce class size at the same time is particularly outrageous. There can be no accountability without smaller classes for NYC kids, which the State’s highest court said were needed to provide them with their right to a sound basic education under the State’s constitution. Smaller classes are also the top priority of K12 parents nearly every year on the DOE’s own surveys, and the class size bill passed 59-4 in the State Senate; 147-2 in the Assembly. It is particularly outrageous that the Governor has chosen to renew the Mayor’s control unconditionally, just at a time when he is slashing the budget for schools, causing class sizes to increase rather than decrease and students to lose critical programs and services. “
“New York City’s parents are sick of our children’s education being used as a political bargaining chip. We passed the class size legislation with a considerable bipartisan margin, and thirty-eight elected officials from Congress, the state, and the city, as well as over 7700 petition signatories urged the Governor to sign the class size bill this week. There was no such groundswell for the renewal of Mayoral control. Signing it into law would be such an easy win for the Governor. The last-minute, late night negotiations have become a pattern in this administration’s first term, and it is hurting our children,”said State Senator Jessica Ramos.
“Large class sizes were a main driver behind the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit I brought against New York State with parents in 1993. The 2007 court ruling found that, ‘tens of thousands of students placed in overcrowded classrooms is enough to represent a systemic failure,’” said Senator Robert Jackson. “New York City governance must make class size reduction a priority. It is a shame that the class size reduction legislation was not signed into law with Mayoral Accountability. The resulting impact of school budget cuts will harm students further as class sizes increase, affecting educational outcomes. I urge the Governor to follow through on the state’s obligation under the CFE ruling and sign S9460 into law. Answer the call of families across the city, sign that bill!”
“We ask that the Governor sign the class size bill as soon as possible, which would also help to limit the Mayor’s damaging cuts to school budgets, which if left unchecked will further undermine the ability of NYC children to receive the quality education that they desperately need now more than ever before,” said State Senator Julia Salazar (SD-18).
The Governor must make good on her promise and sign the class size reduction bill. It was part of the deal for renewing mayoral control. The Mayor's dyslexia initiative needs smaller classes to be effective. As a former teacher of deaf students, I know just how critical smaller class sizes are to students’ ability to succeed. Small classes improve outcomes for all students, especially those of color and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Parents and educators are reeling--stretched to the limits by the pandemic and now with school budget cuts--and we can't let them down,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.
As eminenteducation historian and advocate Diane Ravitch concluded, “ Governor Kathy Hochul is double crossing the students, teachers, and parents of NYC.”
Halabi: I am challenging Unity’s moral compass. This is one of many seats they control. But because they might lose it in a fair election, they made the rules unfair so they can continue to control it.
If this were a borough-wide election, and the Bronx was going the “wrong way,” would Mulgrew try to change the rules to get Manhattanites to participate in Bronx elections? Because that’s kind of what he does when he has elementary teachers vote for the HS VP..... Jonathan Halabi, https://jd2718.org/2022/06/29/how-many-union-offices
We've done a number of articles matching Unity policy of control and repression to the Republicans controls enforcing minority rule and suppression of the majority.
While we can't say that about the union as a whole, we can definitely say that about the high schools with its 20 thousand teachers. Dems rail about the fact that out of the past 20 years, only once has a Republican president received a majority of the votes. For the UFT, we can say that over the past 30 years, only in 2019 and 1993 has the Unity HS VP candidate received a majority. This is the Electoral college in spades.
So while we filed out 70 page report (still unanswered) on 2022 election violations, there are a lot more pre-election violations in the way Unity has controled the structure of the UFT. 30% of retirees voted for UFC both in this year's election and last year's chapter election. We get not one of the 300 delegates to the DA not does this 30% get a glimmer of a voice at the AFT/NYSUT conventions or on the Ex bd.
Then there are the non-election of district reps since Randi changed the rules 20 years ago because non-Unity Bruce Markens dared to get elected Manhatten HS DR for a decade -- she knew if she tampered while he was still there there would be howls of protest so she waited till he retired to abolish DR elections.
Would the UFT and high school teachers be better off by having a Halabi like diverse voice on AdCom? Hell yes!
High School Vice President
High School teachers chose me to be their Vice President in May. I got most of their votes. But I did not win. Let me explain.
This Spring I ran in the United Federation of Teachers election. I ran for High School Vice President. I lost. The Unity Candidate, Janella Hinds, received 66%. I got 34%. That’s a little less than two-to-one. Actually, it’s a pretty good result for a non-Unity candidate, perhaps the best… since… hmm.
So you can see the numbers. I see the numbers. How can I claim I got more votes? Actually, I don’t claim I got more votes. I claim I got more high school votes. I did.
So among all voters – mostly not high school voters, I received 34%. But in the high schools?
There were 2,508 slate votes for United for Change in the high schools. Most of those are academic high schools. And most of those votes are mine. Unity had 1,981. Most of those are Janella’s. There were perhaps a total of 200-250 non-slate votes. Those would not have made a difference. I got more high school votes. I got around 56% of the high school vote, and lost to someone who got about 44%.
I’m not challenging the election results. I knew what the rules were going in. Unity followed correct procedures in transforming the VPs from representing a division, to being “at large.” But I am challenging Unity’s moral compass. This is one of many seats they control. But because they might lose it in a fair election, they made the rules unfair so they can continue to control it.
If this were a borough-wide election, and the Bronx was going the “wrong way,” would Mulgrew try to change the rules to get Manhattanites to participate in Bronx elections? Because that’s kind of what he does when he has elementary teachers vote for the HS VP.
This is a naked power grab. They know the rules are anti-democratic. They know this is essentially the same garbage the republicans pull all over the country. It is an internal union equivalent of voter suppression. Taking what is not yours because you can and no one can stop you – no need to characterize that.
I watched the recent PEP last week for hours - on and off - the Panel for Educational Policy -- PEP - which I am renaming PECS - Panel for Educational Charter Schools. They want to starve the beast to prove public schools except for a few don't work.
Goal to starve the beast - the public scbool system -- to drive the move for vouchers and other options. And it will work. Imagine a totally fragmentized and Balcanized non-union system. Once those pesky UFT salaries are out of the way, the charters won't have to compete on salary -- or even on competentce of teachers --- just drag them off the street for the schools in poor neighborhoods.
Banks made a few appearances and they were almost embarassing. He can't even lie effectively and uses phony charm to try to get over.
MORE came up big at the PEP --maybe 30 people spoke -- no one from the UFT leadership - I repeat - totally absent from a major meeting dealing with massive cuts.
I posted the Ronnie Almonte speech and newsletter -- Ronnie gets what the political agenda is about: Starve the beast -- and show how government doesn't work. There was a rally of sorts where MORE had more people showed than Unity. I mean this is a union of 197,000 people. Getting a few hundred out makes the union look weak. Sometimes its better to stay home.
Leonie is on the case on the budget cuts. (And on Class size -- big event for Skinny Awards Monday night.)