Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chicago Teachers Union to be asked to Endorse Pat Quinn by George N. Schmidt/ We Need a Fighting Opposition by Fred Klonsky

Chicago Teachers Union to be asked to Endorse Pat Quinn by George N. Schmidt 
“At Wednesday's House of Delegates meeting, the Chicago Teachers Union will be asked to once again endorse Pat Quinn for governor. In 2010, I gave the speech that helped us get the votes in the House of Delegates for the Quinn endorsement. This time I will oppose it for reasons just about everyone knows. 

“It's time for all of us to end these abusive political relationships with sleazy Democrats just because someone once again is playing Big Bad Wolf with the Republican candidate. Everyone should remember the civics and constitutional law lessons we teach our kids. 

“There are three branches of government, and if our 'friends' are supposedly running the Illinois House and Senate, then having a reactionary Governor Bruce Rauner will not destroy either our interests or Illinois. Big Bad Wolf stories have got to end, just as Lesser Evilism needs to be challenged. Otherwise, we continue to get frauds like 'Vallas/Quinn'" (George N. Schmidt, Editor of Substance News). 

We Need a Fighting Opposition” by Fred Klonsky

“I believe that the state union's leaders have created an anti-Rauner panic-machine. That panic-machine has made us quiet servants of the Madigan and Quinn anti-labor Party. Falling for the panic-machine is not only a waste of time. It is counter-productive.

“In spite of Pat Quinn running a lousy campaign, even if it were run better, our leadership wants uncritical support for an anti-labor governor. Quinn has the worst labor record of any governor in 50 years. Yet this record goes un-criticized because any criticism of Quinn helps Rauner. And Rauner is Satan. This line of illogical reasoning is nonsense.

“The problem, as I see it, is that when there is a crisis, we go missing. There is a crisis in the state, and rather than see it as an opportunity to build a fighting opposition, we argue what those who have created the crisis argue: ‘Vote Quinn.’ Stick with those who screwed us? That's the leadership's vision. How can that possibly be ours?

“I am asked by people, ‘What are we to do on Election Day?’ That's the wrong question to ask. Voting takes a few minutes. The real issue is what we are going to do before and after the election. I believe something new must be built. We must create a new political landscape, as Karen Lewis says, both electorally and in our union. 

“Did you know that 300 IEA RA delegate seats go unfilled every year? It will take time and we may not convince everybody right away, but we need to fill those seats with people who believe in a fighting union. And win a few hundred more. This can be done.

“I talked to the newly-elected president of the Massachusetts Education Association this summer at the NEA RA, and that is exactly what they did and won. Progressive, active IEA members need to help fill those empty delegate slots and work with other actives in other locals to do the same. If we believe that Klickna and that bunch are misleaders (and I do), than what I tell members is that we need to replace them” (Fred Klonsky, Blogger and Activist).

1 comment:

  1. From a colleague and friend:

    “How do we move the IEA to a better model of operation? How do we ‘promote an organizing model with a strong dose of internal union democracy and increased member participation’ and rid ourselves of ‘a business model that views union membership as an insurance policy where decision-making is concentrated in a small group of elected officials and/or paid staff’? How do we ‘start creating and promoting a different kind of active IEA member’ and ‘adjust’ the ‘ennui and exasperation’ of the suburban actives’? (Adjust it to?) Most importantly, how do we stop the muffling of teachers’ voices over time?

    “How, specifically, do we accomplish this? Well, I don’t know. But what I believe is that individual teachers have different ideas about what they feel they can change and what they feel they have to accept. (Exasperation and ennui: What can I do! it’s in the hands of the courts.)

    “I also believe that individuals change their world when they see a personal need/urgency to change it. But that does not mean that they all recognize/feel the urgency at the same time. And it is a complicated and messy business to identify and prioritize what needs to be addressed when one is living in the whirl and tumult of the moment in a classroom full of kids.

    “The problem is endemic to IEA. The problem is not only the structure but also the particular personalities of the leaders we have at this time. The problem is we are scattered and not concentrated like CTU. The problem is we don’t have an easily accessible media in place. The problem is we do not know what the majority rank and file feel/think. The problem is teachers are jugglers with too many clubs being tossed at them right now.”