|Mike Schirtzer emphatically makes his point while Norm Scott takes a breath at the Ed Notes Debate on the 2016 UFT Election.|
Norm spoke for a long, long, long time presenting evidence to show that it is impossible to win a UFT election so why not spend the time and energy building a group that can make a difference as opposed to running a futile election campaign, while sapping all of our strength, in what is essentially a rigged process. Let Mulgrew have his Saddam Hussein majority in an election that should be boycotted. Norm went back about forty years analyzing the history of opposition futility in the UFT and he cited Einstein's definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. He also pointed out in painstakingly precise detail how the organizing that has taken place in the schools for the opposition since the 2013 election has left something to be desired.
Mike responded in around five minutes and won the room (diner) by saying basically an opposition caucus has to run. He said whatever strength the opposition has is represented by how many members back us and we can see that exact number when votes are tabulated. MORE has a base of over 5,000 UFT members who voted for us in 2013 (up from 2010 ICE-TJC numbers in every division) and we are 20,000 strong if we count those who voted against last year's contract. He added we have a great list of possible candidates and our strong social media presence is a new factor that can't be discounted.
Questions and comments followed. In the end, one person sided with Norm, one abstained and roughly ten, including me, voted with Mike to run.
It was a healthy exchange of ideas but the best part of the evening for me was passing the application sheets around and having almost everyone there fill out the form and pay the fee to join the new statewide opposition to Michael Mulgrew's Unity Caucus called Stronger Together.
The next debate should be how we can win citywide, statewide and national union elections, not whether we should participate.
For those who read this blog, we will not get anywhere until our readers take a real activist role to change our union.