First let me share, for those who don't know, that I am a Jew. It seems important in this conversation, but from what I have been reading it is. I am not a Lower Eastside Jew, wait I am. My paternal grandfather and his family first lived on Ave C and 9th St when they first came over in 1903. Eventually they moved to the Bronx and my grandfather was quite active in Tammany Hall. Oh, and during prohibition ran booze down from Canada and after that sold Slivovitz out of the trunk of his Buick that my great grandfather had produced using my 6 year old father and his 8 year old cousin to smash the plums in the bathtub in his apartment on Walton Ave in the Bronx.
I also have some tried and blue Communists in my family. A cousin, the actor Howard Da Silva (He played Louis B Mayer in "Mommie Dearest" and Ben Franklin in "1776") was a Communist and blacklisted by Joe McCarthy.
When my dad's uncle went off to Berkeley in the mid 1920's, it was Howard Da Silva who turned him onto Communism. My great uncle was soon ushered out of the State Department just before WW II, moved to China after the war, fell out of favor with Mao in 1949, and moved to Rome where he lived until his death in 1977.
My great-aunt (My grandfathers sister) said to me about 20 years ago (This coming from a 91 year old short Jewish woman) "I'll kill anyone in the family that doesn't vote for a Democrat."
Oh, before I forget, I lost family in the Holocaust. My maternal grandmother's uncle (As well as her brother in law. He married her sister!) died in the Lødz Ghetto in 1941 along with his wife and his children. His name, Maurcy Trébacz, one of the most famous Jewish-Polish artists of his time.
So, enough of the bromides, M'kay?
But I am not writing to share my life or make my life the center of this blog post, rather I wish to share why I am disappointed with MORE and fear for it's future.
First, there are some very good people with MORE. These people are able to see both sides of the issue and able to listen to others. These people want to see MORE (As do I) be able to overtake Unity and take control of the union. But the perspective is that MORE will much rather deal with this "Social Justice" mantra than deal with the fact that TEACHERS ACROSS THE CITY ARE HURTING AND IN PAIN AND HAVE NOWHERE TO TURN.
Francesco Portelos was arrested and spent 33 hours locked up (And let's not forget this). My story. Christine Rubino. Jeff Storobinsky. ATR's? And let's not forget the countless stories that come into my email and DTOE's each and every day from teachers being harassed, belittled and discontinued.
Where is MORE on this? Not to be seen of nor heard from. Nothing. Nada. Bupkus.
When it was suggested that MORE picket and/or have a presser in front of Sam Pirozzolo's optical store, it was met with an extremely tepid response.
When I suggested to someone at MORE that they should have had someone or people picket the 84th precinct when Portelos was arrested (It was known several days in advance of Portelos' pending arrest) the answer I received was. "It will look stupid."
But how did I get to have this audience with such a person? This MORE person called me up, on a SUNDAY, and without even saying, "Hey Pete, this is *******," went into such a tirade, that the senior citizens at the CVS I was at were not only able to hear this tirade and imagine the frothing at the mouth from this person, but were blushing.
Yet, teachers do not get support, yet Con Ed workers do from MORE? Why do ConEd workers on strike get attention and teachers don't? Oh yeah, "Well if we show them support, they will show is the same." A lot of people are still awaiting our blue helmeted brethren.
But MORE has no problem supporting the march of a race baiting, anti-Semite while not supporting the cops and the NYCPBA? Edited for the crazies (IN RED) who forgot what I had written a week ago: Firstly, what happened in Staten Island was wrong. Do I think that
people of color are treated differently by than others my some NYPD
officers? Yes. Does this effect the way the community interacts with
NYPD? Yes. Should the UFT have supported this march? No way.
The UFT showed it's hypocrisy in supporting the march for the act of one
police officer. We as teachers are broad brushed day in and day out by
the acts of a very few. We are railed against, beaten down and left on
an island without any support. By making this march about the UFT's
involvement we have put the 99% of officers of the NYPD who do the right
thing in the shoes we don't like being forced to wear by outsiders. And.... The UFT could have showed it's support for the community in other ways than endorsing this march.
We as teachers could have been asked or encouraged to go out into that
Staten Island community and found common cause with the citizens. We as
teachers have been subject to heavy handed tactics by Tweed and worse,
SCI. We, both teachers and the Staten Island community have been
affected by the last 20 years in this city of a top down, heavy handed,
oligarchy, near police state by our elected officials and those at 1
Police Plaza. Oh yeah, the old, "What have cops done for teachers?" But then what have ConEd workers done for teachers?
When I bring this up on the MORE listserv what happens? I get a phone call, while I'm in Chicago going to a Cubs game, telling me to cool it. This smacks of if not censorship, but rather being told to toe the party line.
I want nothing more (Pardon the pun) to see MORE succeed. But it is trying to be too many things to too many constituencies. MORE must concentrate on the teachers, the schools, the students, and education and only then will the social justice aspect fall into place.
MORE needs to show the same fervor for teachers that are mistreated and shat upon that it shows for others. It needs to be GEOGRAPHICALLY more (Again, pardon the pun) inclusive.
MORE, has a perception issue. It is real and there are a lot of people that feel this way. And this are not pro-unity, pro status quo people. These are people that truly are searching for an alternative and feel that MORE can be that great alternative but these people just have far too many qualms and concerns about MORE.
It's too bad that they don't truly see that.